One of the foundations of DC Comics’ Legion of Super-Heroes is the United Planets, an assembly of alien worlds that the various Legionnaires came from. However, Superman #15 reveals exactly where and how the UP was founded, and how the Kents were involved…
Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Brandon Peterson, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Alex Sinclair, and Wes Abbott bring the Unity Saga to an end on Unity Day.
Rogal Zaar is defeated. Jor-El is in custody. And the Legion of Super-Heroes is standing on Thanagar, ready to witness the most historical event in their history. It’s one of the most baffling days in Superman’s life, but it’s one that will not only change his family but also the entire DC Universe in its wake…
This story is nothing but epilogue to what came before and prologue to what comes next, but that’s not to say it’s not an entertaining story. By introducing new threads and wrapping up loose ends, Bendis is able to dive deep with his characters and reflect on the journey they’ve been through. He continues to write Superman nearly perfectly, with a thoughtfulness to him that a lot of writers forget. He also has a majestic presence around others, and you never doubt for a second that he can carry a room in that way.
He also gives two conclusions to key players from the last few years of Superman stories- one incredibly successful, and one somewhat unsatisfying (perhaps on purpose). Jor-El has a sentence passed on him for his crimes in which Bendis uses a little bit of ironic justice- he’s sent back to Krypton using time travel an instant before the planet’s destruction. It’s a fitting end of “Mr. Oz” and wraps up a loose end that needed it in a very satisfying way. However, we see Rogol Zaar merely imprisoned and in stasis, despite the fact that his crimes were arguably greater than Superman’s father. Now this could just be set-up for the warlord’s eventual return, but as far as the end of this 18+ month long story, it’s a let-down.
The art, however, is absolutely fantastic. Reis, with Prado and Albert’s inks, conveys the awe of an intergalactic body coming together in peace, with the various aliens all being given equal presence on the page. He plays with the point of view and layouts in a way that conveys a greater sense of scale in the story that what we actually see. His characters also act rather than just sitting as characters on a page- we see body language and emoting that feel like capturing a human being in a moment of vulnerability rather than just an image drawn on a page.
After a year-plus of stories that were generally good but not perfect, I’m excited to see where the future of this title takes us. Hopefully, it’s up up and away!
Superman #15 is available now from DC Comics.