Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Doc Shaner, Steve Rude, Jay Fabok / DC Comics
There are parts Man of Steel that I really do enjoy. I think the artwork by all three featured artists is absolutely breathtaking and that it is perfectly evocative of the different parts of Metropolis and other Superman related set pieces. There’s a lot to love from a visual standpoint. On a textual standpoint, my apprehensions persist from the last issue, and I’m not sure they’ll go away until the end of the mini-series.
Bendis is juggling four different storylines with an incredible number of characters contributing various components. We got Rogol Zaar, we got Superman being Supes, we got Clark working overtime at the Daily Planet, and we got the mystery of Lois and Jon. The Rogol Zaar material does provide some interesting context to the overall DC Universe, and while Rogol Zaar’s zealotry remains an interesting counter to the Man of Steel’s fervent protection, I’m swayed any particular way about it largely because it has been philosophical.
On a pure Superman front, I think this is where Bendis is at his best. I think Superman’s internal monologues and dialog with the other characters is about as quintessentially Superman as you could ever hope for. This is very much a Kansas raised boy who wants to help all of the people, has been given the means to do so, and is being a general paragon of wholesome goodness. I will give Bendis all the credit for having a strong resonate voice that echoes Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
Yet the non-Superman parts are where the story falters in my eyes. The glimpses of the Daily Planet seem odd as employees gossip about Lois Lane’s disappearance, and it just feels weird knowing that Lois and Jon, for all the reader knows, vanished in a flash of light. Robison Goode and Trish Q have a little too much malice in their banter and a couple jabs that don’t really feel right to take at a character that has been pivotal to Superman. And it’s very obvious that Clark/Superman is not internalizing the situation well. It’s frustrating to a degree because there’s so much going on, and it feels like such a slow drip of information (which is ironic given the last couple of pages).
I don’t know. The mini-series is ambitious, and there are a lot of things to enjoy, but there’s also so much that is still indeterminate. Next week brings the next chapter, so maybe it’ll become clearer then, but I’m still uncertain about the future.
Man of Steel #2 gets 7.6 Headlines out of 10
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