Written by, Bryan Michael Bendis
Pencils by, Ivan Reis
Inks by, Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
Colors by, Alex Sinclair
Letters by, Josh Reed
At the end of the previous issue, Superman discovers that the entire earth is in the Phantom Zone! The story begins with Superman coming to the realization that the Earth is in danger because of the many evils contained in The Phantom Zone, and that he will be losing his powers soon without the sun’s light. Meanwhile, Rogol’s power is on full display as he confronts a member of the Kal-El family who is also in the Phantom Zone. He sees the earth as it’s descending, and he is happy, thoughts of revenge fill his mind. Finally, Superman meets with The Flash at the Fortress of Solitude, and they ask the very important question: What or who is responsible for this? More importantly, how could they have found the capacity to put an entire planet in the Phantom Zone?
I question a story that involves bringing back Rogol Zaar this soon because readers didn’t embrace this character in The Man of Steel mini. However, in this story, Bendis finds a way to tap into Superman’s inner thoughts and fears, which adds to the intrigue for me. His thoughts are not about who’s the strongest, or who will control earth; rather, he thinks about his family. While Bendis continues to flush out Superman’s character, other characters have a flatline and linear trajectory: Rogol is strong, angry, and out for revenge. The Flash is a humorous sidekick, almost a nuisance in this issue.
The art is perfect for the epic story being told. The panels depicting the earth and its descent, Superman and his movement toward the Fortress of Solitude are gorgeous in how the panels are laid out and the colors used to flush out contrasts. But the most impacting art is the one that shows Superman’s face when he wonders if he will see his son again.
Overal = 9
This story is straightforward in some ways, complex and deep in others. The earth is in the Phantom Zone and Superman has to get it out and defeat Rogol Zaar, pretty simple. However, intrigue is created by the unknown, who did it? How will Superman save the earth, because I assume that he will? More importantly, why does Rogol need an army to defeat Superman? The cliffhanger would imply that he will get one. I highly recommend this book to fans of Superman who want a superhero story that is not paint-by-numbers.
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