Superman Volume 1: Before the Truth, by Gene Luen Tang ISBN 9781401259815
Five out of five stars
Superman with diminished powers
The fundamental premise that makes this collection different from other stories of the Man of Steel is that in this case the steel is not the finest. Superman’s abilities have been reduced and are evolving and he is now capable of generating what are called “solar flares.” These are beams of immense power from his eyes and lead to an amusing moment.
Superman and some of the other members of the Justice League are in the Watchtower space station testing his powers. In a test of his solar flares, Superman turns on full power and blows out the sides of the station as well as burning off all his clothes. Wonder Woman is there and Aquaman puts his hand over her eyes. She deftly pushes his hand aside so that she can get a better look, smiling while doing so.
The main enemy in most of the stories is an organization run by a mysterious entity called Hordr, a specialist in collecting data, specifically the kind that is embarrassing and incriminating. Clark, Jimmy Olson, Lois Lane and a blue-haired turncoat infiltrate the Hordr organization in an attempt to learn more about it. While she has the best of intentions, Lois reveals things that lead to enormous complications.
Those who grew up with the traditional Superman know that he was vulnerable only to Kryptonite and magic. In this case, he is far more human, even to the point of getting drunk and waking with a hangover. The sight of Superman rapidly getting dressed in his super suit and worrying about his breath before flying off to save the world was amusing. I found the weaker version of Superman to be very entertaining. He gets knocked around quite a bit.