I'm hearing a lot of hemming and haww-ing over Bendis upcoming run. Too often I've been one of you, bemoaning the state of Superman's quality, but in this case I must for now firmly take the stance of "pro-Bendis". Perhaps it's all the memories of reading Ultimate Spiderman as a kid, but I've been waiting for this.
Yes, I'm weary of yet another reboot to the character (though anyone who pays attentions to my posts knows that I predicted this back in 2011). Just like I predicted the trunks would come back. It seems every major writer who is allowed to tackle Superman gets to do his own version of the origin story. For Waid it was Birthright. For Johns it was Secret Origins. For Straczynski it was Superman:Earth One. For Morrison it was the 2011 reboot (and to be honest the New 52 Superman never seemed so iconic as when he was wearing a simple t shirt and boots). If Mark Millar ever gets to take over the character (and I still hold out hope that one day he might) he will write his own origin as well. Perhaps it's vanity. Every big writer wants to write "his" version of Superman instead of just Superman. Oh well. For better or worse, Bendis is writing a new Superman reboot. But I think this is actually going to be for the better.
I predict this.
Bendis on Superman is going to be a rocking success. Why? Because Bendis likes CLASSIC Superman. No, I don't think there's going to be huge earth-changers like when Byrne did MOS back in the day. I think DC would LIKE us to think that, but it's pretty much going to be Bendis putting back what he likes and taking out what he doesn't. So here's what I like so far that Bendis is putting back.
1. The Trunks - For all those who whine about the character, go read something else. That's how he was designed. Unlike other characters who can be rebooted again and and again, when you miss too much with Superman's costume, inevitably it feels like something is missing. The wholesome charm seemed muted with the armor, and frankly Superman's presence was lessened.
2. The Kents are old - I am tired of Ma Kent being a MILF, and feel the Kents are at their best being crotchety salt of the earth, small town types, who are kindly and hard working.
3. Jor El has no beard, and Lara has black hair - I don't know why it bugged me so much that Lara was a blond, but it does. Just like I always want Superman to have black hair, I want his parents to always have black hair. I don't even want Jor El having silver/white hair like Brando's version. There needs to be a distinction between the comics and Reeve's version.
4. Ivan Reis is back - Back in 2003 when there was a big shakeup on Superman, everyone was talking about the fact that Jim Lee was about to take on the Man of Steel. But at the same time, this little known Brazilian artist made his debut with Chuck Austen on Action Comics, and they had a pretty great run. Today Reis is a superstar in his own right, and his return to the character helps restore a classic feel.
5. Sales will skyrocket...at least for a while - Love him or hate him, the man sells comics. He doesn't need cheap gimmicks, and he has already redefined a major comic book character for new generations of comic readers. But most importantly, BENDIS IS GOING BACK TO WHAT WE KNOW. Which mean a new generation of comic fans are going to be reading CLASSIC SUPERMAN. Kids aren't going to be seeing an emo hipster with collar and armor, or an angry biker with a buzzcut. They're seeing Superman the way Superman is meant to be seen, as the last son of a doomed world who came to Earth and grew up to wear his underwear outside the pants, work at the Daily Planet and fight for justice. This is good.
Now I know what you're all thinking. What if Bendis should fail? Well....he can't fail as bad as the angry biker storyline that effectively killed the New 52 version. It's one thing to read a bad Superman story. It's quite another to read a story where Superman fails to even be recognizable as Superman.
Bendis' Superman will be recognizable as Superman. And that's a base to start from, even if you find yourself at some point holding out for the next writer.