Writers: Graham Nolan and Chuck Dixon
Penciller: Graham Nolan
Inker: Noelle Giddings
Reviewed by: Michael O'Connor
Superman's mind speeds backwards as a frown comes to his face at a time when he was just discovering his powers...
Clark finds himself in Paris where a young child has been run over by a car. Clark speeds to the rescue, hurling the car out of the way with his super strength as the crowd flees from the scene. Clark saves the young girl with CPR learned as a Boy Scout and leaves the scene, hoping that he has not brought unnecessary attention to himself.
Hiding at a cafe, he meets Terri Chung, who introduces herself and reveals that she took pictures of his amazing feats earlier. Not wanting his identity revealed, Clark burns the film with his heat vision but soon becomes good friends with the young woman.
Later, at Chung's apartment, a nervous Kent attempts to find something to talk about, not trying to seem too nervous. All of a sudden, a group of terrorists break in. When they can't knock Clark out of their way to get to Terri, they try shooting him, only to realize that Kent is bulletproof. Kent is quite surprised himself and is even more amazed to see the terrorists fleeing the scene out of terror.
Terri eventually decides that she must go back to her father after she explains that the Chinese government has been trying to kill her father, who is the country's highest religious figure.
Clark agrees to go with her, and before long they find themselves on a plane heading for China. As they fly in, they are shot down and Clark saves her by jumping out of the plane and flying her to the ground.
Before long, they are once again on their way to the Chung palace, which takes an entire day to reach. As they approach the entrance, they meet a young Bruce Wayne, who gives both Clark and Terri a chilling glance as he continues to make his way back to the village.
As Clark and Terri enter the palace, they find a group of terrorists that have been knocked unconscious. Further probing by Clark reveals that the ever-capable Bruce Wayne dealt with the attackers and that he has left the palace due to a misunderstanding between himself and the Rhana, Terri's father.
Clark introduces himself as both Terri and her father discusses the future. Terri wishes to explore the world, while the Rhana would rather have her stay with him.
The next day, Clark finds himself having breakfast with the Rhana, only to hear an approaching avalanche and streaking off to save Terri. He does so, but barely, and Terri kids with Clark about his embarrassment that he could not have done a better job. As Terri leaves, the Rhana gives Clark some important advice, stating that his powers are to be celebrated and not denied and that he must use these powers for the greater good.
Over the next few weeks, Clark finds himself enjoying his life and immersing himself in a different culture. One night as he and Terri head home, he suddenly weakens considerably due to a familiar green rock situated in a statue above him...
Finally, the Chinese army confronts the Rhana, only to kill him immediately. Clark in an incredible rage, hurls himself at the attackers and destroys their weapons and combat vehicles, eventually sealing them off from the palace as soldiers run away in fear of a ghost.
Clark eventually leaves Terri behind as she becomes the next Rhana and she assures him that his secrets will always be safe with her.
Superman's thoughts fade back to the present where he finds himself at the graveyard, honoring friends from a past so long ago...
Story - 4: Certainly a lot more fun to read then to review. From my rather pathetic summary, the story does not sound that interesting and at times it isn't, as Superman does a bunch of 'normal' feats that we are all used to time and time again. For instance, the plane being shot down wasn't very exciting because you knew Supes was going to fly out and the scene with the avalanche was pretty lame as well. However, these scenes set up some interesting conversation about Clark's powers and how he should use them in the future. The story still wasn't anything exemplary but it was certainly fun.
Art - 4: Graham Nolan is one of my all time favorite artists. His art for the most part, is very stylized, but his work on Detective Comics for about, if not longer than, a three-year period of time, was fantastic. He created some absolutely incredible sequences starting from the time that "Knightfall" began (Batman got his back broken) to the time when he squared off with Bane for the re-match in the series "Legacy." Along with inker Scott Hanna and some fantastic coloring unrivaled in the comic industry, Nolan's art burst off the page, supporting some fantastic stories during this time while other Bat-titles remained in mediocrity. In this special, his Superman isn't as distinct, nor was it in the DCU Holiday Bash (#2 I think?). Nevertheless, the art was still great to look at and the action scenes were done with a style usually unrivaled in the regular Superman comics. The inking is also rather weak and the issue would have been much more powerful if Hanna had been present to lend his talents to the book.
Cover - 3: Fairly boring cover. Although the illustration of Superman in the upper left hand corner is pretty cool, the majority of the cover is not anything that hasn't been done before and doesn't jump out at the comic book store.
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