Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Kevin Maguire and John Timms
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Xanadoth has risen after attaching itself to the body of an innocent woman. While the last issue focused far more on Superman’s issues and his discussion with Dr. Fate. This issue is a team-up between Superman and Justice League Dark (the team that is more focused on mystical affairs). Superman does have a weakness to magic so he needs all the help he can get.
This is probably the most straightforward Brian Michael Bendis story yet. Superman and Justice League Dark fight Xanadoth. There is a bit more backstory on the new antagonist, as Dr. Fate controls the order of the Universe Xanadoth wants nothing but chaos. A common ying and yang trope you see in a lot of media. Superman may be the title character but everyone gets their time on the page as this story is a simple classic team-up. It isn’t much of a spoiler to say that everything gets wrapped up nicely to start something new for the special 25th issue next time.
I don’t have too much to say about this issue. It was a quick read and I frequently had to look back to write this review. It was a mostly forgettable story that would have sworn was done by a fill-in team. Bendis makes a point to add a fairly major addition to the DC mystic universe, but uses it for a forgettable arc and Xanadoth is taken care of fairly quickly (undermining the threat completely). Superman meets the big bad, learns the backstory, and then within pages, Xanadoth is done with. After coming off the big “Superman reveals his identity” arc this is a big drop in quality and meaning. At least the previous issue Superman’s conversation with Dr. Fate had some character development. This issue is equivalent to a sub-par episode of a Saturday morning Superman cartoon.
The art has the same issue as the last one, multiple clashing art teams for no thematic reason. For a two-issue arc, DC could have found one creative team to pull it together. Instead, we get two issues that having jarring differences in art from page to page. Neither artist is bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but together they make a mishmash of a comic. Sometimes a mediocre story can be elevated by the art, and the changes in styles here just adds to the mess of the comic and story. I would gladly take a story by either of these teams by themselves.