A Cold Day in Hell
script & breakdowns - George Perez
penciller - Nicola Scott
inker - Trevor Scott
colorists - Brian Buccalleto, Brett Smith, Blond
letterer - Carlos M. Mangual
cover - Perez & Buccelleto
associate editor - Wil Moss
editor - Matt Idleson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
this review is of the print edition
The storyline taking place five years after the events in Grant Morrison's Action Comics continue, with Superman established but not the paragon of trust in Metropolis that readers may have been familiar to readers of prior Superman series. There's most definitely a bit of "One Year Later" fatigue setting in as characters speak elliptically about the past, established relationships, etc... and it can feel a bit more like we're picking up a comic that's been running for a while than stepping into the start of something new. Which, truthfully, seems to defeat some of the purpose of a "relaunch".
Still, Perez's aims to get Superman established, provide a continuity, character arcs and status quo are all interweaved fairly well into the narrative. We see Lois in her new role, Perry White and Jimmy all in place as news editors and hounds.
If I may: I know I keep coming back to this same issue, but the New 52 has been particularly guilty (shockingly so for a relaunch, in my opinion) of the superhero problem of the past 15 years that we never, ever see superheroes dealing with the public except as a comedic nuisance. And (I've said it before) in a world where everyone is special - then nobody is special. Its why I balk when I see all the lab techs in Superboy wearing armor while doing paperwork and scrubbing beakers. Armor?
I'm 36. I tend to relate to a world in which people go to work at real jobs and get mad at their co-workers and wonder where their co-workers are, and because I am not serving in our armed services, literally nobody I work with has armor on unless something has gone very, very wrong at the library (seriously, when the body armor shows up, we're already in a "hide in place" scenario).
So, yeah, I LIKE seeing the Planet and its mechanisms going, and news editors figuring out who is responsible for what. It makes the gentleman in the blue suit and red cape something more than just another dude showing up in a panel that happens to be our protagonist. And, even the (very necessary) discussion regarding Superman as a menace to Metropolis and the Planet's slant on that story was a nice touch.*
I did find it odd, however, that we were on page 7 of 20 when we got to the title of the issue. That seems... like a mistake. I'll give artists and writers some leeway, but I have to think something happened there, and we wound up with some pages of padding that basically re-capped events in the first issue or two of Action Comics. It's just strange.
Nicola Scott seems to be handling Perez's breakdowns very, very well, and she's a welcome substitute on the book. She seems to capture Lois and Perry particularly well for the new status quo. If you saw her work in Secret Six or Wonder Woman, she's continuing that same great trend of work, and I'd argue that she may even be better now than just two years ago.
The perfunctory fight with the "Ice Monster" does what its intended to do, and provides the menace that the series is setting up for the big fight/ reveal in issue 6, but all that is really background noise so Perez can get the House of Superman in order, or as much as he can until Morrison and the Superman editors free the creative teams to show us the rest of Superman's status quo.
This wasn't a great issue, but it was an okay Superman read. I would like to see a bit more of Clark at The Daily Planet if we're to spend time there, and Jimmy for that matter.
Its still a bit jarring to realize these aren't just Elseworld variations, but what DC is sticking with for the foreseeable future, so I do believe this sort of world building is necessary. The five year gap may have been a bit too much to ask, though.
*I'm not a journalist by trade, so I don't know if this is even close to a fictional version of a newsroom discussion.