Brian Michael Bendis, writer
Ivan Reis, pencils
Brandon Peterson, art
Joe Prado & OClair Alber, inks
Alex Sinclair, colors
In the previous issue, Jon returns from his space adventure with Jor-El after being gone three weeks but having aged six years. Lois and Clark are overwhelmed with joy but they have a lot of questions about where he’s been and how he aged so quickly. This issue begins, Jon tells the story about what happened to cause his aging. He went through a wormhole ending up on another earth that was ruled by a group called The Crime Syndicate, which consists of heroes with the same abilities as this earth’s Justice League. The are power-hungry led by Ultraman, who has all the abilities of Superman but seeks only to win. He locks Jon in a volcanic prison, which is shielded from the planet’s sun causing Super boy to growing weak. Eventually, he escapes through sheer determination.
The most interesting sequence in the book comes at the very beginning when Superman has a dream that the Justice League and the family of Zod come together to celebrate Jon’s return. The dream reveals Superman’s desire that his enemies would unite with him and that past conflicts would be overcome. I also like the way the author uses the dream to flush out the inner fears Superman wrestles with: unity between members of the the DC Universe, his family, and ending the conflict with the house of Zod. However, the writer may be teasing a larger threat that requires the unified effort of the entire DC Universe to stop. Finally, the art in this part of the book is gorgeous, with colorful skies colored with a hint of pink, and heroes all gathered together. I was a little disappointed when it ends up being a dream.
The story surrounding The Crime Syndicate was not very interesting to me probably because Jon returned to earth safely. However, it was necessary to provide an explanation for Jon’s aging. Also, Ultraman divulged to Jon his plan to someday conquer Superman’s earth setting up a future conflict. However, the idea of a group of Justice League clones coming to earth and terrorizing the planet may not be very interesting to readers who are not familiar with The Crime Syndicate. In addition, casual readers are probably aware of the multiple earths concept in DC but not completely bought into the idea of there being multiple versions of superheroes on these multiple earths. Confused yet? Finally, it was creative on the part of Bendis to draw the reader away from the Jor-El story and focus our attention back on Jon’s return because most readers were not interested in Jor-El.
Overall = 8/10
Even though I’m not interested in The Crime Syndicate as a concept, I trust the story in the hands of the writer Brian Michael Bendis. The foreshadowing of a possible unified moment for the Justice League, the larger DC Universe, including The Zod Family is an interesting tidbit and piques my interest.