Superman #8 Cover
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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artists: Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson / DC Comics

And the award for “Title with the Most Misleading Cover” goes to . . . Seriously, between last issue’s cover to this week’s menacing, deadly looking Jonathan Kent, you’d think he was full blown Superboy Prime. Bendis, Reis, and Peterson tell the second part of the “Unity Saga: The House of El.” While getting a check-up by Kelek in the new Fortress of Solitude, Superboy tells his parents the story of his lost years (months?) in space with Jor El.

Last issue ended with Jon telling them that his grandfather was crazy as hell, and here we get a little taste of it. Midway, Superman needs a minute (he’s so fast that it might have actually been a minute) to clear his head in an emotionally moving fashion. It’s finally setting in that he lost years of watching his only son grow up. Superboy meets a space faring character or two that the reader may recognize but the trip goes awry when a black hole spits him out face to face with a few characters from one of my all-time favorite DC events.

I can tell this is going to be a sweet arc. The retelling of an exciting story offers a golden situation for a talented team of writers and artists. Narration is easy because it’s just the monologue and occasional dialogue between the characters telling and receiving the story. And who has made a name for himself not being afraid to let prose explode (exprose?) on a page? The indomitable Brian Michael Bendis, of course. The potential downside (although I’m such a fanboy of the style) is that you can get more panels of characters facing each other, talking and less action. Not here, though. Visuals from the described memory make the narration go down smooth, especially with artists as skilled as Reis and Peterson. There are some punch-happy, space laser-filled action scenes that just sing in their detail and dynamism. The cherry on top is that on the last page I’m pretty sure we’re about to figure out where John got that scar.

8.5 “Villainous Punching Bags” out of 10

Reading Superman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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