The weekly Superman event of the season continues, with the Fortress of Solitude (and some of it’s inhabitants) destroyed Superman and Supergirl are out for blood! Rogol Zaar is hunting Kryptonians, and the hunt has just begun!
Title: The Man of Steel #4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Kevin Mcguire and Jason Fabok
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
A new era of Superman has begun, Brian Michael Bendis’ initial Superman miniseries has begun with several issues of buildup culminating in the destruction of the bottle city of Kandor and 2 million miniaturized Kryptonians, and Clark and Kara have just tracked down the culprit, the destroyer of Krypton, intergalactic war hero Rogol Zaar! Zaar has arrived on Earth to finish what he started with Krypton, not if the Kryptonians have anything to do with it!
What You’ll Find Out:
We pick up where we left off at the tail end of issue #3, with Superman and Kara blasting Zaar through the sky above Metropolis. As they do so Superman thinks to himself, he needs to be the smart one, Kara is pure blind rage at this point. Why isn’t Zaar talking, what is his game? Superman pauses for a second to rescue a person put in danger by the crossfire. He realizes he needs to push the fight outside of the city limits before they level Metropolis.
Suddenly Zaar dodges a punch from Superman, and does a neat little flip, landing on a rooftop, launching a counterattack on big blue, despite an attempt to block the blast Superman is blasted across town. Suddenly Zaar disappears, Kara flies up and asks where he went, Clark theorizes he’s watching them to see how they’ll react, Kara asks if he’s hurt, suddenly in a phenomenal action sequence Zaar charges and we cut away to the story from Action #1000, which I guess I’ll whip out and read so this all makes sense.
You’ll have to discover the rest of this issue for yourself! Pick up a copy of Man of Steel #4 today!
What Just Happened?
As I predicted in last weeks issue this one was a slugfest, which was a bit overdue in this so far somewhat action light miniseries. I’m just glad we finally got a face to face introduction, four issues in. The internal monologue by Superman is the only dialogue for much of the issue and Bendis continues to nail the tone and feel of Superman, a bit on the naive side but trying to function at a higher level. I also appreciate Superman trying to keep his temper under control, which is something I feel like writers miss sometimes.
This issue suffers from what basically equates to the opposite of mid mini-slump, where there is so much time used in setup and characterization that one issue ends up being an issue long fight and a bit light in content as a result, another notable offender in recent memory being Batman #20 (the I Am Bane finale)
I will say I didn’t love the way it cut with no indication whatsoever to the Action #1000 story the Bendis and Jim Lee did back in April, although for the sake of argument I probably would’ve been annoyed if they reprinted those pages in this issue, so it’s really more my problem I guess.
I left out Lois and Jon’s probable whereabouts that were somewhat revealed this issue, I will say basically revealing their fate 2 panels at a time every issue is a good way to build tension, but also maddening, it’s a weekly series though so I think I’ll survive the wait. I’m just so curious at this point! These 2 pages were done by Jason Fabok, who has done these sequences every issue so far. The art on these 2 pages was quite a bit different from the rest of the issue, but not in such a way that is jarring to the reader, I honestly didn’t notice the first time I read it, which is a sign of a good transition.
The art by Kevin Mcguire was a little bit on the hit and miss side, with a couple facial expressions being downright terrible, worst being a panel on page 16 or so where Supergirl is saying Kandor. That said the action sequences, in particular, a 2-page spread where Zaar charges the pair (pictured above) are pretty excellent, and far outweigh a bad panel or two.
Seems like this issue might take place after Doomsday Clock? The only reason I say so is last time we saw Jor-el (who makes an appearance in the Lois and Jon scene) he was being whisked away by Dr. Manhattan at the end of The Oz Effect. (Action #991) I have noticed that with this big numbering changeover (just this title and Justice League so far but it’s gonna get worse) the timeline has started to get pretty messy, which is unfortunate because Rebirth was keeping it pretty tight for a year or so. It seems like we’re somewhere between N52 and post-crisis continuity sliding slowly into pre Flashpoint, although I think between Detective Comics (Batmen Eternal) revealing some post Crisis elements, and Flash War actively trying to reset the timeline we might work our way back, which is interesting, what a time to be a DC fan!
So far Brian Bendis has succeeded in creating a Superman miniseries that is fun for all varieties of Superman fans, despite some detractors I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive things, it even passed the crabby comic store person test, my buddy at Arcane Comics in Seattle who usually hates everything has even said it’s pretty good, which is a test not many books pass.
If anyone ever wants to contact me, look me up in my groups for the love of comic books and New Fans, Old Comics, I also have several comic pages dedicated to my various true loves, Batman, Superman, Sword and Sorcery, Indie Comics, Spider-man, Marvel, Oldie Goldies, and Hats! (Long story on that last one haha) or on Twitter @johnbatusijack
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