Proudly proclaimed by “DC Comics” as “a bold new chapter for the greatest superhero of all time”, yet disconcertingly only the fifth best-selling comic book in July 2018 according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, Issue One of “Superman” must have disappointed many of its 133,703 fans with its tantalisingly fleeting glimpses of Clark Kent’s alter-ego battling prehistoric monsters and giant astronaut gorillas on the moon. Indeed, just why Brian Michael Bendis instead frustratingly focused upon a dialogue-heavy tête-à-tête between the titular character and the Martian Manhunter which runs for half the entire length of the publication is anyone’s guess, and disappointingly results in the Cleveland-born author arguably squandering precious space within this twenty three-page periodical on Kal-El pondering the fact that “we’re going to be part of this galactic conversation soon and someone is going to have to lead us there” rather than providing his readers with a far more detailed account of the Man of Steel’s epic tussle with the entire Dominator Armada “headed right for earth”..?
Sadly, the five-time Esiner Award-winner’s infuriating ‘stop and start’ story-telling approach persists throughout “The Unity Saga” and whilst initially slightly amusing, as the Metropolis Marvel suspends J’onn J’onzz in his “lovely” sympathies surrounding “the shocking truth behind your home planet’s demise” so as to ‘punch-out’ a Doomsday-like dinosaur rampaging close to London’s St. Mary Axe, the interruptions soon become incredibly unfunny and additionally hint at Superman having some far more interesting interactions with the likes of a NASA-suited Gorilla Grodd or bravely defying the heat of another towering inferno in order to rescue a building full of children. These action-packed interludes are far more sense-shattering than anything the green Martian’s deadly dull discussion produces, especially when its revealed at the end of his conversation when the Big Blue Boy Scout unsurprisingly turns down the offer to “lead the world”, that the Justice Leaguer “knew this would be a hard sell” anyway.
Fortunately, this “looking at the world through new eyes… with new ideas” publication does contain a few highlights of note, such as the Kryptonian’s establishment of a new Fortress of Solitude hidden amidst the waters of the Bermuda Triangle. Incredibly well-pencilled by Ivan Reis, this double-splash of “crystal technology created light-years from the Earth and its yellow sun” appears a far more unfriendly, formidable looking “place of solace and mediation” than the one ‘borrowed’ from Henry W. Ralston’s co-creation Doc Savage. In fact, considering that the structure supposedly houses “a museum of all of Kryton’s history, an alien zoo, laboratories, technologies and rooms dedicated to all sorts of relics and trophies of his past adventures”, it’s a pity Bendis didn’t decide to have the titular character linger a while within its corridors rather than rush off to disappointingly debate with the Martian Manhunter.