With the release of this issue, news has already broke that Brian Micheal Bendis will be wrapping up his run on both Action Comics and Superman towards the end of the year. With this knowledge out in the open alongside the debut of Synmar in the previous issue, its clear that we are building towards something huge.
This burgeoning conflict rightfully takes centre stage on the main cover created by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair as Superman locks in on his foe in very dynamic fashion. Ivan Reis’ creativity is at the forefront due to Superman’s ingenious placement on the cover. I love how Alex Sinclair’s illuminating colours light up the night sky. The glow radiating off of Metropolis is breathtaking and Synmar looks very intense as he shows no fear when facing The Man of Steel.
The variant cover is created by Tony S Daniel, with colours by Tomeu Morey and depicts Superman facing off against a legion of armoured beings. Superman looks very intimidating as he effortlessly dispatches his assailants using a number of methods including heat vision which looks devastating. I really love the use of colours here, especially when it comes to the very realistic looking galaxy in the background and the lighting from Superman’s heat vision. It’s very effective.
To celebrate the release of Wonder Woman 1984 (which sadly we know is delayed) we are lucky enough to receive a third cover created by superstar artist Gabriele Dell’Otto, who has captured Gal Gadot in all her majesty as Wonder Woman. I love how Diana’s Lasso of Truth dances around her torso as she makes ready for war. The colours are very fitting to the promotion of the film too which is a nice touch. Although I cannot help but feel this is a little random considering this is a Superman comic book and not a Wonder Woman one.
Superman #26 opens up in the not too distant future as The Man of Steel begrudgingly takes on cosmic powerhouse Synmar who debuted in the previous issue. However, in true Brian Michael Bendis fashion we are quickly transported back in time (14 hours to be precise to Kelex warning Superman of this beings impending visit from the uncharted regions of space.
In this time, we are treated to a number of absorbing encounters between Superman and his supporting cast including Jimmy Olsen, Steve Lombard and of course Lois Lane. Superman’s exchange with Lois is just so honest and heart felt. I really enjoyed how Superman opens up to Lois about the stress he is currently under. This exchange really highlights the fact that Superman is more human than most and is susceptible to the same rigors life throws at us all. This makes the character infinitely relatable. Lois truly gets the recognition she deserves in this issue as Clark opens up about her importance not only as a mother and wife but as a tower of strength that he relies upon.
Superman’s encounter with Jimmy is very light-hearted and a great way to inform the reader of the events that are simultaneously occurring within the pages of Action Comics. Jimmy’s witty exchange with Superman regarding what to call him really is testament to the pairs friendship. Jimmy really took Superman’s revelation in his stride and that is exactly what Superman needed from his pal.
My favourite encounter has to be between Superman and long time collegue and rival Steve Lombard. Sports columnist for The Daily Planet, Steve Lombard debuted back in 1973 within the pages of Superman #264. Lombard has consistently been one of Superman’s more colourful supporting characters giving Clark a rough go of it at every chance he gets. Steve openly acknowledging the dynamics of their relationship is very entertaining. Even knowing that Clark Kent is Superman, Steve still likes to give Clark a hard time. I guess some things never change.
As the issue comes to a close, time has finally caught up with The Man of Steel as Synmar finally makes his presence felt. The ensuing fight is devastating to say the least as Synmar is more than a match for Superman. There really is a tragic feel to this fight when the seeds planted in the previous issue is taken into consideration. This feeling is compounded by the fact that Superman is reluctant to fight this as of yet unknown assailant. Ever the beacon of hope, Superman constantly tries to communicate with Synmar even as he is being mercilessly beaten upon.
Ivan Reis’ artwork is staggering in this issue as Superman goes toe to toe with Synmar. The action looks spectacular as we change locations from Earth to The Phantom Zone. Alex Sinclair really adds to the atmosphere with his vibrant colours, which really impacts the feel of the issue. Every page is rich and full of texture. The Phantom Zone has never looked better. The use of green really gives it an alien feel.
Superman #26 is a superb issue that balances action and exposition perfectly. Superman flows effortlessly between his supporting cast indulging in rich conversation that enhances his ties to those around him. I think I speak for everyone when I say I am eager to see how this fight pans out.
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