Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils Brandon Peterson and Ivan Reis
Inks Brandon Peterson and Joe Prado
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Previously, Superman fought Rogol Zaar to a standstill despite the help of Zod. At the end of the previous issue, Jonathan reappears while Superman is back on earth helping the planet after its near-death experience in The Phantom Zone. This issue begins, Superman and Jonathan embrace. Superman has a shocked yet relieved look on his face; he has lots of questions, However, first they fly to Lois Lane and, together, the family begins to unpack what happened while Jonathan was gone and with his grandfather, Kor-El. Jonathan retells his experience, the conflicts he fought in alongside Kor-El when Lois left to return to earth, and the circumstance for him leaving his grandfather and returning to earth.
The art by Ivan Reis and coloring by Alex Sinclair make the difference in this emotional issue. At the beginning of the story, a panel shows Superman embracing his son, the sky in the background is in shades of pink, communicating that it is early morning. The visuals set the tone and communicated something about the story: this is just the beginning. The facial expressions and body posture for the characters reinforce the exposition, making the issue that much more impactful.
The entertainment value in this issue has to do with how Bendis connects the events which led to Jonathan’s departure and Superman’s understanding given the passage of time. For example, Superman tells Jonathan that it’s only been 3 weeks since he left, yet Jonathan explains that it’s been 7 years! And, Jonathan is a teenager. This mystery adds to the intrigue. Where did Jonathan go that time advanced quicker for him? What happened to Kor-El? How and why did Jonathan leave and come home? And, given Superman’s current conflict with Rogol Zaar, how does Jonathan’s presence complicate Superman’s desire to destroy Rogol Zaar and keep everyone safe?
Overall = 9.5/10
Superman has become the most anticipated comic book in my stack since Bendis took over. The story is emotional yet action-packed and meaningful. It feels like we are going somewhere important with this iconic character and the mystery surrounding this journey increases the intrigue with each new issue.