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Cover date: December 2003
Writer: Joe Casey
Penciller: Derec Aucoin
Inker: Derec Aucoin
"The Mack Minute"
Reviewed by: Nick Newman (NNewman8283@yahoo.com)
Lois, Clark, and Jimmy sit together talking in the Planet. Jimmy says that what he hates most about Luthor is that people are too afraid to oppose him. A new mail guy passes by and Lois tellsClark that he has been there awhile. Lois suddenly takes a call on her cell phone. She tells the other two that she is heading down to a day care center where there was some sort of outbreak.
Across town a mother bakes cookies for her two children, but when she brings the treats into the other room she finds her two children transformed into strange creatures.
Lois gets out of the taxi and rushes through the crowd. A police office stops her from proceeding any further, but Lois spots Dr. Welbourne from S.T.A.R. Labs and calls him over. He comes over and tells her that they aren't sure what is going on inside, but they are going to keep the rooms quarantined until they get some better equipment there. Superman touches down and asks the doctor why.
Superman soars into the building and meets up with two S.T.A.R. men in containment suits outside of a room. He opens the door to find no children, but tons of giant bugs. He tries communicating with them, telling them that their parents are worried and they aren't going to hurt them. The creatures proceed to crawl up onto his body. Pulling one off of his face, Superman admits that they are probably unable to communicate, but they are still going to help them.
In Suicide Slum, a man stands in his window, acupuncture needles all over his body as he does stretches. Nearby on a table, the armor of the black-clad man lies in wait.
At S.T.A.R. Labs Superman walks with Dr. Welbourne, but the Dr. has no clue as to what caused the mutation in the children, but he has a gut feeling that it may be magic. Superman is thrilled to hear that news. Suddenly he hears something and excuses himself from the Dr.
Across the city the black-clad man crouches over the body of one man as another aims a gun at him. The thief fires, but the man easily dodges the bullet. Another second and the shooter is down as well. The other two are taken down with equal ease. As coins bounces away from their stolen loot, on settles at the feet of the Man Of Steel. The black-clad man tells Superman he really isn't in to the "heroes mistaking each other for villains theme" so Superman invites him to talk. The man is glad to hear that after the fight with the last guys, and Superman offers to take him to a doctor to see about his wounded eye. The man says he has his own methods of healing. The man then proceeds to show his powers of super-speed. Superman asks who he is and the man introduces himself as the Minuteman. Superman tells him to be sure he wants to commit to this occupation, but the Minuteman simply tells him that there is something coming, and he needs to be ready. Stepping shadows, he vanishes, leaving Superman standing alone in the alley.
The next day at the Planet Clark is handed a piece of mail for Lois, but a quick looks sees that the mail guy screwed up. Catching up to him to return the letterClark notices that the mail guy has a black eye. The man brushes it off and says he walked into a door, but Clark is curious.
Down in the mail room, the mail guy is startled to find Superman standing behind him. Superman asks which the disguise is. He denies it initially, but finally admits to it. Superman asks what he was talking about when he said something was coming. The Minuteman tells him that he is the first line of defense. First the children in the city will begin to mutate as a precursor to their arrival. Two of the 'Anti-Angelica' just got married and now they are coming there for their honeymoon.
Out in the harbor the water suddenly begins to boil. Out of the water emerge two horrible creatures, ready to consummate their marriage.
Story - 2: First of all, I apologize to everyone about the last sentence. I really wish I didn't have to talk about the 'Anti-Angelica' consummating in my reviews, but Casey is kind of forcing my hand here.
I'll start off with the positive, because I definitely want to end on a negative note after this story. Casey is good at the reporter angle. I really like seeing Clark, Lois and Jimmy sit around in the Planet. We never see that anymore and I miss it. That is the reason for the 2. Now back to your regularly schedule ranting.
There are so many little problems with this issue. First off there is the whole idea of the children mutating. The first appearance of them, in the apartment, was horribly placed. We are anticipating Lois getting to the day care center to learn what happen (this is of course assuming that we care, but bear with me) but no, we don't need to build any anticipation. The next page they just show two random children transformed into bugs. This ruined any sense of suspense that possibly could have been generated. That leads into the next fact. From this point and from Minuteman's comment at the end, every child in the city should be transforming. From the sun in the story, at least two days pass during this story, but even if it was just a few hours, I think we would have a little bit more of a crisis if every single child under five was changing into a bug. In a city the size of Metropolis that would be thousands upon thousands, but we hear nothing of it. The city should have been in a massive panic, but insteadClark is sitting at the Planet talking to the mail guy. That's just sloppy. This isn't even mentioning the fact that children turning into bugs is just stupid.
Then there is the Minuteman. Now just last issue we saw the Candidate, a character than none of us care about, but nonetheless were forced to read about. Now he's dead, never to be heard from again. Now this issue we are treated to the dazzling feats of Minuteman! He can move sort of fast, and he likes the martial arts. Forgive me if I'm not impressed. I'm going to say this again, WE DON'T NEED MORE CHARACTERS! Adding tons of lame supporting characters is not going to improve the books; it is only going to drag them down. I said it in my review of Action Comics #807, and Neil quoted in his review of #808, there are tons of characters to draw from already, why create more? The Minuteman is lame. That Superman would need the help of someone who is relatively fast, with regular strength and endurance, is ridiculous. The Minuteman will be gone in a few issues and never be used again, so why create him in the first place?
Finally there is the 'Anti-Angelica'. In the same vein as Minuteman, another villain that will be gone in a few issues never to return. We haven't seen them in action yet, but you know that they will suck. And why in the world would two supremely powerful beings (I'm assuming) come to Metropolis for their...honeymoon? I'm done.
Art - 3: This is the same stuff as always, too heavy on the black and not enough detail. I really don't like it, but it's not that horrible either. Just keep the picture in your mind of the new artists. They will be here soon, and we won't have to put up with this anymore.
Cover Art - 1: I'm going to borrow Neal's format for this one. Let's see. Constipated Superman? Check! Poor font (looks like someone at DC figured out how to use WordArt) describing what the cover shows in a corny phrase that would make any self-respecting person (I've got an excuse, I have to buy it to review it, what's yours?) put it back on the rack? Check! Lack of background? Check! This last one is made even worse buy the fact that it's white. Not only does it look even cheaper, but you can forget having this one stay in good condition, that cover will show any dirt from your fingers. Although I suppose maybe he was counting on no one reading it, because no one really should. I don't know whose brainstorm it was at DC to have Nowlan start doing covers, and I really wonder whose idea it was to keep him on, but it's horrible. Is it really that hard to find a good cover artist? I could name several. I could also tell you what good covers should look like. One thing is for sure, they definitely wouldn't look like that one. Now I'm really done.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2003.