Mild Mannered Reviews – The Man of Steel #2

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The Man of Steel #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 6, 2018

Cover date: August 2018

“Man of Steel” – Part 2

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner, Steve Rude (and Jason Fabok)
Cover: Ivan Reis

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We open years ago, with Lord Gandelo accusing Appa Ali Appsa of having something to do with the destruction of Krypton, right after they both, alongside the rest of the Galactic Circle denied Rogol Zaar’s request to “cleanse” Krypton. Appa explains, that sometimes planets die, and that the Green Lantern of that sector has a large sector to patrol, and if Rogol Zaar did have something to do with the destruction of Krypton, would he really want him to turn his gaze toward Gandelo’s own 42 Star Systems?

Appa leaves Lord Gandelo and goes back to visit Rogol’s home where he spoke to him last, Rogol is not there, and Appa prays that if Rogol did have anything to do with Krypton’s demise, that he died alongside Krypton, and has taken all the ugly secrets with him.

We cut to the present in Metropolis at the Daily Planet, where new recruit Robinson Goode is trying to get the dirt on Lois Lane’s absence, and the current status of her and Clark. She asks Gossip Columnist Trish Q, who tells her that the word is, that Lois took a huge book deal, and took Jon and left Clark.

Over in Coast City Superman stops a giant robot gorilla attack, set in motion by The Toyman, who throws a tantrum at the fact that Superman busted him, even though he isn’t in Metropolis. Green Lantern turns up, and thanks Superman for the assist, and asks him how things are going, also asks why he missed the JL meeting a few days ago. Superman puts on a brave face, and a big smile and tells him everything is fine, and fly’s off. While he is flying, he thinks back to the fateful day that Lois, Jon and he were attacked by someone/thing in their home. Superman fly’s to the moon and lands down hard, creating a crater.

Over in the Vega System, in space, at a space bar named Taffy’s West, Ambush Bug performs tricks on stage, and a female alien named Oichio sits down at the bar, and is joined by a large friend of hers, one she hasn’t seen in quite some time. They both talk, until a trinket catches his eye, it is a small necklace in the shape of the “S” shield that Superman wears. This sets Oichio’s friend off, and he heads out after learning there is a sole survivor of Krypton’s destruction.

Later Superman returns to Metropolis, only to find another fire has broken out, and people in danger. With some improvisation and quick thinking, he manages get those in need to safety, and secures the rubble. It is now apparent that someone is setting this buildings on fire on purpose, and Clark Kent needs to investigate.

Back at the Daily Planet, Clark heads in to see Perry regarding the arson story, and catches Perry in a moment of self doubt. Perry tells Clark to stay relevant, the paper’s need to dig deeper, in order to stay relevant and keep up with the competition of instantaneous news by people and their cellular devices. Ever so humble, Clark asks Perry about his well being, only to be interrupted by Trish Q, who tells both Perry and Clark, that they are sitting on the story of the year… the whereabouts of Lois Lane. She interrogates Clark, only to be interrupted by Perry, who tells her to drop it. Over on the TV screens, they watch what appears to be the Joker Mobile terrorizing people.Trish Q notices that Clark has disappeared and Perry squashes her train of thought, by saying he left because she offended him by questioning him about Lois.

We end with Oichio’s mysterious friend, none other than Rogol Zaar, traveling across the stars on a space bike.

“Lois and Clark aren’t the story… There IS a story out there, that will put us back in the game… It’s out there… I can feel it” – Perry White.

To be continued…

5Story – 5: Another good and engaging issue by Bendis, he certainly is bringing his A game, keeping the mystery alive and fleshing out the characters he’s bought to the table. The one thing that I have enjoyed the most is the fact after each issue, I am looking forward to the next, and even though it’s just a week in between, it can’t come soon enough. I’m already eagerly awaiting issue #3.

Lets start with the Galactic Circle, and the revelation that Rogol Zaar is a “Legendary Creature of War,” and sworn to serve and protect the Galactic Circle. In true Bendis fashion, we are drip fed the back story of an integral character, and many questions remain, especially, why Rogol wanted Kryptonians eradicated so badly. What could they have possibly done to merit such hate from him? And having read the issue twice over, I have another burning question… Is Rogol Zaar a Czarnian just like Lobo? Is that why he is so strong, feared, respected and almost indestructible? Could he be another survivor and possibly someone that is stronger than Lobo himself?Why do I think Rogol is a Czarnian? Who else could be as strong, if not stronger?

Appa Ali Apsa being questioned by Lord Gandelo bought up some interesting ideas, especially where was the appointed Green Lantern officer when Krypton died. According to DC history Tomar Re knew about Krypton’s unstable core, and had a plan to stabilize it, but didn’t make it in time. Appa told Rogol that his plea to destroy Krypton was rejected, but if he went anyway, did Tomar play a role in trying to stop him, and possibly saving him? I’m really stretching here I know, but Bendis writing actually made me think about such a thing.

We have some more light shed on to our hero, as it appears through the flashback that something “that looked almost like a giant mechanical bug” entered the Kent home, what happened afterward is yet to be revealed. But just the same as us, the fan community, the residents of the Daily Planet are also curious as to the whereabouts and fate of Lois and Jon. Lois is seen as a minor celebrity, and so she is gossip worthy news according to Trish Q. Her aggressive interrogation of Clark made for some good drama. Lets also not forget that Robinson Goode was also snooping for information, and from the DC Nation Special we also know that she is working for someone, and her motives may not be righteous. Perry reveals to Clark that the Planet has been sold, but to whom, is the million dollar question. Could this have anything to do with Robinson’s “other employer”?

Perry also covering for Clark, against Trish Q was a great character moment, makes one wonder, exactly how much does he know about Clark, and his double life? And speaking of Clark, he certainly is reveling in his alter ego, covering for the fact that he is hurting very much about Lois and Jon. Bendis has written this very well. A nice little moment with Hal Jordan, subtly hinting the respect Superman has from his peers.

Some small details that are worth mentioning, the Ambush Bug cameo, and “Dolbee” whom is most likely Doiby Dickles, who made the “S” shield pendant. These are some random characters, but it goes to show that Bendis knows his DC Universe.

My only nitpick about the narrative is the appearance of Toyman. It’s nice to see him pop up, but what is the point of giving us this character, that is suffering the same struggles that Lex Luthor once did, decades ago. Creating giant robots, that would most likely cost billions of dollars, and do what with them? Rob a bank for a few hundred thousand? In the 90s Jurgens took this character down a dark path, and then he found some redemption at the end of his then current run, which was undone by Azzarello and Loeb in the mid 2000s. He was replaced by a character named Shiro, a boy genius, who years later was revealed to be just a robot stand in for the real Toyman, similar to the one we saw this issue. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe its because Steve put up a poll last week on who our favorite Superman villain is, but characters like the Toyman and Prankster really need a modern update, and actually have a reason for doing what they do.

Lastly I should have written this on issue #1’s review, to anyone that is new to Superman and/or Superman comics, who is following Bendis over, Welcome. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the character as we fans have for many years prior.

5Art – 5: Before I start, I want to mention the opening page of this issue matched the last issues, with this issue, having Krypton explode, as last issue we had the sun’s solar flares so close to the planet. I nice little trick for the mini-series.

The art continues to be top notch, as we have 3 great artists that take on the art duties this issue. ‘Doc’ Shaner handles the first half, with his simplistic style that is a hybrid of a classic Silver Age and almost an animated look. The scenes with the Appa Ali Appsa and Lord Gandelo aren’t to far removed from the style established by Ivan Reis last issue, with the excellent placement of shadows and negative space (no pun intended).

It’s not until we get to the scenes in Metropolis, that we get a fully realized ‘Doc’ Shaner visual narrative. I love his Perry White, a cross between classic and modern, perfectly married together. Jimmy appears a bit more cartoonish, but that is the style that Shaner works in.

His Superman borders a very classic, almost Curt Swan like look, and fortunately we see him smile as he takes down The Toyman in his giant robotic ape. And this is where my first bit of criticism lies, with The Toyman (yes I have an issue with the way he is drawn also). Shaner’s Toyman looks like he’s lifted straight out of a Silver Age issue. The blame may not fall directly on Shaner here, but it’s one of the reasons why The Toyman cant be taken seriously in this day and age. He’s just one goatee and a white suit away from looking like Col. Sanders.

Our second artist this issue is one of my absolute favorites, Steve ‘The Dude’ Rude. I first came across Rude’s Superman in the ’92 World’s Finest mini series. I know there are many people that really don’t care for that mini series, but for me it holds a special place in my heart, because of the wonderful art, and Rude’s attention to detail.

Like Shaner, Rude also has a very animated style, but his has shades of the Fleischer animated shorts and the great Jack Kirby. Rude has some great shots of Superman flying and rescuing people, along with his excellent play by play panel work, which follows the action as it pans across the scene. Even at Taffey’s West space bar, we are treated to some of the best panel work, along with what looks like Ambush Bug performing a juggling act on the stage.

But again I have some minor criticism, this time it’s Rude’s depiction of Clark’s wardrobe. We all love the classic blue suit with a red stripe tie, but Rude drew Clark as if he were zoot suit party. He swapped the stripes on the tie for the suit, but still doesn’t change the fact that he would look severely out of place, even though Bendis established that Clark is old fashioned, again no pun intended.

I know that these artists were chosen for their specific styles, and that Bendis wanted to work with them, but some contemporary consistency could have made the visuals go down without some of the jarring moments.

The coloring continues to be top notch by Alex Sinclair, and in fact is the one aspect of the visuals that is consistent among the changing artist. The flashback scene continued the sepia tone, as well as Jason Fabok’s art, which has become evident that it will all come to a head in issue #6, with him on the art for the last issue. Good move having Fabok continue with the story of Jon and Lois fate.

All in all, I still loved the art, largely possible because I’m a fan of all three artists work, but I gave it a lower grade than what I wanted, simply because the issue aside from the flashback, didn’t need 2 different artists.

5Cover Art – 5: Ivan Reis is doing all the covers for this series, and this week we have the “reveal” scene, when Pa shows Clark the rocket they found him in. It’s a wonderful little snapshot of a historic moment in Clark’s life. Love the attention to detail, such as Ma and Pa’s wedding rings.

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