Man of Steel #1 (July, 2018)
“Man of Steel, Part 1”
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils – Ivan Reis & Jay Fabok
Inks – Joe Prado & Jay Fabok
Colors – Alex Sinclair
Letters – Cory Petit
Associate Editor – Jessica Chen
Editor – Michael Cotton
Group Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $3.99
Going to take a look at a newer book today… one that I really dragged my feet on getting around to reading, if I’m being honest.
It’s probably unfair to say… but I definitely went into it with some preconceptions. I’m not a stranger to the work of Brian Michael Bendis… and in fact, I’d consider myself a pretty big fan of his work! I probably own a good 90% of his comics output… and it isn’t often that he disappoints.
Bendis on Superman, though? That makes me a little bit nervous. Let’s find out if those fears are well-founded!
Also… since this is a newer book, I’m not going to go as “deep” with the synopsis… hate to spoil an issue folks might still be looking to pick up.
We open with Krypton… again. The beastly, Rogol Zaar is appealing to several of the cosmic heavy-hitters of DC lore… insisting that Krypton is a disease which must be purged, lest much of the universe be plunged into endless war. Simply put, Krypton must be “cleansed”. Meanwhile on Earth… Killer Moth is threatening Firefly… Superman snags’em both, and delivers his first bit of snark. Which, isn’t nearly as precious as I feared it might be.
After depositing the baddie, Superman overhears some screaming… looks like there’s another building fire. He mentions that there have been a bunch of them of late. He swoops in and saves the day.
As he takes an x-ray tour of the building, he (and we) meets the new Deputy Fire Chief, Melody Moore (hmm, an “MM” instead of an “LL”?). They “make nice”, exchange some banter, and decide to help each other out with the potential arson investigation.
Back in the long ago, Rogol Zaar is chatted up by the Old-Timer, Appa Ali Apsa. He wants to ensure that Zaar isn’t going to take the Krypton “situation” into his own hands. In his word, Krypton “must be allowed to rise and fall on their own”. Whether or not the Old-Timer has any insight into Krypton’s future… I couldn’t say.
In the present, Clark Kent is at The Daily Planet writing up a story on the rash of fires. Perry ain’t all that keen that one of his top reporters is wasting his time on something as mundane as arson.
Later on, Clark returns home. Jon is annoyed that he’s outgrowing his Superboy costume… and even more so that his mudduh won’t alter it for him. Clark checks in on Lois, who is trying to uncover some S.T.A.R. Labs shenanigans… when suddenly, the kitchen is bathed in light!
As I mentioned in the preamble… I am a fan of Brian Michael Bendis, I’ve never disliked his work. That said, I was still a bit trepadacious about him taking over the direction of the Superman family of titles. Not that the tail-end of the Rebirth era was exactly setting my world on fire… it was solid, and I enjoyed it… but, maybe it was time for a new voice. But… Bendis?
Well… I gotta say (and I should mention that I have read this entire Man of Steel miniseries), I think Superman… is in good hands! I feel like my “fears” might’ve been informed by… nothing more than fatigue. Anytime a writer is as prolific as Bendis is, there’s a possibility (probability, even) that their writery-ticks will start to get on your nerves. I’ve experienced “fatigue” with many of my favorites (Geoff Johns, Peter David, Grant Morrison… and, here with BMB).
That’s not to say there wasn’t some “snark” that I wasn’t terribly fond of here… but, I gotta say, it wasn’t nearly as “precious” as I feared it might be. To use a bit of “low-hanging fruit”, part of me was worried that this would feature 12 pages of Lois, Clark, and Jon eating Chinese take-out, while “bantering”. I’m happy to see that isn’t the case. On the same subject, I was kinda worried that Lois would be shifted from her normal character to a generic snark-bot… and there again, not the case… so, it’s all good.
As far as the art is concerned… fuhgeddaboudit… some amazing work here! Top notch, all around! My only gripe would be in the design of the Rogol Zaar character… he comes across as so generic. Just a(nother) hulking brute… really nothing special about him. Hopefully over the next few months he’ll win me over, but I’m not really all that optimistic.
Overall… this is a good start, though if you haven’t picked it up yet, I might caution you to just nab the trade paperback collection. This issue is available digitally.