Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Lettering: Josh Reed
Cover: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman run continues in this issue. I had a lot of faith in Bendis when he started. Although I’m not thrilled with one plot thread, in general I’m enjoying this series.
Superman is framed for yet another crime when a small-time gangster is thrown from a building. Clark Kent tracks down the victim’s friends to find out that he victim was the arsonist plaguing Metropolis in Man of Steel. Meanwhile, the actual murderer is killed by the mysterious Red Cloud. In the middle of this, the Daily Planet newsroom goes through some upheaval that will be important to the book in the long run.
So first of all, I really enjoyed this issue. It’s a fun, brisk story. It also takes advantage of Clark Kent in a really great way. It’s often been said that Clark is as good a reporter as Lois, and Perry displays that trust. He sends Clark to dig more into the murder, and he’s able to get the info easily. It’s almost Batman-level detective work, and I really love that.
I can’t talk about this issue without the controversy about one character using “autistic” as a slur. I’ve made it no secret that my oldest son is on the autism spectrum. I have to say- I see what Bendis was doing here. It was a poor choice, but in context, it wasn’t much more that a cringeworthy choice, and definitely not outright ableist. I’m glad Bendis has owned it and resolved it as well though.
The place I struggle in the story is the Lois Lane plotline. This feels like just teasing the reader for teasing’s sake. It puts Lois out of character, and hasn’t done more than frustrate at this point.
Pat Gleason’s next level work continues here. While the style is distinctly his, he’s clearly trying something new. It works so well. It blends his classic, slightly blocky style with the more fluid style of his former Superman collaborator Jorge Jimenez. This is a great looking issue, and to repeat what I’ve said before- Gleason has cemented his place among classic Superman creators.
Alex Sinclair does a lot to add to that too. He is able to use his <colors to make Metropolis feel like a real, living place. Each setting feels even more real thanks to his colors, especially some of the lighting effects he puts on the page.
Superman fans should be checking this out. Though I’m still reserving judgement, I’m enjoying this book so far.
Overall: 8 out of 10