Superman #15 is available now where all good comics are sold!
At last, it’s the return of the Legion of Super-Heroes! The greatest super heroes of the 32nd century have traveled back in time not just to meet the heroes who inspired them, but to make an offer…but to which hero? And why will that choice tear Superman’s life apart? Plus, the fallout from Lex Luthor’s conversation with Lois Lane escalates! What dark secret did Lex tell Lois?
Brian Michael Bendis has been nothing short of a breath of fresh air for the Superman series. Not just bringing by back the red underwear but, more importantly, by reintroducing the sense of hope which I find quintessential for the character.
This issue brings to a close much of the current arc investigating the real machinations behind the destruction of Krypton. Not to mention the shocking return of Clark’s father, Jor-El. A story which reaches an epic and heart wrenching conclusion here.
What Bendis’ writing has done over the course of this run is put Clark/Superman through the emotional ringer. He has consistently thrown new obstacles at the Man of Steel but from the perspective of seeing him conquer them rather than suffering at their hands.
In Superman #15 we’re seeing him reaching a point of acceptance with his current circumstances. In many ways the narrative of this issue is constructed to force Clark to face up to all the goings on around him, his family and the ensuing battle and overcome this huge adversity in his life.
The depth of emotion in Superman right now is absolutely astonishing. Putting events in to context, the grief that Clark has experienced in learning the true fate of Krypton is immense but because of who he is and because of Bendis’ reverence for the character we’ve seem process all this without the book becoming dour or taking a darker turn.
In many ways the loss of Krypton has become the framework for a much larger tale around the El family. The family drama has taken the fore and proven much more challenging for Clark.
But an unavoidable part of that grounded emotional reality is the tougher side of life and this issue packs a gut punch in that respect. By the close of this issue Clark has faced potentially losing his son, Jon, to travel to the future with the Legion and has once again lost his father.
The potential to say goodbye to his son challenges Clark to accept that his son is now grown up. He’s barely had time to process the number of years Jon spent in space (and on an alternate-Earth) and now he needs to, once again, accept that his son has outgrown his teachings.
Over the course of this run Bendis has done an excellent job of developing the character of Jon Kent. Whilst he had a similar appeal to Damian Wayne, there are many more opportunities now that he is a little older, wiser and free of his reliance on his father.
Simultaneously Clark is faced with losing his father for the second time. With Jor-El sentenced for his crimes we close out the book with some truly emotional scenes as he is returned to the moment Krypton was destroyed. Though only a small moment in a much larger issue these scenes stuck with me long after I was done reading and that’s a sign of some truly excellent writing.
Particularly impressive is how Bendis is able to craft a very small but impactful scene as the older Jor-El interacts with his younger self during the planets final moments.
Ivan Reis beautifully renders all the action in this issue. In particular, Clark’s facial expressions brilliantly punctuate the dialogue and the events going on around him.
In an issue with so much emotional complexity it’s important that the visual appear in context with the story. That is abundantly clear here and certainly helps to make this an incredibly successful issue.
That aside there are plenty of larger scale moments in Superman #15 and also a fairly large cast of characters to render. The Legion alone bring a huge cast which Reis has to handle in multiple scenes. He does with ease and without panels becoming cramped or claustrophobic.
Background are immersive and maintain the continued feel of an epic space adventures, closing out the chapter with some of the best art in this current Superman run.
This issue of Superman brilliantly ties up the current storyline and adjusts the status quo of the series. There’s an excellent mix of action and character which makes this issue absolutely essential reading.
Superman #15 is written by Brian Michael Bendis with pencils by Ivan Reis, inks by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert and a cover from Adam Hughes.