Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Doc Shaner (p 1-13), Jay Fabok (p 14-15), & Steve Rude (p 16-24),
Color by: Alex Sinclair
Letters by: Josh Reed
Previously in The Man of Steel
The last issue of Man of Steel starts off with a flashback introducing Rogol Zaar, a decorated galactic war veteran turned anti-Kryptonian insurgent, on Krypton (pre-Superman) as he petitioned the galactic counsel to join his cause. Citing Krypton’s ever-expanding science guild as a viral outgrowth of the planet’s military-industrial scheme to conquer and enslave the known galaxy, he practically begged the counsel for permission to ‘cleanse’ the universe of Krypton. Of course, they refuse as one of the members of the galactic counsel Appa Ali Apsa makes clear to Zaar during a private visit. But does that stop him?
The Run Down
This issue picks up with an image of Krypton exploding. In the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, two members from the galactic counsel argue back and forth over who’s at fault, whether Zaar is still alive, and whether or not there was a mole in the council who allowed this to happen. As it turns out, Zaar survived the explosion of Krypton, along with baby Kal-El (Superman). However, he immediately kicks into overdrive in hot pursuit of Superman when he discovers at a bar in the Vega system that the Last Son of Krypton lives on earth.
In present-day Metropolis, Perry and Clark find themselves stuck in respective ruts. As he puts it, Perry is “being slowly bled to death” by the competition. He struggles to tow a fine line between maintaining the traditions of classic journalism and embracing the rising trend of quick hitting citizen-journalism.
Clark finds himself stuck between the rock of investigating this new arson story and a hard place of being the subject himself of Q’s gossip-lead missing persons’ story. The Planet newsroom is abuzz over the disappearance of Lois Lane, especially the new city desk reporter Robinson Goode (with her eye on taking over Lois’ office) and gossip columnist Trish Q (who’s looking to crack this “story of the year”).
Plot of the Panels
This issue was a very quick read for me. The dialogue continues to be choppy and draws attention away from the attendant plot in a not so subtle attempt to retell things we already know about the character of Superman. The dialogue between Trish Q and Robinson Goode was supposed to show us what watercooler conversations look like when it’s about Clark. I guess. But it doesn’t reveal anything that advances the plot, story, or the two new characters that Bendis introduces. However, there were sightings of that famed white whale otherwise known as ‘great Bendis dialogue’ in this issue!
Lord Gandelo interrogates Appa Ali Apsa regarding his role in the destruction of Krypton. Gandelo (a new character to the DC landscape) and Apsa (the Mad Guardian from Green Lantern comics) trade suggestive jabs and subtle subs of blame and doubt back and forth. However, at one of my favorite moments in this dialogue, Apsa ends the debate with a thinly veiled threat that rivals the classic the breath-length diatribe delivered by Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox in Batman Begins. Apsa makes his point known when asks, “what do you think he’ll do to you and your 42 star systems if you keep going with this line of inquiry?” Gandelo easily folds. And backs down!
The art in this issue left me wanting more. After staving off an Alaskan tsunami and bringing down a giant robot unleashed by The Toyman in Coast City with the help of Hal Jordan, Superman flashes back the moment where we last saw Lois and Jon. Honestly, I have no clue what is happening here. Both the art and the story lost me at this moment where a half monster, half Beast War Maximal looking thing pops up in the middle of Clark and Lois’ apartment. Next, we see a red streak flying into the moon with Superman on-all-fours dripping wet??? We’ll have to see what happens from here