Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Jason Fabok
Colours: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Cory Petit
Release Date: 4th July 2018
In the final chapter of The Man of Steel, we finally get to see exactly what has happened to Jon and Lois, Superman and Supergirl team up against Rogol Zaar and we get some answers about the mysterious fires popping up all over Metropolis.
Bendis starts us off with the mystery that has been dogging us since the beginning of the series. Just what happened to Lois and Jon, and what is Jor-El up to? We did catch a glimpse of this in issue 4 and 5, but we finally get to see the full scene play out here, as well as the emotional events surrounding it. It is important for us to be reminded of Clark’s humanity and the compassion that prevents him from becoming a monster. His love for his family is on full display here and it really helps point out the difference between someone of comparable strength such as Zaar.
We also get to watch Superman finally beginning to understand his opponent, as well starting to anticipate his movements. We often see Superman as a force of nature that hits things harder and harder until they give in, but Bendis shows us that as well as super strength Clark also has a super brain. There is also a quick line about why Superman is in his classic costume again but you’ll need to read it to find out why.
Once again, Fabok absolutely knocks it out of the park this issue with intricately detailed pencil work on both the Man of Steel himself and his supporting cast. Fabok’s attention to the smallest detail, whether that be in the blazing caverns of the Earth’s core, the Kent’s apartment or outer space is meticulously presented to us in practically every panel. The battle sequences feel impactful as the two heavyweights really put everything they have into their attacks, with each strike carrying a weight that can practically be felt through the page.
Alex Sinclair breathes life into Fabok’s visuals with real flair, adding to its already impressive and distinct look. Every panel features breathtaking use of colour, whether that be eye-searing molten lava in the earth’s core or the arcane aura Jor-El carries with him, and each panel is augmented in glorious colour.
There are a couple of sticking points for me that stop this incredible book from being perfect. They’re hardly show stoppers, but rather things I found odd. Clark’s constant flashbacks throughout the series led us to believe that some traumatic event had occurred as he continues to remember the same sequences over and over, placing himself and his allies in danger. The reality of it is far different and it feels like a cheap tactic to keep us reading the book.
The other issue is Zaar himself. While he is an impressive fighter and a dangerous threat to Earth we still don’t know much about him or why he hates the Kryptonians so much. I’m not buying the reason he gave to his masters at the start of the story. Perhaps it will be picked up again at another time but I’d really like to have seen an issue dedicated to him and his exploits.
The Man of Steel has been an exciting and fun book to read with plenty of action, suspense and some surprise reveals. Bendis has really proven his love for Superman, taking the best stuff from the Rebirth Action Comics and Superman books and adding to the established mythos in a meaningful way. This series has shown the humanity and love for his family that keeps Superman grounded and relatable, and that’s exactly why the super powered Boy Scout continues to endure. This may be the end of this miniseries but I’m willing to bet Bendis is not done yet and I couldn’t be more excited to see what comes next.
The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato