Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman #8

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Superman #8

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 13, 2019

Cover date: April 2019

“The House of El” – Part 2

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis & Brandon Peterson
Inker: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Rob Liefield

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Superman #8Jon relates what happened to him after Lois returned to Earth while Kelex runs a battery of tests on the young man.

When Jor-El questions his grandson’s motives for coming on the trip Jon explains that he was struggling with expectations of him as the son of the world’s greatest hero. Jor reveals he too is challenged with his role as a grandfather.

Both of them exist but in a logical scientific way, they really should not… almost like the stuff of comic books. Jor based his entire life to science and everything he has come to know and experience is detrimental to that.

At this point Jon realizes that a journey into deep space was perhaps a mistake and longs to return home. He naively thought of space as a series of locations rather than the expanse it truly is and that he is stuck with Jor whether he likes it or not.

Clark and Lois struggle with the error in their judgement and as Superman, the angry father takes his frustration out on a deadly villain.

Jon continues his tale and we come to learn it is a co-dependent relationship that Jon and Jor have developed. The two Kryptonians fight villainous aliens across the galaxies and when Jon has the opportunity to return home with two Green Lantern’s he realizes he must turn the offer down.

For a long time after Jon and Jor continue to travel together but one night a broken Jor bursts into Jon’s living quarters telling the boy he is deeply sorry. Before the boy can ask why, the ship is swallowed by a portal and transported to Earth-3.

As Jon struggles to his feet he is greeted by the Crime Syndicate.

To Be Continued…

1Story – 1: The ideas are clearly there but the execution is, frankly, diabolical.

I understand the writer’s desire to push for Jon as a hero that is all grown up, but making Lois and Clark out to be gullible, guilt stricken and stupid to facilitate a ‘Jump The Shark’ is a huge slap in the face to both the creative teams past and your loyal readership.

From Jon’s language, the awkward non-dialogue panels, Lois’ half-hearted apology and Clark’s battle with Mongul – if we can even call it that…

As I said the ideas are all there. The problem is probably best illustrated through Superman’s minuscule role in the book. Not one scene is fleshed out. It is all brushed over in poor out-of-character dialogue or some equally painful panels with no dialogue at all.

I feel each idea would work better if it were fleshed out.

Jon’s never before seen, or heard of, struggling being Superman’s son.

Jor’s struggle with mental health issues, realizing only now that he is in a world that defies science – conveniently forgetting his entire life up to Action Comics #1000.

Lois’ guilt at ignoring her instincts.

Superman’s rage that seven years of his parenthood has been stolen from him.

The fight with Mongul.

Jon’s holographic arm – it’s there, not explained, just there, bizarre.

The scene with Killowog and Arisia realizing Jon is alone with a disoriented old man (not notifying Clark or questioning Jon’s flaky explanation).

This issue was a huge disappointment and I can only hope as the pieces are put together the over arcing story will reduce this issue to a footnote.

One last thing, the book is called SUPERMAN.

It would be great if he could have more than six pages in his own book.

Ending a book on an ominous sentence, especially in a really bad issue, is not a good thing.

3Art – 3: The art valiantly tries to fill in the gaps but causes more problems.

A reader having to fill in the gaps is part and parcel of comic books but having to play detective takes the enjoyment out of the experience. It was a hefty task for the art team this issue and for the most part they did a great job, if giving some scenes emphasis that could have been saved for others. That responsibility lies with the writer and editor so I cannot fault them for the shortcomings.

The page with Mongul and the double page spread with the alien invasion look stunning.

What the art team deliver looks great but they were tasked with was an unfair workload this issue I feel.

4Cover Art – 4: A cool cover showing a very angry Jon, now branded the Son of Steel.

The default glowing heat vision present and his holding his own in a fight show Jon as a force to be reckoned with. A nice debut for the teen’s arrival back on Earth. I also like Clark’s look of shock at his son’s personality change.

4Variant Cover Art – 4: A nice (and rare) rendition of nineties Superman by superstar artist Rob Liefield.

There is a determination in his face and stature that I’d like to think was drawn to illustrate the scene where Superman realizes his error in judgement concerning Jor-El.

Pretty fun to have a one off variant from Liefield that is an unexpected high point.

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February 13, 2019 1:27 pm

A kid asks and tells them he doesn’t know where he’s at and wants to go home, the space cops can’t put two and two together and contact Superman immediately to inform him about his sons whereabouts whether he knows or not.

I could be wrong but didn’t supes seek help from the corps on helping funding Jon? Why didn’t kilowog not once say “hey Superman I saw your son the other day” again these are supposed to be space cops

February 16, 2019 3:39 pm
Reply to  Klar

Poor writing.

February 14, 2019 1:50 am

These Bendis runs are becoming a chore to follow. We currently have the red mist, Rogol Zaar and Jor-oz storylines with no resolution for any of them in sight. I’ll be honest I’ve lost interest in Rogol Zaar, they never made him that compelling to begin with. He’s just another generic villain at this point because Bendis hasn’t fleshed him Out at all. As for this issue, yeah I stated last issue that I just don’t believe Superman and Lois would act like this. Lois leaving Jon with Jor-El and Superman letting them go to begin with. Bendis did such… Read more »

February 16, 2019 3:40 pm
Reply to  sundevil82

Once again, poor writing.

February 14, 2019 4:29 am

“Jon’s never before seen, or heard of, struggling being Superman’s son.” Interestingly enough, Tomasi actually hinted this during his early runs: In “Superman REBIRTH #5” we see an enthusiastic Jon saying to his father that they should team up to fight The Eradicator, to which Supes replies that Jon “Isn’t ready to grow up that fast to step into that World”. Then Lois states that Jon has to be made ready to whatever comes his way, else they’re giving him a disservice the more they overprotect Jon. “SuperSons #5” also had Jon running off into Gotham after getting frustrated that… Read more »

February 16, 2019 3:43 pm
Reply to  DW13

For the tird time,poor writing. The only thing that intrigues me about this is who was the entity/being that saved Jor-El? And is this really him.No one has talked about this but this is as big as Thomas Wayne supposedly coming back on Batman.

Kal L
Kal L
February 15, 2019 1:25 am

This is exactly what I was afraid of with Bendis coming on board. I didn’t care for a lot of his Marvel stuff, and some of the characterizations are seeming quite “off” as of late.
Bendis shouldn’t have been allowed to write both books, and be the sole voice for Superman.
I’m hoping that we will see some resolve sooner rather than later.

February 16, 2019 3:43 pm
Reply to  Kal L

Yes,exactly Kal.

February 15, 2019 1:26 am

When Jor-El is the biggest Superman villain, you know Brian Michael Bendis has gone and f***ed up.

Jor-El robbed Lois and Clark 6 years (Jon states he’s eleven before six years of time passes on this ridiculous “journey”) of seeing their son grow up, so to me, he’s a Super villain, the worse kind.

At this point, I think BMB needs to leave one of the Superman titles (for he’s spreading himself too thin, and it’s showing) as he’s got all his other work, just saying.

February 16, 2019 3:44 pm
Reply to  Anthony_Mage

Excellent point Anthony. Thank you for the courage for being the first to say it.

February 19, 2019 9:14 pm

I’m done with the titles until Bendis is gone.