Story-Arc: The Unity Saga: The House of El.
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis.
Penciller(s): Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson, Jason Fabok & Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Inker(s): Brandon Peterson, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Jason Fabok & Evan “Doc” Shaner.
Colourist(s): Alex Sinclair.
Letterer(s): Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual, Dave Sharpe & Wes Abbott.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: November 26th, 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously in the Superman series:
Superman: Unity Saga (Vol. 1): Phantom Earth by Brian Michael Bendis.
There are characters in the fictional world that were created so long ago that their stories are known by just about everyone and anyone without actually taking an interest in them. To change the smallest thing about their lives would be called a heresy, but in the hands of the right person, anything is possible. Writer Brian Michael Bendis attempts the impossible as he takes on Superman’s saga and brings changes to his story that no one else would dare to think about. From bringing out the Man of Steel’s paternal instincts to unveiling the unknown regarding his home planet Krypton, the upcoming revisions to his lore will redefine his character in unimaginable ways.
What is Superman: Unity Saga: The House of El about? Picking up exactly where the previous story arc left off, writer Brian Michael Bendis further revamps Superman’s history through his son Jon Kent’s dramatic transformation and his sudden discoveries of the universe. The story then shifts its attention to Superman’s father Jor-El and looks into his own history and the secrets that he has been hiding from everyone else as galactic warfare forces his hands and ties him directly to Superman’s newest threat Rogol Zaar. Collecting issues #7-15, this lengthy story arc continues to expand and transform a well-known lore into a brand-new avenue promising change and a new kind of hope.
“My Planet. My People. I still am doing everything I can to make the universe a united, better place. Everything!”
— Brian Michael Bendis
It is jaw-dropping what writer Brian Michael Bendis accomplishes through this comic book series while building up his Leviathan event on the side—even making an effort of mentioning it in this narrative as Superman takes a pause from it to help his son, returned from an epic adventure in space with his grandfather, as he requires immediate assistance in a troubling dilemma. While the story arc begins by looking at the existential crisis embraced by both Jon and Jor-El as well as the parental bond that suffered immensely from the loss of precious time between Superman, Lois Lane, and their son, the story takes a quick dive into Krypton’s history and its secret origin covered within another conspiracy.
While the focus is lost as the narrative progresses, there is an appreciatable effort put into reworking the foundation of Superman’s life and lore through other characters, especially that of his son Jon Kent. In fact, writer Brian Michael Bendis does a terrifying beautiful job in connecting his story with that of the ongoing stories in the DC universe through beautiful integral references. He also isn’t scared of rebuilding some of the political overtones of galactic drama while setting up the stage for brand-new storylines, e.g. the arrival of the Legion of Superheroes. At the cost of some concision, a desire for revitalizing Superman’s mythology was thus privileged.
To accompany writer Brian Michael Bendis in this journey is an impressive cast of artists who did a fantastic job in capturing the epic scope of his tale. Among these talented pencilers is Ivan Reis, known for his ability to draw bombastic sequences that remind readers that certain creatures are far bigger than humans and that Earth is much smaller once you enter a galaxy squirming with countless other lifeforms from a myriad of planets. There are also some very original splash pages that invite the reader to rotate the graphic novel to appreciate the grandeur of certain sequences. Colourist Alex Sinclair furthermore ameliorates the visual style through vibrant colours, stylistic gradients, and lively contrasts.
Superman: Unity Saga: The House of El is an ambitious and daunting expansion of Superman’s lore through his son’s quest for purpose through self-discovery.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!