Change is afoot for the Man of Steel…
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis / pencils by: Ivan Reis / inks by: Joe Prado / colours by: Alex Sinclair
What’s it about?
“The Truth” : after facing the lies and secrets of his father, Superman makes the ultimate decision and reveals himself to the world…
After months of teasing by DC and writer Brian Michael Bendis, Superman #18 sees the Man of Steel come to the ultimate decision and reveal his true identity to the world. A gutsy move for sure and one that’s stirred – understandably – a lot of trepidation amongst the fan community but results in one of the most emotionally resonant and moving comic books to have been published in a long time. Of course, the revelation that Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same has occurred before – as recently as DC’s New 52 – but it has never felt more relevant and appropriate than it does here and despite the initial apprehension of the readership, it just feels right. The character of Superman is a beacon of hope and an embodiment of those much vaunted values of truth and justice and in these all too often troubled times where people may be fearful of the future and where there can be great distrust in public figures and disappointment at the duplicitousness of those in power, the reveal is a genuine and honest step for the world’s greatest superhero to make.
Brian Michael Bendis provides an unwaveringly strong script that keeps things very much on a personal level with plenty of emotional grounding and a healthy dose of moral debate as Superman/Clark considers the weight and possible outcomes of his decision. Bendis makes a strong case for what on the surface is a risky choice, Superman’s conversation with Adam Strange facilitating the bulk of the argument. Bendis retains his trademark style of snappy dialogue but not without undermining the seriousness of the situation, making the exchange both thought provoking and fun. In the end it feels right and true because of what the Last Son of Krypton has endured in recent times – most specifically the actions of his father Jor-El and the dark secrets he kept, playing a significant role in Clark’s resolution.
Whilst this issue is framed by the press conference in which Superman’s reveal is made (scenes which felt in some way reminiscent of the United Nations sequence in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, carrying that same sense of nobility and highlighting the inherent “goodness” associated with the character – there’s also a neat little nod to Tim Burton’s Batman Returns elsewhere in the book), Bendis takes time to show things very much from Clark’s perspective and understands the importance of those close to him as he chooses to reveal the truth to certain others before going public. One such moment is executed exceptionally well and without dialogue, allowing the art to tell a specific part of the story more effectively than any series of words could.
Speaking of the art, Ivan Reis (together with his collaborators Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair on inks and colours, respectively) returns after a short break and produces some of his best work – beyond the usual quality in layouts and character, Reis contributes a great deal to the storytelling especially in helping to convey the emotion of the narrative with highly intricate and expressive faces and body language enhancing the spirit of Bendis’ script.
Superman #18 is arguably a masterpiece and although not everyone may be pleased with such a significant change in status quo, Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t take things lightly and opens up a world of possibilities as readers are left with a hint of what the consequences are going to be and how it will shape the future for Superman and the DC Universe.
The bottom line: A bold new chapter in the history of Superman begins as Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis deliver an engaging and emotional story that upholds the positive virtues of the character.
Superman #18 is published by DC and is available in print and digital formats now.
Images used herein are utilised for illustrative purposes only and remain the property of the copyright owner(s).