Why I can't stand Bendis's Superman: DC Opinion Article #2

Bendis isn’t a bad superman writer. I actually enjoy his writing a lot. Naomi is really good (so far), Young Justice is a lot of fun, and Man of Steel was great. Bendis is a slow writer when it comes to ongoings. He sort of takes a I don’t have an endgoal, so I’m just going to write until I hit x number of pages approach. At least that seems to be his approach for his Superman saga. Look, I don’t hate it. It’s very well written and does a fantastic job finding ways to challenge superman as a person, BUT Bendis stretches himself too thin.

Every project Bendis is writing:
Jinxworld : Pearl, Cover, Scarlet, The United States vs. Murder Incorporated.
Wonder Comics: Young Justice and Naomi + curating and guiding Dial H for Hero and Wonder Twins
Superman Family: Superman and Action Comics + Guiding Supergirl
Else: Batman Giant and a story from Detective Comics

Let’s assume for the purpose of my argument that with the exception of the ongoing Pearl that Bendis has finished everything in Jinxworld. (Giving him the benefit of the doubt)

So Bendis is still writing 6 stories and guiding another 3 (with hints at him writing more stuff). Having just finished 4 different stories. Tom King meanwhile is writing 3 series for certain and likely writing and planning another story of some sort. Tom Taylor is only really writing 1 series with no current ongoings (I think). Most writers only write a couple of projects at a time.

So why am I bringing this up? As I said, Bendis writes slow burn stories with lots of Dialogue. He’s also writing 6+ stories. Now in order to write 6 series Bendis releases his stories monthly. The problem is that he writes them monthly AT A SLOW BURN. His slow pace is often frustrating when you have to wait monthly between issues. In order to see the problem with Bendis’s writing, let’s look at two different Bendis Superman Stories.

MAN OF STEEL: This superman miniseries helped begin the superman saga alongside DC Nation #0. The Man of Steel mini-series is flawed but isn’t a bad story. Its story does a lot of set up and tone establishment but it never feels too slow with the exception of the bizarrely paced Jor-el - Jonathan Kent story. Even then this pacing though frustrating didn’t ever impede from his ability to tell a story. Each issue was just as exciting and captivating as the last. Note this was a weekly series and as such the slow burn pacing though frustrating didn’t impede the story.

SUPERMAN (vol. 2): I’m using this example because its current. By Volume two I’m referring to the return of Jonathan Kent story line. Some minor spoilers will be ahead! Jonathan Kent is a well loved superhero. Though he’s only been around for 2 and a half years, his innocence and adolescence humanized Superman and led to the most heart warming DC Comic in a long time in the form of Supersons. Jonathan is now in the hands of Bendis and the first thing that happens is that he becomes 17. In vol. 2, the plan is to explain how this happened. In the first issue of the volume, Superboy appears in front of his parents and tells the story from the first day of his trip to Lois’s return to Earth. Then the problems emerge, we get a teaser and then have to wait another month. In terms of pacing, we got through mostly unimportant information that Bendis had already basically explained in Action Comics #1004. So a month passes by and we get today’s Superman #8. Once again we get a lot of what we could already figure out followed by a last page teaser out of nowhere. Now we get to wait another month for another slow burn story about a much beloved character. Imagine if you knew Wally West was going to return from the dead after Heroes in Crisis and the next 6 issues of Flash are about how he came back in a slow burn for something which could really be told in one issue. 3 months later you finally understand what happened. Now multiply that by two because Bendis is writing monthly. His big reveals start feeling like a waste of time and not worth the effort. Why buy the next issue of Superman when you know your going to be waiting another month for a slow burn story. This issues aren’t all that fun and lack a lot of humor. Meanwhile, Bendis can’t even write Jon right. The closest to the innocent Jon we get, is Jon thinking “that’s a weird thing to be telling an eleven year old.” I’m not going to get into his weird writing of Superman’s “Babe” Lois, but still one month later we get more of that.

When looking at the big picture stuff, many things Bendis set up for his run in Man of Steel which began in May, like Jon’s trip took 8 months to begin getting content for. It took 5 months to begin to get Lois stories. This pacing is just too long. If Bendis has writing bimonthly, which he should, those times are halved and suddenly the stories have a good pacing to waiting ratio. The Man of Steel series is proof that the Bendis Burn (I’m coining it now!) can work. It’s just doesn’t work on monthly series.

This is a larger problem though. Young Avengers during his Marvel days would draw out into a slow Bendis Burn. Naomi and Young Justice are likely to face similar problems. Bendis needs to write fewer series and make his series more frequent if he wants to fight the Bendis Burn. Maybe the solution is everyone only buys his trades where you can read his arcs in one sitting but right now Bendis is loosing sales and people to his writing .

I hope you found this article insightful. It’s been a while since I did a DC Opinion Article because most of my complaints have been fixed but you can read it as a interesting look back at the past of DCU Below. Many of the referenced stories are actually on DCU now:

Also big thank you to DCU for adding Tomasi’s incredible superman run. Go read it if you haven’t read it yet! Supersons, Action Comics, and Superman are fantastic!


I agree with the end goal point. He constantly did that at Marvel. He brought the original X-men to the present and then they were there for 5 years. It seemed like he had no idea how he wanted them to get back, but just figured somebody else would take care of it some other time. I agree that the monthly schedule really hurts both Superman and Action Comics. One of the things that I liked most about rebirth was that most of the comics came out twice a month. I don’t see why he’s writing six books a month.


I find Bendis writing to be very uneven. Sometimes wonderful and sometimes on the verge of terrible. In my head I have attributed it to him stretching himself too thin.

I wonder if he can dedicate the same amount of craft to all of the stories or if he focuses on what currently strikes his fancy the most each week and just makes sure to meet his deadlines on the rest.

I think DC bringing in Bendis is a good choice, but they need to do something to ensure a more even quality, maybe give him fewer comics or more assistance.


Obviously for the comic book world, Mr. Bendis is the Golden Goose that keeps laying golden eggs.

No question his creations and reboots end up turning into movies and TV series and he has a wide range of what he can write from very very adult to stuff like the Wonder Comics now (which I had no idea he had in him).

But I still recall when he was on New Avengers, feeling resentful as I would pay up to $3 to $4 a comic and I knew going into it that actually nothing would be advanced with the plot, there probably would be no fight scenes and it would just be like Power Man and his wife talking about the kid, that kind of stuff, for 23 pages.

I like that kind of stuff in a lot of ways, but I’m also kind of a plot fan. I also don’t need to see a lot of violence, let’s get the characterization, let’s dig in and make it real… but you know, seven heads on a panel talking and joking around for two pages, that only goes so far.


I agree he’s not a bad Superman writer, but he’s far from a great one. DiDio shouldve put his foot down and told BMB no when he demanded both superman books. Tomassi and Jurgens where having seminal runs. When that happens you just don’t stop it for any reason. BMB shouldve taken Justice League and been next in line when Tomassi and Jurgens had wrapped things. Waiting for that while working on JL wouldve better prepared him.
I don’t blame BMB for it,but I do blame DiDio and his decision with this will always be inexcusable.


Right now I’m reading four of the Bendis books; Supes, Action, Young Justice, and Naomi… and all of them are FIRE!

I don’t know what you’re talking about because since coming to DC he seems reenergized and dong some spectacular stuff.

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I agree with OldManJonah.


Old Man Jonah. If you read my article you’ll realize that I don’t hate his writing, I actually like it but it’s the slow methodical pacing, the Bendis Burn if you will, combined with making series monthly that I don’t like. Id rather he only write Superman and action comics and release bimonthly.

@Nathan yeah, I got that from your post. I was saying my response in general because I see a lot of benis hate on these boards.

But really can you really hold the scheduling against him? I think DC is gradually phasing out the ‘twice monthly’ books. I think there are only a couple now. I really prefer monthly books, being on a budget that means I can fit more titles in every month. Plus I’ve been reading for decades now and double-shipping has only been around for the last couple years. I guess this is when I raise my first and say “get off my lawn with your twice monthly books.” I come from a time when all books were monthly and that is fine by me.

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Yikes. I’m seeing the goldfish/torso bendis in dc… nothing but love here…

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@uronomys. With the exception of some weird handling of Lois and Jonathan Kent. I’m enjoying his work. I’m just going to stick to the trades I think


Yeah but at the monthly pacing more stories could stand by themselves. I have no problems waiting a month for something like Naomi because issue one had so closure. TNTT by Perez was more individualized per story while telling a longer story over time. Bendis doesn’t seem to be playing the long game or the short game. Also I think bimonthlys are better for some people. Some people love that Tom King release bimonthly because the 100 issues feels way less slow of a burn. But maybe that’s just newer reader me!

@Nathan Yeah, we can probably go back and forth forever on the advantages/disadvantages of bimonthly. When Rebirth launched I remember jumping on a bunch of the bimonthly titles thinking “This is great. Now I don’t have to wait a month and can actually remember what happened in the last issue.” But that slowly turned to “this is way too many comics I’m buying every week and I’m spending way too much time reading them.” For me monthly works. But I can see your point.

Regardless, I’m glad your beef really is more with the scheduling and not with Bendis’ writing itself. My assumption is that he has stocks-and-stocks of backlogged scripts that are being updated for all his Jinx world books, and he can probably crank out Young Justice and Naomi with ease having written characters like that for years now. So even if he was writing only the Super books, they would be coming out monthly because DC seems to be moving back to that direction. Bats is bimonthly because Bats is their cash cow and until sales on Batman and Detective slow down, they will be published bimonthly one way or the other.

But really none of use know why these decisions are made, or if a writer has the long game or short game in mind when they are writing. I just choose to let them make those decisions and enjoy good storytelling when I get it.

For the record I don’t hate Bendis. I just don’t believe it was the right time for him to take over the Superman titles. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. That’s all. Plus I want to see his take on the JLA, The guys a master of team books.


@dccomicsincrisis I think you are on to something!


I was thrilled that Bendis was coming to DC and remain that way. Why?
Attention on supporting characters and creating new ones
The long play, he will set up subplots that last years
Tiny details matter, notes on computers, call lists on phones, just little touches of the broader DCU
Dialogue yes his work is heavy on talk, but I find his dialogue interesting
He gets the characters but can still show a new angle for example (spoilers) a frustrated Superman finds Mongul and punches the crap out of him as tension relief

For me the only downside is 2 Superman/Action issues a month instead of 4

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I remember readin in a powers lettercol that he focuses on one book, writes it out for 6ish issues, moves to the next title and so on. So he has 6,7 titles comin out in a month but he only writes one at a time.

@msgtv I would agree, but that downside feels pretty big. I think Wonder Comics can be monthly, but Superman/ Action Comics needs to be more regular.


Or Merge the two into one series!

Eh I like having multiple Supe titles.