Superman #12 / Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Ivan Reis / Inks: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert / Colors: Alex Sinclair / Letters: Josh Reed / Publisher: DC Comics / Publish Date: June 12, 2019
House of El
Superman’s Unity Saga returns with The House of El being all together to fight injustice. This issue is a crossover with Supergirl as she brings news of why and how Krypton was destroyed. Between Superman, Jon, Supergirl, Krypto, and Jor-El the fight that was brewing between three factions has been diffused and the real villains from the phantom zone are left. Now The House of El can fight Rogol Zaar the monster who has killed Krypton and wants to finish the job.
Brian Michael Bendis shows us the inner monologue of Superman while he is fighting. This tactic diffuses the tension in the fighting. Even when the monologing has stopped and Superman is grimacing at Zod, the tension does not return. Then the fight is over somewhat abruptly. The House of El escapes together to Jor-El’s ship to discuss the bigger picture.
When Supergirl and Jon leave, Superman explains the conversation with Zod he had while in Superspeed. (An overused strategy for Bendis during this Saga) Zod has been building to betray the evil cause in previous issues, so it was not surprising that the high speed conversation went that direction. Jor-El’s reveal was surprising though and Bendis does a good job of building suspense for the next issue.
Bendis is known for his larger than life, but down to earth characters. In Superman #12, and really since Jon’s return, the main character has become somewhat bland. This is something that is common for this character according to many comic fans. The larger than life personalities of other characters just take over. Bendis does do a good job of giving us some great family moments though. Krypto jumping Jon out of excitement and Superman watching, was beautiful.
The continuity between this issue and it’s crossover Supergirl were also an issue. Some characters would say things in one issue and another character would say it in the other issue. The timelines were also different, such as Supergirl discovering Jon’s growth while fighting in space in her comic, not while they are retreating into the ship. Supergirl is also far more engaging and exciting than this book. If DC is going to do crossover events like this, they have to know people will read both. Continuity is tough to keep, but only two characters crossed, and it should be consistent.
Ivan Reis’s art was well crafted and Inkers Joe Prado and Oclair Albert create a great team. Although the tension in the story diffuses during the fight, this trio have compiled a well thought out fight. The way the panels are laid out, the expressions of the characters faces, and the grotesque nature of Ragol Zaar.
The 2 page layout of the chaos that a reader has to turn to read was fantastic. The family moments mentioned before were drawn so beautifully by Reis that posters could be made of them. This also goes for the full page of Supergirl punching the villain. All moments were epic due to the art and color.
Alex Sinclair’s colors really made this issue pop. The house of El’s traditional Red, Yellow, and Blue stood out among the darker colors of the fight. Red of the first page tells the reader evil is afoot. Sinclair, then subtly transitions to green throughout the book. Will the end of this story be Superman’s new Kryptonite? Was the green rock somehow used in the destruction of Krypton? Regardless, Sinclairs’s the final page is a gorgeous array of green space and rock that helps to build the suspense of the next issue.
Overall, I’m underwhelmed with this issue, but excited about the next. This story line has had some highs and lows, this is just another dip. Benis is a very talented writer and I’m sure his end game will be worth the wait. I have enjoyed how he has created Jon’s adult persona. The artwork has been great for this run and I hope they continue to experiment with how the art helps tell this story. The next issue seems like it will be a new version of Krypton’s destruction and I can’t wait to read it.
Verdict: 3 out of 5