The wait for Superman #14 is finally over, Brian Bendis and Ivan Reis are back and promise to deliver the final conflict between The House of El and Rogol Zaar.
The regular cover created by Ivan Reis sees the House of El joined by General Zod floating triumphantly above a shackled Rogol Zaar. I absolutely adore seeing the Superman family together certainly on a front cover. Superman looks totally imperious while floating somewhat harmoniously next to Zod. This image honestly makes the hairs stand on the back of my neck. A united House of El and Zod could potentially be the most powerful unit in the DC Universe. I would love to see this concept explored somewhere down the line.
The variant cover is by Adam Hughes. I am a huge fan of his work, he always knocks it out the park with his playful and extremely detailed designs. I always look forward to seeing his covers, and this one is no exception. As mentioned, I love seeing the Superman family in action together, especially when it involves Krypto! In this cover he is centre of attention, and that certainly doesn’t happen enough! This cover just stands out to me, the colours just pop and draw you straight in. It’s perfection.
In addition to these two wonderful covers, there is an additional one which was recalled – this was the reason for the issue delay! DC Comics told all comic retailers to destroy the copies that they had of it, although some did appear on eBay! If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one, keep it safe! This is now a rare comic to own. It was by Ivan Reis & Joe Prado, and is very endearing, it makes me wonder what it was all about!
For me Superman #14 is very much presented to the audience as the finale issue to the Unity Saga. Now although it feels like the concluding chapter thanks to the way the story is presented along with the actual contents of the issue itself, for me its not quite the resolution I was looking for. In fact the issue lends itself more towards ‘what’s next’ rather than closing out what we currently have in front of us.
The issue tells two stories, the fate of Rogol Zaar and the events that transpired directly after. Now by no means does this actually feel like Rogol Zaar’ s’final fate’ as advertised on the cover. If this is indeed the end, it all just felt a little underwhelming and left rather ambiguously for me. This issue also features a seismic revelation that was frustratingly forgotten about, and completely ignored for the remainder of the issue. This is highly frustrating as I’m sure this information will be mined at a later date, however it feels to important to be left alone. For me it would have been better explored in the heat of the moment purely in terms of emotional impact.
The artwork depicting this section of the issue is magnificent. Artist Ivan Reis is on solo duty for this issue after being joined by Brandon Peterson for much of the series. Reis really does pack a punch as his artwork is full of intensity. Every panel exudes emotion as our beloved characters give everything they have. Every move the characters make feels powerful, you can see the vector and trajectory of their punches and movements which only adds weight and gravity to the situation. This feels like the final roll of the dice for these individuals.
Zod really stands out for me during this sequence of events. This is a dangerous individual, and that is very much emphasized in this fight. Zod is a character full of unbridled rage and ferocity. These emotions pour off the character in waves as the thought of Krypton spurs him on. I love the fact that avenging Krypton is at the heart of Zod’s motivations. For too long Zod has been depicted as a simple villain and rightfully so, but this story line in particular has really added new facets and dimensions to the character. Zod very much comes across as a patriot in this issue, and a man with a myriad of emotions driving him on.
The aftermath of this conflict sees The House of El and Zod united as they seek to create harmony in the universe. This section of the issue features some of the galaxies heaviest hitters – from the Guardians of the Universe, to the Thanagarian Empire. I love seeing the galactic side of the DC Universe represented in such a colourful and optimistic way. These pages really radiate optimism and hope, quintessential motifs synonymous with Superman lore.
The artwork in this issue is absolutely epic. The facial expressions of our characters have to be my biggest highlight. An enraged Zod with his eyes pulsating with heat vision as it builds up igniting the air around him is a sight to behold. Bendis very much allows Ivan Reis’ artwork to speak for itself.
Superman #14 is a very quick and dynamic read that is a total feast for the eyes. I love how The House Of El communicate to the galactic community their plans to bring peace to the galaxy. This is quintessential Superman and seeing Jonathan standing side by side with his father and cousin standing for these ideals is totally heartwarming and empowering. I’m intrigued to see what comes next!