Man of Steel #4 / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Kevin MaGuire and Jason Fabok / Letterer : Josh Reed / Inker: Alex Sinclair / Colorist: Alex Sinclair / Publisher: DC Comics / June 20, 2018
The Battle We’ve Been Waiting For
Man of Steel #4 opens with Superman and Supergirl battling Rogol Zaar over the streets of Metropolis; Jim Lee provided us with the peak of this battle in Action #1000. While the scene in Action #1000 was supposed to serve as a preview into the Bendis run, we still know precious little about why Zaar hates Kryptonians. There’s still a lot of background we don’t know, background that could give the story even more weight.
The Super duo puts up a great fight, but Zaar proves to be a class above them. Zaar isn’t just strong; he’s smart, too. The combined skills of Kal-El and Kara are not enough to take Zaar down.
The Ship’s Pilot Revealed
Jor-El is the pilot of the ship that appears in the Kent home, and he wants to take Jon away. The why remains a mystery. Even if we can guess that Jon will ultimately leave with his grandfather, I’d really like to know why Lois isn’t by her husband’s side. Knowing why Lois departed would give even more weight to the emotional beats of this story. To be this far into the story and not know why Lois is absent takes the punch out of an issue filled with flying fists.
Bendis Knows His Superman
Bendis understands and respects Superman. The Man of Steel thinks his way through both the physical and mental problems Zaar poses. This is something many miss about Supes. It’s not that he’s so strong that everything is easy for him. It’s because he’s so powerful, he must use his mind and heart more than almost anyone else, must be the best of humanity. On top of that, Superman is a capable warrior, with lessons from Batman and Wonder Woman holding true.
Maguire’s art makes this battle royale seem like an episode from Superman The Animated Series. That’s a good thing. However, this is the first time that the difference between the artists is noticeable. Fabok’s realism next to Maguire’s conventional comic book style almost takes you out of the story .
Great Potatoes, But We Need More Meat
The explosive cliffhanger provides a great reason to pick up the next issue. However, more insight into the driving parts of the story would’ve made the issue shine. We still don’t know why Kal’s family is gone or why Rogol Zaar hates Kryptonians. On top of that, with Lois so prominent on the cover, it’s a letdown not knowing what happened to her. Well-written fight scenes don’t make up for that lack of information. Man of Steel #4 brings us to a moment we’ve been waiting for, but not the moments that we need.
Verdict 3.5 out of 5