Say the name Superman, and most of the general public thinks of "Up, up and away," "faster than a speeding bullet" and a man whom they believe can fly. For too many superhero comic fans, the Man of Steel has been just another superhero for too long.
At least, that's the thinking in the DC Comics Superman office. This fall, they do something about it, with "Ending Battle." The story, which will run through all the Superman books this fall, pits the Man of Steel against beefed-up versions of enemy after enemy, including classic 1970s villains like Terra Man and the Master Jailer.
"We decided to blow out the concept of Superman fighting traditional supervillains," "Adventures of Superman" writer Joe Casey told the Superman panel Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego. "Superman shouldn't be fighting bank robbers and things that Green Lantern could be handling."
"We're trying to capture that in ways we haven't really done before," "Action Comics" writer Joe Kelly said. "We set up a pretty wicked story. There's more to it than just 'Superman fights 100 guys.' "
After the punching and kicking of "Ending Battle," the team goes the other direction with the follow-up story, "Perdition," which runs through Christmas.
"'Perdition' is a story where Superman is actually out of costume for the majority of it. He's confronted with a situation where he can't go into it as a big iconic superhero, he has to go into it as a man," Kelly said. "Facing an enemy he really just can't hit. And how does he deal with that?"
The same desire to pump up the volume is present in the new "Superman" creative team.
"Scott [McDaniel] and I are really going back to the 'super,'" "Superman" writer Steve Seagle said. "It should be shocking that he can fly, it should be amazing that he can see through walls."
Following "Perdition," look for fewer stories bridging the various Superman books, editor Eddie Berganza said.
As for that mysterious Mark Waid Superman 12 issue maxi-series, "Superman: Birthright," the panel danced around any concrete details.
About the only concrete detail, sort of, from Waid: "I don't think there's anything that we tell you in that first issue that you already know."