The Amazon folks want you to subscribe to their Amazon Delivers Comics Newsletter, and they are willing to offer a small bribe: A free copy of Superman #1. I’m not kidding about it being a small bribe, as the comic currently retails for 99 cents, but it’s a good read, and free is free. The offer is good through July 21. Here’s what you do:
1) Click the button on the linked page to sign up for the newsletter. 2) When a pop-up window appears, check the box next to “Amazon Delivers Comics,” then click “Submit. 3) Amazon sends you an e-mail with a promo code and a link to redeem it. 4) Click that link to go to the Superman #1 catalog listing. 5) Buy it using your Amazon account, and the code automatically deducts the 99 cents from the price. 6) Enjoy your comic!
That’s a lot of steps, and I was a bit worried the discount wouldn’t come through at the end, but everything worked just like they said it would. I’m actually looking forward to the newsletter.
But what about the comic? Superman #1, by George Perez and Jesus Marino, came out in November 2011, and it was part of the New 52, a relaunch of all the characters in the DC Universe. That means you don’t need to know any backstory or continuity to read this comic, although it helps if you have read Superman or seen a Superman cartoon in the past. The comic deftly weaves several storylines: On the evening the Daily Planet changes hands, going to a Rupert Murdoch-type owner, a fire monster attacks Metropolis. As the gala evening event turns into a scramble to cover the breaking story, Superman battles the fire monster high in the sky. It’s absolutely classic Superman, made even more so by the heavy use of text boxes, which seem like a newsreel narrator announcing what is happening in each panel. The art is standard superhero-modern, hard-edged and overly detailed, but it’s very dramatic and the action scenes are handled deftly. And it’s not all Superman battling the monster, either—Lois Lane plays a prominent role, and there is a bit about her and Clark’s relationship at the end.
I read the comic on the Kindle app on my iPad 3, which has a retina display. The problem with reading comics on Kindle is that the page size is too small, even on an iPad. The comic is considerably smaller than the screen size, with a big white border all the way around. By contrast, the Comics by comiXology reader shows the page at a larger size, bringing it all the way to the top and bottom of the screen. This particular comic has a lot of small panels and word balloons, so reading it at the smaller size, even on a retina display, is a challenge. The Kindle app does allow the reader to enlarge each panel with a double tap, then swipe from panel to panel, but this particular comic may not have been the best choice, as the busy layouts don’t really lend themselves to panel by panel view.
Still, if you’re a Superman fan, this is a classic story, and it’s free. Amazon sells digital comics for Kindle, available the same day as print, and if you want to keep all your reading on the same platform, and you don’t mind the smaller page size, it’s worth considering.