REVIEW: ‘Superman,’ Issue #14

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Superman #14 - But Why Tho

Superman #14 The Unity Saga: The House of El The Conclusion: Part One is published by DC Comics, written by Brian Micheal Bendis, art by Ivan Reis, inks by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Wes Abbot. Superman and Jor-El are headed to confront Rogol Zaar, aiming to end their battle with him once and for all. The outcome may change the path of the galactic civilizations of the DC Universe forever.

Superman #14 has a lot to unpack in 24 short pages. The final showdown with Rogol Zaar came together as a satisfying plot moment. A superb mix of action and emotion give this battle all the gravitas it needed to really wrap up in a way that delivered a solid payoff, even if the fight felt a little short. It wasn’t until after the battle’s end that the big surprise landed: the most amazing historical simile I never would’ve expected to see in a comic book.

Previous issues of Superman showed how the conflict between Zaar and the House of El had spread beyond just them.  After the fisticuffs wrap up, all the players must set their sights on reestablishing order in the galaxy.  Superman #14 proceeds to explore concepts and trains of thought that mirror real-world events too closely to be coincidental. This seems especially likely as we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of those events this year. I just hope that the galaxy’s attempt to render such conflicts a thing of the past is more successful than our own has been.

Superman #14 also continues to excel at helping the reader understand Superman better through the eyes of the galaxy. While the character often struggles with the image of “the big blue boy scout,” this issue goes a long way in showing how important that element really is. The trust and faith everyone around him show is a little overwhelming. I found myself considering how anyone could shoulder such a burden, even with Kryptonian muscles. Bendis delivers this image of Superman in a way that has consistently given me a new appreciation for the character.

The art of Superman #14 continues to focus on the emotions of its characters to a masterful degree. Frames overflow with the presence of these feelings. This is best exemplified in the early moments of the book with  Zod.  More than all the other characters, Zod cuts loose in this story. And, Reis’s art puts the reader right in the thick of it. All Of Zod’s rage and frustration is present on the page.

Another wonderful aspect of the book’s art is the use of brightness to help shift the tone of Superman #14. The front half of the book is filled with dark colors and deep reds, accentuating the anger and pain showcased there. Meanwhile, the back half is full of light colors building on the sense of hope that half of the book plays to.

Superman #14 is an excellent piece of the continuing narrative for this series. I once again find myself eagerly waiting to see where this amazing creative team will take the man of steel next.


Superman #14
4.5

TL;DR

Superman #14 is an excellent piece of the continuing narrative for this series.