One of the best aspects of any superhero story that Brian Michael Bendis has written is the human cost of being super. In Ultimate Spider-Man, it cost Peter Parker his life, and in the Avengers, it led to several catastrophic events. In Superman #8, Bendis and team turn that to the world of Superman and the DC Universe.
Bendis, Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson, Joe Prado, Alex Sinclair and Josh Reed continue the exploration of Jon Kent’s lost time, and what it meant to him. It also explores some very important feelings for Clark and Lois.
Jon continues telling Lois and Clark about his time with Jor-El- from being super to Jon’s realization that his grandfather is insane. In a quiet moment, Clark steps away and blows off some steam. When he returns, Jon tells them about the most shocking part of the story- the black hole. It’s not just that they were trapped in its gravity well, but they were actually sucked in and transported somewhere very familiar to DC fans…
Bendis really goes above and beyond in this issue. Each of his protagonists feels human and flawed, from Clark’s anger, to Lois’s compassion, and Jon’s struggle to reconnect. As a parent myself, having my son stolen from me for his entire childhood would make me want to have the near-tantrum Clark does, and the relief of discovering Mongul at just the right time was brilliant, both for catharsis and comedy. There are a few quirks of the timeline and continuity here, but overall, the character work here helps the story overcome those few faults.
The art continues to be excellent here. Peterson lapses back into his older more static style here a bit, but he’s still able to make Jon relatable and emotive and conveys the emotional distance growing between Jon and Jor-El extremely well. Reis and Prado meanwhile do some excellent work, showing us an emotional father just as well as the interior of the new Fortress of Solitude. With Sinclair’s colors providing a unifying element as well as bold color, it’s a great-looking comic.
This is the kind of Superman story I really love, and we’re finally starting to get good justification for aging Jon Kent up. It works great as a single story as part of Bendis’s ongoing epic, and I definitely recommend checking it out.
Superman #8 is available now from DC Comics.