Who knew the secret to unlocking the true awesome of Superman would be found in the insanely fun pages of “Superman Family Adventures” #1? He is a character drastically underutilized to full capacity and Art Baltazar and Franco spell out the key here as being to have the most amount of fun possible with the Man of Steel. This series, firmly aimed at kids, is the ultimate example that true all-ages books exist and they are amazing.
There isn’t much depth to the story here. Baltazar and Franco aren’t out to write layered narratives with multiple plot lines threading over time. Instead, they establish a backdrop on which to hang multiple moments and ongoing punchlines. There is a complexity to the gags that pop up throughout these pages. Ideas are set up and played for more than one laugh. It is also important to realize each laugh will actually come out of your mouth. This is a funny comic that delivers.
If you have never read a Superman story before -- and we can only hope this comic makes it into the young impressionable hands that fit this criteria -- all you need is right here. Without being didactic, this comic exists as a sample for nearly everything in Superman’s world. Superman uses a variety of his powers and all his main supporting characters are present. In one panel, we see everything we need to know about Lois Lane as Clark Kent peers down at her with a floating love heart near his head. This is their general status quo depicted in an economy of style. Everything is presented in such a succinct manner.
Baltazar’s art is loose and easy. Much like a smiley face can represent so much detail in a simple style, so too does Baltazar use less to tell more. His faces are comprised of only a few lines and yet they emote and react to scenes brilliantly. The action and the comedy are equally given a vibrant style and tone. This makes the art accessible and also very worthwhile.
“Superman Family Adventures” #1 is the book any reader can enjoy. It deserves to be in every library, under every desk and in every back pocket. This is smart and tightly made distilled childlike glee. This is the blueprint for an all-ages comic.