Superman #6 // Review
It’s Superman and Zod versus Rogol Zaar in Superman #6, by writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Ivan Reis, inkers Joe Prado and Oclair Albert, colorist Alex Sinclair, and letterer Josh Reed. This issue is an artistic tour de force and ends with a surprise that already has a lot of fans up in arms, mostly because the cover spoils it. Be that as it may, this is a great issue of Superman.
Zod and Superman battle it out with Rogol Zaar in the Phantom Zone. Superman questions whether he should allow Zod to kill Zaar or try and spare him so he can answer Superman’s questions about the destruction of Krypton and Jor-El’s possible role in Zaar’s hatred for the planet, but he’s pulled back to Earth before the fight ends. Zaar is able to defeat to Zod and begins the process of uniting the Phantom Zone prisoners under his own banner. Back on Earth, Superman works to repair the damage caused by the Phantom Zone incident and decides to try and find his father in space when a surprise return interrupts him.
The crux of this issue is a lot of double page spreads of Zod, Zaar, and Superman battling it out and they are beautiful. The art team does a phenomenal job of capturing the power of this battle. Zaar is a frightening behemoth, Zod is a righteous avenger, and Superman is the hero in the middle, lost in his own musings on what he should do in the battle, but still bringing it. Ivan Reis’ Zaar is still the best rendition of the character.
Superman’s questioning himself on what to do during the battle is a nice touch. Superman doesn’t personally kill, especially not with someone like Zaar because there’s still things he wants to know about Zaar and what he’s done and why. Zod has no such compunctions, though, and Superman wonders whether it will be easier just to let Zod do his thing. It’s a nice touch as it illustrates that even though he’s super, he’s still a man as well. Zaar defeating Zod once Superman is pulled away isn’t a surprise either, since Zaar was able to handle Superman and Supergirl at the same time. Bendis is trying to build Zaar into a bigger threat as he works to unify the Phantom Zone prisoners into a fighting force. Zaar isn’t the best villain ever, but it will interesting to see if Bendis can make him work in the future.
The big reveal at the end of the book is already polarizing because of DC’s soliciting future issues of the book. Putting it on the cover is a little suspect as well. Readers were not at all happy with Bendis’ decision about this character in the first place and the edgy way that this cover and other covers have portrayed the character have already soured a lot of fans on what might come next. This is definitely a wait and see situation, since this issue reveals nothing beyond the return, but it will be intriguing to see what Bendis does next.
Superman #6 delivers an action packed finale to the Phantom Zone storyline and sets up a few glimpses of things to come. It’s rare for a Bendis written book to be this action focused and the art team takes full advantage of it, laying out some beautiful double page spreads that capture the fight perfectly. The big reveal at the end is already controversial, but readers will have to wait to see where it goes. Superman is easily the better of Bendis’ two Superman books and this issue keeps that up.