Written by, Brian Michael Bendis
Art by, Ryan Sook & Jason Fabok (pp16)
Inks by, Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by, Alex Sinclair
Letters by, Josh Reed
In the previous issue, Bendis continued the three main story arcs while adding layers to each. Rogol, the destroyer of worlds, learns that the last survivor of Krypton is living on earth. The string of arson attacks continues to baffle Superman. The Daily Planet continues to struggle with the loss of Lois Lane, their award-winning journalist. We also learn that Superman has been distant from the Justice League, enough for Green Lantern to ask him how he’s doing.
This issue is centered on Rogol, to a large extent. However, it begins with Superman asking Batman, the world’s greatest detective, to help him solve the arson-induced fires that have been plaguing Metropolis. I love the way Bendis writes Batman. He’s a man of few words, but what he says counts. The most poignant scene comes when Superman anonymously leaves, prompting Deputy Fire Chief Melody Moore to ask why he wouldn’t have announced his departure. Batman states that when the quietest most powerful being in the universe leaves without telling you, it means he didn’t have time. Wow! The weight added to the plot by that statement by that character resonates.
Superman leaves the investigation when he hears a faint alarm. It originates from the Fortress of Solitude. He arrives and discovers that much of his north pole home has been destroyed. The most important piece missing is “Kandor”, an entire Krypton city shrunk into a bottle. Superman saved the souls of the people of Kandor with the promise that he’d someday replant the Krypton people. Superman is on his knees weeping when Supergirl arrives to lend support. He gives her direction to get her loved ones somewhere safe and then comes to find him. Superman tracks the intruder to Metropolis where he will confront Rogol, who wants an audience for what he’s about to do. The tension feels earned. Superman makes provisions to notify the Justice League, should they need to evacuate the population. The initial exchange between these powerful characters teaches Superman that Rogol has powers he seldom encounters.
Overall = 10/10
This is a short yet power-packed issue, which centers mostly around Rogol. He is shown ravaging the Fortress of Solitude and drawing Superman to Metropolis. Superman has been in the dark, distant from the Justice League, and confused by the fires occurring in Metropolis right under his nose. Sook and Fabok excel in supporting the scope and scale of the story, which includes both intimate moments and epic collisions. For example, the use of shadows creates mystery when Superman and Melody Moore investigate the cause of a fire. And, the panels showing Rogol’s flight through earth’s atmosphere like a meteor reinforce both the mystery behind and the power of the character. The dialogue is excellent. Batman feels like the kind of Batman that I’d spend volumes reading. Bendis excels with these iconic characters as much for the large-scale threat in Rogol, as he does with the intimate exchanges between characters. I highly recommend picking up this book and the two issues that preceded it.