Superman #7 // Review
Superboy returns in Superman #7, by writer Brian Michael Bendis, artists Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson, and Jason Fabok, inker Oclair Albert, colorist Alex Sinclair, and letterers Josh Reed and Carlos M. Mangual. A lot of fans have been both looking forward to and dreading the return of Superboy since Bendis’ run started and this issues begins the story of how ten year old Jon left and came back a teenager. Will fans still be outraged by the end of this arc or will Bendis be able to stick the landing?
Superman and Jon reunite, hugging and talking about what has happened. Jon asks about his Mother and Clark takes him to her. Together, they tell the story of the beginning of their journey with Jor-El. After helping save some children from intergalactic slavers, Lois decides to leave and go back to Earth. At this point in the story, Jon intimates that not everything was what it seemed with Jor-El and tells Superman they have to find a way to stop him.
Since Bendis broke up the Kent family at the end of Man Of Steel, fans have not been happy. One of the key parts of the Rebirth era Superman books was the family and the way it worked together. Fans got used to this unit and the way they worked together and got mad when Bendis threw it all away. The weird thing about it is he didn’t keep the family apart too long and in retrospect that makes the whole thing feel rather cheap and manipulative. It was a status quo change for its own sake and it wasn’t particularly needed. Nothing about the stories Bendis has been telling in either Superman book have benefitted from it. When fans started to see the cover images for the upcoming issues, with a teenage Jon looking all edgy, they got even angrier than they were before.
As far as this particular issue goes, that anger seems unfounded. Right now, Jon just seems like an older version of the character fans grew to love. There’s definitely more going on than meets the eye, but at this point, Bendis has not destroyed the character of Jon. He’s not become some “teenage edgelord”. So far. In fact, as far as it goes, this story is quite entertaining. There’s some wonky dialogue in a few places, but overall, it’s a good issue.
The art is, as always on this book, top notch. Reis starts and ends the book with the present day bookends and Brandon Peterson does the majority of the flashbacks with Fabok doing one page that references panels from his issue of Man Of Steel. Peterson’s art gets a little wooden on an action spread, but other than that, he does a great job with the more sci-fi elements of the flashbacks.
Superman #7 takes something that a lot of fans are up in arms about and handles it rather gracefully. Fans reading through the book, hoping to find Bendis destroying Jon for his own sake are going to be in for a disappointment. This isn’t a groundbreaking book; most of the stuff in here feels like things most fans have already figured out, but it’s well told and the art is mostly great. This was a classic Bendis info dump book, but it doesn’t suffer from his penchant for long winded, boring dialogue and it works to hopefully keep readers coming back to see what comes next. This is a good comic and hopefully fans can look past their own prejudices and give it a chance.