When I read the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis' THE MAN OF STEEL, I thought I had the overall story pegged from the start. And not going to lie, I felt pretty cocky about it too. We were obviously getting a tale told in two timelines that would eventually meet when new villain Rogol Zaar appeared in the present to kill Superman, thereby finally achieving his age-old plan of destroying all remnants of Kryptonian life. It all seemed so simple. Exciting, but simple.
But halfway through the second issue, it becomes clear that I was wrong. We were all so very, very wrong, and it turns out that The Man of Steel is going to be much, much darker than any of us thought.
Remember how only just last week I was extolling the virtues of Clark's newfound peace in his home life? How happy and grounded he seemed with Lois Lane and his son Jon Kent by his side? *Nervous laughter*
I spoke too soon! This week's THE MAN OF STEEL #2 hit me like a ton of bricks when it became clear that we were following three separate timelines: the time of Krypton's destruction/Rogol Zaar's origin story, the present including the mysterious arson happening around Metropolis, and a third timeline in the near past…where something horrific happened to Lois and Jon while Clark could do nothing to stop it. I've got a really bad feeling about this all of a sudden.
Is Bendis really going there with his take on Superman in his first DC Comics foray? Are Lois and Jon dead? Is that why no one at the Daily Planet seems to know where she's disappeared? And do Superman's super friends like Green Lantern (Hi, Hal!) and the rest of the Justice League not know what happened either?
All this talk of "rumors" from both sides of Clark's life about how he's been acting recently has me thinking that whatever happened to Lois and Jon has been kept quiet by Clark…for a long time, too. What is he hiding? Why is he hiding something so huge as to the possible deaths of his love and his son? Could it be shame over not being able to save them?
Or is there an even more sinister reason, like he could have saved them (from Rogol Zaar, who is obviously the main suspect now that he's learned that the Last Son of Krypton exists on Earth), but faltered when he learned Rogol's history? Did Superman choke upon hearing the real story of Krypton's destruction, leading him to fail in his most important mission yet—saving the lives of his family? Like Trish said, whatever the story is, it's about to break, and Bendis is giving all of us the exclusive scoop.
And as for that Joker Easter egg, how much do you want to bet that the Clown Prince of Crime shows back up in the flesh at some point in the next few weeks? Bendis can't just tease the Joker and not deliver a true cameo, right? It's my first comic book series, guys, I want to see some Joker action!
P.S. How long does it take to get used to reading comic book speech balloons? Asking for a friend…and that friend is most definitely me. This whole back-and-forth reading from balloon to balloon has been kind of hard to get the hang of, especially when there are more than two people in a conversation in one panel. I keep reading the balloons in the wrong order and it's extremely frustrating.
I never realized that reading comics would be more than just reading a book with a lot of pictures, but this truly is a whole different medium requiring different skills and patience. I've always loved the stories that come out of comic books, but now I respect them in a whole new way. Project Dip Toe Into Comics is going great!
Sydney Bucksbaum writes about the DC Universe for DCComics.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SydneyBucksbaum.