Written by, Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by, Ivan Reis
Inks by, Joe Prado
Colors by, Alex Sinclair
So far in this story, Superman has been locked in a conflict with Rogol Zaar while both are trapped in the Phantom Zone. In the previous issue, Zod arrives in The Phantom Zone to confront Rogol Zaar. This issue tells the story of the three-way battle, Zod and Superman versus Rogol Zaar until Adam Strange pulls Superman out of The Phantom Zone. Zod continues the fight, though unsuccessfully. Superman questions how he may return to The Phantom Zone to continue the fight against Rogol; However, The Martian Manhunter and Adam Strange convince Superman that he is needed on Earth to help save those impacted by the Earth’s time in The Phantom Zone. Finally, the issue ends with the return of a familiar character who appears to have changed as a result of his time with a mentor and his travels through the universe.
This storytelling excels in this issue through the use of an extensive monologue from Superman’s perspective, which leaves the reader with several unanswered questions: What secrets does Rogol have about Krypton? How did Zod know where Rogol Zaar was and does Zod know Zaar’s secrets? Where does Rogol Zaar get the power to push through and prevail? Superman resolves these questions after settling on one basic fact: Rogol destroyed Kandor and for that, he should die! The story is intensely emotional and the art excels in its depiction of the brutal combat between Superman and Rogol. The sweat and blood are clearly visible. The expert storytelling by Bendis helps demonstrate the intimacy of the exchange between Rogol and Superman due to their connection with Krypton: Superman loves the planet and Rogol seeks to destroy it. Superman’s anguish and anger are palpable as he recalls Rogol’s destruction of Kandor and Superman’s peace of Krypton.
The art captures the extent of an incredible battle between the most powerful characters in the DC universe. I particularly enjoyed the opening panels which depict the speed at which the battle occurs. Superman swinging, Rogol darting and avoiding his attempted blows. Rogol’s size and strength are shown and intimidate his foes. Reis captures the essence of Superman’s presence perfectly through detailed depictions of his face with recognizable compassion in his eyes. Superman is noble, and the art shows this throughout. In contrast, the art shows Rogol as a warrior who’s lived through countless battles and won every one. If it were not for Superman’s resolve to continue, I’d say this fight is over.
Overall = 9.5/10
This issue continues the long-running battle between Rogo Zaar and Superman. Extensive times has been devoted to this battle and the outcome is still questionable. I have no idea how this will be resolved; I know that Superman has a group of heroes around him that will keep him focused on what’s important. And, as of right now, Rogol is in The Phantom Zone and Superman is not. I recommend that everyone who loves Superman and DC to pick up this book.