Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado; Jason Fabok
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Cory Petit
The wait is over. The Bendis era at DC has begun with the release of theMan of Steel #1. Unlike his arrival at Marvel almost 20 years ago, where there was little fanfare or expectation, the expectations of Bendis at DC are borderline astronomical and if the Man of Steel #1 is any indication then DC will get their moneys worth out of Brian Michael Bendis.
Thirty-Two years ago Marvel lost another of their all stars as John Byrne left the house of ideas for greener pastures and a gigantic paycheck (rumored to be a million dollars) and rebooted Superman for DC in the wake of the greatest event comic of all time, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Launched in the summer of 1986, Man of Steel #1 set a bold new direction for Superman. Where Byrne’s take on Superman had a classic feel with an updated origin and a then modern take on a depowered man of steel. It’s not a coincidence that Bendis’ relaunch of Superman is also titled the Man of Steel and once again there is a new take on Superman but unlike Byrne Bendis feels like he is going for a classic feel and ironically a more Byrne take on the Last Son of Krypton.
As a long time comic fan I have a love hate relationship when it comes to Superman. Ever since I was young I run hot and cold on the Man of Steel where sometimes I love what is going on with Superman but I quickly bail when the book(s) veers off course. As an adult I’ve delved back into the Silver Age of Superman comics and have come to appreciate some of those classic tales but my first consistent reading of Superman was the Byrne era but when he left I left. I dipped my toe back in from time to time but was turned off by the Death of Superman and didn’t venture back to Metropolis until Jeff Loeb took over the title and I stuck it out for a little bit then dropped off again until the recent Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Superman, which I adored. Yet some of my favorite maxi-series and limited series are Superman centric as Birthright is one of the best origin stories in comics, but then I expect nothing less from Mark Waid while Grant Morrison and Frank Quitley’s All Star Superman is one of my favorite comics ever. But I am a big Bendis fan, I’ve enjoyed just about everything he has done and I regard his Avengersand X-Men runs as highlights of the recent era in comics and his entirety of Ultimate Spider-Man comics is a treasure. I was shocked when I heard Bendis had left Marvel for DC, I thought it was an Internet hoax at first but then became excited at the prospect of a Bendis Batman book, since I thought that was the logical landing spot for Bendis. Then it was announced he was taking over Superman and I became a bit unsure. I shouldn’t have been.
The Man of Steel #1 is a very enjoyable comic. The story is easily accessible for new readers, people following Bendis to the book. Yet longtime Superman fans will enjoy the classic feel and appearance of the Man of Steel. The Man of Steel #1is a straightforward story, a reintroduction of Superman and Metropolis to both new fans and old. Superman deals with a couple of vacationing Batman villains and investigates an arson while we are also introduced to a new threat and maybe a ‘love’ interest? The Man of Steel #1 has patented Bendis dialogue and pacing, with great moments but still with questions left unanswered yet done in a manner that leaves the readers wanting more. Ivan Reis was born to draw Superman as his classic style fits perfectly on this book and I look forward to his time on Superman when it launches next month. I don’t know how the rotating artists on this title will affect the way it reads but with the all-star roster I’m more than willing to find out.
Verdict: The Man of Steel #1 is an excellent comic and hopefully the start of what will be an epic run for Superman. Brian Michael Bendis has finally arrived at DC and his has arrived in style as this book is a definite BUY.