The Man of Steel #1 Review – By the… uh… Bendis? Brian Michael? The… The Bendis?
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Ivan Reis and Jason Fabok
Colors by: Alex Sinclair
Published by: DC Comics
Ok, we finally have Bendis’s first, official and complete issue written for DC Comics! The other things he’s written were basically just trailers, but now we have a full, actual issue on our hands and it’s a Superman (my favorite hero of all time) issue so I was really nervous. I still think Bendis is a good writer, but I know he can lose his way at times. So how did he handle Superman? Well, first, the plot.
Rogol Zaar is bent on destroying Planer Krypton! And he might have actually done it! Superman… doesn’t know anything about that, and he’s basically just concerned with saving people. Also, Jon and Lois are missing. That’s… about all that happens really.
I assume, for some of you, the size of that plot description is classic Bendis (an issue that reads in about 10 minutes) and you are kind of right. Not a lot of substancial events happen in this issue and that can be a problem for some people, especially if you’re still on the fence about Bendis taking over Superman. However, I have to give him credit that he really toned down his… “Bendisness”, for lack of a better word. There’s very little repetition, there are very few ellipses and there aren’t any of his famous “uh”. I congratulate him on that, since nowadays he tends to fall back on those a lot, so it seems like the change of airs might actually have done him some good. Granted, the plot is still crawling slowly, but I think that was deliberate. Most of this issue was just seeing Superman saving people and talking about people, and I think that’s something we haven’t seen on quite this scale in a while. Yes, during the last Tomasi and Jurgens runs he saved people, but I don’t think they gave it this much attention and I don’t think it was written with such joy. I think that’s the real thing we can take out of this: Bendis seems joyous to be working on Superman. He gets to write these wonderful scenes of Superman saving people from a burning building or of Superman just thinking about humanity. There’s this whole page where he’s just happy to listen to someone badly sing a song because it’s such a human thing.
It’s a little corny, but you want that corniness in Superman. Hell, you need it.
Granted, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I have to reiterate there’s almost no story in this issue, given the amount of “Superman saving people” moments, and the little we do see of the villain Rogol Zaar still hasn’t convinced me. He seems a little like discount Thanos, and the whole “Destroyer of Krypton” thing seems uninspired. “Oh no, a new villain that was a past related to Krypton!” Haven’t heard that one before…
Despite that, I really enjoyed the writing in this issue and I’m actually hopeful for what Bendis is gonna do with the character. Don’t make me regret these words Bendis.
Can we all agree that Ivan Reis is perfect for drawing Superman? He’s got a colorful, heroic style that makes those big Superman moments look even more big and bold.
Jason Fabok only draws the last two pages, so I don’t really feel the need to talk about him right now. I’ll wait until we reach his issue.
I am feeling very cautiously optimistic. I really enjoyed this issue and I tend to like Bendis anyway, but I still know he can screw it up. The story didn’t go many places but, at this point, it didn’t need to. The art was amazing and I’m feeling very hopeful about where it’s going because if Bendis screws up, given that he’s going to be writing both Superman and Action Comics, Superman are going to be in an abusive relationship: I don’t want to stay, but I can’t leave. For now, though, I give this issue a strong recommendation and advise you all to pick it up.