Title: The Man of Steel.
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis.
Illustrator(s): Jim Lee, Scott Williams & José Luis García-López, Dexter Vines and many more!
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: November 6th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
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.
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.