Review – Superman #21: Divided Planets?

Comic Books DC This Week
Superman #21
Superman #21 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Superman #21 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Ivan Reis, Penciller; Oclair Albert, Joe Prado, Inkers; Alex Sinclair, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 8/10

Ray: It’s interesting that Bendis likes to keep Superman and Lois apart – not separated emotionally, but with their close bond as a married couple constantly tested by physical distance. That’s the case in Superman #21, as Superman fights for the future of the universe in deep space while Lois faces a much more personal challenge back home.

The newly founded United Planets has been tested by the arrival of Mongul, the mad tyrant of WarWorld who wants to shatter the fragile peace before it starts. This segment is mostly an excuse for Ivan Reis to draw some spectacular space combat, both one on one between hero and villain and between the various space armies of the United Planets. But the story does have a clever twist in how Superman eventually gets rid of Mongul, using a catch-22 in the warlike alien’s personal moral code to force him to retreat. For now.

Standoff in space. Via DC Comics.

Lois, meanwhile, was ambushed last month by a fellow reporter, Bethany Snow, who is part of the Daily Star’s investigative team. The addition of the Star is a clever touch to up the stakes in the journalism part of this book, especially with the massive trouble that the Daily Planet is getting into thanks to the Leone connection lately.

This subplot about Superman being caught on video supposedly calling himself the king of Earth, though…it feels a little too Marvel-esque, which isn’t a surprise given where Bendis has been for the last two decades. It’s hard to believe the public would turn on Superman so quickly, especially based on the word of a shady tabloid journalist. Overall, Lois comes off well in this scene, but I don’t have much interest in this new antagonist for her. The two stories look like they’re about to collide next issue, and Bendis’ characterization of his two leads remains this book’s main selling point.

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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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