After so much preamble, the Brian Michael Bendis’ era of Superman begins in full this Wednesday. That is when Man of Steel #1, the first installment in a six-issue miniseries with artists Joe Prado and Ivan Reis, will debut. While Bendis will also be writing Action Comics and Superman, this miniseries serves as a starting point for new readers and re-introduction for longtime fans of Superman. It follows in the footsteps of another miniseries by the same name from more than 30 years ago.
The original Man of Steel was written and drawn by John Byrne to redefine Superman’s origin and place in the DC universe following the cataclysmic events of Crisis On Infinite Earths. Where it redefined who Superman was, the new Man of Steel looks to remind readers. It will tap into the last days of Krypton while simultaneously establishing a new status quo for Clark Kent and all of his loved ones in continuity.
Fans are very excited to see what Bendis and his collaborators can bring to the table and how they might reshape this classic comics character. Based on the original Man of Steel series and everything we know so far about the new one, this is what we expect to see starting this week.
Krypton obviously plays a big role in the new Man of Steel series. We don’t just expect to learn more about the planet’s destruction though. When Byrne took over the character, he redefined Kryptonian society and offered a clear vision of its people and customs. We hope to learn just as much from Bendis, Prado, and Reis. The culture, history, and science of Krypton are all integral to Superman and this is a great opportunity to reimagine all of those elements after 30 years of a cold, crystalline planet.
As important as Krypton is to Superman’s past, Metropolis is just as important to his present. In these adventures we expect to see Superman spend time in all corners of the city, introducing important neighborhoods and characters. This optimistic urban landscape should be every bit as well-defined as Gotham City and Man of Steel offers an excellent opportunity to make it a key character for the many stories to come.
As much as fans love Lex Luthor and Bizarro, it’s always fun to see Superman square off against new villains or bad guys from other superhero’s rogues galleries. There’s already a new antagonist looming connected to the destruction of Krypton, but we also hope to see some minor villains pop up as well. Whether it’s a goofy new character with a gimmick or a surprise visitor from Central City, Man of Steel provides a great chance to match up Superman with some foes he has never seen before.
There should still be space for the classic villains who regularly antagonize Superman and his allies. It would seem inappropriate to spend so much time in Metropolis without seeing Lex Luthor or look back on Krypton without mentioning Zod. Bendis and his collaborators can use this miniseries to reestablish who these characters are and what they will mean for the Superman mythos in the years to come.
While Superman should remain the obvious focus of Man of Steel, he doesn’t live in a vacuum. As he investigates mysteries or races around the globe, it would only make sense to encounter Batman or The Flash. This miniseries offers just as many opportunities to redefine great friendships as rivalries. Even if other superheroes only appear for a brief cameo, their presence will remind us of the colorful world in which Superman exists and the many shared adventures to come in other series.
The individuals who run The Daily Planet are just as important to Superman’s life as those who join him on the Justice League though. From Perry White to Jimmy Olson, this entire office is filled with dedicated and heroic human beings who challenge and assist Clark Kent. Given Bendis’ penchant for mysteries and street-level stories, this is a cast perfectly suited to the writer as well. We hope to see all of these journalists re-established throughout the course of Man of Steel.
The Daily Planet is important to Superman because he is every bit as much a reporter as he is a superhero. Any important stories in Man of Steel should showcase his ability to run down a story as well as punch out the bad guy. As new mysteries about Krypton are revealed, we expect to see Clark Kent chasing down leads and assembling the narrative. We need reminders of the mundane heroism of journalist as well as the spectacular actions of metahumans in Superman stories today.
Superman shouldn’t just be punching bad guys either. When he’s solving problems, he should use all of his spectacular abilities, not just strength and invincibility. Part of the essential charm of Superman is finding solutions to impossible problems, and we expect him to get creative throughout the course of Man of Steel, surprising readers and possibly even himself with what he accomplishes.
One of the most important elements of Man of Steel is that it will be the starting point for an entire era of Superman. It appears that Bendis has plans to stick with the character for years and become every bit as influential as John Byrne was in his run. That means Man of Steel will be the starting point for new, returning, and ongoing readers now and tomorrow. This miniseries will be a go-to in comics shops and bookstores alike. Therefore it’s essential that it offer a story anyone can pick up and enjoy, whether it’s their first of 500th time reading a Superman comic.
The most important element of Man of Steel will be to understand what makes Superman iconic to Bendis and his collaborators. There is no singular essential take on the original superhero, but his status as an icon leads to some very powerful takes and stories. Man of Steel should communicate what makes Superman special to Bendis and what readers can expect to see in the years to come. We can’t wait to find out what his vision will be.