I just finished reading THE MAN OF STEEL #6, thus ending my first official comic book run, and I needed to take a little time to process the conclusion to Brian Michael Bendis' epic introduction to DC Comics.
Don't get me wrong; the sixth and final comic book was incredible. Galaxy-spanning fights, relationship drama, even a beautiful tribute to the lost city of Kandor—it was all breathtaking in its scope. There was so much happening, I was turning pages at a breakneck speed to find out what was next. I laughed at times, I teared up on more than one occasion. But when I got to the last page, I was left with more questions than answers, and I didn't know why.
What was happening with Lois and Jon as they traveled the galaxy with Jor-El? Was there actually something wrong with Jon's powers? Will they ever return home now that Superman's communication device broke and they haven't heard from him? Was that really Superman starting the fires around the Metropolis? Will the Phantom Zone be able to hold Rogol Zaar? Would Kara and the Justice League be able to find out the real story of why Rogol Zaar hates Kryptonians and what happened with Krypton's destruction? I think I have more questions now than I did when I first cracked the pages of THE MAN OF STEEL #1 six weeks ago! What gives?
But then I think back to when I first started reading Bendis' miniseries. I knew going into this experiment that the iconic comic book writer was kicking off his takeover of Superman with six weekly issues of The Man of Steel, all to set-up his new monthly run. I knew this. It's important to me that I clarify to you all that I was fully clear on that from the start. But as soon as I started reading the weekly issues, that fact seemed to have just fallen right out of my brain. At some point early on, I promptly forgot that this was all supposed to be setup as I got sucked into the story. I was so focused on what was happening to the characters instead. I was downright hooked.
And so, with that realization came another: Bendis' The Man of Steel was a smashing success. He took a comic book neophyte and turned her into a full-blown fan. I'm already counting down the days until I can get my hands on SUPERMAN #1 (five and counting!) and read more of this story and hopefully get some of those answers. I wasn't sure if I would be interested in continuing this foray into comic books once this assignment ended, but now I can't imagine doing anything but buying each monthly issue the day it comes out and poring over the pages. There is so much story left to tell here, and I need to consume every word of it.
That being said, there is one storyline that I'm the most intrigued by, and it's one that has already caused me to go back and re-read the first five issues of The Man of Steel. The image of Clark left all alone, clutching one of Jon's stuffed animals, sitting on the floor of the dark, empty apartment after Lois and Jon left in Jor-El's ship, was absolutely gut wrenching.
Remember how impressed and weirdly proud I was of Clark for finding such peace in his home life with his family? That's all gone out of the window as he was forced to say goodbye to them to keep up his responsibility of protecting Earth. Seeing him so happy and content at the start of the miniseries only highlights just how low he is now.
Dare I say he's hit rock bottom? Because with the loss of Kandor, the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude and now his inability to reach his wife and son, it feels as if Superman has nothing left but his commitment to being the world's protector. And that's not enough for him now that he's had a taste of what it's like to have it all. His next move is anyone's guess, but as of now, my heart is absolutely breaking for him.
Going into the new Superman series, I'll be interested in seeing—in addition to the continuation of this story—how Bendis treats the structure in each issue. Will he keep on jumping back and forth between the timelines as he's done in this miniseries, or will he take a much more linear approach now that we're all caught up to the start of the monthly run? Will each of the separate stories come together at some point to connect into one cohesive narration? Will Superman find happiness again? And seriously, why does some kid think Superman is setting the fires around Metropolis?! Inquiring minds need to know!
Thanks for going on this six-week journey with me, fellow comic book fans. They say you never forget the moment you fell in love with comic books, and now I can say without question that Superman really is the character that kickstarted my passion for comics. It just happened a few decades after I initially thought it did. Better late than never though, am I right?
THE MAN OF STEEL #6 by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Fabok and Alex Sinclair is now available in print and as a digital download. For more on this integral issue and on the upcoming Superman #1 and Action Comics #1001, be sure to read our exclusive interview with Bendis.
Sydney Bucksbaum writes about the DC Universe for DCComics.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SydneyBucksbaum.