Superboy has returned but certainly not how we remember him. The events that transpired during the ‘Man of Steel’ limited series are flushed out here in this issue that very much takes a break from the Superman/Rogol Zaar conflict.
The story in this issue is highly anticipated, but before we dive in lets take a look at the covers. The regular cover for this issue is by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair and has a real classic DC Elseworlds feel to it. The surrounding aliens really give the reader a sense of how the House of El symbol is perceive, and that idea is very much flushed out in this issue. I must say, I’m a big fan of covers that represent the contents of the issue and this cover most certainly does that.
The variant cover for this issue is by David Finch and depicts a highly aggressive and intense Man of Steel that is surrounded by debris. This cover doesn’t necessarily convey the story told in this issue, but there is no denying that this is a powerful piece. It showcases Superman’ ferocity which isn’t always displayed but is most certainly present in the most dire of circumstances.
Superman #7 opens up straight on from where the last issue left off with the shocking return of a now teenage Jonathan Kent. Now sporting a brand new suit. Jonathan’ initial reunion with Clark and later Lois just felt a little off and at times rather awkward in my opinion. Jonathan not reciprocating Clark’ fatherly embrace from page one hit me quite hard considering how close the family were. Lois’ reunion with Jon was equally off and rather embarrassing for the family as a whole, I just felt this wasn’t the right approach and could have been handled slightly more poignantly.
This feeling was compounded by the fact that Jonathan reveals that he has been out in space for years rather than the three weeks that have passed for Clark. This concept is straight from the movie Interstellar and a theory that myself and Tasmin debated in anticipation for this very issue. With this in mind I was hoping for a much more emotional reunion than what we actually received. That’s not to say we didn’t get some touching moments along the way. I adore this alteration to Jon’s age, it will be fascinating to see how he interacts with characters such as Damian Wayne and his potential standing with the Teen Titans.
As the issue moves forward, Jonathan recounts to Clark his exploits during the early days of his voyage into space alongside his Grandfather Jor-El and Mother who is now sporting her husbands Rebirth era costume. This is a fantastic way of explaining why Superman opted for his original costume that debuted back in Action Comics #1000.
Jonathan’ first foray into space consists of a battle with The Dominators which is illustrated by Brandon Peterson, and it looks epic especially when Jon uses his heat vision. It’s these uses of power that really remind the reader of just how powerful Jon is even at such an early age. This ties in nicely to the Supersons of Tomorrow story arc that outlined Jonathan’ fears for the future and what compelled Jonathan to join Jor-El’ side in the first place.
You feel the universe really begins to open up for Lois and Jon as they begin to come into contact with more of the galactic community. In particular a somewhat intense encounter between Jon and Lobo. However it was the attention that Lois received and in particular the House of El emblem on her chest that was really fascinating and inspiring to me. Jor-El describes to Lois Superman’ standing in the galactic community, his deeds and just what Superman means to people no matter the race or civilization. I absolutely adored this concept and the way in which it was delivered. Especially in one specific panel that is very reminiscent of a scene from Batman v Superman that really tried to capture the perceived similarities between the Man of Steel and the idea of a God. In this issue I wouldn’t say they go as far as that but the alien race definitely recognises Superman as a savior. I love how Superman’ legacy spans the universe and not just his adopted home Planet of Earth.
The action once again kicks into high gear as Jonathan answers that call for help. The sight of Jonathan carrying out such good and courageous deeds is truly inspiring, and really conveys the courage the emblem of hope can inspire in people. In the final page the reader is transported back to the present and Jonathan relying a fact about Jor-El that could further corrupt the future of earth alongside the ever growing threat Rogol Zaar poses.
For fans of the Kent family this is definitely a story we have been waiting for. The first few pages of this issue are drawn by Ivan Reis and coloured by Alex Sinclair, and although I wasn’t fully on board with some of the ideas the artwork was absolutely stunning specifically that opening page. Clark and Jon hovering majestically over Metropolis looked both epic and peaceful all at the same time. The Purple and Pink palette that Alex Sinclair uses for these pages are so warm and just radiate pure emotion. You could tell instantly this was a moment of family and of heart. Brandon Peterson’ interior artwork married up beautifully to Ivan Reis work. His facial expressions specifically that of Lois spoke volumes in itself. In terms of Superboy’ new suit, I have to say I’m a huge fan. It has all the tracings of a Superman inspired suit and for me has heavy nods to the ‘Reign of the Supermen’ Superboy design.
As I said before, not all of the ideas in this issue landed for me specifically Jonathan’ response to finally getting home after ‘seven’ years of trying. I myself would be jubilant and overcome with emotions whereas Jon was alot more muted and understated but I guess we all act differently under extreme circumstances. This is most certainly one of the most interesting issues of Superman I’ve read during the Bendis era. Hopefully more flashback and stories from this era are unpacked in the issues to come.