Tag Archives: Jay Fabok

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Review: Man of Steel #3

While the previous issue focused on Clark Kent’s relationship to his co-workers at the Daily Planet, Brian Michael Bendis makes Man of Steel # about Kal-El’s connection to his Kryptonian heritage beginning with a tragic, nearly silent opening sequence drawn by Ryan Sook and Alex Sinclair of Rogol-Zaar wrecking the Fortress of Solitude, including the Bottle City of Kandor making its first substantial appearance in the DC Rebirth era. There’s also a Batman cameo that goes nowhere (Except for inspiring Superman to think more like a detective.), and the shadowy Jay Fabok drawn figure slowly emerges from the shadows in the Clark and Jon flashback. So, like most of this miniseries so far, it’s a visually stunning mixed bag as Bendis and Sook finally catch up to the story in Action Comics #1000 timeline-wise.

Man of Steel has been a mini filled with great artists like Ivan Reis, Jay Fabok, Evan Shaner, and Steve Rude, but Ryan Sook proves that he has the best storytelling chops of the bunch. He is equally adept at big, bombastic moments like Rogol-Zaar crashing into Earth’s orbit and the smaller, human ones like Superman politely waving to Melody while he and Batman investigate another arson in Metropolis, or Supergirl comforting her cousin while he mourns the lost Kryptonians of Kandor. The pages where Superman and Supergirl are in the Fortress is a master class in emotional progression that starts by the cousins walking around their Arctic shelter and surveying the damage before bursting into pure anguish when they see the destroyed Bottle and then flight. Then, in another double page spread, Superman uses his flight, super hearing, and X-Ray vision to check on his apartment, co-workers, and then focus on the thread at hand. Hey, Batman isn’t the only one with “detective vision”. And Sook’s few pages of action really pack a wallop with yellows and reds from Sinclair showing that Rogol Zaar packs a real physical threat to Superman.

Brian Michael Bendis’ use of Supergirl and Batman in Man of Steel #3 is a very quick study is how and how not to use guest stars in a comic book. First of all, their appearances both make logical sense. Batman is helping Superman investigate a mystery that is bothering, namely, how are all these fires happening under his practically omniscient and omnipresent nose? Because she is Kryptonian, Supergirl can hear the unique frequency of the Fortress of Solitude’s alarm and quickly sees if the place that is the last sanctuary and repository of her home culture is under attack. However, with Batman, it seems like Bendis is just checking off writing DC’s other big hero instead of using him in a meaningful way. Of course, his first line of dialogue is “I’m Batman” to slightly freaked out/fangirling Melody Moore, and then he spouts off something about patterns and something respectful about Superman because that’s the kind of relationship Bendis lets them have, which is cool. But Batman doesn’t add a set of fresh eyes to any of Man of Steel’s mysteries, including the arson, and definitely not the missing Lois and Jon one. In fact, Superman comes off as the better detective as he quickly finds and engages Rogol-Zaar after cutting a swath of destruction through the Fortress.

On the other hand, Supergirl’s guest turn adds more layers of emotional poignancy to the destruction of the Bottle City of Kandor, a place that Kara may have even remembered visiting, because she came to Earth much older than Kal-El. Her appearance in Action Comics #1000 isn’t just a random cameo, but as a friend, family member, and Kryptonian fighting against an enemy that wants to obliterate all remnants of her and Kal’s culture. Bendis and Sook lean into the Kryptonians as immigrant metaphor with the items in the Fortress of Solitude representing memories and heritage of the homeland. Even if he barely speaks in this issue and is still mostly a one dimensional force of destruction and genocide,  Bendis and Sook position Rogol-Zaar as an anti-immigrant villain. To go along with this, Kara even gets a great action moment swooping up a faltering Superman with some Sook speed lines and delivering a one-liner before the brawl begins. Rogol-Zaar thought he had to fight one last of son of Krypton, but there’s a last daughter too.

The mystery parts of Man of Steel #3 barely progress (I have a fairly obvious theory about who the mysterious attacker is in the Lois and Jon flashbacks.), but Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook hit a strong emotional beat with Superman and Supergirl’s reactions to the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude and the Bottle City of Kandor. Rogol-Zaar’s motivation is wholly tied to Krypton so this is line with his character and shows that Bendis understands Superman’s alien and human heritage. A pity that the Batman subplot went nowhere.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Ryan Sook, Jay Fabok Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Josh Reed
Story: 6.8 Art: 9.2 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Man of Steel #2

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the second chapter of Man of Steel!

Man of Steel #2 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Doc Shaner, Steve Rude, Jay Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Man of Steel #1

Besides an ominous villain-centric prologue featuring Rogol Zaar from Action Comics #1000 and a deep cut cameo, Brian Michael Bendis’ first full DC comic: Man of Steel #1 lacks a real plot hook beyond “Something is coming”, and it’s connected to Superman’s past, or the ending of Action Comics #1000. However, Bendis shows he can write the heck out of both Clark Kent and Superman putting him through his paces as a superhero fighting villains, guardian of the weak, inquisitive journalist, husband, and father. And when they get a full page (or sometimes two), Ivan Reis and Joe Prado turn in beautiful work of Superman humorously chiding two Gotham villains, who thought they could carve out a small piece of Metropolis or taking a second out of his busy day to listen a girl play a song for her best friend. And, of course, he saves both pets and small children in this comic book.

But back to the bad guys for a second. In the opening of the comic, Reis, Prado, and especially colorist Alex Sinclair churn out some heavy metal, cosmic evil in Man of Steel #1 with Rogol Zaar putting together his version of a Power Point presentation for some kind of intergalactic, multiversal governing body about why Krypton should be destroyed.  Some cynics might consider this scene derivative of Bendis’ Illuminati in his New Avengers run, but it’s much larger scale. (Except for the one that gets named later, I have no idea who the heck these guys are either.) Rogol Zaar’s motive boils down to being a more cosmic scale 1960s Magneto: the Kryptonians are starting to expand to other planets so they should immediately be subjected to genocide. He’s very much a black hat, and hopefully future issues add some depth to him or add an even Bigger Bad that’s just using him as muscle. But, for now, his design has a kind of mid-1990s Wildstorm excess to it with a touch of a space barbarian, and it’s sad that Reis only gets a few panels of him in actual action.

Other than feeling a twinge of disappointment with the not-really-a-cliffhanger ending of Man of Steel #1 from Bendis and guest artist Jay Fabok, my main takeaway is that Bendis gets Superman at a macro level. He has godlike powers, but wants to be human and uses these extra abilities to serve humanity. Superman loves and enjoys humans and wants to keep him safe. The scene where he takes a beat after easily stopping (and not dropping) Firefly and Killer Moth to listen to a girl play music is just breathtaking. Reis and Prado deal in the majestic and blockbuster in their artwork and are mostly a good fit for this book even though they whiff on a comedy sequence where Metropolis’ new deputy fire chief acts like she has a crush on Superman. They show that even if his powers are over the top, he cares about each life that he comes into contact with. If a building’s on fire, he won’t just rescue its inhabitants; he’ll absorb the brunt of its heat and destruction with his own body. It’s like that great scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman takes the full force of a nuke with his body and shrinks, but more down to Earth and shows the daily sacrifices that the Man of Steel makes every day.

I also like how Brian Michael Bendis seamlessly blends Clark Kent and Superman with Superman trying to quotes and article fodder for Clark Kent in a way that doesn’t seem opportunistic, but that he really cares about the cause of this rash of electrical fires in Metropolis. Also, it demonstrates that Bendis has a steady command over all aspects of Superman’s life from his day job as a hero, his other day job as Clark Kent, and his home life towards the end. With jokes about Jon’s costume and light flirting and chatting about articles, Bendis has put his own twist on the Kents’ family life, which was the strength of previous Superman runs by Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and others. He gets Superman’s relationship dynamic, personality, and values; now all we need is a strong plot to go with it.

Even if the bad guy is a little underwhelming and the overarching narrative stumbles out of the gate, Man of Steel #1 proves that Brian Michael Bendis understands Superman/Clark Kent and how his commitment to truth and justice affects the dual aspects of his life. He even adds a little dry Midwest wit to the proceedings and gets out of the way to let Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair craft soaring splash pages and hellish planetscapes to set up a battle between good and evil.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Ivan Reis with Joe Prado, Jay Fabok
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review