Superman #20 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Ivan Reis, Penciller; Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Inkers; Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Ray: After a key issue that revealed Superman’s identity to the world and set up the founding of the United Planets, Bendis takes a bit of a step back in Superman #20 to deal with the fallout of these two massive events.
As we last saw, the founders of the United Planets were scouting out a world for their base when they were attacked by Mongul, pulling Superman into the fray for a massive showdown between the two apex-powered beings. Mongul hasn’t been portrayed as a big threat for a while, but Bendis does a good job of showing both his power level and his motivation – he’s obsessed with conquest, to the point that it’s essentially its own end for him. That makes him impossible to reason with, and Superman’s frustration over dealing with him again is obvious. He’s a one-dimensional villain, but he makes for great splash-page battle sequences and the events that his attack lead to are dramatic and make the case for why the United Planets are here to stay.
The second story, taking place on Earth, was a bit more compelling. It takes place at the Daily Star, as the Daily Planet’s chief rivals argue over whether it’s ethical for the competition to have Superman working for them. A bitter reporter named George believes it’s cheating, while a younger reporter named Bethany has a unique perspective.
But when footage of the first United Planets meeting leaks and creates a panic about interstellar globalism, a surprising figure enters the fray.
I’m of two minds about Lana Lang being added in what seems like an antagonistic role. I hope Bendis manages to do something interesting with her, but it lately seems like Lana is essentially rebooted whenever a new writer gets their hands on her. The fusion of the high-stakes space storyline with the journalism story is intriguing, and it’s a new wrinkle on how people will react to the identity reveal. But it doesn’t quite match up to what Bendis and his co-writers do in Superman: Heroes this week.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.