The Former Marvel Legend Delivers Superman #1
The Unity Saga Part 1
I've always been more of a DC man than Marvel, so I'll be honest with you, I missed out on most of Brian Michael Bendis' Marvel output, but I know enough to know his arrival at DC is a big deal.
Jumping in right away with the 6-part Man of Steel weekly miniseries, Bendis set the scene for his Superman tenure right away with a powerful being called Rogol Zaar seeking to exterminate all remnants of Kryptonian life and finish the mission he started years ago with... you guessed it, the destruction of Krypton.
I'm usually a bit skeptical of writers who want to play the this guy destroyed Krypton card - if I remember correctly, Kevin Smith's script for Superman placed the blame for Krypton's demise with Brainiac. I always feel like it's a bit of a cop-out, and like Jurassic Park, here's the second island we didn't mention at all in the first movie.
That being said, Bendis slipped it in well, as Rogol Zaar acts in secret, taking it upon himself to do the deed, although the Guardians of the Universe were aware of his idea (that's no doubt going to come back into play later on with some Green Lantern action).
Superman #1 picks up right after The Man of Steel series, with Superman still reeling after the attack that saw the bottled city of Kandor destroyed, the Fortress of Solitude wrecked, and Jon (Superboy) and Lois taking a trip around the universe under the guidance of Jor-El, who wants to sculpt Jon into a true Kryptonian man (instead of, as he Jor-El sums up Superman's career: "putting out fires in his baby clothes").Clark Kent pines for his family, unable to contact them without the communicator destroyed in the battle with Rogol Zaar, and resisting the urge to chase across the galaxy to bring them home. Martian Manhunter brings an interesting notion to Superman - who better than Superman to lead the world into the Galactic Community? He suggests that Superman take over Earth to make it accept its place in the galaxy and put an end to petty international matters - a suggestion that Clark is not at all comfortable with.
Does this herald the dawning of an Injustice-style era, with Superman taking on the role of a conqueror? That's the beauty of having a writer like Bendis on Superman, anything could happen. We've already seen him draw Superman away from his all-American boy posture with the chemistry sparking between he and Deputy Fire Chief Melody Moore (and she's got the double initials, so you know she's important, but not double L, so she's maybe not going to be that important).
The issue ends with a shocking revelation about the state of Earth and I can't wait to see where The Unity Saga takes us next! Bendis is taking his time, teasing out the narrative and I think it's going to be one hell of a ride.
With the art team of Ivan Reis (pencils), Joe Prado (inks) and Alex Sinclair (colours) the book looks great from the chill of space, the rescue at the raging fire, to the hazy flashbacks of Clark's family life, it all works very well. We drift from heroics to vulnerabilities with ease, scene to scene, panel to panel.
What more can I say? Superman's going through some interesting times - it's time to jump in and join the adventure.