[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Ryan Sook, Jay Fabok (pp 16)
Inks: Wade von Grawbadger (pp 12-13, 15)
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Rogol Zaar arrives on Earth after hearing of a Kryptonian still alive and infiltrates and destroys the Fortress of Solitude with ease. Meanwhile, Superman helps Deputy Fire Chief Moore with the serial arson case by calling in a special friend. Supergirl and Superman arrive to the Fortress of Solitude, see the destruction, and immediately begin to hunt for whomever is responsible. They come face to face with Rogol Zaar in Metropolis and the battle ensues!
Brian Michael Bendis’ high regard, experience, and talent are all put on display in this issue, and I can finally see him bringing greatness to the Superman mantle. I think that a truly gifted writer knows when to not say anything, and Bendis knows when to let the art speak for itself in this art heavy issue. The art is phenomenal. There are panels that I can still see even when I am finished with the issue such as the cover where Rogol Zaar is crushing Krypton with his bare hand, the pain in Superman’s eyes when he sees the destroyed Fortress of Solitude, and Superman’s fury and determination as he searches for the perpetrator and comes face to face with Rogol Zaar.
In addition, there is some expert storytelling and narration on display here. The decision to have Rogol Zaar destroy some of Superman’s most treasured artifacts, including the lost city of Kandor, so nonchalantly sets up for a huge conflict next issue. This issue also makes it clear that these serial arsons are building to something, and that the readers will just have to be patient to find out what. I had doubts about the way Superman’s thoughts were written last week, but this week, he is written exceptionally well. His concern for Metropolis, pain at losing treasured artifacts, sadness over losing all of those in Kandor, and intelligence as he scours Metropolis for any sign of Rogol Zaar all shine through, and it is a rare time when I can hear Tim Daly’s (Superman: The Animated Series) or George Newbern’s (Justice League Unlimited) voice as I am reading.
Bendis is on his way to achieving DC greatness in my eyes, and i just have one negative: the dialogue. Superman’s dialogue does not have the same voice as his thoughts do. I’d say the most trouble some section is with Batman and Deputy Fire Chief Moore. With the exception of some great Batman one-liners, a lot of the dialogue feels too rigid and official. The smaller conversations with Kara later in the issue are better.
Bendis continues to surprise me with how quickly and easily he is grasping one of the biggest characters in comics. If only every writer could approve and adapt like he can.