Last week the world was introduced to Action Comics number 1000. Not only was this a milestone for American comic books, it was the debut of writer Brian Michael Bendis to DC Comic’s stable of talent. Bendis’ story, simply titled The Truth, was a 12-page romp through Metropolis. We saw Superman and Supergirl do battle against a cosmic creature named Rogol Zaar, a warrior hunting the last son of Krypton! DC gave BMB master penciler Jim Lee as his artist for this story. At first glance, what I noticed was the big blue boy scout wearing his red underwear on the outside again. This was something older creative regimes abandoned at the start of DC’s New 52 movement and continued up to now, in Rebirth. A third of the way into the story we get Brian’s honest opinion on the fashion faux pas. While two characters help Superman, they have a conversation about his attire. First exclaiming, “he’s wearing the red shorts again” and then, “he doesn’t look like Superman without the shorts”. Tell us how you really feel Bendis!
During the fight between Rogol Zaar and Supes we get this weird string of banter. It leaves us longing for answers. Rogol Zaar refers to what he is doing as a cleansing. He states that he cleansed the galaxy of the Kryptonian plague, telling Superman that his bloodline must end. As he lifts a sword above the last son of Krypton, Rogol confesses, “This is it… The Kryptonian sickness finally ends today. Just as I ounce promised Jor-El when I destroyed the planet Krypton.” During this proclamation, the alien antagonist plunges his sword in the chest of our admired hero. The last panel is completely black except for 3 lines of text. “To be revealed in “The Man of Steel."
So many questions are floating around in my head. Rogol Zaar destroying Krypton? In what kind of capacity could he mean? It has always been common comic book knowledge that the downfall of Krypton was due to a fatal explosion, an explosion brought on by an unstable core. Where does Rogol Zaar fit into the equation? Could he have been part of some catalyst? It seems when Brian Michael Bendis signed with DC they gave him a John Byrne like recreation of the Superman mythos. What could the line, “The Kryptonian sickness finally ends today. Just as I once promised Jor-El” allude to? Jor-El, to the uninitiated, is Superman’s biological father. He is also the discoverer of the fate of Krypton. Could this promise be a threat Rogol gave to Jor-El in the Kryptonian’s last living moments? Maybe Jor-El knew something about Krypton that no one else did and instead maybe a diabolical pact was made between the Kryptonian and this alien warrior. If that was truly the case then why would Jor-El send his only son away from his home only to be killed years later? I am going to prescribe to the former. That, at a time before the destruction of Krypton, Rogol Zaar swore to commit genocide.
Will this be another huge Bendis change to Supes like we saw so many times at Marvel? We will have to wait until May 30th to find out, when BMB and artist Joe Prado create the six issue weekly mini-series The Man of Steel. Diamond Comic’s Previews magazine sums up this mini-series, “A new era begins for Superman as a threat from his earliest origins reemerges to destroy the Last Son of Krypton. As Superman struggles to come to grips with what has happened to his wife and son, he must also face a new threat that’s determined to burn down Metropolis.” We get a feeling Brian will be world building with one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. I am looking forward to reading Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman run. Not being a Superman apologist in any way, I will follow a great writer to a book I don’t normally read. I truly enjoyed Bendis’ Daredevil and Ultimate Spider-Man runs. I am hoping to read truly masterful story telling on one of DC Comics' biggest stages.