Cover date: December 2000
2000 Shield No. 50
Writer: Joe Kelly
Inker: Marlo Alquiza
"Kith & Kin"
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
She's hired several mercenaries, one named Bim to help her investigate some leads that ended in a boat bound for Africa in the name of Triton shipping. They are connected to people who tried recently to kill Superman.
Meanwhile, Superman takes a falling, flying skyscraper and rights it again. It's surrounded in Encantadora's trademark mist.
From the sky, someone watches.
Encantadora's form reveals itself, and she's apparently in agony.
Lois is on the run from the people she's tracking. The people in the car behind her turn out to be The League of Assassins.
Superman confronts Encantadora in her room, where she's huddled up, fetal. She says some things, unintelligible if you don't speak Spanish, and Superman makes an oblong comment. He attempts to take her into custody, and she disappears.
Superman commands Talia, previously unseen, out of the closet.
In Africa, at the lair of the Assassins, a young boy named Victor plays video games as Superman with a few ruffians. Victor is Encantadora's brother.
In STAR Labs, a blond woman examines the chunk molecular krypto-fodder that attacked Superman recently, despite her lack of clearance. She's used and is using her femininity to dupe the guy with clearance into letting her. A mysterious hack watches from a nearby grate and takes notes.
Superman admires Talia's large collection of guns. She dresses down into a skimpy bathing suit, and they plan on going to where her father, Ra's, is hiding out. It has to be grounded, she notes, because the Lazarus Pit only works on the ground.
Ra's is asking something vague of Encantadora, then he turns and reveals his goal... he wants his heart... it is missing. Whether this is a symbolic meaning, referring to Talia, who as some may know was recently estranged from Ra's, or whether someone actually took his heart, which I do not know as I have not read Batman recently, is not remarked upon.
The Assassins and Lois are fighting each other. Lois shoots one assassin, but Jimmy and Bim see that they are fighting a losing battle. Jimmy offers to use the signal watch, but Lois won't let him.
Instead, she stands, and screams that reinforcements are coming and that a reporter, namely her, had managed to infiltrate and expose their national headquarters.
Everyone stops shooting.
Scarlet Scythe, a clown faced, fur coat wearing bald guy with a scythe, aptly enough, asks her what she means.
Talia, in a flying machine, and Superman, flying, approach Ra's Al Ghul's headquarters... it is a flying ship...? Talia wonders what her father has done. Story - 2: Again, as with an issue of Supes from a few weeks back, we are treated to a set up for a final issue. This is the problem with separating the arcs. Still, this one had potential, and it did cover some ground, but a lot of it was wasted ground, because it impinged upon the central characters. Some things of note:
Lois shoots (possibly killing) people without a second thought. I know her father toughened her, but this is a characteristically un-Lois action. She will also not let Superman help her. It's a plus to character, but it's undermined by the fact that if she'd called in Supes, the assassins that she'd shot would be alive and facing court, and she wouldn't have to deal with the ugly and seemingly pointless threat of the Scarlett Scythe. Ohh! A clown with a knife. Spare me.
Superman would not just jump into cahoots with Talia. Especially after the Tower of Babel mess from a few months back (in the JLA books). He doesn't try to apprehend her, he just follows her. Out of character. Further, Supes stands in front of a veritable army of guns, bombs, knives, and other killing machinations that he knows is in the hands of a family with aspirations of world domination, and he lets Talia keep them. Not Superman-y.
Also, Ra's Al Ghul, in order to keep a ship flying, would not use a human medium such as Encantadora. He'd use some form of hover-device. The only excuse remaining is if he needs to cloak the ship. And if we're in a universe where skyscrapers can fly, we're certainly in a universe where a cloaking device can be obtained that can keep you off of everyone, even Superman's, respective radars.
Art - 3: I think that everything was drawn very well, and eye pleasing, but also, there were several aspects of character that seemed forgotten here, as well. First off, Lois is not Lois in this issue. She's Lara Croft. Far be it for me to criticize cheap and easy T & A, but still, even her face looks oddly sex pot.
Talia also is over sexualized, wearing skimpy outfits in Metropolis Harbor for seemingly no apparent reason other than to change in front of Supes. Again, T & A, usually no complaints, but not when it's unnecessary. For instance, Encantadora's cleavage, I understand and love. Talia's too darn smart to be trying to seduce Superman when she loves Bats.
Also, a few unnecessary splashes, and an overwhelmingly vertical focus on the panels that throws the eye off.
Cover Art - 4: Nice looking, definitely. Only problem here is that the cover is the exact opposite of what the issue is about, seemingly. Talia wasn't attacking Superman, she was working with him. She never had a sword. Encantadora and Lois, looking on, never really even knew about Talia, much less looked on in horror as she attacked Supes' sigil.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2000.