Brian Michael Bendis, writer
Ivan Reis & Brendon Peterson, art
Oclair Albert (pp.2-3, 18-21) & Joe Prado (pp. 22-23), inks
Alex Sinclair, colors
Josh Reed, letters
Previously in Superman, Jonathan returned from his adventure with Jor-El. He told Superman and Lois about his discontent with Jor-El, his adventure through a wormhole, and eventual capture where he is on a strange planet where an evil version of The Justice League, called The Crime Syndicate, rules. This issue begins, Jonathan continues the story of his escape from the Crime Syndicate and eventual rescue by Jor-El. Jon explains that Jor-El was at least 10 years older and that he’d spent the past decade searching for Jon. Jor-El explained to Jon that it was his inter dimensional travel through the wormhole that caused them to age ten years while the equivalent time on earth was 22 days. Jor-El’s ship is attacked by Rogol Zaar and his supporters as Jon is transported back to earth by Jor-El.
The most interesting part of the story was Rogol Zaar’s attack on Jor-El because it connects the larger story in the Superman book to Jonathan’s experiences. Furthermore, Bendis does a great job of injecting emotion to the story through Lois’ and Superman’s reactions to hearing about Jonathan’s trials. Lois embraces Jonathan while she expresses her anger toward Superman for letting Jon go on the adventure. The response feels honest because it’s prompted by fear for the safety of the men she loves. Superman’s emotion is a mixture of anger and focus. He is both alarmed by the reappearance of Rogol and concerned about what it means for earth. Bendis captures Superman’s character perfectly. He is regal, powerful, and yet committed to protecting earth. However, the emotional reaction of the Kent family is what gives the story meaning and depth.
Visually, the most stunning panel shows Superman’s face with his chiseled cheekbones and bright blue eyes, which are focused and intent. The next scene he and Jon fly through the earth’s atmosphere in a golden swoosh of energy which is visually stunning yet captures the father-son bond as energized, powerful, and moving forward on a mission together. The colors by Alex Sinclair makes the artwork pop and infuses the panels with life. I particularly enjoyed the old-school presentation of Superman who is impressive in stature but not overly muscular.
Overall = 9/10
This issue connects Jonathan Kent’s travels, the reasons he aged quickly, with the larger Rogol Zaar story which has been taking place in the Superman book. It is emotional and intense and sets up yet another conflict with this ancient nemesis. I highly recommend this book to fans of DC and Superman.