Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 10, 2019
Cover date: June 2019
“The House of El” – Part 4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Brandon Peterson with Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Rob Liefield
Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
After almost a decade living in a volcano, Jon explains he decided to sneak into the Crime Syndicate headquarters to see if they had a dimensional portal. There he meets his mother who of course wants to kill him.
Enter Jor-El who uses his technology to rescue his grandson and transport them back to our universe. Jor has his science head on and tries his best to run medical tests on his overly excited grandson. Jor begins to lose patients with the boy and demands an explanation to where he vanished to and why.
Jor accuses Jon of running away and explains he’d been searching the dimensions frantically to find the boy. He reveals he had to make unscrupulous deals to find him, things he deeply regrets. He also drops the bombshell that he never told Lois and Clark of Jon’s disappearance. For Jon, he’s been trapped in the past, across dimensions for years but to everyone else he has been missing for just twenty two days.
The ship suddenly comes under attack and Jon is terrified to see the villains Jax Ur, General Zod and Rogol Zaar. They try to kill Jon but Jor uses a strange weapon to teleport Jon to safety. Jon appears in a shopping mall in Wisconsin but it is then that he realizes something is terribly wrong.
Flash forward to today and Clark asks Lois to handle Leviathan while he and Jon head out to find Jor’s ship. They use Jon’s new suit circuitry to activate a return trip but are unprepared for what they find when they get there.
To Be Continued…
Story – 3: The saga goes full circle, explains how the Crime Syndicate were alive, where Jon was for so long (again) and adds a new mystery to Jor-El’s character development as it turns out he did some dodgy dealings to find Jon.
Aside from Jor’s story, Jon’s suits ability to teleport and the escape and partnership of the Phantom Zone villains, we are back to 10 minutes after Jon’s arrival. That is a LOT of exposition, monologues, misdirection, paradoxes, awkward parental dialogue to get through. After all that, honestly a one page explanation could have been so much simpler.
This was a remarkable improvement over the past few issues and at least we’re moving forward.
Art – 3: The art was far more dynamic this issue. The monologue boxes weren’t as awkwardly placed as they were previously. It is telling that the writer had to release the clean artwork opun social media because the dialogue was so excessive.
It was nice to see the art take the lead this issue though there were some unnecessary pages (everything to do with killer mom). The inking could have been heavier (especially on Rogol Zaar who looked less menacing and more pasty).
I would still like the artists to settle on Jon’s look. Is he seventeen or not because in some panels he looks 10 and in others he looks a little older? Maybe a little stubble? After all from his own admission he hasn’t had a haircut, shave or wash for eight years.
Cover Art – 5: After the story elaborates that this was more a series of unfortunate events (sorry Lemony Snickett) and less Jor-El’s fault, I feel despite his mental illness that Jor is getting the short shrift. I really do like this cover though, mainly because it shows Superman in action again. I like the lighting effect on Clark’s eyes and the shattered ‘S’ shield.
Variant Cover Art – 5: I am pretty sure this is an editorial error as this looks like an Adam Hughes masterpiece rather than a Rob Liefield nostalgia piece. That being the case, this looks amazing. I love the speed effects, the race with the other train and the dust and snow effect. Superman looks fantastic here, no matter who drew the cover.
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