REVIEW: Superman #20

Whoever thought telling the truth could cause so many ripples in the pond? Superman #20 continues the intriguing exploration into the logistical quagmire that has arisen from Clark revealing himself to the world as Superman. All this while the fledgling United Planets comes under attack by Mongul. Superman certainly has his hands full, more than ever it seems.

I simply adore the main cover for this issue as its captured from the perspective of the first person, that person being Mongul. Mongul’s imposing hands are all you see of the villain as he looks to strangle the life out of Superman. Ivan Reis has created a very creative cover that certainly captures the mood of this encounter. The detail on this cover is just staggering.

Superman #20 Review
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

The variant cover for Superman #20 is created by the legendary Bryan Hitch. Hitch is known for creating the most awe-inspiring of images and this cover is no exception as Superman’s heat vision takes centre stage. For me, this piece of art performs similar to that of an interior page, however the intensity radiating off of Superman certainly stopped me in my tracks. This is a cover I had to have.  

Superman #20
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

This is explored wonderfully through the eyes of the staff over at the distinguished competition, The Daily Star. It makes total sense that they feel that Superman working at The Daily Planet automatically gives that paper an unfair advantage. How could anyone hope to break a story working against a journalist typing at superspeed? I love how Bendis is examining every facet and ramification of Clark’s outing.

Even though we are dealing with a rather serious and ethical debate, its captured rather light heartedly, with just the right amount of humor and respect for Superman’s heroism which is undeniable. Matters do take a decidedly more unscrupulous turn as the journalists at The Daily Star receive a video from an unknown source that could give them the leverage they need to unsettle The Planet’s newly discovered status quo.

This really is a treat for me as it not only refers back to a previous event that has proven to be a pivotal moment in the series so far, but it also questions Superman’s authority or lack there of when dealing with matters that concern Earth as a whole. This really is a fascinating examination of a event with ramifications that are felt even into the future.

This fascinating exchange plays out alongside the incredible battle between Superman and Mongul that began in the last issue. This entire confrontation has left me speechless. Ivan Reis’ art is incredible as the majority of this epic encounter is captured across the most spectacular of splash pages. Honestly, Superman has never looked better and neither has Mongul.

Mongul is a villain I’ve always enjoyed. Created by Len Wein and Jim Starlin, Mongul debuted in DC Comics Presents #27 in 1980. This encounter certainly represents the very best of Mongul. Powerful, aggressive and arrogant. The action and combat depicted is staggering. These two powerful beings are totally unchained and really do leave nothing behind.

This incredible issue comes to a close as Lois faces her first brush with the press as the wife of Superman. This represents yet another intriguing wrinkle in the life of Lois and Clark now that the truth has been revealed.

Superman #20 is visually stunning. Ivan Reis’ artwork is just so epic in scope. This issue feels like a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. The energy emitting from Mongul’s chest is almost palpable. Superman flying at full tilt point blank in the direction of Mongul is a very awe-inspiring sight to behold. The use of multiple splash pages to convey the action as well as conversation in this issue is a great idea considering who the interior artist is.

Ivan Reis is one of DC Comics pre-eminent talents and is the perfect choice to bring Superman to life. Superman architect Bendis has crafted yet another multi-faceted issue of Superman that encapsulates the many elements that go into making the perfect issue of Superman. I love how Bendis intertwines the quiet, dialogue heavy scenes with the cinematic action of Mongul versus Superman. This choice really evened out the pacing of the issue and made it a perfectly weighted read.

Haven’t picked up your issue yet? You can pick up the standard cover by Ivan Reis here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Bryan Hitch, you can get that here.

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