Superman #11 review

FIGHT! That’s what we get this issue, as Superman and Superboy are teleported into the middle of an all-out battle involving three space races and Superman’s errant father, Jor-El.

Before that, though, we see how Phantom Zone criminal General Zod came to work with Rogol Zaar, the creature who killed Krypton.

Superman doesn’t know what the heck is going on – who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, and what his father’s involvement is. The first priority is to stop the fighting, something that can be achieved with a show of power. Super-power.

One by one, Superman contacts the Thanagarians, the Khund and the Trilium Collective, persuading them to cease fire. He wants to know what the conflict is about. The Trilium leader tells him to ask Jor-El.

Jon, son of two investigative reporters, is asking the right questions, but Jor-El isn’t forthcoming, so by the time Zaar and Zod attack them, Superman is no further forward. While Zaar tackles Superman, Zod goes for his son.

And then the cavalry arrives…

(Shoot, I’m trying not to give the ending away, and then I notice this issue’s winning cover by Reis, Prado and Sinclair – dang DC, can’t you keep your surprises wrapped until the right moment?)

So, who believes that Zod, planetary patriot par excellence, is seriously on side with Zaar? The fact he’s restraining Jon and silently counselling him to hang back, rather than attack, speaks (silent) volumes. And look at the hatred etched on his face in that panel up top.

Jon’s on great form here, pointing out that his grandfather is being evasive. Super-feat wise, he doesn’t get a lot to do, but writer Brian Michael Bendis has much of this issue happen at super-speed, an area in which our new Superboy evidently isn’t as proficient as Pops. But having him there does provide an opportunity for that teaching moment.

‘Ma Kent’ in the present tense? Oh, I’d love it were Martha suddenly alive again. Or does Clark mean the 2019 version of Ma Kent, Lois? ‘Let’s make this into a moment’ sounds like her.

I like how Superman formally introduces himself to the Thanagarian general, not assuming he’s known to him. And that he doesn’t panic about Jon being in the middle of a massive melee… never mind surviving being hunted for years on Earth 3, Jon has survived numerous ‘play dates’ with Damian Wayne – he deserves to be treated as the young hero he is.

Jor-El remains super-annoying, with his refusal to open up to his son and grandson. I still don’t quite believe this is the Man of Steel’s father – having him survive Krypton’s end is too big an upset to the Legend, even before the presentation of him as a murderous jerk.

That’s it, he’s not Jor-El, he’s Jerk-El.

The dynamic layouts by penciller Ivan Reis are pretty spectacular, there’s a real sense of chaos, though I wish that first spread foregrounded Jerk-El – he’s apparently the pivotal figure, but I can’t see him. The figurework and expressions, inked by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert, are exemplary, while Alex Sinclair goes the full Cosmic with his colourwork. I especially enjoy the wonder and pride Jon obviously feels as he watches Dad ‘at work’. Rogol Zaar looks suitably scary, making Zod look positively noble by comparison. Josh Reed does a splendid job on the lettering, with this wobbly font very effective in context.

Things look set to ramp up further next issue, and I’m rather looking forward to it, given the promise of the final page. Hopefully, along with the fighting, we’ll get some answers from Jerk-El as to what he’s really up to.

12 thoughts on “Superman #11 review

  1. I didn’t quite follow everything the first time through. I don’t think the art was helpful to what read as a great story as far as the captions and dialog went.

    And I’m still bothered that Rann and Thanagar are now as bad as the Dminators and Khunds. DC doesn’t really have any planets left that aren’t terrible places filled with terrible people, do they?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They don’t, just one more reason I want the Legion back, with its generally benevolent universe.

      The editors should have requested a few artistic changes to make story and art match up, certainly.

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      1. And I want real Legion back. Earth Man and Johns’s darkening yet another corner of the DCU can be ignored like Norman Osborne and Gwen Stacy’s children. I don’t see how the man is considered such a DC fan boy when he brings a level of gore, grimness, and discord that was never there before him…

        And on a tangent, Levitz’s last Legion series was most definitely not set on the New 52’s Earth 2. That death of Superman they talk about in its last issue was decidedly not how the Earth 2 Superman died.

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  2. When are they going to reboot and put Jor-El back where he belongs? Jor-El being alive has been an absolute waste of an idea, such as that idea may be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tanes, thanks for dropping by. And yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I want this Jor-El revealed to be a stray from Earth 3, and the real Jor-El consigned to memory. Zor-El too.

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      1. I liked Zor-EL as Cyborg Superman and as much as I loathed Jurgens’s Jor-El, I’m starting to get accustomed to the Bendis version. Jurgens wrote him as flat out evil. Bendis seems to be writing him as malicious through craziness rather than intent…

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  3. I think Jerk-El comes from a different universe and just doesn’t realize it. Maybe never having investigated the multiverse before he never realized he’d crossed over into a new one at Krypton’s destruction. I hope as much, anyway.

    I like how Bendis writes Jon, but I really wish he’d kept him a child. The super-sons adventures were some of the most fun that happened in the Rebirth era.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on both counts. Send Grandad back to the Earth 3 Universe or wherever and return Jon to the great character he was, DC… it’s like everyone forgot that time they aged up Impulse.

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      1. Or maybe he came from one of those dumb Dark multiverse places. I always figured the best way to bring something like that into the DC universe was to explain that the Matter Multiverse also had an Anti-Matter Multiverse rather than this current mess Snyder has cooked up. Still, some of it is entertaining.

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  4. Interesting take on the Ma Kent verb.

    I just thought it was a way of him showing she was still in his heart/head that even though she has passed she still ‘says’ it in his head. Like when I say ‘You know what Groucho Marx always says ‘I wouldn’t want to be part of a club that would have me as a member.’

    I do wonder where this is all going. I still haven’t been grabbed enough by Zaar to feel like he’ll be a lasting part of the mythology. Is he the next Thanos? Or the next Conduit?

    Wonderful review as always.

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    1. I’d guess he’s the next Conduit… I was surprised to see him in the just-out DC Villains: 100 Moments book by Robert Greenberger; I suppose he can’t predict, either, what will become part of the furniture.

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