Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Comics

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Superman #14

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 28, 2019

Cover date: October 2019

"The House of El" - The Conclusion: Part One

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Oclair Albert & Joe Prado
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Adam Hughes

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Click to enlarge

Jor and Kal have finally arrived in the ruins of Krypton, surrounded by asteroids of dangerous radioactive matter. Rogol Zaar, along with Jax Ur, General Zod and his army follow close behind.

When Zod realizes where they are his rage erupts and he breaks his partnership with Zaar. Overestimating his leadership Zaar is shocked when all his allies side with Zod.

Jor advises Kal to stay out of the conflict as one by one the ships begin exploding and the armies succumb to radiation and the cold grip of space. Kal refuses, so Jor equips him with a radiation limiter so he can get close. Jor advises him it is fragile and to stay out of the fight.

Superman rescues many of the casualties, including Zod but is shocked to discover that Rogol Zaar is Kryptonian too. This was the secret Jor-El and The Circle had kept for so long. Zaar uses their moment of surprise to attempt an attack on Kal and Zod but Supergirl, Jon and Krypto arrive. Kara is able to disarm Zaar because of her bond with his axe leaving the beast open to the full force of Zod and Kal's rage.

The combined might of the El family and Zod is too much for Zaar but before he can succumb, the Thanagarian Black Guard arrive to take both Zaar and Jor-El into custody. When the Guard reveals that the The Circle's actions have caused a war across the universe, Jon steps forward and suggests a truce so each side can have their say. Amazingly all the attacking forces agree to hear out Superman and his proposal for the United Planets.

Bizarrely time freezes but there is a good reason...

Today is Unity Day when the universe forged the United Planets on the whim of a teenager... and the Legion of Superheroes have arrived to offer him membership!

To Be Continued...

3Story - 3: After fourteen grueling months, here we are. I can't say I'm impressed, or surprised.

I know I must seem like a downer of the storyline but after so long, to have nothing actually happen? Zaar is essentially a new version of Doomsday, Zaar is a weaponized beast and a slave of The Circle, whereas Doomsday was a creation of the Kryptonian Bertron and a slave to his own rage.

Krypton was dying anyway but Zaar ensured it couldn't be saved... so no real revelation - whether Zaar was there or not Krypton was still fated to die, so that storyline went nowhere.

Aside from Jon aging up and inspiring the Legion in an off the cuff line the Unity Saga achieved very little for Superman. It seems very odd that it did more for Kara and Jon than for the star of the book.

Looking at the deconstruction of Superman that has been the Bendis modus operandi; Lois is now in hiding, Jon is moving to the future, Jor is in prison. This seems like a long winded way of taking everything away from Clark.

We knew from the very first flash forward what the ending would be so the Unity Saga was the journey to this point. As a narrative perhaps they shouldn't have done this because there were no twists or surprises along the way.

The twist that Rogol Zaar was Kryptonian was not worth it, the problem with the twist is that nobody cares. He doesn't have the empathy of the reader like Mr Freeze does for example. We wanted to know more about Jor-El and that has been swept under the carpet (for now).

Zod felt like an after thought, indeed, his reuniting with his family was lazy writing, sloppily added in only because the flash forward had specifically shown them present.

The 'time out' from intergalactic war was utterly implausible given the rage all sides had shown up to this moment but I appreciate the sentiment it was meant to invoke. The conclusion of the story has been spoiled by the gutter press and social media but it was the best part of the issue.

Was the race-bending of Garth Ranzz, Ayla and Mekt to be black worth it? I suppose the revelation that creeds and color exist on other planets such as Winath is interesting but I had assumed that was the case already. It was never an issue with me but was it worth a three week delay to make that change?

Overall The Unity Saga was a disappointing storyline, but I'm an optimist and the only way to go from here is up! Right?

3Art - 3: The art suffered this issue and it really is with a heavy heart that I say this. There are a handful of panels where Reis is able to flex his artistic muscles but because of so much padding beforehand the art feels like it has no breathing room. With only two pages with large panels but so much going on, this issue was the equivalent of the final minutes in a Michael Bay movie.

3Cover Art - 3: After some absolutely stunning covers and interior art the final cover we get is a barely inked Kara, Jon and Krypto. It's great that the cover matches the story and all the elements are present but it just has no energy. Why couldn't the cover have shown the El family fighting Zaar? Considering the book's three week delay I was expecting something a little more... epic.

5Variant Cover Art - 5: On the Facebook group there was a recent discussion on the most beloved super pet. How fitting that the variant cover is of the hound of steel? This cover makes me wants him to have a book again! I love the four 'cameos' on the cover too. it really made me smile! A worthy score of 5.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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