The 2023 Superman Annual largely ignores the Man of Steel, focusing on Lois Lane and her new role as The Daily Planet’s acting Editor-In-Chief. Despite this, this comic is not lacking in action or excitement.
A Day in the Life of Lois Lane
It’s a time of change in Metropolis. Before being imprisoned, Lex Luthor rebranded his company SuperCorp and handed control over to Superman. There’s a new vigilante called Marilyn Moonlight protecting the city at night. And there’s two new villains, Dr. Pharm and Mr, Graft, who are targeting Superman by upgrading his greatest enemies.
Despite these changes, Lois Lane is feeling fenced in by her new job. She is also growing annoyed with her reporters turning in the same-old stories. This leads to a bold idea – having her star reporters switch beats for a day.
Naturally, Lois does not stay behind her desk for long. Soon she is back in the field, where she belongs. She also, to the surprise of no one, winds up in trouble. But with Superman occupied with the latest Toyman rampage, Lois must rely on her own considerable wits to save the day.
A Perfect Introduction to the Daily Planet Staff
Superman Annual #1 addresses one of the few complaints about writer Joshua Williamson’s run on the Dawn of DC Superman series. Namely, that the monthly Superman comic barely touches upon Clark Kent’s work as a reporter. It has also overlooked the supporting cast at The Daily Planet.
This issue makes the Man of Steel into a supporting figure in his own book. We still see Superman fighting with Toyman and working with SuperCorp employees to to track him down. Most of its pages, however, are devoted to Jimmy Olsen encountering a pacified Parasite and Cat Grant interviewing Marilyn Moonlight. Lois Lane has her own big mystery to explore, tying into Lex Luthor’s secret past as a vigilante and the cover-up that hid his heroism.
Joshua Williamson has a great handle on the cast and their voices. More importantly, Williamson is able to explore their history smoothly and efficiently, without lengthy exposition or information dumps. Cat Grant’s history with Toyman is explained away quickly, as is Lois’ connection to a newer Superman villain who shows up.
This makes Superman Annual #1 incredibly friendly to new readers. Anyone who hasn’t been reading the current Superman monthly book can pick up this issue and catch up on current events easily. This makes it an ideal pick-up for any Superman fans who haven’t read the comics in years seeking a good entry point.
An Amazing Line-Up of Artists
Williamson’s story is brought to life by an all-star squadron of great artists. Each subplot is handled by a different art team, adding visual variety to each vignette. Mahmud Asrar handles most of the scenes centered around Lois, with Dave McCaig providing the colors.
The artwork is top-notch across the board, with no missteps or mistakes. Unfortunately, the title page does not credit the individual artists by page numbers. This makes it hard to know who is responsible for what, particularly in the case of the colorists. Devout DC Comics fans seeking more of the same should be able to puzzle it out, however.
All in all, the 2023 Superman Annual is everything a good comics annual should be. It is an introduction to the series’ status quo and a continuation of the current story. This issue will also give readers a new appreciation for Superman’s underrated supporting cast.