Brian Michael Bendis and Jay Fabok bring Man of Steel to a close. Is it good?
Each issue in the series has dropped in a page or two with art by Jason Fabok that slowly unveiled a conversation now seen in full in Man of Steel #6. And it works. Don’t believe that Lois and Clark would let Jor-El take their son under his wing? You will. Fabok and Bendis do a beautiful job with this sequence, one that provides the heart of both the issue and the series itself, as Jon expresses to his parents his need to learn more about himself. On the surface it’s about an alien learning to control his superpowers, but Bendis and Fabok make this conflict feel human.
Fabok’s artwork really captures the emotions Jon is going through. The shame and embarrassment, the fear, it all shows in his face and his body language. The choice to have Superman squat down to get on his son’s level to reassure him not only feels human, it feels right. Bendis has shown throughout the series that he has a firm grip on both Superman and Clark Kent, and that really shines through in the dialogue between the characters here. Letterer Josh Reed also does a fantastic job getting the beats of the dialogue to flow in a natural way across the page. The third panel in the page below really captures that, the way the balloons in Clark’s dialogue slowly lead the reader to Jon’s face as he assures Jon to trust in himself, and then again to the Superman logo on his chest as he acknowledges Jon’s sense of responsibility.
This sequence is justified with the continued conflict between Superman and Rogol Zaar. Zaar remains underdeveloped and that remains a frustration of mine with the miniseries. It’s clearly intentional, as the issue ends with Supergirl leaving to investigate his origins. But, spectacular as the fight between Superman and Zaar is visually (Fabok and colorist Alex Sinclair have some amazing two-page spreads), I couldn’t help but feel more emotionally engaged with the quieter moments in the issue. Ultimately, how Zaar is defined as a character will depend on if Bendis’ reveal can match the buildup.
Is It Good?
Minor frustrations with Zaar aside, Man of Steel #6 is the best issue in the series and nicely ties together the opening chapter in this new era on Superman. Bendis and Fabok balance the action and the emotions wonderfully. Oh, and that last page brilliantly brings back another loose end and gives it a fantastic twist.