“Unity Saga, Part 3”
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert
The Story So Far:
Earth has been zapped into the Phantom Zone. Superman is on the case, trying to discover how, and why the Earth is in the Phantom Zone, and who is responsible.
Livewire shows up at STAR Labs to try and force the scientists there to pump up her power level. She quickly comes to realize that the scientists at STAR have bigger fish to fry. They think that Livewire created the anomaly that they are researching, which she’s not. Superman shows up and blames Livewire for the anomaly, but it quickly becomes clear that the anomaly is due to the Earth being in the Phantom Zone. The scientists were attempting to map the Phantom Zone, but they don’t realize that they are inside it.
Meanwhile Rogol Zaar, who was banished to the Phantom Zone for destroying Kandor, forms an alliance with Jax-Ur, a Kryptonian scientist who was also imprisoned there for destroying one of Krypton’s moons.
Superman tries to get the Justice League’s help, but the heavy hitters are all subdued by the radiation from the Phantom Zone’s atmosphere, so he goes to the Hall of Justice to recruit the Atom, Ted Kord and Ryan Choi for help. While Ray heads over the STAR Labs, Superman flies up into the sky to confront Rogol Zaar and Jax-Ur’s invasion army as the issue ends.
The very “Bendis-y” cutaways to Adam Strange, floating in space where the Earth SHOULD be and Superman admonishing looters to “put it down” and “cut it out, now”. Just a little bit of humor in what feels like a much heavier take on Superman from Bendis’ work over on Action.
The scenes with Zaar and Jax-Ur are well written and well drawn. Reis’ pencils are stunning in the space scenes.
What Doesn’t Work:
“Superman versus the unstoppable Rogol Zaar!”, the cover proclaims. Only, not so much. They don’t face off in this issue. It’s a small thing, but when I see something like that on the cover, I expect fisticuffs. There were none.
The issue dragged a little, which is pretty common in the middle of an arc. We’re setting up for the big showdown, and that is good, but this felt like a bit of a chore to get through.