Subway Shorts – The Man of Steel 6

The fate of Rogol Zaar! The fate of Jon and Lois! And the identity of the Metropolis arsonist! All of these things are revealed in the final issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ introduction to DC Comics!

The Man of Steel 6
Written by Brian Michael Bendis 
Pencils and Inks by Jason Fabok 
Colors by Alex Sinclair

For all the panic that fans experienced when Brian Michael Bendis was announced as the new creative head of the Superman books, the first full six issues for DC Comics was an impressive story that set up a lot of future conflicts that will bleed into Bendis’ runs on both the main Superman book and Action Comics (his SUPERMAN 1 is in stores this week, in fact).

And that’s kind of my problem with the way this miniseries ended. I was hoping for a full self-contained story, but very little was resolved when THE MAN OF STEEL 6 came to a close last Wednesday. It’s understandable, I suppose. DC Comics is looking to capitalize on whatever hype Bendis gets from the miniseries to roll over into the new monthly books. But I didn’t feel like there was any closure at the end of the finale.

Despite the many mysteries that were revealed this issue, I wouldn’t say anything was resolved. Let’s take them one by one.

Sending Jon and Lois off with Jor-El is probably the thing that irks me the most, because the reactions of Clark and Lois to Clark’s biological father coming and demanding to take Jon on an open-ended trip through space is just completely out there. After the care Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason took in establishing them as good, loving parents raising a boy with superpowers the way Clark’s parents would, letting Jon make the call because the Teen Titans rejected him (because he isn’t a teenager yet…) is just crazy. And so is Jor-El, isn’t he?

It’s nice that Bendis is following up on threads from both Dan Jurgens’ run on Action Comics and what Tomasi and Gleason were doing on Superman and Super-Sons, but it just felt out of character. I’ve only been a father for less than 18 months now, but I can’t imagine a scenario where I let my wife and child leave with anyone, let alone a father who I thought was dead and came back to put me in danger just a few months ago.

But it opens up a potential space epic to reunite them down the line. And it also ties in to why Superman is back in the red trunks – because he gave Lois his armored outfit. I hope, at the very least, we get a shot of her in the costume. Something to look forward to, I guess.

As far as Rogol Zaar goes, Supergirl just sends him to the Phantom Zone, and then goes off on her own jaunt into space to find more information about who Zaar is and where he comes from. Getting that backstory on the unkillable monsters always manages to lessen them somehow. When DC Comics introduced Doomsday in 1992 as an unstoppable killing machine, he was an awesome threat to everyone, even after he went down in battle against Supes. But then they kept adding more and more backstory, to the point where he turned into just another villain.

Zaar is a little bit of a different animal than Doomsday, obviously, but I hope they decide to keep a little bit of a mystique to the character, despite his supposedly playing a key role in Supergirl’s book later this year.

And what of the arsonist who’s been causing problems in Metropolis? The one that Superman can’t seem to identify? The last page gives us a tease to let us know THAT story is continuing as well. A young kid runs into the fire station and tells the squad that he saw who was setting the fires: Superman himself.

Wha-huh?

I guess we’ll need to keep reading Bendis’ Superman books to find out what that’s about.

Overall, I’ll admit to being a little disappointed in THE MAN OF STEEL, since the miniseries didn’t really give us any closure. But it was still a fun story that gives me hope for what Bendis is planning to do with Action and Superman. He clearly knows what makes Superman tick and – outside of the faulty parenting – should stay true to the great things about the character. I’m looking forward to some big action sequences and great character moments in the issues to come.