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Man of Steel #2 Review

Because someone (might have) demanded it: Superman vs. Toyman.

Superman faces off against Toyman as the Daily Planet struggles without Lois Lane in the office. And in space, stories of a surviving Kryptonian are reaching Rogol Zaar’s ear. Is Man of Steel #2 good?

Man of Steel #2 sees writer Brian Michael Bendis continue his story of Superman and Rogol Zaar. The issue opens in the aftermath of the destruction of Krypton as Lord Gandelo and Appa Ali Apsa fret over Zaar’s horrific actions. Through some expository dialogue, readers learn a bit more about Zaar’s place in DC’s cosmic realm, but they’re really more vague clues than a true backstory.

The issue picks up once Bendis turns his attention towards Earth and Superman. The playfulness that Bendis showed in the debut is back here, as Superman easily takes down Toyman. Bendis nicely uses the captions to show off Superman’s perfectionism, creating a more serious underbelly to the conflict and the issue as a whole.

Man of Steel #2 really hits its stride once Bendis steers the narrative to the Daily Planet and editor Perry White. White is stressing in the absence of Lois Lane, and the Daily Planet itself is struggling. Bendis nicely captures White’s dilemma as he pushes his reporters to come back with stories of quality, while also battling the quantity needs of the 24-hour news cycle. These aspects have been explored numerous times in other Superman stories, but with the added angle of Lois missing, Bendis is able to mine some new drama from them.

The artwork in this issue is split between Doc Shaner on the first half of the issue and Steve Rude covering the back half. The art switch here nicely reflects a tonal shift in the book. Shaner’s clean delicate lines make for some great action as Superman takes down a giant robot piloted by Toyman. But when the issue changes gears and Rogol Zaar learns that a child of Krypton still lives, it’s in Steve Rude’s heavier rugose lines. Rude’s artwork is noticeably more shadowed than Shaner’s and it really gives the second part of Man of Steel #2 a different feel.

In a nice bit of continuity from the previous issue, Jay Fabok handles a two-page spread towards the middle of the issue, revealing a bit more about what happened to Lois and Jonathan Kent. It’ll be nice to see how Fabok’s contributions expand as the mystery unfolds in future issues.

Is It Good?

Man of Steel #2 focuses a bit more on Superman as a character, and the developments at the Daily Planet add some real-world touches to the fantastic story. Doc Shaner and Steve Rude’s different art styles give the comic a nice visual transition as the story moves forward, while still maintaining quality. And while the Rogol Zaar conflict still doesn’t have much weight to it, there’s a sense of something larger building.

Man of Steel #2
Is it good?
Solid artwork anchors a decent story in Man of Steel #2. This isn't liable to knock anyone's socks off, but it's still a fun read.
The way that the story uses the artwork of Doc Shaner, Steve Rude, and Jay Fabok to delineate different shifts in the plot itself is really nice.
Brian Michael Bendis brings out the humanity in Perry White's struggle as an editor in a shifting economy.
The playful charm that Bendis gave Superman in the debut issue continues to shine here.
The Rogol Zaar conflict is still uninteresting. There's hints of cosmic stakes, but those have yet to really land.

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