COMICS REVIEW: Deep space action in "Superman #11, The Unity Saga, The House of El, Part 5”

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Ivan Reis, Inks by Joe Prado & Oclair Albert, Colors by Alex Sinclair, Cover by Reis, Prado, & Sinclair

"Superman #11" cover pencils by Ivan Reis

Zod lies broken and humbled, defeated in combat by the Doomsday-like Rogol Zar, who claims to have destroyed Krypton, and is on a mission to eliminate every remaining Kryptonian. Zod is only alive because Zar needs him to figure out how to escape from the Phantom Zone.

Brian Michael Bendis has reinvigorated Superman. The first of all comics superheroes (and my favorite) deserves to always have the industry's best talent at the helm, and that hasn’t been the case. It’s exciting and refreshing to see concepts and art that are truly memorable, from a writer and artists that are at their creative peaks.

Ivan Reis is still hitting it out of the park art-wise. Reis’ different, but pleasing take on Superman’s uniform is to use lots of shadows, making it seem a very dark blue/black with lighter blue highlights, and drawing the S-symbol as 3D and reflective. He depicts a Superman who looks powerful without being ridiculously over-muscled. After all, he's super-strong because he's Kryptonian, not because he has big muscles (Supergirl, anyone?). Overall, his art does not look hurried, but is detailed, anatomically realistic, and dramatic, with a refreshing difference in panel sizes and layered arrangements.

One particular Reis highlight is a scene that is a clear homage to one of my favorite Superman moments, from Superman vs Muhammad Ali, where Superman decides to use his indestructible Kryptonian body as a super-speed smart-torpedo, creating a weaving, breathtaking path of destruction. Superman has a worthy, top tier artist who I hope has a long run.

The recent Superman practice of a cinematic double-page spreads has been a spectacular way to show an establishing shot of vast, complex battle scenes. This issue’s credits spread is no exception, depicting a massive attack on Jor-El’s ship by Thanagarians, the Khund, and the Trillium Collective.

A super-spectacular, in-your-face splash page by Ivan Reis

Superman and his Super-son Jonathan arrive in the middle of this, wondering who threw the first punch. It’s in doubt because Jor-El’s truthfulness, motives, and mental health have been seriously questioned by Jonathan during his years-long stay in deep space with his grandfather.

I continue to be surprised that young Jonathan’s Kryptonian superpowers seem to be undiluted by his human mother’s blood and DNA. Will they be enough to help his father win the day? Or is more help from the House of El needed? (The cover art disappointingly gives part of the answer away).


• why the Phantom Zone's location was chosen as a prison for Kryptonians

• Superman showing off for his son, to the dismay of the enemy

• the superpower of the word “Please” (but maybe only if Superman says it!)

• the first appearance of “Super-Speed Time”

• what happens when you sneak up behind Jon

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