It’s a brand-new day for the Man Of Steel, but there are still a few questions unanswered about the new Metropolis status quo. Your Major Spoilers review of Man Of Steel #1 awaits!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Ivan Reis/Jay Fabok
Inker: Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Michael Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 30, 2018
Previously in Man Of Steel: Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands! And who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!
ROGOL ZAAR? GESUNDHEIT!
I don’t know about you guys, but my particular corner of the Internet comic community has been overflowing with fear about what Bendis is going to do with Superman lately. I was pretty underwhelmed by the preview in Action Comics #1000, so this issue’s opening unnerved me. Set at some time in the distant past, we begin with Rogol Zaar petitioning a galactic council of some sort (featuring a Guardian of the Universe, someone who looks like they’re from Rann, and more) to stop the Kryptonian metaphorical plague from spreading throughout the universe. Several pages of explanation follow as Zaar makes the case that the Kryptonians will eventually spread out and conquer the universe, but the council is uncertain. In present-day Metropolis, though, Batman villains Killer Moth and Firefly are having a slight disagreement. Firefly has gone on the run, with Killer Moth tracking him down for a payout, but their angry words are loud enough to call in the Big Red S. Superman even cracks a couple of jokes as he puts the minor evildoers away, then sets off to save people from a blaze. When the new fire chief suspects arson, Superman puts two and two together, tipping her off about Firefly’s presence in the city. Back at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent is putting together his story, when a photograph of his wife and son triggers a flashback…
WHAT HAPPENED TO JON AND LOIS?
…and that flashback has me worried. Man Of Steel #1 ends with a clear hook to make us all worry about the welfare of Master and Mrs. Kent, which quite annoys me, but simultaneously makes me wonder what Bendis and company have up their collective sleeve. And for all my worries, this issue isn’t bad at all. The Rogol Zaar business is well-dialogued, and even though his design screams “Generic Youngblood villain”, his motivation seems quite complex and relatively thought-out. (I’ll reserve final judgment until we find out what his claims of having killed Krypton are really all about.) The art is quite good, much better than Jim Lee’s work on the teaser in Action #1000, with a clear eye for the details and cityscape. Reis and Prado deliver a Superman who is thoughtful, who smiles in his daily work, and their rendition of the terrible fire is really impressive stuff. I’m not a fan of the cover, which feels like a generic Justice League beauty shot, but the interior art is quite solid. Best of all, though there are a couple of curse words in the book, they’re used to set up Superman to remind someone about her language, helping to assuage at least part of my fear that this writer doesn’t get the Man of Steel.
BOTTOM LINE: THE STORY HOOKED ME
As first issues go, this one is quite successful, overcoming my fears and quickly settling into a story that has elements of traditional Superman stories with a new edge and voice. I will be super-angry if some of the rumors about Jon and Lois’ fate turn out to be true, yes. But Man Of Steel #1 made me forget most of that, drawing me in with a well-drawn comic that opens a number of storyline possibilities and even gives a little detail to the generic villain of the piece, earning a better than average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. There are a lot of unanswered questions, but right now the mystery is by design and the creators have successfully made me want to come along for the ride.