This review contains spoilers for The Man of Steel (2018) #6. Do not read this unless you’ve already read the issue. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Welp, here we are. It’s taken us weeks of excitement and drama, but we’ve finally made it to the final issue of The Man of Steel. Michael Bendis has shown us how comics in the modern age need to be written, and with a few plotlines to tie up before the story progresses into 2018’s Superman, we’ve been left on a few cliffhangers. Let’s not get all mushy too soon, though- we still need to determine if this issue is any good.
As we open the comic, the plot picks up on a side plot point, presumably one set up to continue in Superman later on. It gives a nice change of pace, especially after the heavy action that was implied to us at the end of the fifth issue. Once this has wrapped up for the time being though we are thrown headfirst into the final clash between Superman and Rogol Zaar, with the opening panel of this segment continuing to establish Zaar as a fearsome character with menace and malice behind him. The action is bold and detailed, however, it is integrated with the side-plot of Superman with his family, and this can be dealt with effectively, but unfortunately, this issue drags both the action and the heartfelt flashback together throughout the entire length of the read, leaving the effectiveness of the flashback to become an inconvenience when the attention is desired to remain on the action. Because of this, the effectiveness of the action itself is heavily muted as the audience are forced to tie their consciousness to the familial plotline.
Following this, the biggest glaring problem with this issue is unveiled. Rogol Zaar, with very little notice, is banished to the phantom zone. Just like that, he’s gone. The biggest running plotline of the six-issue run has been resolved in a single page frame. No more information is given about his motivation or origin (both things we were never told) and he is defeated. This is a huge issue for this series, as it feels as though satisfying closure is robbed from the reader, and maybe he could return in the new Superman series, but if this is the case, it makes this comic series nothing but setup for another series rather than a great standalone read, which it has been up until this point. A definite irritating close to the comic series.
The other plotline of the mysterious fires is left open as the closing cliffhanger to be tied up in the new series, and the art is consistently brilliant throughout the issue, but the plot troubles hold this issue back from being the great series it was destined to be from the start. The Man of Steel has been fantastic, but this final issue has let it down a little, making the last five issues of reading feel like nothing but the set-up for another series. And I feel fewer people are going to be less inclined to actually read it following this. Regardless of our opinions, a new Superman series is always exciting, so there’s no doubt we’ll be reviewing Superman (2018) here!
What do you think about this final issue? Disappointed or excited? Let us know at @HeroesDirect!
What could've been a stellar finale, feels very lackluster. But at least the cliffhanger hooks us in for what's next.
- Rogol Zaar