Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman story continues…
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis / Art by: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado / Colours by: Alex Sinclair
What’s it about?
After the fallout of his battle with Rogol Zaar, Superman reflects on recent events and how he should face the future…
Picking up where The Man of Steel mini-series left off, DC’s main Superman book returns with a new #1 as Brian Michael Bendis commences his run on the monthly title which will also spill out into Action Comics beginning with issue #1001. Like The Man of Steel itself, this is a good start albeit one that is not all that accessible given that it ties heavily into the events of that aforementioned six issue series and although there’s a brief opening-page recap it’s likely that new readers will become lost quite quickly. On the flip side, the chances are if you pick up this issue then you probably did on the strength of The Man of Steel, or at least to see where Bendis takes the story from hereon in.
It’s hard to discuss Superman #1 without referencing events in The Man of Steel, so some spoilers for that series follow…
Superman #1 sees a dejected and slightly morose Clark Kent mourning the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude together with the Bottle City of Kandor at the hands of Rogol Zaar and the absence of Lois and Jon who elected to join Jor-El on his cosmic journey of discovery and exploration. Now without the means to contact his family, Clark is somewhat at a loss and a series of flashback scenes highlight his pain. It’s a bit of a departure from the sort of Superman we got with DC’s Rebirth and some readers may be at odds with that, but it only makes the character more relatable and that’s what a lot of great Superman stories do – take a look into the man behind the cape.
Despite these more dour elements, Bendis doesn’t forget the positive aspects of Superman and although he’s hurting there’s always hope – from the ashes of the old comes a new Fortress of Solitude (grown from a central Kryptonian crystal, much like we saw on film in Richard Donner’s Superman) and it’s here that we truly get that sense of determination that drives the Last Son of Krypton to always be better and to stay strong, even in the face of darkness.
Whilst guest appearances from fellow Justice League team members the Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg and Wonder Woman are welcome, it’s an extended conversation between Supes and Martian Manhunter that’s one of the book’s most enjoyable moments as Brian Michael Bendis takes on the philosophical themes of who Superman is and how he should be. It’s an interesting and thought-provoking debate that’s also quite fun as proceedings are interrupted whilst Clark quickly deals with various threats, facilitating some stunning poster-worthy splash pages from the art team of Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair. Reis, Prado and Sinclair provide the art throughout and it’s generally very good (and thankfully Superman and Action Comics are now on a monthly schedule which should ensure visual consistency, provided the respective artists remain on the titles issue to issue) although there are a few odd instances where Reis’ pencils seem a bit rushed.
All in all it’s a decent start and it’ll be interesting to see how Bendis’ story unfolds and expands into Action Comics but it’s highly recommended that readers check out all six issues of The Man of Steel first.
The bottom line: Brian Michael Bendis continues what he started in The Man of Steel and delivers an interesting and enjoyable new first issue of Superman.
Superman #1 is published by DC Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.