Superman #14 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Ivan Reis, Penciller; Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Inkers; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Brian Michael Bendis has tried to do a LOT in this first year of his Superman title – introducing the villain who supposedly destroyed Krypton, reinventing the characters of Superman’s mad father and his formerly cute-and-innocent son, now an angsty teenager. And now he’s using it as a launch point for his upcoming relaunch of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Despite this, and with a lot of bumps along the way, Superman #14 actually lands pretty well.
One of the best things Bendis has done in his run has been his characterization of General Zod, who – despite being a deadly enemy of Superman, is a Kryptonian patriot. He wants Rogol Zaar just as much as Superman and Supergirl, and Bendis has built on the Venditti characterization of him as a family man to turn him into a compelling antihero. The first half of the issue is mostly a massive battle sequence in deep space as the last Kryptonians risk Kryptonite poisoning to take down Zaar and his army.
It looks great, as one would expect from Ivan Reis, but it’s the framing segment that really sells this issue. The El and Zod families are taken into Thanagarian custody and greeted by representatives of the alien governments that have been working to unravel this conspiracy. Zaar is in custody – and so is Jor-El, for dad crimes – and the various planets are trying to decide what to do with him.
It’s Jon who actually comes up with an idea that makes it easier to handle decisions like that – and that leads to the founding of the United Planets, which leads to the birth of the Legion a thousand years from now. The Legion visiting Jon was spoiled in pre-release press, but it’s a great scene.
The problems I have with this issue are two-fold – first, Rogol Zaar is still boring, and two, the eventual decision of Jon to leave with the Legion just feels like the conclusion to Bendis’ ongoing trouble with writing Superman as a dad. Still, this is one of the better issues of the run in scope and powerful scenes.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.