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
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…
Story – 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.
Art – 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.
Cover 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.
Variant 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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