By Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Maguire and Alex Sinclair
One of the biggest knocks against Superman as a character is that he isn’t relatable because he can pretty much do anything. While I agree that big blue is extremely powerful, anyone who says Superman is not relatable has not been reading his comics for the last 10 years. The addition of a son to the man of steel’s life has changed him greatly, he’s exposed his secret identity to the public, he’s reconnected with his father, as well as a plethora of other things that make him more human than he’s ever been. Credit should be given to Brian Michael Bendis for making some of these changes to Superman. As we enter into another chapter in the United Planets saga, we have to wonder what other surprises Bendis has up his sleeve for the blue boyscout.
Brian Michael Bendis starts this issue off with an internal monologue from Superman. His point is that he has a bunch of dangerous villains, but a crazy brute like Mongul, who is very underused in comics, is someone who would push him to the verge. Bendis uses this issue to show us that Clark is not just physically tough, but also mentally tough. A plan is hatched to stop Mongul, and to Superman’s credit, it’s actually a pretty good plan. We see supes at his best in this issue. Bendis highlights that while Batman gets a lot of credit for his mind, Superman is no slouch either. The side story involving Lois and Agent Chase is pretty fun too. Bendis has really brought Lois alive in his Superman books, and she’s becoming just as exciting to read about as Clark is. Bendis writes Lois as tough, but with a smile. She goes toe to toe with Agent Chase and never backs down once. This story arc seems like it’s been going on for a long time, mostly due to the quarantine, but Bendis wraps it up on a strong note with some good character moments for Lois and Clark.
The pencils this issue are handled by Kevin Maguire with colors by Alex Sinclair. Maguire does an amazing job filling in on pencils for this issue. The first page alone shows Superman go through several tough facial expressions. The battle between Supes and Mongul looks good too. As the both punch each other at the same time, Maguire has both characters in pain, jaws open and blood shooting out. It’s a great little panel that sets the tone for the whole style of the issue. The colors by Sinclair compliment the pencils by Maguire. Sinclair uses a lighter color palette for this issue and it works well. In battle panels, there is a light yellow background that highlights Superman and Mongul. There is also a really well colored panel where Superman is hovering over a planet and he is illuminated by a red light that shadows out most of his body. It’s a brilliantly colored panel.
Superman #22 is a successful finale to the United planets story arc. Brian Michael Bendis delivers a good script that fleshes out Clark and Lois is a favorable way. The pencils and colors enhance the issue a great deal and really help convey the emotion in Bendis’ script. If you’re looking a fun comic this week, Superman #22 is an excellent choice.