The world is coming to an end. The Phantom Zone has consumed the Earth as we know it, and Rogol Zaar has assembled an army to bring on Armageddon. Now, in SUPERMAN #4, it is up to the Man of Steel to find a way to stop the apocalypse. Unfortunately, though, hope for salvation is running low.

SUPERMAN #4 brings the highly anticipated battle between Rogol Zaar and Superman to a head. Interestingly though, the two’s clash ultimately fades into the background as the fight to save Earth reaches an unexpected climax.

Clash Of The Titans

SUPERMAN #4 pretty much kicks off right where its predecessor left off. Rogol Zaar assembles his army to move in on Superman and destroy him for good. Rogol Zaar and his army undoubtedly exhibit an advantage over Superman’s one-man army. However, the Man of Steel never succumbs to a fight that easily.

The two battle it out for the majority of the issue as Superman continues to devise a plan to save Earth from the consumption of the Phantom Zone with his allies. Thus, by the end of the issue, The Flash and The Atom execute a risky plan that results in a small victory. The Atom manages to shrink the Earth so that Flash can use the Phantom Zone projector to send the planet elsewhere. The plan proves to be successful. However, we are unaware of any repercussions that may arise.

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SUPERMAN #4 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Overall, SUPERMAN #4 is an improvement upon its preceding issues. Its thrilling end is quite engaging. However, the overarching work struggles from some weak dialogue and an inconsistent pace. The story tends to jolt back and forth from action to dialogue-heavy sequences without fluid transitions.

As a result, it feels as though the narrative lacks cohesion. Additionally, the characterization of both Superman and Rogol Zaar falters as this particular issue gives them very little to work with besides their action sequences. Therefore, I hope upcoming issues build upon their contention towards each other in addition to their personal motivations.

The Many Hues Of SUPERMAN #4

The strength of this series has been its artwork. Each and every detail has been consistently magnificent, particularly in the wider sequences. I enjoy the wide shots of grand sequences this series tends to comprise. These sequences embody a cinematic quality that is abundant with depth.

In this specific issue, my favorite page features Rogol Zaar punching Superman in the face as the images transition into Rogol Zaar’s perspective of Superman falling. Ivan Reis’ detailing in this sequence is almost incomprehensible. You may actually find yourself lost in this sequence, along with others, because it is so intricate.

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SUPERMAN #4 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Also, Alex Sinclair’s coloring livens up all the panels. Despite the darker tone of the issue, the work remains vibrant and dynamic. Sinclair implements more warmth in the flashback sequences that depict Superman interacting with his son Jon. However, that warmth is greatly juxtaposed by the tones of the fight sequences. Despite that juxtaposition though, the tones of the present sequences never feel dull.

The issue as a whole feels energetic and continuously pulls you into Superman’s race against time.

What Lies Beyond

SUPERMAN #4 is an improvement. It appears as though the series is slowly finding its footing after a lethargic start. However, there is still work to be done. I would like to see more come from Superman’s character. His introspection feels clunky at times. Thus, it would be nice to see future issues explore more authentic introspection.

Also, Rogol Zaar still lacks dimension. Sure, we are aware of his character and his conflicts with Superman. Though, it would be nice to dig a little deeper into his character right now. Their fight would feel all the more climactic if there was more depth depicted in their relationship.

Thus, I do look forward to upcoming issues. I believe that the series is beginning to head down a good path. I only hope that it does not deviate from that path too much.

SUPERMAN #4 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Alex Sinclair, & Josh Reed
SUPERMAN #4 brings more dynamic movement to the series' overall slow pace. However, the issue ultimately still finds faults in its lack of character development.
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