Comics/Graphic Novels

The Man Of Steel Book Review

This is our review of The Man Of Steel / Superman issues #1-6 and stories from DC Nation #0.

Brian Michael Bendis is a legend within the comic book industry, working on iconic titles like Spawn and the Avengers, anything this man touches is gold. He has a true talent for getting to the core of his characters and stripping away the crap and baggage they unnecessarily gather over the years. This style is on full display in his latest run on Superman. 

The story is told in a non linear format, which honestly does not suit the weekly issue format, but lends itself exceptionally well to the collected issues. Once you start reading this gem you will struggle to put it down. Our tale begins with Superman being beaten by a new and unknown villain, all the while he thinks back to his wife and son, who are currently MIA. He may be the man of steel but his heart is as vulnerable as any of ours and that is what makes him so great. It is this weakness that I find makes him more far relatable than heroes such as Batman.

Though for a weakness to truly bring a hero down, they will need someone to exploit it.

Enter Rogal Zaar, the villain of this arc. Zaar is a beast of war, not only that but he claims that he was the one ultimately responsible for wiping Krypton off the galactic map. He is as Strong as Superman, if not stronger and unlike other brutes he fights employing very dirty yet strategic tactics and pushes Superman to his physical and emotional limits. To put this into context the story see’s him square off against Superman and Supergirl, simultaneously. Though is cunning and mighty these alone do not explain why he is so deadly, no dear readers what truly entices our fears with this foe is his beliefs. He has a  blind devotion towards destroying anything Kryptonian. In a world where we are devoted to our tribes and beliefs so wholeheartedly, he is a strong yet dark reminder of what we may all become.

As much as I enjoyed watching the Super cousins fight this force from the lowest lows to the highest highest it was truly hard to top the Clark Kent’s side of the story. I know your now wondering, how can Clark Kent be more interesting than Superman?

I was surprised by this myself, and it’s not that Superman is dull or anything, it’s just that Clark was so goddamn compelling!

Clark misses his family and is doing everything possible to keep busy. By throwing himself blindly into his work he does everything to keep from thinking about his actual problems, the only issue with that is that it does not work, not for us and certainly not for him. We see his inner thoughts and watch as he falls in and out despair, all the while putting on that brave face of his.

There is so much that the book gets right , it brings Superman back to his classic look, with the red undies, I know some people hate it, but I still like it, not only that it has him being the nice guy. Like when he arrests two minor villains, his banter with them is just delightful, unlike other heroes he can do this because they do not scare him and that is another aspect that just helps define who Superman is.

Something I find truly interesting is the choice by Bendis to discuss Superman’s relationship with the media. He expressly points out how the media would react to Superman, with fear and suspicion while countering that with how we would want them to react, its an unusual choice but one that I do appreciate.

Finally there is the art, is bright, bold, colorful and energetic, its truly wonderful but never overwhelming. The style really suits Superman and just adds to this wonderful story. I am not Superman’s biggest fan, I have always been more of a Flash kind of guy but this book helps show why he is so special, its a modern mythology, a great tragedy and a divine comedy all rolled into one, we made Superman to help guide us and this book shows us that sometimes its ok to need help, even when few can. If you are a sick of Superhero films ruining your heroes then pick this book up and enjoy a truly super experience.

 

the art

the thoughts

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