It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a boatload of spoilers! The Superman writer spoke to Buzzfeed over the phone about what to expect from the new series.
Superman will question whether or not he's a hero.
Buzzfeed: First of all, what is Superman Unchained? Because "unchained" could mean full adrenaline, or emotionally unchained, some third thing.
Scott Snyder: We wanted to approach this story as though there were no limits to it. So it's kind of the Superman story I'd tell if I only got once chance to tell one Superman story ever before I got kicked out of comics.
It pits him against a new villain that's totally crazy and sort of challenges him physically but also emotionally and psychologically and really shakes him to his core in terms of what he does. It's a story that really makes Superman step back and say, "Is what I do the right thing?" Those are the kind of Superman stories I love the most, the ones the really make him rethink who he is.
The villain might not be a bad guy (or girl).
You said the villain was new? BRAND new. So not a retired villain, or a revamped gender-bent version of a classic bad guy?
SS: It's brand new. Nobody pulls off their face and is revealed to be an old villain beneath it. No Scooby-Doo villains. It's definitely somebody new, and is designed to be a villain for modern times, to challenge Superman's relevance in today's climate.
A villain for modern times? So a less black and white, more sympathetic baddie?
SS: Yes. To me, that's the kind of thing that really challenges Superman. In a lot of ways, he makes the right decisions. And yet, the stories I love the most put him in a position where making the right decision is not only incredibly hard because of the physical consequences like villains wanting to come kill him, but because it's deeply unpopular and Superman finds himself overstepping on. When Superman makes a decision to stop something or do something on a global scale, he winds up putting himself in the spotlight for the whole world to judge him and possibly become Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of the people.