Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Kevin Maguire
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Superman has been dealing with two particular issues. The first is the major plotline, that has now bled into every other book featuring the character of Superman telling the world he is Clark Kent. The second plotline wraps up in this issue, Superman dealing with the United Planets and the battle with Mongul. These two stories came to a head when the world learned that Superman proclaimed himself Earth’s representative without permission. Since they know Clark Kent is Superman they were able to confront his family head-on. Lois Lane is the one dealing with the bulk of this issue since Superman is dealing with Mongul. Mongul has also elevated his threat by directly threatening Earth. This comic is the final issue in the arc wrapping up all the threads.
The story can be summed up in one sentence, “Superman fights Mongul.” That is a large majority of the comic. Lois Lane deals with the “B” plot here and it is not given that much time, nor did it need it. This is an Action-packed issue dealing with the final fight for the most part.
I was sceptical of this storyline at first, but overall it grew on me. The United Planets seemed dull and pointless at first but finally grew into a meaningful story. Brian Michael Bendis is known for his drawn-out writing style, and I think he created a nice arc here. Earlier issues now read better knowing that this was the payoff. Superman proclaiming himself Earth’s representative seemed like it was going to be a thorn in Clark Kent’s side for some time to come. But, even his detractors at the rival paper realize, in this issue, that Superman is probably the best person for the job. He is saving the planet above their heads throughout the issue. When everyone stops and thinks about it, there is no better person on the planet than Superman. So, of course, they settle that he should be the United Planet’s Earth representative. It is a conclusion that speaks volumes of Bendis’s understanding of the character. Lois Lane also cannot be ignored here, as she was the one to deal 100% with the fallout of all of Clark Kent’s reveal. She was the hero of the story there, and it is nice seeing her get the respect and spotlight she deserves. It also leads to a great scene at the end of the issue. The bulk of the issue though is a fight with Mongul, but that has far more to do with the art than Brian’s writing.
Kevin Maguire drew an incredible action sequence, and he highlights something that I have yet to see many artists tackle. Superman is hairy, extremely hairy. I almost think that Superman loses his shirt early on just so Kevin Maguire can draw some hairy Superman action. It all works though. It lends itself to the action and brutality of the fight and makes Superman seem a little less clean-cut than normal. The fight itself is also well-paced, fast, and exciting. Every panel has momentum and reads like a fluid action sequence. Since this is the bulk of the issue the artist here really carries the story. I hope we get to see Kevin Maguire tackle more Superman material in the future.