The Man of Steel tries to calm his alien attacker, but things don’t go as planned.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Danny Miki
Colored by Alex Sinclair
As Brian Bendis winds down his run on Superman and Action Comics, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that he’s going to go easy on Clark Kent in his final pages.
After encountering the Synmar last issue, Superman spends most the issue alternating between defending himself and trying to reason with this alien being who doesn’t seem to be able to communicate with him. The Synmar has travelled from so far away in the galaxy that the Fortress of Solitudes’ files have no information on who the Synmar is, where it’s from or why it would take issue with Superman.
And because Clark Kent doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the attack, he hesitates in his response. First, in order to protect Metropolis from wanton destruction, he brings the Synmar into the Phantom Zone. That brings up its own set of issues, considering some of the worst criminals in the universe’s history are thrown in there. A trip to the Phantom Zone could take up entire issues, but the whole scene there takes a matter of pages. Superman and the Synmar both take shots at the Phantom King and then exit the Phantom Zone.
Superman decides it would be best to follow the Synmar back to its home to try and understand its purpose. But the trip takes him into a galaxy with an orange sun, and his powers start to fade. And that’s not really a good thing when you’re millions of light years from home. As Superman realizes he’s in a bad situation, it gets worse, as the Synmar informs him that Superman’s surrender has been accepted, and he’s going to be prosecuted.
While Superman abets his own capture by the Synmar, Lois gets a visit at the couples’ apartment from Lana Lang, Clark Kent’s childhood friend and sometime-sweetheart. Lana comes out of concern for Clark, though we don’t get to the bottom of why just yet, as Lois puts her new book in Lana’s face and asks her to be the first person to read it.
I enjoy these moments in Superman comics, which allow for character growth of someone other than Clark Kent. They used to be a lot more common back when the four Super-books were interconnected and told an overarching story. There was a lot more space to allow multiple characters to shine and take the spotlight. It’s a different era than it was 25-30 years ago, though it’s nice when we get a little of that back sometimes.
I have a great interest in how Bendis closes out his run on Superman, especially with an apparent trial on the horizon for the Man of Steel. It’ll be a shame to see Bendis go, as I’ve enjoyed his time writing Superman and Action Comics.