Review: ‘Superman’ #20 Starts The United Planets’ First War

by Tony Thornley

After months of building his life up in new ways, things seem to be going well for Clark Kent, in both his identities. However, as Superman #20 shows, sometimes things are only built up so they can be torn down.

Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, and Dave Sharpe tear down Superman’s new world.

On Earth, the aftermath of Clark Kent unmasking is still being felt as an Earth-shaking video begins to circulate. However, he’s not even on planet to see it, as Mongul attacks the first general assembly of the United Planets. Can Mongul destroy the UP before its even truly been born or will Superman save the day?

The Truth storyline continues to breath new life into the series, playing to Bendis’s strengths as a writer. The Earthbound plot is fascinating, giving the conflict over Clark’s ethics as Superman and a reporter genuine weight. However, the mystery of the video is most interesting and I’m especially excited to see that plotline goes.

The off world plot is equally interesting, but it’s a more straight-up action plot. Mongul is a longtime favorite villain of mine, and he’s given the proper weight within the story. Of all the possible villains who could have torn the newborn UP apart, he was the best choice, both as a physical threat to Superman and a strategic mind to place opposite him.

Reis, Prado and Albert continue their streak of great line art. They keep a newsroom argument as visually engaging as a brutal space war. The battle in space is extremely hard-hitting, taking the fact that it’s an act of war by Mongul seriously, and not shying away from the horrors that come from that. For nearly two years now, this art team has done consistently great art every issue and this issue is no exception to that.

Clark Kent’s life is heating up, and it’s one hell of a read. I’m excited to see what’s next.

Superman #20 is available now from DC Comics.

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