News of Brian Michael Bendis moving to DC Comics shook the world of comics when it was announced, and it seems he wanted to bring that same sense of upheaval to his run on Superman. The Man of Steel #6 ends with Clark Kent at a crossroads. His Fortress of Solitude is destroyed. His family is missing, and he battles the monstrous zealot Rogol Zaar, someone who claims responsibility for Krypton’s destruction. Clark has lost everything.
Bendis’ Superman run so far has been hit and miss. He grasps Clark as a character, but the tendency for his characters to ramble incessantly rears its ugly head, particularly in issues 4 and 5. Here, he uses it to great effect, particularly in the scenes between Clark, Lois, and Jon. The Kent family dynamic is what makes the current Superman books so engaging. I feel that Bendis’ own family experience helps him while writing the Kents, which makes Jon and Lois’ decisions in this book all the more baffling. I do not buy that they would leave Clark at ALL—especially considering the person with whom they’re leaving. Out of all the changes to the status quo Bendis has made so far, this one sticks out like a sore thumb. Supergirl leaving on her own journey of self discovery is far more believable and in character, and it opens up a more interesting story. Bendis should have stopped there.
Even if the story stumbles at times, Jason Fabok’s art does not. Fabok has slowly been making a name for himself as one of DC’s premier artists, and he brings his A-Game in this issue, especially when Superman and Zaar come to blows in the center of the Earth—and later, in the depths of space. The rich, vibrant colors of Alex Sinclair add weight to every sequence; he and Fabok are a match made in heaven.
In the end, The Man of Steel #6 is like an old roller coaster with some ups and some downs, but in the end you have a smile on your face from a ride you enjoyed. I hope Bendis continues to improve during his runs on Superman and Action Comics.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 Phantom Zone projectors