The United Planets is a perfect, beautiful idea...that completely flies in the face of everything the barbaric Mongul has been fighting for his entire life. Mongol will destroy the United Planets and Superman with it. And he said something about using Earth as his toilet. Which doesn't sound very nice. The return of one of Superman's biggest and baddest villains...bigger and badder than ever!
Thus far, Bendis has managed to avoid the obvious pitfalls of revealing the truth of the Superman/Clark Kent identities. Rather than focus on the obvious plotlines of various villains coming for Clark’s loved ones, instead Bendis opts to use Clark’s role as representive of Earth in the United Planets against him. In doing so, he opens the doors wide to the potential of exploring xenophobia and representation, two topics very much relevant to real world sociopolitical discourse. There is a real chance here that Bendis could be in the midst of the one of the most socially relevant Superman tales of all time.
While half of the issue deals with the newsroom of the Daily Star working through how to handle the news (and the competitive edge granted to the Daily Planet by having Superman on staff), the other half features the battle between Superman and Mongul, with the fate of the United Planets teetering in the balance. While Ivan Reis’ immense talents are somewhat wasted on the former, in the latter he brings the kind of kinetic energy to the stage that only a handful of comics artists working today seem to be capable of. The issue is full of mind-blowing double page spreads that bring the action to life.
After a slow first year, the Bendis era of Superman has finally kicked into high gear and issue #20 may be the best one to date. I understand that merely having the name Bendis on the cover alienates a segment of the fanbase but I strongly urge readers to give “The Truth” an honest try.
Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis are firing on all cylinders as the ramifications of "The Truth" keep coming in Superman #20.
Superman #20: Of Kings and Men
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 10/10
Art - 10/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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