Review: Superman #3

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert

Colors: Alex Sinclair

Letters: Josh Reed

 

Summary

Guest-starring the Justice League! Locked inside the Phantom Zone, the Earth stands poisoned and its heroes lie dying, with no idea how to escape the deadly Kryptonian trap. But an even deadlier threat invades as Rogol Zaar teams with those who have been imprisoned inside the Phantom Zone to use Earth to escape, not caring if they destroy the planet to do it.

 

Positives

Bendis is making great use of the wider DC Universe by bringing in many different characters to help Superman, which only makes sense in a crisis affecting the entire planet. Not only are Superman’s teammates in the Justice League giving assistance, but so are other DC heroes.

Of these, me favourite is the gathering of some of the DCU’s greatest thinkers at the Hall of Justice. Mister Terrific, Will Magnus (creator of the Metal Men), and two Atoms (Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi). And best of all, Ted Kord, who is (in my opinion) the one true Blue Beetle.

Meanwhile Rogol Zaar meets a longtime Phantom Zone villain Jax-Ur, destroyer of Krypton’s moon, Wegthor. Zaar makes an alliance with Jax-Ur, for once meeting a Kryptonian and not immediately trying to kill him. However, I am sure that Rogol Zaar intends to kill Jax-Ur too after he’s served his purpose.

Although the tone of the book is quite dramatic, there are the nice touches of humour. For example, when Aquaman wonders, “If the Earth is here… what is where the Earth was?” the scene cuts to Adam Strange returning from Rann via Zeta Beam and finding an empty space instead of his home planet.

Also, there’s a scene where Superman stops a crowd of looters just by showing up and telling them to “Cut it out! Now!” And to add to the mirth, there’s a store in the background of this scene called “My Red Underwear”, poking fun at Superman’s recently restored red trunks.

And as Canadian, I was delighted to see Superman making a brief appearance in Toronto to save a plane from crashing. I don’t often get to see places I’ve actually been to shown in the comics. Too bad Superman is a couple of weeks too late for FanExpo.

 

Negatives

Bendis has very firmly established that Rogol Zaar hates everything Kryptonian, but I’m getting impatient to find out what’s behind this animosity. So far, we haven’t gotten a hint. Rogol Zaar comes off as an unnecessary addition to Superman’s backstory. Bendis needs to supply a convincing and meaningful reason for him to have destroyed Krypton to justify the retcon. Hopefully, Bendis will start letting know more about what Zaar’s motivations are soon.

 

Verdict

Bendis’ time on Superman is off to a great start. With the entire Earth in peril, there’s plenty of high-stakes action. Throw in a bunch of guest-starring heroes, some nods to DC history, and a dash of humour, and you have the perfect recipe for a first-rate Superman tale.

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.