Superman IV: The Quest for Peace has long been considered the worst Superman movie, but the premise of the story has just been redeemed in DC Comics.
Warning: contains spoilers for Superman: Space Age #1!
The worst Superman film is redeemed in a new comic. 1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace has long been considered by fans and critics not only to be the worst film of the Christopher Reeve era, but also an overall terrible film. The film was attacked on many fronts, such as its clumsy approach to the subject of nuclear disarmament. Superman: Space Age #1on sale now in print and digital, shows how this material could have been handled better.
1978 Superman, directed by Richard Donner, created the model for the modern comic book movie. The film, which introduced the world to Christopher Reeves, also starred Marlon Brando and Margot Kidder; it was a smash hit with audiences and critics alike. Sequels followed, including a third outing starring Richard Pryor. While the films were successful at the box office, they didn’t do as well with critics. By the late 1980s, the franchise was in its final stages, and Reeve stepped in to direct the fourth outing. Reeves had big ambitions for the film, but various factors worked against him, and when Superman IV: The Quest for Peace made its debut on July 24, 1987, he was dead on arrival. The film, which touched on the subject of nuclear weapons and the Cold War, was panned by critics, who lambasted its overly sentimental plot; the film was also a commercial failure. Still Superman: Space Age #1 shows fans the potential The quest for peace had. The issue is written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Michael “Spike” Allred, colored by Laura Allred, and lettered by Dave Sharpe.
Superman: Space Age presents a new vision of the DC Universe, against the backdrop of nuclear annihilation and the Cold War; the book is anchored by Superman, dealing with a major existential crisis. Events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolded as before. As the world again approaches the brink of destruction, Superman intervenes, silently hijacking a volley of nuclear missiles towards the Moon. At this point, Superman had not made his public debut, instead choosing to work in the shadows; indeed, its stealthy diversion of mutually assured destruction is what inspires it to finally go public.
Superman: Space Age draws from and reuses many aspects of DC mythology, both in comics and media, using the Cold War peak to explore what it means to be a hero, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is redeemed in the first issue. This movie saw Superman attempts something similar; at the behest of a small child, Superman agrees to destroy the world’s supply of nuclear weapons. Critics attacked the premise, calling it cheap and overly sentimental. Any approach to such material must be treated with care and depth and critics and fans felt that the film was sorely lacking – and Superman: Space Age shows how it can be done, linking nuclear disarmament to Superman’s growth and development as a hero. He never relies on clichés, opting for new takes that show the ramifications of people like Superman on the world stage.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace killed the superman movie franchise, and there wouldn’t be another movie starring the Man of Steel until 2006 The Return of Superman. In effect, The quest for peace was considered so bad that The Return of Superman dropped it from the barrel, but now the premise of this maligned film is redeemed in Superman: Space Age #1.
Superman: Space Age #1 is available now from DC Comics.
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