Superman: Up, Up and Away

Superman: Up, Up and Away
Superman Up Up and Away review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 1-4012-0954-8
  • Release date: 2006
  • UPC: 9781401209544
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Up Up and Away represented a new start for Superman, jumping his continuity forward and picking up after he’s been missing for a year. Yet there are Clark Kent and Lois Lane watching the Superman memorial film and discussing what isn’t entirely right. Elsewhere Lex Luthor walks free having cleared his name when accused of the entire charge book, but his shareholders have voted him out of his own company, and when trouble brews Clark heads around the corner and activates his signal watch.

The beginning is intriguing, and the writing team of Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns continue to tantalise, eventually clarifying that Superman is no longer super, but still fighting the good fight via journalism. He’s reflected by Luthor, no longer the billionaire industrialist, but forced to utilise his scientific genius in a ramshackle laboratory.

As seen on the cover, the ugly stylised Superman is a very rare mis-step from Terry Dodson, but Pete Woods handles most of the internal artwork with real power and grace. He implants the characters in detailed surroundings, giving them weight, and when it comes to the strange superhero aspects they’re delivered with style. One troublesome moment is the Prankster pulling the distinctively shaped illuminated men from traffic lights, growing them to giant size and setting them on the rampage. Woods makes you believe this could occur. Renato Guedes drawing a couple of the middle chapters is also good with background and detail, but his people are stiffer.

Two strands run through most of Up Up and Away. The first has Clark being able to call on others to protect Metropolis while he’s out of action, enabling a succession of guest stars, providing a change as it’s usually Superman interacting with other superheroes. The other strand is Luthor plotting away and involving a selection of Superman’s secondary enemies. With villains also gunning for Clark due to exposing corruption in the Daily Planet, will his powers return before he comes to any harm? We’re not giving anything away, but there have been 345 Superman graphic novels released since Up Up and Away.

Everything inevitably builds towards another round of the eternal battle between Superman and Luthor, but it’s satisfying and smart, with a call back to Superman’s Kryptonian heritage and to a neat piece of foreshadowing dialogue from Lois Lane earlier on.

This is bright and comforting Superman action still worthwhile all these years later, and it continues with Back in Action.