Superman #8

Brian Michael Bendis, writer
Ivan Reis, pencils (p.5-13)
Brandon Peterson, art (p. 1-5, 14-23)
Alex Sinclair, colors
Joe Prado, inks (p. 5-13)
Josh Reed, letters

In the previous issue, Jonathan Kent returns from his trip with his Kryptonian grandfather, Jor-El. Superman and Jon embrace and then they go to tell Lois. In this issue, Superman, Lois, and Jonathan are at the Fortress of Solitude and Jonathan is tested for any adverse effects or the presence of any disease since returning from his space travels. Jonathan tells his parents about the trip, why he returned, and how upset he is by Jor-El. Superman vents his anger at the pain his father caused him but also is confused at how to move past it. Finally, Jonathan and Lois have a nice moment where he reassures Lois that he made it back because of the lessons she taught him.

This is another emotionally hard-hitting book because it unpacks the reasons Jonathan went with Jor-El and why it didn’t work. Superman’s guilt at letting Jonathan leave feels like revisionist history because he never wanted him to go in the first place. Lois went with Jonathan to reassure Clark so that he would let Jonathan go. However, the stated goal for Jonathan going with Jor-El was for him to learn about his Kryptonian heritage. Superman’s anger at losing 6 years of his son’s life feels real. Probably because it’s more tangible. I can relate to how it would feel if someone stole my son away for 6 years. I’d be angry and want to retaliate, but mostly, I’d feel sad that I missed my sons teenage years.

Still, Jonathan telling Lois that he was proud of himself for making it back felt satisfying. It was impactful to hear Jonathan say that he made it back because he’d been taught how to take care of himself. For example, he asked a couple of Green Lantern Corps members for help to get home during one of their adventures. I was put off by the costume choices for the Green Lantern Corps; however, it was nice to see Bendis pull in aspects of the larger DCU into this story.

The art continues to be strong in the book. The full panel spread showing Jor-El and Jonathan swoop in to save a planet was impressive. In addition, the facial expressions and body language displayed through the art was impactful and accurate.  The panel layouts and pacing of the book worked with the script nicely.

Overall = 9/10

Final Impressions

Bendis is building the foundations of a cool “Jonathan Kent return to Earth” story. My guess is that this arc will be devoted to acclimating the reader to Jonathan as a teenager and showing the adjustments Clark and Lois have made to accept this huge change in their son.

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Tom Zimm
I am a licensed clinical social worker and trauma therapist that works with children. I've been interested in comic book heroes since I was a young child. However, it's been in the last 3-4 years that I've been making the weekly trip to the local comic book store to redeem my pull list. DC's Rebirth really won me over, especially Geoff Johns' 80-page book. My favorite properties include The Flash and The Incredible Hulk. My criteria for a good comic book include taking stupid and fun seriously while remaining self-aware.