Brian Michael Bendis raises the stakes for the Last Son of Krypton…
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis / Art by: Ryan Sook, Jason Fabok & Wade Von Grawbadger / Colours by: Alex Sinclair
What’s it about?
Rogol Zaar arrives on Earth and is ready to take on the Man of Steel…
After a slightly patchy second issue, this week’s instalment of The Man of Steel kicks things up a gear as Brian Michael Bendis sets the stage for the impending conflict between Superman and his new nemesis: Rogol Zaar, the maniacal brute who may have been involved in Krypton’s destruction. The fact that Bendis has taken such a creative risk and shakes up the established Superman mythos is a gutsy one but impactful and will no doubt have readers debating for some time.
Via flashbacks in the first two issues of The Man of Steel, we’ve learned of Zaar’s hatred for the Kryptonian civilization and his desire to eradicate it completely – a ‘quest’ that now brings him to Earth is pursuit of the Last Son of Krypton. Zaar is a formidable force and Bendis pulls no punches in that respect, the book’s opening pages depicting the decimation of the Fortress of Solitude at the hands of the deranged ogre. It’s a dramatic and emotional blow that is going to change Superman’s world forever.
If all this sounds dark and depressing, it isn’t – it’s just gripping and compelling stuff that makes comics a great reading experience. Bendis retains a strong hook on the character of Superman and all that he stands for, but like the world we live in things can often seem hopeless and even DC’s first hero can face those situations. There’s still a little fun to be had before the emotional gears begin to turn as Superman continues to investigate the mysterious rash of fires in Metropolis, this time enlisting the help of a certain Dark Knight Detective in an enjoyable – and quite funny – cameo from one of DC’s other mainstays.
Ultimately, Bendis gives us a Superman that isn’t completely invulnerable (and exploring those vulnerabilities is what makes the character more relatable) as he soars to the Fortress to discover the damage, joined by Supergirl it’s an effective sequence of scenes that engages the reader and leads to the book’s finale as the Kryptonians face off against Zaar – which ties nicely into Bendis and Jim Lee’s short in Action Comics #1000 and sets anticipation for next week’s issue rather high.
In terms of the art, it’s surprisingly good – Ryan Sook’s style is not too dissimilar from that of Ivan Reis, sure it’s not quite as lavish but his characters are powerful and emotive and the action is epic and exciting. Jason Fabok returns to pencil the continuing interlude concerning the absence of Lois and Jon that’s being threaded throughout the series. It’s a tantalising tease and Fabok’s work is always a highlight – given that he’ll be pencilling the whole of #6, it promises that the series should conclude on a high, so long as Brian Michael Bendis continues to deliver the goods.
The bottom line: The Man of Steel starts building momentum as it heads toward the half-way point and Brian Michael Bendis’ first Superman story continues to show promise.
The Man of Steel #3 is published by DC Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.