In comics there seems to be one constant. Every issue of the ongoing Superman series by Brian Bendis and Ivan Reis is delivering on every single level, from art to story to scale and scope. The same can most certainly be said for Superman #11 but before we take a closer look, lets check out the covers.
Interior artist Ivan Reis has created a fiery cover that sees the House of El beaten and at the mercy of a powerful looking Rogol Zaar. I really love this cover especially with a villain I like so much with the upper hand. The fact that it is also a dialogue cover really takes me back to the Silver Age. I was however a little confused with the inclusion of Kara on the cover. Supergirl has not appeared within the pages of this series so far and her appearance on the cover could be perceived as a huge spoiler.
The variant cover for Superman #11 is by industry legend Adam Hughes and is absolutely joyous. This cover really reminds me of a few Supermen -firstly Christopher Reeve’s iconic Clark Kent portrayal, but also Henry Cavill. It has to be the hat and that smile and look to the reader. This cover also reminds me of the Fleischer animated series. This is a highly nostalgic cover and I love it. It really is something different and rather unusual, but beautiful at the same time.
Superman #11 opens up with a very fascinating exchange between Rogol Zaar and General Zod. That exchange takes place in the Phantom Zone just after their inaugural encounter way back in Superman #6. With the very first page of this issue, the reader learns that the events of Superman issue #6 took place only ‘yesterday’. This of course means that the events that took place in Superman #7 – #10 roughly occurred over a few hours. This makes perfect sense as I was beginning to question the the whereabouts of Rogol Zaar during this time, if indeed it was over an extended period which it very much felt like to me. Back to the confrontation between Rogol Zaar and Zod. This is very much Rogol Zaar at his enigmatic best. The character is so self-assured and righteous when talking. He whole heartedly believes in his mission and truly believes he is the hero of this story. I just adore Rogol Zaar’s dialogue during this exchange. This is truly a multifaceted being and Zod’s facial expressions only add to that fact.
As the issue progresses we now pick up directly on from where issue #10 left off with Jor-El under siege via a plethora of attackers which include a united Rogol Zaar and General Zod. I have to say this issue is a massive undertaking, and in my opinion a huge success and achievement as almost the entirety of it is one big epic space battle. Straight away the reader is treated to two awe-inspiring splash pages that are just epic and packed full of explosions, alien creatures and extremely detailed ships. I absolutely adore these pages. For me this is the comic equivalent of a big budget summer blockbuster and I love it. As the battle ensues there is a great shot of Clark catching a glimpse of his Father Jor-El. Clark’s facial expression is so intimidating. This isn’t an angry Superman or Clark Kent. This is an enraged parent. A father who has been robbed of precious time with his son, and boy does he take it out on the Alien aggressors surrounding him. Again we are treated to a third splash page that is just awesome and showcases Superman going full tilt, which has now become common place within the pages of this series. Thank You Brian Bendis for that.
The enevitble confrontation between Clark and Jor-El takes place next and is perfectly played out. Clark’s search for answers is wonderfully countered with Jor-El’s now signature eccentric behavior. Superman’s frustration towards his father at this point is palpable. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t really made clear why Jor-El was under attack by so many different Empires, but that could tie in to Rogol Zaar’s presence there. Speaking of Rogol Zaar specifically his new found unity with Zod. I am so intrigued to find out more about that union and just how it came about. Something Zaar said obviously resonated with the former Kryptonian General
As the issue draws to a close the battle becomes all the more personal and fierce as Superman and Jon come to blows with Rogol Zaar and Zod. These pages are just made up of epic artwork that is truly a fanboy and fangirls dream come true. I can honestly say I was on my feet consuming these finally pages cheering aloud with each blow. I’m a huge fan of Bendis’s writing especially on this title, however artist Ivan Reis really has stole the show for me. This feels like the artists tour de force. The detail in each and every page, including the splash pages is just phenomenal and adds so much depth to every scene. The confrontation between Jon and General Zod will go down easily as one of this series biggest high points. I loved it and again I cheered aloud.
On more than one occasion I’ve spoken about Ivan Reis facial expressions, well this issue reaches new heights. Anger is definitely being felt a lot in this series especially this issue, and this feeling is conveyed so well through the art especially with the eyes. Superman definitely gets a feel for this emotion, Bendis is making sure of that. Speaking of the writer, the ‘why’ behind Rogol Zaar’s claims regarding Krypton must be very profound certainly for Zod to agree with him.
I can’t wait to see what path the writer takes these two down next, especially now that we have the introduction of two other ICONIC characters on the final page!