REVIEW: ‘Superman: Endless Winter Special’, Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Superman Endless Winter Special #1

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is published by DC Comics. Written by Ron Marz and Andy Lanning. The art is by Phil Hester and Ande Parks. Colours by Hi-Fi and letters by Dave Sharpe. There is a flashback sequence that features art by Marco Santucci, colours by Arif Prianto, and letters by Troy Peteri. This is Part 3 of the Endless Winter crossover.

In it, Stagg Industries were excavating the crater left behind after Superman moved the Fortress of Solitude from its original location. Their digging unleashed the Frost King, an ancient being with Cryogenic powers and a horde of huge creatures made from ice at his disposal. The Justice League did battle with the Frost King, but their enemy unleashed his power, plunging the entire world into a brutal, endless winter. 

Superman is trying to be everywhere at once, tackling emergencies all around the globe and battling an insurmountable amount of monsters. He reaches a snow-covered Metropolis to help Lois and the Daily Planet team before she sends him away to protect those who need it most. But even the Man of Steel is starting to get overwhelmed with the scale of the disaster. Tired and cold, Superman seeks shelter in Smallville.

The issue is paced and structured well, starting with and featuring many similar plot points that The Flash #767 did. Superman is trying to cover as much area as possible to tackle the all-encompassing threat. His straining himself is again useful as it shows the severity of what the DC heroes are up against. The plot slows down and Clark Kent goes back to his parents for advice. This part of the story is calmer and slower but needed within how relentless the battle outside is. The last scene of Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 changes the location and characters, bringing with it a surprising revelation that will change the direction of the crossover going forward. It could be argued that the plot hasn’t moved forward much as the focal character has been bounced around.

The opening flashback is fascinating as well. This cold open reveals some details about the Frost King. The prologue provides insight into the new character and the beginnings of what turned him into what he will eventually become. This special shows multiple parts of what makes up Superman’s character traits, making him a fantastic hero. When he is out in the snowstorms, he is shown as this unfaltering force of nature. He is battling the onslaught of ice creatures on his own, lifting gigantic ships, fighting alongside soldiers in Gorilla City. All while repeatedly patrolling Metropolis and keeping the people within his home city safe. This unstoppable beacon of hope. 

But then he falters, appearing to collapse under the pressure of it all. He flees, leaving the planet itself for a while. This showcases that even the strongest can buckle when the weight of the world gets too much. He returns to his parents’ house for support and a second to recharge. Marz and Lanning picked the best people for Superman to go to for advice as it shows the true heart of Clark Kent. The dialogue within is well-scripted and emotive. The Kryptonian being admonished for being snippy by his adoptive father will bring a smile to the reader’s face.

Both Superman and Flash seem to be facing this exhausting need to try and protect their loved ones and the rest of the planet at the same time, and this will likely be written into the other characters’ solo stories as well. Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is heavy with its themes, but they seem important and needed considering the year that 2020 has been. The feelings of isolation, with a longing for home and family that resonates out of the pages of this comic, hits hard against the soul after all that has transpired. 

The art is wonderful in the main story. The proportions of the characters, combined with the large line weights and art style in general results in intense nostalgia towards classic Superman cartoons and comics. This familiarity that Hester and Parks, best known for their work on Green Arrow, instills in the book is crucial in connecting the reader to Superman’s history and home. The Man of Steel bursting through the chest of a large ice warrior on the title page is a powerful image that highlights his strength. Each one of the crystalline beasts we see is unique in their designs and details. Some have one eye, some have horns, some having gaping maws lined with sharp teeth. This prevents them from becoming monotonous as they appear more and more within the panels.

The colours by Hi-Fi are fantastic. The blue, red and yellow of Superman’s costume stands out beautifully in the cold whites that cover much of the panels. During his battles, Kal-El is often the only colour that is different against the snow and ice, but that triumvirate of colours will always have an inspiration. effect on the reader. The use of flat colours, rarely using multiple shades, fits perfectly with the art style of Hester and Parks. 

Sharpe’s lettering is seamless in blending into the design of the comic. The size of the word balloons and text are just enough to be able to read and follow without being obstructive.

It should be mentioned that the team on the flashback are consistently fantastic as they cover the flashback portions of the comic. Santucci, Prianto, and Peteri capture the atmosphere of the time period they are representing in every page they create.

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is a warm, heartfelt issue that fantastically captures what the character and his stories should contain. It feels like you are reading a classic Superman cartoon, while still following this very modern crossover. The themes hit hardest after a terrifying year, but this would be a timeless story anyway.

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is available where comics are sold.

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1
5

TL;DR

Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is a warm, heartfelt issue that fantastically captures what the character and his stories should contain. It feels like you are reading a classic Superman cartoon, while still following this very modern crossover. The themes hit hardest after a terrifying year, but this would be a timeless story anyway.