Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Josh Reed
What They Say:
The secrets of the house of El are revealed as the Unity Saga continues! Traveling through space, young Jon Kent has faced everything the universe could throw at him, but after an accident sends him and his grandfather Jor-El across dimensions, the new Superboy comes face to face with a terrifyingly evil version of his own father: Ultraman and his horrible version of the Justice League, the Crime Syndicate! Find out what happened to Superman’s father and how Jon made it back home from this strange and crime-ridden alternate world.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Digging into Jon’s journey has certainly been fun even if I wish we had a few years of it in its own storyline. Catching up on my backlog a bit more has us getting Jon falling through to a different universe and that’s the kind of stuff that, while far more common today than it used to be, is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed comics for so long. Bendis works with just a couple of characters here and while it’s still more verbose than it needs to be it works better than the team books I’m reading of his as the flow and pacing is a lot smoother. It’s also a book that continues to look strong thanks to what Reis and Peterson bring to it, especially in getting to play with the Crime Syndicate designs a bit and showing off some fun bad guys.
The time in the present is shorter than the last issue where we saw Clark burning off some excess energy and more of Lois’ concerns. That’s still here but it’s kept to a few panels in order to let Jon tell his story for more of the book, which is part of the problem. Jon ending up in this other dimension has him instantly being sought after by the Crime Syndicate but we see how Ultraman essentially swooped in and hid him away so that he can have him all to himself. Jon has no idea how long he was really in this dimension but it plays well as Ultraman has placed him within an active volcano and takes advantage of the fact that Jon has almost no powers here thanks tot he lack of a sun. There’s always been a crazy about this version of Clark but Bendis gives it a more manic approach in how he deals with Jon, going on constantly with stories that shift with each telling and so forth.
For Jon, he’s coping with the surreal aspect of seeing his father before him like this even though he knows it’s not him. Ultraman doesn’t enact any violence on him as it doesn’t do much to make him feel better but he does like knowing he controls the fate of the son of one of his most hated enemies. Jon also makes it clear he’s a bit ashamed it took him as long as he did to start figuring a way out of this himself as he ended up figuring his grandpa wasn’t alive to look for him at this point, but it’s a good sequence to see how he began to devise a plan and started to move forward, escaping from this prison and looking to infiltrate the Crime Syndicate to find information on how they ended up on his Earth all those years ago. Seein the world through Jon’s eyes is pretty fun to watch and there’s a good oppressive feeling to everything we get here.
Though Superman himself is a small part of the book we do get a good look at the Crime Syndicate version of him and there’s definitely a lot of psychological issues at play there that Jon’s exposed to. It’s a pretty solid issue in showing part of Jon’s journey on that alternate Earth and all that it entailed with some good seriousness and creativity on his part. Bendis works the overall concept well and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next part is like as I’ve always enjoyed the Crime Syndicate. Reis and Peterson continue to delight me with how the book looks as we get Clark but not quite through Ultraman and the differences in expressiveness covers a lot of important ground in doing this.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via DC Universe
Release Date: March 13th, 2019