Tuesday, June 25, 2019


THE MAN OF STEEL No. 1 (2018)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

SCRIPT: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Ivan Reis; Jason Fabok (pp. 21-22)
INKS: Joe Prado; Jason Fabok (pp. 21-22)
COLORS: Alex Sinclair
LETTERS: Cory Petit
EDITOR: Michael Cotton
COVER: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado with Alex Sinclair
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2018)

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

“Man of Steel “ Part 1

In November 2017, Marvel Comics' best writer of the last two decades, Brian Michael Bendis, ended his tenure with Marvel and signed an exclusive deal with Marvel's rival, DC Comics.  It was not long before rumors of Bendis focusing on the character Superman were burning up the e-grapevine.

After serving up a Superman tale in the anthology and milestone comic book, Action Comics #1000, Brian Michael Bendis officially begins his tenure as the lead writer of the Superman comic book line with the six-issue, weekly miniseries, The Man of Steel.  Each issue will feature a different art team, and the artists for the first issue are Ivan Reis (pencils) and Joe Prado (inks), with Jason Fabok drawing the story's last two pages (pp. 21-22).  Alex Sinclair colors, and Cory Petit letters.

The Man of Steel #1 opens sometime in the past when a being named “Rogol Zaar” declares that Krypton must destroyed.  Kryptonians mean to destroy the rest of the galaxy, according to Rogol, so they must be destroyed first.  Rogol believes he is just the being who can and should do the destroying.  Back in the present, Superman believes that he has discovered that arson is plaguing a particular section of Metropolis.  Meanwhile, Clark Kent deals with work and family, not realizing that a new threat to destroy him is emerging.

In late 1986, DC Comics published a special, event miniseries, entitled The Man of Steel.  Written and drawn by John Byrne, then one of the most popular and powerful comic book writer-artists, The Man of Steel re-imagined, rebooted, and modernized Superman.  After decades of stagnation up to the mid-1980s (according to some), the Superman comic book line needed a course correction.  Byrne's The Man of Steel was a seismic shift in terms of what a Superman comic book could and should be.

Brian Michael Bendis' The Man of Steel 2018 is quieter because it does not need to modernize Superman.  John Byrne already did that, beginning with The Man of Steel during his subsequent two-year run as writer-artist and writer on Superman, Action Comics, and The Adventures of Superman titles.  Since he does not have to modernize Superman, Bendis can focus on the character and personality of the Man of Steel.

Bendis presents Superman/Clark Kent as stoic and stalwart, but with a generous sense of humor.  I think that this Bendis Superman of the comic books is so like the cinematic Superman portrayed by beloved actor, the late Christopher Reeve.  Bendis's Superman is not so different from Patrick J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's Man of Steel, as seen during their recent run on the flagship comic book, Superman, except the emotional component of Bendis' Superman/Clark Kent is a bit edgier, even with the humor present.

Apparently, from what I have read, Bendis is rewriting Superman's origins.  Still, 2018 The Man of Steel does not seem like a sea change in terms of Superman's world and fictional mythology the way the 1986 Byrne miniseries was and still is.  However, from a character and emotional point of view, Bendis may adding or changing something rather than fashioning a new Man of Steel

8.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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