What am I talking about this time: Man OF Steel #6
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Jason Fabok
Cover by: Joe Prado, Ivan Reis
Overall Review: 4.5 Sad Supermans out of 5
Is it worth a $3.99? Cough Up That Cash, son!!
Spoiler Free Review:
While the heart behind every beat in this story is clear and true, the reasons still muddled and mostly unjustified. The way the story plays out is solid, but falls apart upon closer inspection. Maybe there better ways to accomplish these goals, streamline this story, strengthen up the whys and close up the gaps… but in the end, I deeply enjoyed the journey, the action was top notch, and the emotion was palpable. The art on the other hand was tight and glorious.
We open up on Jon, you could argue for a circular first page here, but your argument would be really strained. Clark, Lois, and Bad-Guy Jor-El are arguing about weither the newly villainized Jor-El should take his grandson into space to show him the universe and teach him… stuff(?). Jon breaks the argument citing that his future self is supposed to use his Solar-Flare power (ugh) to kill millions of people. Jon and Clark have a great heart to heart in a very real father son moment. Now, in real life these moments don’t always change things right away, they take time to set in and mature before better decisions are made and I’ll grant that to the comics, because the decision here is should Clark let his only child spend time being taught by a man who wanted to murder everyone on earth… something that would never happen in a million years. The flip is that Jon is a smart kid who knows that his Grandpa is a bad guy… Jor-El hasn’t offered him anything in the way of learning to use his powers better or answers to such a problem, but he still wants to go with Jor-El… why?
Back in the present, Superman makes one more attempt to reason with Rogol Zaar at the core of the Earth, but fails, he steals Rogol’s planet destroying device and flys it into space.
This is the best part of the comic. Not the space battle, that’s pretty good, but the next few pages mix the space battle with a conversation Clark has with Lois and Jon about what’s bets for the family. Lois is willing to let Jon go if she can go with him to balance the teachings out. Clark is against this saying Jor-El is tearing his family apart, but Lois makes an impassioned speech about Jon being a special needs kid because of his powers and how she doesn’t always know the right thing to do. The contrast during this battle in the present and conversation in the past is fantastic and the art supports and enhances it. Every panel you can see the emotion on everyone’s face, even the disfigured Rogol’s anger. The wide shots are used to show movement and the close up full the panel boarders with emotion. Again, I may not agree with their reasons, but it doesn’t stop my heart -strings from being pulled. In the end, Lois will write a book about a summer in space, Jon will get a Kryptonian education, and Clark will be alone on earth for the summer.
I’m pretty sure there is an implication that Jon keeps porn in his third drawer, or something else he doesn’t want his parents or Damien to see and can be disintegrated with heat vision, but it’s a funny beat and I like it. Clark and Jor-El trade cutting words as only a father and son can, Jor-El Saying he doesn’t want his grandson to run around putting out fires in his baby clothes is a GREAT Kryptonian slam, even when Clark claims, “That’s not what I do.” It’s, again, a real family moment. An argument that would happen between these characters.
Anyway, the final pages draw close and the wrap up begins, Supergirl shows up and sends Rogol to the phantom zone, something that could have happened a long time ago and Bendis acknowledges that without giving any reason why he didn’t. So, that’s it for Rogol Zaar, the terribly named villain of the first Bendis arc.
Clark gives Lois his old/new 52 outfit, explaining why the shorts are back. He also talks with Supergirl who is leaving Earth to track down the truth about Krypton and Rogol Zaar, both of them acknowledging that the Phantom Zone was a band aid. They create a sort of Chinese Lantern ceremony for the Kandorians and back in the past Clark says goodbye to his family as they leave with Jor-El. It’s a truly moving moment with a third drawer joke from Lois and lots of hugging and mixed emotions. In the end, Clark is left alone in Jon’s room with no family on Earth.
In a single page tag for Action comics 1001 and Superman #1, a boy comes to the fire station claiming Superman has been setting the fires!