'The Man of Steel' Scribe Brian Michael Bendis on How Rogol Zaar's Origin Became the Center of the Story

In The Man of Steel #1, Brian Michael Bendis introduced Rogol Zaar, a monstrous, cosmic villain with a mean-on for Kryptonians. Determined to destroy Krypton in the years before it exploded, Zaar went to the Circle -- a group of cosmic powers including the corrupted Guardian of the Universe Appa Ali Apsa, Zeta Beam inventor Sardath, and more -- for permission.

They denied him, but based on what we know from Action Comics #1000, it does not appear he listened. So, in a story that introduces a dozen new characters to Metropolis, why got back to Krypton's roots?

"I was doing this massive reread of everything, a lot of stuff I'd read over the years, but reading it as a co-author and co-architect versus a fan or a curious competitor is completely different mindset," explained series writer Brian Michael Bendis, who will take over the Superman titles following The Man of Steel. "I just posted recently that I was re-reading Infinite Crisis. And reading it as an author is completely different than reading it as 'the thing that was coming out opposite House of M.' It's a completely different mindset to me. I'm in the deep re-read, and again, there's 80 years of material plus other media, because a lot of Superman's DNA actually came from the radio show and TV shows, as well. There's a lot to take in. I would call Dan [DiDio] if an idea popped in my head and I wasn't sure it would fit in continuity, and I just wanted to know if I could hold onto the idea or let it go. Sometimes you have an idea and they go, 'Oh, no, we did that in Final Crisis,' and you just go, 'Oh, okay, then I can let it go,' right? But if you have a good idea and they go, 'Ooh,' you get excited."

Following on the heels of a recent revelation that the enigmatic villain Mr. Oz was actually Superman's biological father Jor-El (long story there), it seems the "true story" of Krypton's destruction -- a concept that has been examined a number of times over the years but not recently -- got one of those "ooh" responses.


"I called up, and I said, 'I'm not pitching, but have you ever done a story about what really happened to Krypton?'" Bendis continued. "And then Dan did this voice -- and it's a voice, as a fellow author, you know this is the good voice. He just goes, 'Why, what really happened?' And then, you know you're going to have a good time. That started the ball rolling for here and opening up the historical precedent of what happened with Krypton. What were the other elements in the universe going on during that? How did other people react to it when it happened? Not only is it, obviously, a genocide of the highest order, but that kind of thing affects the entire galaxy, and we're going to see how that's been playing out over the years."

The Man of Steel #1, by Bendis, Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, and more, is on sale today. You can get it at your local comic shop or buy a digital copy through ComiXology, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.