Written by, Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by, Ivan Reis
Inks by, Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
Colors by, Alex Sinclair
Letters by, Josh Reed
This issue begins at Star Labs in Durango, Colorado where a group of scientists admits to Superman that they know what caused the earth to be pulled into the Phantom Zone. Meanwhile, in another part of the Phantom Zone, Rogol Zaar confronts Jax-Ur, a Kryptonian criminal credited with a litany of crimes, with the idea of joining forces to fight Superman. And, back on earth members of the Justice League -Mr. Terrific, and Adam Strange – puzzle over how to stop the destruction of the earth. The issue ends with battle eminent and the outcome uncertain.
The entertainment value in the story is found in the way Bendis utilizes multiple characters from Superman’s vast gallery to impact the story. For example, pulling in Mr. Terrific and Adam Strange increased the weight and scope of the problem – it’s bigger than Superman. The real dilemma is revealed: the earth is becoming toxic due to exposure to the Phantom Zone. If there is a flaw, it’s that the Star Labs scientists are blamed for the problem, which feels too convenient, albeit logical.
The art continues to serve the exposition well creating a rich palette of colors and scenes to reinforce the vastness of the threat to earth. The strength in the art comes in the depiction of faces, which have detailed expressions and clearly portray the emotions of the characters. If there is a nitpick, it’s that the final expanded layout picturing Rogol Zaar and his army looks a bit generic and misses the mark. However, this in no way took away from the impact of the scene which sets up the next battle between Rogol and Superman.
Overall = 8.5
This story continues to grow in complexity as Bendis adds layers to the Rogol Zaar character and pulls in characters from Superman’s rich history. One can only hope with great anticipation that Bendis will be able to stick the landing when this conflict blossoms to full impact as this story arc inches toward its conclusion.
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