Superman #6 is two very interesting halves, that shouldn’t work together in one issue. Somehow though, they do and actually come around as one of the best single issues of superhero comics I’ve read in a long time.
After last issue’s slightly slower issue, Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Alex Sinclair, and Josh Reed give us an absolutely action-packed story. It’s also full of some great emotional beats, and has a jaw-dropping cliffhanger.
In the first half of the issue, Clark and Zod team-up against Rogol Zaar until Superman is suddenly yanked back to Earth. He tries to go on and help rebuild, but can’t cast Zod from his mind. However, he’s forced to when Superboy returns!
By all accounts, this issue shouldn’t work. The tonal whiplash between the first half of the story and the second half should ruin it. It’s a testament to Bendis’ skill as a writer that it not only works, but it enhances the issue. Superman getting pulled out of the fight suddenly actually is much more logical than his rescue coming after the fight is tied up in a neat bow.
The first half of the story is stunning. The fight is depicted entirely a double page spreads, with no dialogue but narration from Superman drawing us into how crucial this is for the remnants of Krypton. The line art is career best for Reis, Prado and Albert with each spread full of power and grace, while Bendis’s narration feels so authentic. It’s tied together by Sinclair’s great color work and Reed doing some outstanding letters.
Now, I do have to say that I’m not thrilled with the cliffhanger. The sci-fi trope of artificially aging kids is worn and tired. However, Bendis has won enough good will with me so far that I’m cautiously optimistic that he’s going to do something unique with this moment, rather than leaning into the trope.
This may be the best issue of Superman in the past year, maybe even more. Pick it up.
Superman #6 is available now from DC Comics.