Brian Michael Bendis takes over Superman titles, revamps origin and brings back red trunks

DC probably legit shook up the comic book world with the announcement that Brian Michael Bendis will be writing Superman and Action Comics. This will come after he wraps his John Byrne-esque Man of Steel revision/origin update Man of Steel title.

Like Byrne’s groundbreaking series, Bendis’s Man of Steel will be a six-issue weekly miniseries. It will feature interconnected covers by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and will change everything we thought we knew about Superman.

Here’s the summary from DC:

This series will shake up the classic story of Krypton’s final days and Kal-El’s path to becoming an iconic hero, introducing a new villain that knows a terrifying secret behind the destruction of Superman’s homeworld. Bendis’ story will feature an incredible lineup of artistic firepower, including Ivan Reis, Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes and Jason Fabok. A prelude to MAN OF STEEL by Bendis and artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez will be available on May 2, in the DC NATION #0 preview sampler.

This July, more fireworks are in store for fans with not one, but two Superman-themed titles, both written by Bendis. July 11 debuts SUPERMAN #1, with art by Ivan Reis. The conclusion of MAN OF STEEL will leave both fans and Superman reeling, and the debut story arc will dive deeper into its consequences, building on popularity already generated by co-writer Peter J. Tomasi and co-writer/artist Pat Gleason. On July 25, ACTION COMICS resumes with issue #1001; with art by Gleason, Bendis will deliver stories that are more character-focused, introduce new characters (both heroes and villains) and spotlight more of Clark Kent and his role at the Daily Planet. ACTION will also take a closer look at how the actions of Superman impact the DC Universe.

Brian Michael Bendis Ivan Reis man of steel

Social media is abuzz with the news, but me? I’m not a fan … at all.

Unpopular opinion time — I’m not a huge Brian Michael Bendis fan. OK, that’s not entirely true. I loved his Daredevil run. It was amazing. But his Avengers run left me cold more often than not from everyone having the same snappy, chatty speech pattern. Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy run had its moments, but couldn’t come close to matching up to the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning run that inspired the film series. Reading the completed DNA run made me even more disappointed thinking of how Bendis handled the team. His X-Men work was also OK, but read like too much of the same with different characters.

I’ve seen enough of his work now to feel comfortable saying Bendis excels at the street level, every day kind of heroes. The Daredevils, the Luke Cages, the Jessica Jones. It’s why Bendis’ recent Defenders run was such a smooth read. When he gets the keys to bigger, less relatable heroes, he falls into some familiar and comfortable habits that don’t always make for the most exciting reads.

When DC announced they signed him, I was hoping Bendis wouldn’t snatch away Green Arrow, but Superman is still DC’s most iconic character. This definitely is an aggressive move by DC and one guaranteed to provide some boost and interest in Superman at least for the short term.

One character who will benefit from the switch is Lois Lane. Bendis should have a blast writing her and there’s no doubt he will have her voice down right away.

I’m always leery when DC starts shaking things up especially when the Rebirth era Superman under Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason was so so good. Seriously, if you weren’t reading it you missed one of the best comics of 2017. Tinkering with a winning formula seems super risky since Superman wasn’t broken or needed to be fixed.

It is kinda funny how Superman is back to his classic look complete with the red trunks. DC has gradually been making that shift. I wonder if the modern look would have stuck around more if the DCEU films were more strongly received? I’m happy though as Superman has one of those iconic costumes that can’t be improved upon.

Like anything from DC these days, I’m perfectly willing to give Bendis’ spin on Superman a fair shot. Who knows, maybe I’ll revisit this article and laugh about how completely off I was and my expectations have been exceeded beyond belief. We’ll start seeing come May.

Photo Credit: DC Comics