Review – The Man of Steel #4 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Jason Fabok & Kevin Maguire
Colours: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Cory Petit
Release Date: 20th June 2018

In the latest issue of The Man of Steel, Superman and Supergirl take the fight directly to Rogol Zaar, but even with two superpowered Kryptonions leading the onslaught Zaar holds his own. We also finally get an explanation of what has happened to Jon and Lois and where they have been this entire time.

Bendis continues to prove Zaar’s worth as an antagonist and one of Superman’s most powerful foes. Not as mindless as Doomsday and with an intellect and hatred for Clark rivalling General Zod, he continues to push Superman’s buttons both physically and emotionally. The desecration of Kandor last issue and his thinly-veiled threat at coming after Clark’s family proves to be the tipping point and forces our hero’s hand.

We don’t see Superman under stress very often, but facing an enemy of such enormous magnitude who has claimed to have destroyed his home planet and is now coming after his new home, the cracks are starting to appear.

For the most part the art is of a high standard and Fabok and Maguire both do a great job of capturing the danger Zaar represents and the destruction he spreads as he battles. The action sequences feel impactful as both Superman and Supergirl are thrown around Metropolis and crash painfully into the architecture. The hatred for his foes is Zaar’s most memorable expression, though it is hard to imagine such a hideous face having any other emotion.

My only niggle about this issue would be the confusing nature of a few of the facial expressions. The one that sticks out the most is scene between Kara and Clark when they remember Kandor. During the sequence Kara is supposed to look sad but she looks really confused. Again such things are minor, but given the high quality throughout the rest of the book it did take me out of the story briefly.

Alex Sinclair keeps the colours consistently great and brings us a bit of a collision of styles. Metropolis itself is gorgeous, beaming a radiance of hope and life as always. On the other hand, Zaar soars through the air bringing with him destructive flames and startling beam attacks. During Clark’s flashback sequence the entire scene is bathed in the intruder’s trademark colour and we really feel an ominous tone as he extends his hand. The sequences in the Fortress of Solitude are bathed in a calming blue haze signalling what should be a safe haven but also highlighting the darkness to come.

The story continues to enthrall and answers some questions whilst raising others – in the best way possible of course. The action has begun to move faster as the danger mounts, but there are still a lot of wild cards in play that may affect the outcome.

The Man of Steel has been an excellent title so far with a fast-paced story, some nice twists on the Superman mythos and, of course, the genuine threat Clark’s new adversary presents. Save for a few minor blemishes in some random panels I have no problem recommending this series to Superman fans both old and new.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato

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