Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Josh Reed
What They Say:
Named one of the best books of the year by Paste Magazine, Comics Beat and others, the Unity Saga continues! The drama of the House of El tears the galaxy in half as Superman and his son are forced to confront his father about the secrets of Krypton in front of the gathered heads of the galaxy. Superman makes a bold choice that will forever change his relationship to the Earth, the Justice League and his family! Witness one of the most important chapters in Superman history!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Unity Saga hits its fifth installment here and it’s one that I continue to be conflicted on. We’re getting some really big and beautiful two-page spreads out of Ivan Reis with the artwork and those working with him and they’re full of power and impact in how they’re presented. But it also feels like the storyline is just a bit too padded still and not connecting at its best when it needs to be. I’m not pro or against Bendis as I’ve read very little of him overall as I haven’t read mainline marvel since the 90s. So my experience is largely what he’s written for DC so far and I’ve enjoyed Superman overall since it got underway. But at this installment, it feels like a “Let’s step it up already” kind of moment.
For a good chunk of this issue, the main focus is on how Superman just can’t believe that things have spiraled out of control as quickly as they have here. It’s expansive with so many groups going at it, Rogol Zaar nowhere to be found, and his father in the middle of it. Superman’s not exactly stuck for what to do but there’s just so much to do that it’s slowing him down and seeing the way he feels about that in front of his son was a wonderfully human moment. Especially, as he goes on, about how he’s lost so much time with him. That actually turns into a really good moment when he starts to go after one of the ships and instead of just going and leaving Jon there, he realizes it’s potentially a big teaching moment for this older Jon that’s now back in his life and he can show him how to save the galaxy. And Jon, bless his still innocent heart, looks like a kid in the candy store getting to interact with everything to his heart’s content.
It’s enjoyable watching as Superman deals with the immediate moments but then goes to try and slow down each of the main groups from their attacks, to get a pause in the fight in order to figure out what’s going on. But when he’s pushed to simply go ask his father about things, that’s what nearly sets him off. The infuriating thing is that Superman asks him bluntly why this is going on but he just keeps talking without answering and ends up being cut off because both Zaar and Zod show up and it turns into a larger continuing fight, all while the main empires are waiting to resume their attack for the reasons still undisclosed. With the nugget about how Zaar and Zod didn’t go to take him on first being an interesting one, there’s a few ways to look at it but my goodness I just want some real clarity at this point.
The story aspects continue to frustrate me here even as I adore the larger sweeping elements of it all. I continue to enjoy the way Superman’s intergalactic reputation works so well as it’s something that carries weight of invested time and actions and there’s real payoff to it here, even if just for a few minutes. Ivan Reis and his team are the ones carrying the day here as it’s just such a beautifully laid out and detailed book that really showcases all the power and intensity of these powerful characters fighting each other or engaging across different cultures, species, and technologies. It’s easy to just get lost in the visuals and enjoy the superficial elements of the story at the moment more than anything else and still feel very fulfilled.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via DC Universe
Release Date: May 15th, 2019