Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman #21

Superman #21

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Superman #21

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 11, 2020
Cover date: May 2020

“The Truth” – Part 4

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Superman has saved Mongul from certain death. The warlord impetuously challenged the United Planets and if it not for Superman he would be dead.

Bethany Snow from the Daily Star has tracked Lois down to her hideout in the Drake Hotel and tries forcing an interview. When Lois asks for professional courtesy Snow is understandably furious given how Lois and Clark have seemingly abused the journalism genre. Snow’s cameraman reveals to Lois that the video footage was delivered anonymously and seemingly untraceable. In it Superman proclaims himself King of Earth.

Lois is now Queen of Earth, a title she thinks Superman might have discussed with her first.

Back in space Mongul mocks Superman for having the United Planets fight him and in turn, fight amongst themselves. Mongul makes a quick exit while Superman fights to keep the United Planet founders apart.

Almost admitting defeat, Superman is surprised when some long term allies appear and help him calm things down to a point where negotiations can begin again.

As Superman prepares to return to Metropolis he sees Warworld appear far above the Earth. He realizes Mongul was counting on the United Planets to be a distraction for the Man of Steel while he attacked Earth!

Lois is being tailed by paparazzi and tries to head back to the Daily Planet. An FBI Agent, Cameron Chase, has other ideas and wants to speak to the self appointed Royals of Earth.

To Be Continued….

1Story – 1: An extremely convoluted ploy by Mongul to get Superman out of the way, with no guarantee it would work. Extremely bizarre also, for Superman to be doubting his unity plan after the United Planets have only existed for 15 minutes.

The summation of Mongul’s plan: Attack the United Planet founder negotiations in a distant galaxy to distract Superman. While he’s busy stopping the fighting, sneak to Earth and attack it. Okay. So why not, just go and attack Earth without attracting Superman’s attention as he’s halfway across the universe busy with negotiations already? I know this is the new, stupider Mongul (as revealed in Villains #1) but this was pretty high on the stupid meter. Worse still was the Lois Lane segment. If anyone argues about the trunks, the glasses, the secret identity I’m going to bring up the fact a writer in 2020 made Lois Lane ‘Queen of Planet Earth’. Even worse this issue had no story development whatsoever.

3Art – 3: The art continues to be a high point, but this went to an extreme. There was no story, just excuse after excuse to showcase fights. That’s fine, except the art is so good and an expected high, that it is now becoming boring. Nineteen pages of Mongul punches Superman, Superman punches Mongul and so on and so forth. As I said it’s beautiful art, but because the writing is so up and down, the art is carrying the book and the pattern the writing follows is actually suffocating the art.

2Cover Art – 2: A pretty dull cover to be honest. Nicely illustrated but a tired format and despite the text proclaiming Mongul as a threat, this cover doesn’t in any way say ‘Superman v Mongul’. It doesn’t showcase the story, it doesn’t elevate the threat. It just… is. Pretty underwhelmed.

4Variant Cover Art – 4: It’s always nice to see Superman’s super heroics and no glowing red eyes in sight. I really like this cover as it’s an action shot. Wish Superman’s face was a little more expressive but that’s a real nitpick. Great art and color palette.

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March 11, 2020 9:43 am

This is very sad and disappointing. The state of Superman right now in the comics is almost beyond repair. The only way you can fix it is by 1) Do a One More Day type of story. 2) Reboot 3)Ignore Bendis entire run and just use Action 999 and Doomsday Clock as the launching point for the next Superman arc.

What I don’t understand is how DC listened to the fans and removed Chuck Austin quickly from just Action Comics but is willing to let Bendis sink his last two remaining titles and Conner & Jon Kent in the process.

March 11, 2020 10:26 am

Funny you mention Chuck Austen the because IIRC that was the last time Ivan Reis was artist of a Superman title. Why is it such a good artist keeps getting stuck with the worst writers?

As I have often said before I don’t even need an event or a storyline or Mxy or even a panel where he wakes from a dream. Start the next issue like the Bendis run never happened and I would be just fine. If anybody asks just say those issue took place on Earth B and let’s NEVER point the camera there again.

March 12, 2020 10:56 am

I have to agree with the comments. Bendis just isn’t doing this right. It feels like a mess. The clumsy attempts to downplay the obvious reasons why Clark had a secret ID, the incomprehensible and unaddressed revelations about Rogol Zaar, the insane decision to let Jon go away with Jor-El after his frankly violent actions in OZ Effect, with no explanation as to what happened after Dr. Manhattan yanked him away, even doing away with his finally balanced and modernized Reborn suit, the list goes on. Big name or not it simply wasn’t worth torching the winning and widely popular… Read more »

March 16, 2020 8:33 pm

WoW! Is this the worst Superman run in comic history? Its not just that the storyline itself is terrible, but the characterizations of every cast member is way off. There have been BAD storylines here and there before, but at least the characters acted like themselves. You also had FAITH that the next story arc would be better. I simply have no faith in bendis. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. I actually stopped buying comics altogether as soon as Bendis took over. I wanted him (and DC) to earn my money, and they haven’t. I hear what… Read more »