Superman Unchained
Cover of Superman Unchained #1 (August 2013). Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date August 2013 – present
Number of issues 3 (as of October 2013 cover date)
Main character(s) Superman
Creative team
Writer(s) Scott Snyder
Penciller(s) Jim Lee
Inker(s) Scott Williams
Letterer(s) Sal Cipriano
Colorist(s) Alex Sinclair
Editor(s) Chris Conroy, Matt Idelson

Superman Unchained is an ongoing comic book series, featuring the DC Comics character Superman. It is written by Scott Snyder with pencils by Jim Lee. The series was first announced at the New York Comic Con on October 11, 2012. Superman Unchained takes place in the DC Universe, as part of the New 52. The series launched in June 2013.

Publication history

A new Superman title was first rumored by Rich Johnston. Johnston speculated that a series titled Man of Steel, written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Jim Lee would launch in 2013, to coincide with the film of the same name.[1][2]

DC Comics later announced a new Superman series at the New York Comic Con on October 11, 2012, to be written by Scott Snyder with art by Jim Lee.[3] At this point, the title of the new series had not been announced.

On March 4, 2013, USA Today announced the official title of the series, Superman Unchained. To celebrate Superman's 75th anniversary, the series would launch on June 12, 2013, two days before the release of Man of Steel.[4] The series would also feature a back-up feature, written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen.[5]

Snyder has noted that the series, "like Court of Owls for Batman, it's a character piece for Clark—it's going to challenge him to his core."[3] Explaining his approach to Superman Unchained:

"I tried to take all of Superman's greatest strengths and turned them into weaknesses, turning them on their head to challenge him. There's new things and they will surprise you, it has all the iconic moments you'd want, but it's still classic Superman even though it's fresh and different."

— Scott Snyder, [6]

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration, Superman Unchained #1 (August 2013) shipped with 8 extra variant covers, each one drawn in the style of a different comic book era featuring Superman.[7] Superman Unchained #2 (September 2013)[8] and Superman Unchained #3 (October 2013)[9] also shipped with multiple comic book era-styled variants.

The first issue included a double-sized fold-out poster, it fit in as an actual page of the story.[10]


The prologue of the first issue takes place during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki; the "Fat Man" bomb is revealed to have been a superhuman employed by the U.S. Military.

Superman stops 7 satellites from colliding into the earth, letting an 8th object hit an abandoned military base. Superman initially suspects Lex Luthor. When Clark Kent writes up an article about the event, Lois Lane informs him that all 8 satellites, not just 7, were stopped. Superman investigates the impact site of the 8th satellite, and notices that a superhuman had apparently redirected it. After a submarine had fired torpedoes at Superman, General Lane is revealed to be working in a secret military installation, housing a superhuman who had been in the employ of the United States for nearly 75 years.[11]

In the second issue, Superman is in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to combat a rogue construction machine that has been tampered with by the cyber-terrorist group Ascension. In order to stop the Burj Khalifa from falling, Superman creates a whirlwind of water and freezes it beneath the skyscraper before it can collapse. Superman then goes to the Batcave where Bruce Wayne is testing a new suit that can manipulate the environment in order to render him undetectable by Kal-El. After studying a piece of the 8th satellite, Batman has determined that another being with slightly more power than Superman was responsible for stopping its impact. Clark Kent calls Lois Lane and inquires about her father's whereabouts. Lois mentions that his mail has been coming from Utah. Once in Utah, Superman confronts General Lane, who has been anticipating his arrival. Superman demands to know more about the superhuman, who is called Wraith. General Lane's men open fire on him as Wraith bursts from the ground, stating that he's been waiting a long time to deal with Superman.

While Superman is en route to Utah, Lois's plane is taken over by Ascension and forced to land. At the MAW, a high-security prison off the coast of Metropolis, Lex Luthor constructs a mech-suit out of various pieces of a model city and escapes.[12]


Reception to the launch of the title was largely positive. IGN gave the first issue an 8.9 out of 10, saying the issue was "the most entertaining Superman story in some time." In addition, they praised the story's embrace of elements from The New 52, rather than shying away from them.[13] Comic Book Resources gave the first issue 4.5 out of 5 stars, saying, "DC has found the right creators to make Superman great again." [14] Newsarama gave the first issue a 7 out of 10, saying there was enough to pique reader curiosity, but the story "seemed to lack the same 'punch' from other story arcs" Snyder has recently done.[15]

Despite this lukewarm initial reception, the comic was extremely successful, topping sales during the first three months of it's publication.[16]


  1. Johnston, Rich. "Jim Lee And Scott Snyder To Launch Man Of Steel Comic For 2013?". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  2. Johnston, Rich. "DC Execs Refuse To Deny Jim Lee / Scott Snyder Man Of Steel Rumours – And No More Before Watchmen Plans "Right Now"". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Esposito, Joey (October 11, 2012). "NYCC: Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's New Superman Series". Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  4. Truitt, Brian (March 4, 2013). "DC Comics makes the most of Superman's 75th year". Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  5. Sunu, Steve. "JIM LEE, SCOTT SNYDER DISCUSS "SUPERMAN UNCHAINED," DEBUT NEW ART". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  6. Young, Bryan. "DC Comics Announces a New Superman Book!". The Blog. Huffington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  7. Truitt, Brian. "Superman gets a new DC Comics logo for 75th anniversary". USA Today. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  8. "DC Comics reveals SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #2 variant cover artists". ComicList. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  9. "SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #3 lineup of variant cover artists revealed". ComicList. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  10. "Final SUPERMAN UNCHAINED Double-side Jim Lee Poster Revealed". Newsarama. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  11. Superman Unchained #1 (August 2013)
  12. Superman Unchained #2 (July 2013)
  13. Yehl, Joshua (June 11, 2013). "This Superman Is Off The Chain.". Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  15. Helvie, Forrest C. (June 13, 2013). "Best Shots Rapid Reviews: Superman Unchained, Thor, More". Retrieved June 16, 2013. 

Category:Comics by Jim Lee

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.