[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
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The world quakes and shakes as it begins to succumb to the effects of the entire planet being moved into the lifeless realm known as the Phantom Zone. As Superman works with the World’s Greatest Heroes, an old enemy trapped in the same prison returns to stop the Man of Steel and escape.
Well, this certainly is new twist on an old problem. Superman’s been trapped in the Phantom Zone before, sometimes others have been trapped with him. But this time, the entire Earth is trapped with him. And Rogol Zaar is also trapped in the Phantom Zone and it’s only a matter of time until he discovers that the Earth is within his reach.
I like that they took a somewhat realistic approach to the Earth being in the Phantom Zone in that without the sun and with the rules of physics not operating the same, the Earth is rapidly deteriorating. This gives Superman limited time to figure out how to get Earth back where it belongs, which heightens the sense of urgency.
Also, I find the lineup of the Justice League that appears here somewhat interesting, as it’s not quite the current official League. Hawkgirl, Cyborg, and Green Lantern John Stewart are nowhere to be seen, but Plastic Man and Hawkman appear in their place. Presumably the rest of the Terrifics are with Plas, as readers of their title know, they have to stay within a mile of each other.
Occasionally DC opts to bring a character from DC TV shows or movies. For example, Harley Quinn first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series. Sometimes the character is something of an odd choice, like the Super Friends’ Marvin and Wendy. This issue brings in the Nuclear Man from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace – a very odd choice indeed.
This version of the Nuclear Man isn’t a clone of Superman, but is apparently a Kryptonian that has been long trapped in the Phantom Zone. And he wears the crest of the house of El on his cape. Could he be a long-lost relative of Superman’s? We see Rogol Zaar kill him, but is he really dead or will he return? I hope so, as I would like to learn what his connection is to Superman’s family.
I have to complement the artists for an amazing job. The art was fantastic, but I especially liked the prelude with the Tamaraneans. The artwork manages to clearly evoke George Perez’ distinctive look for them so well, that I could almost believe they were drawn by Perez himself.
I hate to pick on the colourist, considering that the colours were beautifully done throughout the issue, but the Flash who appears in this story is Barry Allen. Wally West is the redheaded Flash. Barry is supposed to be blond.
And there are two variant covers this issue. What is with all the extra variant covers this week, DC? Between this issue’s three covers and The Sandman’s eight covers I bought eleven copies of two titles. Please consider cutting back a bit on the variants, DC.
With this second issue, Bendis’ momentum is still going strong. It’s still too early to make any judgements about Bendis’ new direction for Superman overall, but he’s off to a promising start.