Superman Fights Rogol Zaar in Exclusive Man of Steel #5 Preview

Check out one of the best looking fight scenes you're going to see when Superman takes on Rogol Zaar. Artist Adam Hughes explains it all.

Brian Michael Bendis has officially arrived on Superman. In collaboration with an absolute murderer’s row of artists, a different one on each weekly chapter, DC’s weekly The Man of Steel mini-series has been setting the stage for the next era of Superman, tweaking the status quo, shedding new light on the tragedy of Krypton, and introducing new characters.

Chief among those new characters is the villainous Rogol Zaar, who played a role in the destruction of Krypton. But that apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy Zaar’s bloodlust for all things Kryptonian, and he has tormented Superman, Supergirl, and anyone else who gets in his way, including perpetrating another unspeakable act of mass murder in the previous issue.

The Man of Steel #5 sees Adam Hughes take the lead on art duties, and he delivers a cinematic super-powered beatdown. Mr. Hughes was kind enough to answer some questions about the issue. Get an exclusive look, with his commentary, right here!

Den of Geek: This issue has one of the most striking first pages I’ve seen in a book in ages, with the eye looking into the bottle city of Kandor. Bottle aside, it’s a perspective you rarely see used in comics. How did you come up with such a unique opener?

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Adam Hughes: I thought that’s what Bendis wanted! His script described the shot, but maybe I didn’t quite get what he was going for?  Who knows.  Early on, he insisted that at any point, if I felt differently about things than as scripted, I should just do what I thought best. “You do you” he stated emphatically. 

So, while I hoped I got the gist of what he was going for with that opening page, what I felt was the real horror was being a citizen of Kandor, and kinda forgetting that you’re miniature and living in a bottle, and suddenly the sky opens and there’s just any eye full of hate looking at you.

The next spread, with Superman dragging Rogol Zaar into orbit, feels like something from a lost Superman movie, beamed in from another dimension, and I feel like there are little echoes of the Christopher Reeve films throughout this issue. Was this intentional?

Yeaaahhhh, it’s intentional. I love Superman: The Movie. My love of that film will permeate any Superman comics I do. Superman angrily flying the bad guy into space made me think of him flying into the sky in a rage when Lois died in the earthquake in Superman: The Movie, so, yes, it’s definitely on my mind. 

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I spoke with Brian Michael Bendis recently, and he said he never expected he would ever get to work with you. He also said when you first talked about this project, you hoped to do a massive fight like this. Were some of these images things you’ve had hanging around in your head when you think about Superman?

Well, I don’t get too much in the way of action sequences, and I’ve actively been trying to pursue more action-oriented comics work lately. I must’ve passed that desire on to Mr. Bendis at some point. Although, when I think of Superman, I’ve never thought about fight scenes. Usually when my mind wanders to the Man of Tomorrow, the images I see are hopeful and heroic.

The fight scene that unfolds over those first six or seven pages is a deliberate contrast with the dialogue. How did you block that out? Were you given any guidelines from Brian Michael Bendis beyond “they fight” for this?

Mr. Bendis laid out the fight scene very well & in rich detail, as in “Rogol throws Superman at the moon! THE MOON!!” or “Superman delivers a powerful blow in response!”  So, I started with that, and only veered away from the fight as described if it got in the way of my own personal storytelling flair.

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There are striking uses of silhouette and reds and blacks on those early pages. What made you go with these choices?

Well, I’m doing issue #5. I figured there would be four issue of amazing action before mine, drawn by cats who do it way better.  So, I thought: A) I should do something different so my flaws in this area don’t sing out loud and 2) This is probably the fifth scene the readers are witnessing, so let’s be different.  I went for more of a monster sequence than a superhero fight (I hope).

Man of Steel #5 is available on June 27.