Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman #18

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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

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.

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December 11, 2019 2:59 pm

Oh, this absurd story idea isn’t well written? What a shock.

December 11, 2019 5:11 pm

Gave up on all bendis runs maybe like 5 issues ago. Dude can’t stay focused and none of the stories were that engaging. If they want to explore a storyline where he abandons the identity be my guest, but I don’t have any faith that the landing will stick at this point. Sounds like that is confirmed now.

December 11, 2019 5:50 pm

“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.”
Brian, do tell; what Superman have *you* been reading in the last 80-odd years?
Seriously man; if you can get me, one of the most liberal and accepting Superman fans to snicker to myself while reading your take on the character, you’re doing something wrong.

December 11, 2019 6:47 pm

We need a new crisis to erase this garbage again

December 11, 2019 11:59 pm
Reply to  Duke

Short of something as horribly stupid as One More Day I don’t care how they retcon it. He wakes from a dream? Fine.

December 11, 2019 8:45 pm

So the takeaway here is that Bendis has never in his life read a Superman comic, watched a Superman movie, television show, or cartoon, nor has he ever had anyone even explain the character to him.

December 11, 2019 9:01 pm

Admittedly, bendis does do SOME things well, but much like joss whedon, he is completely overrated and gets way more credit than actually deserved

December 11, 2019 10:27 pm

this can work for awhile. We all know it eventually go back the next time dc boots it’s universe-which seems at least every 3 years or so.

I actually started liking electric-blue superman so i will give this a chance also.

December 12, 2019 12:09 am

If he’s looking at it from the “Clark is the disguise” angle as opposed to the “Clark is who I am, Superman is what I do” angle but he’s doing so in the most rigidly cynical way that might explain a little bit about why he thinks the secret identity is just some dumb disposable relic instead of something that’s a integral part of the premise and a thing people who love the character actually enjoy. But if he’s got a massive hate-on for secret ID’s to begin with then of course this is going to be his “brilliant” idea… Read more »

December 12, 2019 3:27 pm

How is Superman going to earn a living now. Will he be living off of Lois’s check?! Nobody will hire him unless they try to exploit him. Not really a good move, but different. Now can we finally get rid of the underwear!!! Why is it that he is the ONLY hero with underwear on the outside, SAD!!

December 12, 2019 6:22 pm
Reply to  tony

The term is trunks. And you’re just trolling.

December 12, 2019 7:38 pm
Reply to  tony

The dude can make diamonds out of coal. I see no problem with money.

December 12, 2019 7:39 pm

I actually read this in the comic shop and bought it for the only reason that I could shred it when I got home, and did so. If I could only shred the rest of Brian’s run as easily.

December 12, 2019 9:16 pm
Reply to  SupermanFan83

From DC’s vantage point that’s another comic sold. Don’t dignify this crap with your dollars.

December 13, 2019 7:16 pm
Reply to  MattComics

Good Point.

December 21, 2019 12:24 pm

I’m waiting to be convinced that this was a good idea.

December 22, 2019 12:49 pm

Well I guess that Bendis hasn’t considered the consequences of Clark revealing his secret identity to the world. It reminds me of an old Lois Lane cover where Superman and Lois were married and Lois was driving down a street and Lois was driving a attack proof bubble. This is what brings me to consequences. I mean this is got to be the dumbest move that anybody ever has done in a comic book. Why was Superman want to put a Target on his wife’s back knowing that there are forces out there that know that if they can’t kill… Read more »

December 31, 2019 2:26 pm

Could not disagree with reviewer and comments more. I am intrigued by where this is going and look forward to seeing how it plays out. Look, would I rather the secret identity remain intact? Yes, I’ve always liked that he had a truly private life only share with a handful of people. However, I am willing to see where this goes, until the inevitable return to the status quo. I am sure some people were just as angry at the reveal to Lois, or that Ma and Pa were still live after Crisis, or that Lana knew the secret, etc… Read more »