Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Joe Prado
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Lettering: Josh Reed
Cover: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
The Bendis era of Superman has officially begun. Let’s be honest, fans have been cautiously optimistic at best and downright terrified at worst waiting for this issue. Man of Steel was great, but can Brian Michael Bendis pull off the regular series?
Well, if this issue is any indication, YES ABSOLUTELY.
Clark Kent is still dealing with the terror of possibly losing his family. Lois and Jon are in deep space with Mr. Oz and Clark has no way to contact them, thanks to Rogol Zaar. In the aftermath he creates a new Fortress of Solitude, and tries to cope in his day to day life. J’Onn speaks with him, both about how he’s coping, and trying to nudge him towards becoming a world leader. It all leads up to a horrifying attack- someone or something had transported Earth into the Phantom Zone!
First of all- Bendis shows that he knows how to write Clark Kent out of the gate. His take on Superman is pitch perfect. His characterization is done so well in both identities. I have always been a fan of Superman dashing around the world solving problems, and the entire J’Onn conversation depicts that wonderfully.
There are also some hints of the rest of the DC Universe that Bendis writes so well here as well. The League makes a brief appearance and all of them are perfectly in character. It’s a fun little touch that I really like. The conversation with J’Onn is fantastic. It plays with the sinister tone that Scott Snyder has set up for J’Onn as well.
Ivan Reis and Joe Prado just knock this issue out of the park. I’m so happy to see Reis back on a flagship Superman book. I was first introduced to Reis during his ill-fated run on Action Comics with Chuck Austen. His work on the Man of Steel has always been a highlight for me.
Reis and Prado give us great action and quiet moments in equal measure. Clark’s self reflection has the same impact that the birth of the new Fortress of Solitude does. It’s outstanding work all around.
I also really loved Alex Sinclair’s color art. The first scene of the issue is a space battle, and Sinclair’s colors really just elevate it, adding so much depth to the page. Another great touch is how Sinclair shifts things at the end of the issue, overlaying all the other colors is a blue tone except Clark himself. It’s subtle for the first couple panels, then adds to the horror that Reis and Prado put on Clark’s face.
This is a fantastic relaunch for Superman, and I’m in for the ride.
Overall: 8.5 out of 10