The Man of Steel #4

The Man of Steel #4

The Man of Steel #4

Cons

  • Action sequences fall flat

It happens in pretty much every limited series or Netflix show–the “speed bump” issue, the episode where you can’t help but wonder why it was even necessary. Narratively, things seem a bit off and what goes down in issue 4 of The Man of Steel feels like it could have happened in the previous issue. And then there’s the big reveal. But don’t get me started on that just yet.

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So, yeah. Here’s where I have to pull back a bit on how much I love this series. Up until now, Brian Michael Bendis’ take on Big Blue has been stellar and I’ve very much enjoyed it. This issue? Not so much.

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Issue 3 ended on a nice cliffhanger with the promise of big action–and maybe some big answers–ahead. What we got with this week’s issue, however, was stretched-out action sequences and lots more questions than anything close to answers.

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And, yes, I know this is a 6-issue series that leads directly into something much larger and further-reaching, but still this issue just didn’t hit the same high mark that the previous three issues have for me. And that’s a shame because the artist here is all-time-great Kevin Maguire, a collaborator that Bendis has long praised and has worked with in the past.

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As we know, what Maguire truly excels at is facial expressions and “acting” with his characters. Here, though, we get big-time action sequences that feel just a bit off, and seem to be lacking. There isn’t the power on the pages that an all-out battle through Metropolis should have, there’s none of that earth-shattering-ness that big, giant Superman battles should have.

There are, however, some really great tight shot panels that feature Superman in conversation–with Green Lantern, with Rogol Zaar, with his cousin Kara–and that’s Maguire’s wheelhouse. That works well for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of action that falls flat in the pages before we get to the meat of the story.

And the meat of the story is really just what we’ve known all along–this crazy big bad claims to have destroyed Krypton and now he’s looking to “cleanse” the Multiverse of all Kryptonians. Who he really is and what he’s actually done remains unclear, and we get–for the fourth issue in a row–the Jason Fabok-drawn sequence of Clark, Lois, and Jon at home on the farm, freaking out about an unknown visitor.

(SPOILERS AHEAD…)

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This issue, that visitor is revealed to be…Jor-El? Wait. Isn’t he dead? Isn’t that the point of this story?

Ah, continuity confusion.

I hate continuity, and this is exactly why. Now I have no idea what the heck’s going on in the story and in the world. Hopefully Bendis can make it all work and make some kind of sense by the time this series wraps up. But for a 4-dollar comic to fall this short, I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. Here’s hoping next week’s installment brings us back up to par.

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