It’ll All Make Sense One Day (The Man of Steel #6 Comic Review)

Credits:

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis

Art by: Jason Fabok

Colors by: Alex Sinclair

Cover by: Joe Prado, Ivan Reis

 

The Run-Down)

We finally get to learn what’s happened to Lois and Jon as Bendis wraps up the final issue of his debut in DC comics. It’s no secret that Bendis wants the pieces of the Superman mythos that make him a “family man”, rather than the Super icon, moved off the playing field. The mysterious figure who hopped out of the Transformer-like space ship turns to be poppa-Supes (Jor-El aka Mr. Oz). He looks to take Jon on a galactic walk-about in hopes of teaching Jon about his Kryptonian lineage.

In addition, the struggle between Zaar and Supes against the Kryptonian cleanse saw Clark in pursuit of Zaar all the way to the center of the earth. Clark discovers Zaar planting a bomb similar to the one that allegedly destroyed Krypton. With the combined effort of Kara and some weapons from the rubble of the Fortress of Solitude (FOS), Zaar is contained and neutralized.

Things wrap up pretty quickly from here with a special tribute to the destruction of Kandor in the rebuilt FOS. Looking at the two page splash of the candle rocket vigil with Supes and the JLA gave me vibes that made me reminisce on the old days of “Funeral for a Friend/Epilogue” tribute for the fallen Coast City in ’94. Bendis finally ends the mini-series not by resolving the initial mystery of the arson fires, but rather by prolonging it into the next series to follow: Superman and Action Comics #1.

Plot of the Panel

A story arc with tight character development, plot structure, as well as narrative coherence and flow delivered across two or three issues, makes a more powerful statement than six loose tales with filler. The major takeaways from this Bendis-series: 1). Kandor is gone; 2). Lois and Jon are gone; 3). The real culprit behind the arson-ring is gone; 4). Rogol Zaar was here, but now he’s gone.

There’s a lot of movement in this mini-series of both long-standing as well as recently established elements—Supes as a family man, as a father, keeper of the Kryptonian legacy—from the mythos that audiences did not call to be disturbed, instead of many wanted to see them explored. We haven’t seen this kind of clearing since the New 52. Taking a major pillar like Kandor off the board can potentially upset the fandom. But not because of their deep love for Kandor. Rather because it plays directly into the criticisms that many fans have of Bendis’ storytelling and his penchant for shifting things around in a character’s mythic landscape.

Similarly, removing Lois and Jon from the series could potentially alienate fans who were invested in stories that further explored the mythic renaissance ushered in by Dan Jurgens and Peter Tomasi. Their removal conveniently allows Bendis to focus on detailing Super-feats (which is precisely what the first three issues told readers to focus on) without having to incorporate the dynamics of Clark’s family as anything more than a mere after-thought. This can be an interesting angle, and I could see Bendis as a scribe guiding Supes to greatness. But not at the expense of the elements that bring development and maturation to the mythos. With Bendis clearing out this much of Superman’s house, there are a couple of questions: why offer readers such a thinly laid backstory to support the new narrative? Why throw out so many plots without resoloving them by the arc’s end?

In short, this mini-series has too many bells and whistles for me, while the narrative itself was stripped down to its bare dry bones. It did just enough to introduce a few new characters and a dope villain.

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Damon Cagnolatti

Damon Cagnolatti

An avid comic-book reader and super-rap nerd, he draws on the transformative traditions of Hip Hop and comics culture to bridge the gap of cognitive dissonance to a funky rhythm kicked with "pen, coin, and voice". On the weekends, he enjoys growing fresh fruits and veggies; a real low-key farmer in his backyard.
Summary
And so concludes Bendis’ victory lap around the DC Nation. Overall, this story arc definitely makes a strong statement that declares what direction DC wants to take Superman: away from the family and on the SUPERman. This story feels like it was written with the absolute certainty that the momentum behind Bendis’ arrival would continue even after the mini-series end. The narrative does not take the time to build an emotional connection with the audience, but how could it when it removes three of Superman’s biggest heart-strings in the mythos—Lois, Jon, and Kandor? This story struggled to find its identity, pace, and rhythm throughout largely because it seemed to fight for control of whether it should be driven by the characters or the plot. The problem this reader found was that there were several plots juggled and dragged across the first three issues; two were main features; and not one was resolved by the series-end. Clearly, DC is putting all the Super-chips into Bendis’ basket, complete with a battery-pack for Bendis’ back, and the entire marketing machine to pave the way for his excursion through the DC Nation.
Good
  • Strong visual-textual cohesion
  • Very cool splash pages and artwork
  • Clean panel layouts
  • Detailed artwork and imagery
Bad
  • Characters are severely underdeveloped
  • Too many unresolved plot points
  • Story seems too rushed
7
Good
Art - 10
Character Development - 4
Plot - 6
Accessibility for New Readers - 8
Cohesion - 7
Written by
An avid comic-book reader and super-rap nerd, he draws on the transformative traditions of Hip Hop and comics culture to bridge the gap of cognitive dissonance to a funky rhythm kicked with "pen, coin, and voice". On the weekends, he enjoys growing fresh fruits and veggies; a real low-key farmer in his backyard.

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