Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman #26

Superman #26

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Superman #26

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 13, 2020
Cover date: December 2020

“Mythological” – Part Two

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Danny Miki
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Tony S. Daniel & Tomeu Morey

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel


Synmar has attacked Superman and the unprovoked attack has left Superman unprepared. The strange attacker seems to match Superman in power but seemingly the energy Synmar exudes drains Superman of his own superpowers.

Jumping back one day, Lois and Superman are enjoying some well earned downtime. Superman wonders whether the stress they’ve taken on was the catalyst for him devastating their private life. He tells Lois that the only way he can deal with his never-ending battle is because she is at his side. They embrace but he doesn’t give her a chance to reply, does she agree with his decision? How is she coping without her son and husband?

An alert from Kelex tells Superman of an imminent threat to the Fortress of Solitude. Quick as a flash he’s gone leaving Lois in the apartment to be alone with her thoughts.

Superman arrives at the Fortress and Kelex tells him a powerful unidentified flying object is heading direct to the Fortress and in fourteen hours there could be a deadly threat. Superman is pragmatic and asks for regular updates while he returns to work at the Daily Planet.

Because of the Daily Planet’s recent dealings as a mafia linked organisation, the FBI has raided their offices warning staff to stay away while they do. Cue Jimmy Olsen who has been living at the Fortress. The two friends get ready to return to Metropolis cautious as to what will be the aftermath of the raid.

Superman is greeted by a very sickly looking Steve Lombard. Steve is surprised to see Superman back in his civilian clothes and even more so to discover Clark has always thought of them as friends.

Steve points out that Superman has made the Daily Planet unsafe. It was always a target because of its association with Superman but now people know he is actually there. Steve’s point hits Clark hard. The whole point of him being Superman was to protect his friends and loved ones. Could this have put all their lives on the line?

Kelex interrupts once more with news that the threat has redirected its trajectory to the Daily Planet. Clark sheds his clothes and races to intercept the threat and he is stunned to meet Synmar. A species he’s never encountered and has no idea why it is hunting him down.

Synmar attacks but before they collide with the Daily Planet building, Superman instructs Kelex to open a door to the Phantom Zone. Undeterred by the sudden location change Synmar escalates his attack. As Superman fends off the onslaught of blows he begs Synmar, “Why?”.

To Be Continued…

4Story – 4: It’s good that we had less focus on Synmar, he’s a bit one note.

The character moments this issue carry an extremely light story. Superman comes across as selfish in his scene with Lois, it is all about ‘me’. The scene with Lois sitting in the dark alone was poignant and of course the scenes last issue with Lana taking a renewed interest in Clark, seems to foreshadow marital issues ahead…

The next scene with Steve Lombard was equally compelling. If Superman really were selfless, why would he have put them at such risk and then escalate it further by coming out?

It brings many issues on mental health to the fore and who other than Superman has the burden of responsibilities hoisted upon him? I suppose it’s no coincidence that a former Spider-man writer would examine such issues. I have no problem with this as it makes a change from some of the dreary cosmic stories we’ve endured.

4Art – 4: The art is lush and energetic, but Synmar’s powers beyond being ‘swishes’ of light seem to be a mystery. The drain of power I mentioned in the summary is a guess. I am more concerned with the redesign of Steve Lombard, what’s happened to him?

4Cover Art – 4: Superman looks cool but Synmar looks a bit feeble here. I think the ‘intergalactic grudge match’ sub heading is a bit off with the fight taking place (on the cover at least) above the Daily Planet.

4Variant Cover Art – 4: A great looking cover with Superman taking on some armored aliens. Nicely illustrated and colored. I know may artists thrive a little too much on ‘angry red eyes’ but it doesn’t look too bad here. I like Daniel’s work.

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Anthony_Mage
October 16, 2020 7:25 am

I mean, the whole issue unfortunately felt like more talking heads with not much pay off but more questions being asked (on top of the ones already being asked since Bendis’s run lol).

It seems Steve Lombard has been given a similar makeover treatment that Lana had received recently in the post-“Doomsday Clock”, main DCU Earth continuity here too. I think Bendis will explain Lombard’s new position in life — possibly including why his now sickly like appearance has occurred at the same time.