Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Comics

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Superman #18

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 11, 2019

Cover date: February 2020

"The Truth"

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Ivan Reis
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Skan

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Click to enlarge

Last week, Superman was at the first ever summit of the United Planets with Adam Strange. As they watched the historic occasion Clark and Adam's conversation wandered onto the subject of secret identities. The conversation ultimately goes nowhere but a week later as Clark enters the Daily Planet, he decides he must make a few confessions.

First Clark approaches Perry and then Jimmy. Remarkably they take it well and as Lois and Clark share a moment alone they admit that this story was one they'd been drafting in their heads since their wedding many years ago.

At the press conference Superman reveals his secret. As it is transmitted all over America, Superman soars into the sky with a future uncertain but a weight lifted from his mind.

As the Legion of Doom hears the news they turn on Lex Luthor and mock him from not blowing Clark's secret before now. Needless to say he is not happy.

To Be Continued....

1Story - 1: I'm not sure where to begin. The only scene that was written well was the interaction with Superman and Adam Strange... the rest of it felt forced. Like an agenda forced upon the character for the shock value of someone who thinks Clark Kent is nothing more than a façade.

Indeed this dialogue killed it for me:

"As a child everybody thought it best that I had as 'normal' a life as possible. With that came an identity. I was being trained, almost like an athlete, to be the best SuperMAN I could be."

The Kents didn't brainwash him. Clark IS Superman, the suit is what Clark can DO not who he is. So where after Action Comics #1000 the decision has been made that Superman is who he is and Clark is a pair of spectacles.

Jimmy's reaction I can believe and I can even see as Lois is an older friend of Jimmy's than Clark that she was the one to do it. The reveal to Perry is one I can't stomach. It's lazily left to Reis to reveal in silence and I think it is meant to be an emotional reveal. It isn't - it's lazy. Perry just wouldn't do this - ever.

The crowd in silence the entire time? Unbelievable. Clark's speech was hard to read as there was no reason for it. The WHY is all I keep coming back to. Even as Clark is about to leave he says, "And I am going to find my way as Clark Kent... I love being a journalist."

Well news for you Superman. You can't be Clark OR a journalist. So badly thought out as it doesn't feel exciting it feels like a directionless mess.

The Luthor ending was predictable and lazy, but I wonder if this confrontation will bring something new to the table given Luthor is Perpetua's harbinger?

To be honest, for me, every page was like watching someone slowly succumbing to a poison.

Every comics fan has experienced an issue like this; when their hero or heroine is written to the point the character has been effectively written into a cul de sac and only a deluxe ex-machina can save them or the company initiates a reboot.

Bendis said in interviews found on this website that Superman losing his life as Clark Kent was exciting. Maybe I'm wrong and Superman being Superman every second of the day will be a defining moment that will change things forever for the better.

After this issue I cannot see it. I pray that I am wrong and Bendis is right, for Superman's sake.

3Art - 3: The art is stunning. The attention to detail here is something every artist should look at. The fact nothing action-based happens but the art is still as strong is testament to talent and skill. My problem is the art being strong is just not enough anymore when the writing is consistently bad.

3Cover Art - 3: I had seen this piece months ago and at the time it was revelatory. A stunning piece of art. In publication it's not at strong. I'm not sure if it's the blank background or the fact it's been republished in numerous articles and has lost its impact with me. For many who haven't seen the coverage I can imagine it is still a shocking image.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: Incorrectly credited to Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair by the editor. This explosive cover is actually the work of famed artist Skan. I never get tired of Superman smashing through a wall. This is a really powerful image though I wish it wasn't so grey a palette.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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