Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Man of Steel #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

Now You’re a Man

Script: Brian Michael Bendis 
Pencils: Ivan Reis 
Inks: Joe Prado 
Art (pp. 21-22): Jay Fabok 
Colors: Alex Sinclair 
Letters: Cory Petit 
Cover: Reis, Prado, Sinclair 
Associate Editor: Jessica Chen 
Editor: Michael Cotton 
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: May 30, 2018


We’ve been getting just the tip of Brian Michael Bendis at DC Comics up to this point, and with this issue we get a full, penetrating thrust. Of course, the internet has been on tenterhooks waiting to see what BMB will do to make this character his own: will he kill Lois and Jon outright? Or will he make the first five story arcs all about Superman’s search for his missing red trunks? The time has come to find out! Let us delay no longer in reading my review of The Man of Steel #1, appearing below!

Explain It!

I’ve had a theory about Superman, the character, for years: everyone loves Superman, everyone wants Superman to remain in whatever “pristine” state they found him in when they first came to love him, and if that is accomplished they are happy to leave him unread in comic books and unwatched in other media, assured in the knowledge that something sacred has been protected. Superman is one of those characters where people complain whenever he faces any kind of adversity, as if there could be an engrossing story told without it. It’s no secret as to why this is: Superman is the first, the archetype, the definition of heroism, the one that dragged many superhero enthusiasts into the hobby of collecting comics. He’s can also be a little puerile, particularly when compared to more complex characters like Wolverine or Batman. Over time, Superman has come to evince a sweet naiveté, a manner ascribed in national propaganda as part of the American Condition. We don’t want anything bad to happen to our adorably precocious alien immigrant.
Brian Michael Bendis attempted to quell any preliminary outrage by restoring Superman’s red trunks to his costume, missing since 2011. The internet being what it is, he received mixed reactions. Then, he wrote some teaser stories, appearing in…Action Comics #1000 or one of the three or four Superman specials that buffeted it. Each of these stories were calculated to assure the reader that the Superman we know and love will remain intact. And now, with Bendis’ full-issue debut, we get…more of the same, really. Reassurances that Clark’s familiar trappings remain intact. Reiterations of Superman’s selflessness and commitment to his family. Jonathan Kent was not, despite BMB’s giggling insinuations, murdered in the first issue. He’s right there, part of the Kent family, ready to extol the virtues of his budding heroism with a cracking voice and pre-teen enthusiasm. It’s almost like there hasn’t been a change here, at all.

We meet a new characters in Rogol Zaar, a beefed-up warrior who appeals to a council of…smart people? I see Odin, a Guardian, uhh…whatsizname, the guy that’s like made of ice or whatever—suffice to say, these are the folks in charge. And some time ago, Rogol suggested that Krypton was getting too big for its britches and needed to be destroyed. They mulled it over, and then the lone Guardian on the council comes to Ragal to say: no dice. We like the cut of your job, but we won’t interfere with Krypton. Rogol didn’t want to hear this response, and is appropriately annoyed, but we will deal with him again in a future issue. In the present day, Clark stops Killer Moth from robbing Firefly, saves an old man and a dog from a raging fire that claims an entire apartment building, then cranks out an article for the Daily Planet so he can make rent. We learn here that Lois has taken leave from the Daily Planet in order to work on another muckraking book, which has earned her more than a few enemies. Later, at home, Clark is hanging out with his family when a bright light appears in the kitchen, and then…something happens?

This is a really solid comic book, well-placed and expertly-plotted, so it is easy to read. There a few places that the art looks rough, but not enough to take you out of the story. Bendis writes a pretty good Superman, with all the do-gooder stuff that fans love to see, but rarely ever bother to. I can only assume he’s got something up his sleeve, and Robol Zaar is probably at the center of it. At some point soon, Brian Michael Bendis will have to stop congratulating Superman and start his Kryptonian-eviscerating storyline.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue promises the fans that the Superman we know best will be evinced in Brian Michael Bendis' run on the character. Unfortunately, that's all we've gotten from him for the last two outings, and I'd sort of like to see some meaningful content. Oh well, I'm sure there's some diabolical stuff forthcoming.



  1. This wasn't a bad issue, but it didn't sell me on a need for Bendis to be writing this book. All I hope going forward this shit isn't another time travel story, if it is like are boy Jim Would say "I'm Out!"
    Solid 6/10

    1. It's tough not to read this without a skeptical eye towards Bendis, but at some point we just have to judge the story on its own merits--he's the writer now, whether we like it or not!