So you saw the new Superman Returns and are wondering, what's the Man of Steel been up to in the comic books lately? Ask and ye shall be answered - the authoritative new Superman: The Ultimate Guide To The Man of Steel from DK Publishing is an enjoyable guide to the ups and downs in the big blue boy scout's life in recent times.
DK's Ultimate Guide series of books on comics have been surprisingly enjoyable. Although marketed more toward a kids' audience, with their graphic-heavy, dynamic design, they're also quite solid for adults, too, and packed with information. Previous guides on the X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman and more have been enjoyable trips down memory lane for old comics fans like myself and a decent primer for those just dipping into the waters of fandom.
The new Superman guide revises and updates a 2002 edition, bringing it fully up to date with info on comics published right up to this year. Writer Scott Beatty does a nice job distilling hundreds of stories into a readable, entertaining mini-encylopedia.
The Ultimate Guide is primarily a look at Superman's history in the past 20 years, since the "big revamp" of 1986 when writer/artist John Byrne took over the character and more or less started over from scratch. The guide looks at the stories since then, including the famous "Death" and return of Superman, the Imperiex war, Lex Luthor becoming President of the United States (honest!) and much more. For those who might've missed out on some tales, it's an excellent way to catch up, highlighted by a ton of artwork.
Some of the most fascinating sections are the detailed maps and histories of Superman's home of Krypton (learn millions of years of Kryptonian history!) or his adopted world of Metropolis.