The Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis

details
Title: The Man of Steel.
Series: No.
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis.
Illustrator(s): Jim LeeScott WilliamsJosé Luis García-López, Dexter Vines and many more!
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: November 6th 2018.
Pages: 184.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401283483.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

thoughts

After two decades of his life dedicated to writing for Marvel and establishing himself as one of the greatest writers of this era, Brian Michael Bendis makes the jump to join DC Comics and stuns the world with his latest project: The Man of Steel. Although his last projects, including Civil War II, have left some fans wondering if there were any creative juice left in this legendary writer, his passion for superheroes withstands the trials and is now ready to take on one of DC’s most iconic hero. While the leap from one giant to another is stunning in itself, Brian Michael Bendis plans on infusing the hero’s story with brand new energy by shaking things up where things always seemed immutable. Does he have what it takes to steer the Last Son of Krypton on a path filled with shock and wonder, or will he struggle to find the right introduction to his DC career?

The Man of Steel is the first volume written by Brian Michael Bendis with the help of countless renown and talented artists to setup the pieces to his run. Serving as a bridge to the two comic book series that will both be written by him, Superman and Action Comics, this story arc promises great things to come. Collecting DC Nation #0 and The Man of Steel #1-6, Brian Michael Bendis looks into introducing a brand new villain who claims to be the source of Krypton’s end. Filled with a bigoted vision of Kryptonians, this creature discovers the existence of a Kryptonian among Earthlings and seeks to purge the world of their existence once and for all. In the meantime, Clark Kent struggles with the mysterious disappearance of his wife and child as he continues to serve Metropolis both as Superman but also as a talented news-reporter. It doesn’t help his case when arson seems to be much more prevalent nowadays, but also when a powerful being is out to strip him of his life. 

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I could totally nitpick this volume and blow out of proportions a lot of elements that I believe could’ve been spared or further developed, but there’s one thing that struck me the most from reading this and it’s how refreshing it was. Brian Michael Bendis’ characterization of Clark Kent/Superman was solid and really succeeded in conveying his vision of the Man of Steel. There was an underlying stress that kept the hero tense throughout the story that worked wonderfully with the mystery behind the disappearance of his family that helped add a tension to the story. His use of humour, especially sarcasm, was dosed wonderfully and added the necessary levity to the character’s situation, while Brian Michael Bendis continuously inserted key sub-plots that he eventually plans on developing throughout one of his two series to come.  What I however enjoyed the most was his paternal moments that really showed Bendis’ writing style and gave Clark Kent such a mature, intimate and human side that would’ve been overlooked by any other writer.

The artwork is a bit problematic here because of how jarring it gets with it changing for each issue. It has never been something that I enjoyed when the artwork continuously falls in the hands of different artists, especially if they don’t even bother to follow a similar style. The good thing however is that the artists who worked with Brian Michael Bendis on this story arc are all talented in their own way. There are maybe two out of nine of them that gave a sketchy artwork to go with the story out of nowhere, but otherwise it never truly killed the flow. This is also the volume that marks the return of the red trunks and an overall return to a much more classic Superman design. It’s safe to say that the artists gave their best to give Superman his powerful, positive and noble presence whenever possible. 

The Man of Steel turns out to be an intriguing story arc to introduce Brian Michael Bendis to the DC universe, but also to tease us with multiple sub-plots in the stories to come. 


EXHIBITA

 

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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13 comments

  • Awesome, I’ve been looking forward to your thoughts on this Lashaan and glad to hear you enjoyed it. Bendis seems refreshed in his move to DC (can’t wait to check out his Jinxworld titles when they’re collected) and his Superman work continues to be solid. I could do with a bit more depth to Rogol Zaar but I have faith in what Bendis is doing.

    Like yourself my main concern going into Man of Steel was how the art would turn out given the weekly release schedule but it’s fairly consistent overall.

    Have you ever read the 1980s Man of Steel? I have a review of that coming up soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know about the Jinxworld rebirth actually. Sounds pretty cool. I do look forward to the first volumes of his runs once they’re collected and I think they’ll be much better opportunities to judge if he’s really got something good planned for fans.

      I haven’t taken the leap to discover the earlier Man of Steel runs yet. I definitely hope to try them as soon as I can though!

      Liked by 1 person

  • After Batman we get …Superman of course LOL Fantastic review as ever Lashaan and I do love when authors use and abuse of humor and sarcastic banter 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • It’s a bit disappointing to hear that the changing artists distrupted the flow of this story. I sometimes wonder about the comic development process. There are so many story writers, artists, colorists, etc. all working at once of a dozen or more comics, how do they know how they will end up and tied together? So many comics double down in multiple collections of different characters. I imagine that DC Nation #0 is one such comic.

    Regardless, this is wonderful to hear! I’m so glad that Bendis lights a fire in DC and gives a refreshing new perspective. I wonder how the jump to DC happened?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. It’s honestly something that has always bothered me too. There was a time that the artists didn’t change for a same story arc, and then during the new phases, like New 52 and Rebirth, the new comic book development structure, with the release of bi-weekly issues seems to simply make it impossible for a common artist to work on one project.. 😦 And yes, so often a lot of issues are just added back in other collections, but not always. It depends on what that story is too.

      I’m not sure what the reason is for his departure but I think it has something to do with personal movement, and Marvel has been struggling in their comic book business to deliver anything truly worthwhile lately too, so the loss of Bendis is pretty big… 😀

      Like

  • I enjoyed Bendis’ run on Daredevil very much (definitely more than Waid’s, for example) – I’m glad you enjoyed his take on Superman. Seems like something worth checking out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the best place to judge if Bendis is doing something worthwhile is in the first volumes of his two series. Cause, to be honest, he really did put a lot into this “bridge” story arc in hopes of exploring them later on, but it almost felt convoluted because of that. I guess I enjoyed it more just because it didn’t exactly feel like he didn’t know what he was doing, which is the most important thing for someone who is just getting started. 😛

      Yep, his Daredevil run is much more iconic than Waid’s latest attempts hahah If I’m not wrong, there’s a whole new writer on the Daredevil series now too hahah

      Liked by 1 person

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