Man Of Steel #3



ManOfSteel3-minWhen the highlight of a “Superman” comic is arguably a nine-panel long cameo by Gotham City’s Caped Crusader, then something has potentially gone badly wrong with its penmanship, and unfortunately for Issue Three of “Man Of Steel” that is precisely what happens with Brian Michael Bendis’ narrative when the titular character turns to “someone who might help shine a little light on the investigation for us–” by introducing Deputy Fire Chief Moore to Batman.

Of course, this twenty-two page periodical’s plot contains a far more substantial central thread than a simple inspection into “a series of coordinated criminal attacks that are designed to scare the residents of this city”, such as the devastating destruction of Kandor and the Last Son of Krypton’s Fortress of Solitude. But debatably nowhere else within this publication does the Cleveland-born writer manage to so successfully mix humour with enthralling suspense, not even when he later teams up Kal-El with Supergirl in order to confront “the merciless killer and zealot calling himself Rogol Zaar”.

Indeed, despite such an incalculably deadly “threat from… [Superman’s] earliest origins” re-emerging and causing untold damage to Clark Kent’s highly valued heritage, this book’s audience are supposed to believe the Big Blue Boy Scout would squander valuable time tracking down his wrecked home’s assailant, by having a sedentary discussion with his cousin as to who might be responsible; “Who did this? Another Superman from another Earth? Ugh. Not Bizarro. Please not Bizarro. [Luthor]… has to know what you’d do to him for this.” Sadly however, this rather artificially worded, stilted conversation leads into an even more lack-lustre sequence as Joe Shuster’s co-creation ‘wastes’ four entire pages hunting Metropolis for a foe every reader knows the identity to, and resultantly, not even a few random explosions whose “impact tremors rattle the city” can help imbue the two adversaries’ ‘titanic’ meeting with any sense of sensationalism.

Quite possibly this publication’s biggest disappointment though is Ryan Sook’s strangely inert pencilling. The American artist certainly puts together some dynamic-looking storyboarding for Zaar’s battle against Kelex in the Artic, as well as Superman’s subsequent speedy search through the high-rise towers of his adopted homeland, yet it’s hard to see from such ‘run-of-the-mill illustrations just why “his style has been compared to that of Mike Mignola, Adam Hughes, and Kevin Nowlan.”

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.


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For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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