Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
Glen Weldon (Author)
A celebration of Superman's life and history - in time for his 75th birthday. How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Joe Philips
Inker: Rich Faber and Rob Still
Reviewed by: Gareth Baker (GHLBJEDI@aol.com)
At the Pentagon, American military chiefs are planning their counter attack, made easier by the fact the apes have not attacked a single military installation.
At LexCom, Lois Lane is trying to find an angle on the whole ape story. She's convinced that it wasn't the FBI that killed King Solovar. A small patch of interference on the news footage leads Lois and her companion to thinking that maybe the FBI agents where being controlled by the weapons used to change people into apes. Lois grabs a cameraman and they head into town. They soon run into lots of "apes", and so Lois calls for protection. However, when Superman arrives he picks up their van and he's an ape.
Lois decides to help her husband, and so takes him to Professor Hamilton, who sadly is an "ape" himself. Then Superman has the idea that maybe direct sun light might cure him. Lois is afraid it won't work. Superman rushes into space and past a space station. Superman is hit (though whether it's by the sun or the space station is unclear - this I think was a plot device so what happens next works) and a fireball rushes back to Earth and crashes in Hobs Bay. When Lois investigates, she's horrified to see Superman has grown to King Kong proportions. The giant ape-Superman begins to kill everyone around and then eats Lois Lane.
Suddenly Superman arrives. A normal human/Kryptonian Superman. So what's the ape? Superman punches the huge ape, causing it to fall into a building and set off a gas main. The giant ape emerges without any fur. It's a robot! A heavily armed robot. It shoots Superman and flies off. Fearing that Lois is inside, Superman scans the behemoth, and discovers it is powered by magic. Lois is indeed inside, he can hear her.
Inside, Ulgo is controlling the robot and Lois is on the floor. The Prince wants Lois to report what is about to happen to the people of Earth. He is on a mission to destroy the Pentagon. When the robot arrives at the Pentagon, tanks open fire on it, and Superman stops Ulgo's missiles. Superman asks the prince why he is attacking. This is not the way he would attack. Lois explains about the FBI, and suggests that maybe he is being manipulated too. As the prince considers the possibility, he crushes his amulet and the robot goes haywire after its power source is destroyed. Superman frees the prince and Lois, and then after taking a huge run up, destroys the robot.
Just then, Young Justice arrive with a giant exploding banana!!!!
Superman suggests that the humans and the apes work together to discover what is happening.
Story - 3: This was surprisingly good, considering these crossover things are usually very, very bad, so it still comes out as average. I was concerned that I wouldn't understand this, as apart from JLA, I haven't bought any of the other issues. However, unless I missed out on subtleties, I found it to be a self contained story, though obviously it has no final end, you'll have to read Manhunter for that. Really there was no story, apart from the fact that Lois discovers a piece of what's going on and gets the prince onside. Otherwise it's just a fight issue. My main annoyance (which I pointed out in the synopsis) is the plot device they used to trick us into thinking Supes was a giant ape. All I can say is thank God he didn't. The device was clumsy and poorly done. Was it the sun or the space station that hit him? Earth was awfully large behind him. Maybe the artist got it wrong.
Art - 3: There was some really nice touches in this issue. The High-Priestess conniving in the background, the Action Comics shop, Superman smiling when he hears Lois inside the robot. On the whole the art was good solid stuff. Well done.
Cover Art - 3: I guess this should have given this story away - the fact the big ape was a robot, but it didn't. Guess I'm dim. Superman's costume adds a nice dash of colour. That's all I have to say.
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