WITH THIS WEEK’s release of “Man of Steel,” many new fans of Kal-El, the last Son of Krypton, will be looking for a comic book to help with their newly piqued interest in Superman.
So who did DC Comics turn to, knowing that a new wave of Supes readers were right around the corner?
This looks like a job for....Scott Snyder.
Snyder, who has already proved he can handle writing a DC Comics legend with his critically acclaimed ongoing run on “Batman” (The Court of Owls, Death of the Family, Zero Year), will be writing Superman Unchained, a title that arrives Wednesday in comics shops physical and virtual,
Snyder is well-aware, of course, that he’s writing two of the most important characters in the DC Comics universe — as well as two of the most recognizable in all of comics.
“It’s incredibly intimidating and terrifying at times,” Snyder tells Comic Riffs. “At the end of the day, I guess I have to do the same thing I did with Batman, which is tell the story that I’d like to see.
“It can get scary, though. My wife can tell you I have a lot of sleepless nights thinking about it.”
Knowing that “Superman Unchained” would be released so close with “Man of Steel” did not have an effect on Snyder’s approach to the book.
“I already had a plan the same as I had with Batman,” Snyder says. “I try to make every story accessible to anyone new. If you’ve never read a Superman book before, you can just pick this one up and start there. If you are a big fan there will be Easter eggs all over the book. This one will be a great jumping on point.”
Much like Snyder’s “Court of Owls” storyline in the pages of “Batman,” Superman will face a new villain in “Unchained.”
“Well, I guess without giving too much away, it puts [Superman] against a brand-new villain that shakes him to his core,” Snyder says. “My favorite Superman stories are ones where he has to make the right decisions. It’s about Superman having the backbone to make the right decision, given the fact that no one wants to make that decision. That’s what we’re exploring.
“If I only got one chance to write [Superman], this is the story I would write.”
The art of “Superman Unchained” is being handled by DC Comics co-publisher and fan-favorite artist Jim Lee — a teaming that excites Snyder and still makes him a little nervous.
“It’s a huge honor and it’s really scary,” Snyder says. “He’s the one person I work with that I still get intimidated by. Talking to him on the phone, he’ll call and I’ll say, ‘Be professional’. But then it’s: Oh my God, it’s Jim Lee. It’s hard not to geek out when working with him. He’s responsible for so many books that made me want to do what I’m doing now.
“One thing that’s so exciting was that he’s brought a real hunger to it. He came in saying he wanted to try some new things. He’s really bringing his A-game, and I think you’ll see it in his art.”
“Superman Unchained” and “Man of Steel” coincide with Superman’s 75th anniversary. Snyder thinks it’s no coincidence that Superman remains relevant still after so many years.
“I think at the end of the day what makes [Superman] who he is, is his moral compass given to him by the Kents,” Snyder said. “He’s an alien and has all these incredible powers. It’s about a character who has to make the right decision. The decision we all know we should make even though the odds of surviving the decision are terrible. So that’s what makes him relevant to me and it never gets old.”
Superman, Snyder notes, “reminds us off who we are at our core.”