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Superman #11 review: House of Pain

Bendis shows the hard choices Clark has to make.

“The Unity Saga” has gained mixed reactions…and it’s understandable. Bendis took a big risk having Jon join his grandfather only to return a teenager. But now things are truly coming to a head. Jor-El is caught in the crosshairs of various enemies and Superman has to decide what to do.

I think all of us have heard (or said) something akin to: “You know why Superman is boring? He’s too powerful and perfect!” Bendis’s run, no matter how rough it can get, has been taking that notion to task. Here, like many issues of Bendis’s DC titles, shows the hard choices Clark has to make and his thought process.

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Narratively, the Man of Steel is put in the same position as us, the readers, finding out new information as we go and trying to get a grasp on the saga of Jor-El. It’s exciting to see how he handles such complicated, confusing scenarios; struggling to do it in a level-headed way.

One also can’t forget the excellent writing for the other characters like Jon and Lois, who have strong, unique voices. There’ve been complaints before about Bendis’s characters all sounding the same, but that’s certainly not a problem here. Speaking of characters and dialogue, I do wish Zod had more to say. He spends most of his panel time in grunts and silence.

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Ivan Reis is the next Bryan Hitch, able to portray scale in a remarkably accessible way. He handles cosmic battles with a verve, rendering just enough detail to give objects weight but not so much that it becomes overbearing. Equally impressive are the panels focused on characters, their faces reminiscent of Neal Adams elastic expressionism. Alan Sinclair somehow uses primary, bold colors that don’t wash each other out like so many other superhero titles.

Superman #11
Is it good?
Bendis shows the hard choices Clark has to make.
Ivan Reis and Alex Sinclair's bombastic work.
Bendis juggles cosmic chaos and tender reunions.
Characters have distinct voices.

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