The merciless killer and zealot calling himself Rogol Zaar has searched the cosmos for Superman—and when he reaches the Fortress of Solitude, his actions will cut Superman to the core.
Rogol Zaar and Superman come face to face in Man of Steel #3. Is it good?
Ryan Sook’s artwork grabs the readers’ attention from the opening pages of Man of Steel #3 as Rogol Zaar lands on an icy world. At first, Sook’s artwork makes this seem like a flashback to Zaar’s destruction of Krypton, but it is quickly revealed to be Superman’s Fortress of Solitude instead.
This little twist creates a strong sense of tension that carries the rest of the book. Sook, joined by inker Wade Von Grawbadger and colorist Alex Sinclair, does a fantastic job with the visuals in this issue. Superman brings in Batman to help investigate the fires that have been crippling Metropolis and Sook highlights the differences in the heroes visually. Superman greets the fire chief with a wave, while Batman prefers to appear from the shadows.
While this sequence may visually contrast the heroes, writer Brian Michael Bendis utilizes this scene to highlight their similarities as the World’s Finest nicely show their shorthand with one another that comes from their years of working together. Bendis also works in a moment that hearkens back to a similar beat in Kingdom Come, but it works here by escalating the tension.
The ultimate reveal as to why Rogol Zaar went to the Fortress of Solitude is perhaps foreshadowed a little too strongly at the beginning, but the moment hits hard. Bendis uses this opportunity to bring Supergirl into the fray as well, and just as with Batman, Bendis shows how the two heroes work together. While they might not be significantly longer than Green Lantern’s appearance in the previous issue, these interactions with Batman and Supergirl come across much stronger.
The action sequence that concludes the issue is nicely staged, with Sook making great use of double-page spreads to capture the larger than life scale of the powers working against Superman. Alex Sinclair’s colors here also work brilliantly. Rather than set these scenes at night, this fight is in the bright of day, but Sinclair uses cooler purples to dim the warmth of the sunlight. It’s a subtle effect, but it works well considering the dark actions of Rogol Zaar.
Jason Fabok’s single page here continues to slowly reveal what happened to Lois and Jonathan, but at the glacial pace it’s currently setting, one has to figure that this will likely carry over into Bendis’ run on Superman proper. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems unnecessary to drag that setup out over every issue of this mini-series. Perhaps future issues will make these pages less of a distraction.
Is It Good?
Man of Steel #3 is a beautiful looking issue that adds a personal angle and a sense of immediacy to the Rogol Zaar conflict. Brian Michael Bendis weaves in Batman and Supergirl in important supporting roles. The artwork here by Ryan Sook and Alex Sinclair is gorgeous, but they can only elevate the story so much. Thankfully, Man of Steel #3 gets Rogol Zaar and Superman in the same panel, so the drama will hopefully pick up.