The past few installments of Bendis’ SUPERMAN run have traversed Superboy’s journey into literally becoming the adult he is today. Throughout his retrospection on this journey, Superboy has provided some incriminating details regarding his grandfather, Jor-El. However, SUPERMAN #9 briefly steps away from Jor-El’s part in the story as it focuses completely on Jon’s confrontation with the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3, as introduced upon the end of SUPERMAN #8.

Ultimately, SUPERMAN #9 is exactly what this series needed. It gives Superboy the voice he deserves. It also gives in-depth context to his mysterious aging tale that now clearly maintains countless layers.

Thus, SUPERMAN #9 provides readers with a raw, captivating story that manifests into an engrossing read.

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SUPERMAN #9 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Trouble with Ultraman

SUPERMAN #9 commences with a continuation of Jon’s narration regarding his disappearance and subsequent return as an adult. Per the conclusion of the last issue, Superboy found himself face to face with the notorious Crime Syndicate of Earth-3.

Superman is clearly shaken by his son’s tale. He feels an array of emotions from guilt to anger. Before he ultimately loses control of his emotions, though, Lois tells him to pull himself together so that they may understand what exactly their son has endured up to this point.

So, Superboy continues his tale.

He recalls how the Crime Syndicate’s leader, Ultraman, abducted and entrapped him in a volcanic prison. There, Superboy was basically powerless. So, Ultraman would torture Superboy every opportunity he could. With this, though, the most harrowing aspect of the torture was the fact that Ultraman resembles Superman. As a result, every time that Ultraman tortured Superboy, Superboy could not help but think that his own father was conducting the act.

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SUPERMAN #9 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Why Jon Deserves the Spotlight in SUPERMAN #9

Now, Superboy informs his parents that he is not sure of how long he was in the prison. He is sure of what he experienced there in addition to how he escaped, though. Despite obtaining serious burns in the process, Superboy escaped the volcano by riding out of it on some volcanic debris. He landed in a more metropolitan area where he attempted to find freedom. Instead, he came face to face with the Superwoman of the Crime Syndicate.

SUPERMAN #9 is exactly what this series so desperately needed. Finally, one of the series’ most important characters has obtained a solid foundation for their own characterization. It is incredibly great to see Jon at the forefront of the series right now.

His rapid aging and the tale behind it has enabled us to witness his growth into becoming his own hero. Of course, he has always been in Superman’s shadow. Now though, in this current series of adventures, Superboy is relying on his own fortitude to survive, and that is admirable to witness.

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SUPERMAN #9 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Reds, Blues, and Hues

The artwork throughout SUPERMAN has been incredible. This is apparent once more in SUPERMAN #9. In this issue, artists Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, and Alex Sinclair thrive in their establishment of the issue’s scope.

One particular image that exemplifies the grandeur of that scope is the one that depicts Superboy’s initial confrontation with the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3. In that image, we see Superboy’s intimidation by the might of the Crime Syndicate. Additionally, the image is just so exceptionally detailed that one cannot help but become captivated by it.

Also, the sequence in which Superboy reflects on how Ultraman would talk to him for hours is rather poignant. Josh Reed’s lettering obscures Ultraman’s face. As a result, we are unable to truly sympathize with Ultraman. His true self is obscured from us.

Therefore, the aspect of SUPERMAN #9’s artwork that makes it so fantastic is that each and every panel maintains exceptional detail.

What Lies Beyond SUPERMAN #9

SUPERMAN #9 is a giant leap in the right direction for this series. Consequently, I fervently hope that upcoming issues continue to centralize on Superboy’s voice. We are seeing aspects of his character we have never seen before. Thus, it is incredibly exciting to see those aspects developed.

Once again, SUPERMAN #9 is exactly what this series needed. So, we can only hope that upcoming installments will continue the streak this issue has commenced.

SUPERMAN #9 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, Alex Sinclair, & Josh Reed
SUPERMAN #9 is exactly what this series needed as Bendis presents an astonishing tale depicting Superboy's will and grit.
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