Superman’s battle against Rogol Zaar continues…
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis / pencils by: Ivan Reis / inks by: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert / colours by: Alex Sinclair
What’s it about?
“The Unity Saga” Part 4: Superman faces Rogol Zaar and a dangerous horde of Phantom Zone escapees as he attempts to save Earth from imminent destruction…
Brian Michael Bendis continues with his run on Superman and it’s another solid issue that’s pacey and action packed whilst offering some emotional investment that helps to ground the Man of Steel and reinforces the positive values of the character.
Picking up on previous issues, Earth is trapped inside the Phantom Zone and Rogol Zaar has partnered with Kryptonian traitor Jax-Ur and assembled an army of the Zone’s most powerful and deadliest prisoners to take on Superman and prevent him from saving his adoptive home and its denizens. Naturally, this all provides very high stakes for Krypton’s Last Son and Brian Bendis keeps the pressure on and the tension ramped up. It makes for an entertaining read that’s for sure but Bendis still takes time to focus on character and intersects the action with a flashback to a key moment with Jon in which he imparts an important moral lesson to his son – namely that despite what he may be capable of, sometimes intellect is more important than might. In turn, this memory inspires Supes to calmly assess the situation in seemingly dire circumstances and find the best course of action to achieve a more effective outcome.
The story also features the inclusion of Superman’s Justice League colleagues and there are some fun scenes with Flash and the Atom as they work desperately to keep things together on the ground and aid the effort to free Earth from the Phantom Zone. As for Rogol Zaar, there’s still some work to be done as we really don’t know a whole lot about him, we’ve had glimpses of his background and motivations but a shroud of mystery remains. Zaar is still a decent enough villain and provides a palpable sense of threat but hopefully Bendis will get to delve deeper into the character’s backstory and how it connects to the destruction of Krypton – if he is indeed responsible (we know the why, we just don’t know the how yet).
Ivan Reis once again provides great visuals (together with his collaborators on inks and colours) bringing powerful and epic layouts that elevate the blockbuster action sequences in Bendis’ script. There’s almost a Bryan Hitch style widescreen quality to it but Reis’s talents are equally effective in the smaller more character orientated moments where he proves deft at conveying a wide range of feeling via intricate facial expressions and body language.
Along with his work on Action Comics, Brian Michael Bendis is building an enjoyable run on one of the greatest comic book superheroes that has great potential for the future.
The bottom line: Another good issue from Messrs Bendis and Reis, Superman #4 is an entertaining and at times insightful read that reassures fans that the Man of Steel is in the right hands.
Superman #4 is published by DC and is available in print and digital formats now.