Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Ivan Reis
Published by: DC Comics

Reviewed by Simon “BlaxKleric” Moore

It is pretty apparent right from the very start of this twenty-two page periodical, as Ivan Reis pencils a breath-taking vista of the titular character’s home planet from “many years ago”, that “a new era” is undoubtedly beginning for Superman and that this comic’s author, Brian Michael Bendis, a man apparently already steeped in the Last Son of Krypton’s lore, is probably just the man to do it. In fact, it’s actually hard to recall seeing an author pen Kal-El so evidently enjoying his role as metropolis’ guardian whilst the iconically-costumed super-hero is simultaneously being troubled by “just too many fires in this part of the city” and “with what has happened to his wife and son”.

Foremost of these innovative changes is the Cleveland native’s introduction of a new villain, Rogol Zaar, whose venomous loathing for all things Krypton and desire to see its supposed plague-like people wiped out from existence before “everything we have sacrificed and fought for is warped and disregarded” quickly brings the savage extra-terrestrial to the attention of both The Circle, as well as The Guardians of the Universe. Holidaying on an inhospitable, monster-infested planet in between wars purely to “keep me trained, body and mind”, the formidably barbaric-looking warrior appears every bit the ferocious foe Dan Jurgen’s co-creation, Doomsday, has previously been for Jor-El’s son, and his disillusionment at his request to have the “fantastically advanced civilization” eradicated declined does not bode well for the Man of Steel; “Is it monetary? Have they gotten to you through their –”

Likewise, the Eisner Award-winner’s handling of Superman besting Firefly and Killer Moth, as the pair of Gotham City criminals unwisely argue about stolen money and haplessly pull “all his triggers”, provides this “DC Comics” publication with a dose of humour arguably seldom seen within the pages of an ever-serious Big Blue title. Indeed, such is the good-natured feeling of this scene, especially when Clark Kent’s alter-ego tells his petrified captives that he finds it funny when Batman drops his opponents from a great height, that one can’t help inwardly smiling throughout the rest of the action-packed sequence, even as ‘Smallville’ races to “another electrical fire” and saves the lives of a tower block’s remaining inhabitants.

Of course, such joviality soon comes to an understandable end when Supes discusses with new Deputy Fire Chief Melody Moore their combined concerns that Metropolis is suffering a spate of arson attacks due to someone being willing to light “a building full of people on fire for money”. But even then, once the serious subject has been broached and enthrallingly explored by the cast, Bendis appears keen to have the colourfully-caped Kryptonian subsequently enjoy a joke with his long-suffering newspaper editor, Perry White, over whether such pyromania is as readable as a “bloodcurdling citywide conspiracy.”

Check out Simon’s blog here: https://thebrownbagaeccb.blogspot.co.uk/


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