This issue of Man of Steel delivers an emotional gut-punch to longtime Superman fans.
The last issue of The Man of Steel had the galactic circle of leaders shocked by the destruction of Krypton. They believe that Rogol Zaar, their champion, has gone rogue and destroyed the planet. Since then, Rogol has been on the run. In the present, Superman has been saving the day but avoiding the conversation about his family. It worries the Justice League and the Daily Planet, but Clark keeps marching on. Meanwhile, across the galaxy, an alien has learned of there being living Kryptonians. That alien is a still living Rogol Zaar. He proceeds to make his way to Earth to finish the job he started all those decades ago. Will the Man of Steel be ready for this threat?
**Some Spoilers Below**
The story opens with Rogol landing in the Arctic and finding the Fortress of Solitude. He breaks his way in and is shocked by such a place existing. After destroying the caretaker robot, Kelex, the warrior proceeds to wreck the Fortress. Back in Metropolis, Superman has asked Batman to assist in the Arson case. Before they can make any progress, however, Clark hears the destruction and rushes off to see what’s going on.
Well, the past and present storylines are beginning to come together. The problem is that this entire issue is only the build-up to the confrontation. Superman doesn’t even come face to face with Rogol until the end of the issue. We are at the halfway point of the miniseries, and the hero just now meets the villain. We have three issues to go, and a ton of questions that need answers.
That being said, the emotional gut-punch this buildup created is spectacular. Seeing what Rogol has done to the Fortress will break any Man of Steel fan’s heart. You can feel the pain that Clark is going through as he goes through each part of the Fortress. His inner monologue during his search is emotional and nails the character of Superman perfectly.
Ryan Sook takes over illustrating this issue and does a fantastic job to tug at the heartstrings. The detail in the Man of Steel’s reaction is well done and grips onto the reader. It will break your heart to see Clark cry over the destroyed statues of his parents. It isn’t all emotional pencils, however. We also have some pretty cool action scenes that are drawn well. But the best part of this issue is the design of present Rogol Zaar, who looks menacing. His design tells a story that has happened since we saw him in issue one and I would love to see it. Sook took it to the next level with this issue.
We have reached the midpoint of the miniseries, and while it is flawed, I can’t say I’m not intrigued. While it is worrying to see the story take this long to have the faceoff, the emotional build up was great. The art helped capture this emotion and action with its masterful detail. Now that we have our hero mad and villain ready, it’s time for the throwdown that has been building since Action Comics #1000.