Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Josh Reed
What They Say:
The epic secrets of Superman continue to unfold! A few months in space with his paternal grandfather Jor-El changed Jon Kent forever. With Jon now seeking help from his father, the Man of Steel must learn about the war his son and father fought together and set right the wrongs his father may have unleashed on other worlds. See what changed Superboy in such radical ways as the Unity Saga continues.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the perks of new releases being missing in action for the next few weeks at the least is that my DC Universe membership is letting me catch up on some books I got behind on. While I struggle with Brian Michael Bendis’ work on some titles, his Superman book has clicked pretty well for me even if it’s kind of working as a condensed recap of events. I like the events themselves and I’m really enjoying the visual design as Reis and Peterson are delivering some gorgeous pages throughout with a lot of great detail, action, and character work. And the colors just pop so well digitally that it reminds me how glad I am that I made the switch years ago to get such accurate color representations.
As is the usual case, we get two stories being told here. Jon is relating his travels to his parents which is its own story and we get to see how things are going in the present. They’re putting Jon through a good array of tests because he’s been gone so many years at this point and there’s a natural need to make sure he’s okay – and who he says he is. It provides a chance to talk a bit and while I understand Lois’ concerns and she handles them well, I really liked how Jon talked about working this conversation in his head for a long time on the journey back. The one really struggling here is Clark as he realizes that his father has stolen years of time from him with his son and there’s a lot of anger stemming from that. The internal struggle is well-played and it’s just amusing that he comes across Mongul while taking a breather and he serves as something that he can beat the crap out of instead of some random asteroid that could create a butterfly effect.
Jon’s journey with his grandfather is where all the real problems come. It’s early on in the book that we see Jon realize that Jor-el isn’t quite right in his mind as the time they’re spending out in the galaxy is revealing so much chaos, so little talking, that it’s overwhelming. And with Jor-el feeling out of sorts in how he shouldn’t even truly be here to have these moments with his grandson, it unsettles Jon just enough that he decides it’s time to head back. But with them so far out into the galaxy, and wanting to not upset the potential crazy old man, he just looks for ways while the two engage in seemingly endless disputes and fights. I really liked the small moment with the Green Lanterns they come across as both Kilowog and Arisia are favorites of mine, but it shows how Jon is getting older and becoming wearier with all that they’re facing, and trying to balance things once he discovers that Jor-el overheard him asking for a ride back to Earth.
While Jon’s story is being told in flashback in abbreviated form when it really should be a longform series of its own to be told, it is interesting enough that I’m liking what we see and his view of the galaxy. Bendis gives us a lot to work with here as we see the parental worry and strain play out while also giving us a son who understands how confusing this all is to them and tries to mitigate it. At the same time, we see his struggles out in space and what he was facing as his grandfather began to feel more untethered from things, making for a real strain. It reads well, has some very fun moments, and looks great throughout, making for an engaging issue that has me eager for more.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via DC Universe
Release Date: February 13th, 2019