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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #678

Superman #678

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 23, 2008

Cover date: September 2008

"The Coming of Atlas" - Part Two: "Time Lost"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Renato Guedes
Inker: Wilson Magalhaes

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Jimmy and Lois race towards the devastation wrought by the Science Police, Superman and Atlas. When Jimmy can't motorcycle any further the duo have to force their way through the crowd of frightened citizens.

Jimmy's mind wanders, he started his morning like any other, but how did Superman begin his and get to this point? Lois of course knows exactly how... with a tiff. After Chris was taken from them, Clark had begun to focus more on his family. To that end Clark revealed to Lois he'd been quietly training Krypto and that the hound of steel was now their pet. Lois was stubborn and stoney faced. Clark tried to reason with his wife but in the end he decided to avoid a fight, taking Krypto for a play in space to introduce him to Hal Jordan. Lois shakes off her daydream and regrets being nasty to Clark, her mind wandering back to the arrival of Doomsday and the loss suffered.

Superman and Atlas are evenly matched in strength, fighting toe to toe achieves little more than more structural damage. What they don't notice are mini hover cams transmitting their every move back to the Science Police headquarters.

'The Lady' boss of the police instructs the remainder of the conscious team members to intervene and kick the crap out of Atlas. Noted, they collide with him which triggers a memory recall in the leather faced interloper.

Back in the days of Kirbyeque legend Atlas remembers a battle against the Lizard Kingdom. Ruling the world with his 'might is right' attitude. His friend Chagra hands him a magic crystal to imbue Atlas with magic power but it backfires and Atlas is swallowed in time.

Atlas a phantom in time is able to see the world pass in time, and the overload of knowledge sends him into a coma. Until the modern age when he wakes to find himself captured in a government facility. For whatever reason he allows the human captors to instruct him with a mission, defeat Superman and bring him in. Atlas points out he doesn't 'defeat' he kills.

He also enquires how he arrived here in present day. The man, decorated in a general's colors reveals, something Ray Palmer had done traveling through time and space had enabled them to find him and pull him through the continuum, but it was almost like magic.

Atlas remembers his Kirbyesque days again but this time from the point of view of his friend, Chagra. Chagra had seen with the death and destruction, with each battle, pieces of good within Atlas began to die with his enemies. Chagra proved duplicitous, for when instructed by Atlas to enchant a crystal with power to make him greater, Chagra instead asked the Three Who Are One to make him go far away from them.

When Atlas invoked the energies it sucked him into the continuum and peace returned...

Flashing forward, Superman hightails it into the sky, leaving the citizens to think he had turned chicken! Jimmy, snapping away on his camera spots one of the hover cams but before he can tell Lois, Superman returns - in force!

In astounding speed Superman flies, fist clenched right at the angry Atlas!

4Story - 4: Phew!

OK. This is clearly the direction... character.

Some will hate that, some will love it. I like that Superman and his cast are treated as real now rather than Superman WHAM, CLANG, KABLAMming his way through crap villains weekly. Personally I like the fact Lois and Jimmy are growing into characters again instead of the vessels of expositional dialogue they had become through the previous run. Both Planeteers are pivotal to the plot. And the laughable Science Police (they are actually cool - its just the name...) take a back seat though and we're introduced to another mystery voice character.

I liked the nod to Jack Kirby but, sorry, I didn't like the explanation for him being there, it cheapened the wow factor of the flashbacks with a dull 'twist,' and the taste of Countdown is still bitter with me so Ray Palmer 'giving' the government access to the time stream and Atlas made me uneasy.

Also why the heck would a former ruler of the world follow the orders dished out to him. No amount of raspy dialogue and hiding in the shadows changes the fact that the man they are 'threatening' could pretty much squash them.

5Art - 5: Continuing to deliver a high standard this is a visual feast. The flexibility in art with the Kirby homage and the washes of time effects show a true ability to bring a story to life. Superb, I am torn between, Gary Frank, Dan Jurgens and Renato Guedes as my favorite artist now! Grrr! It's not a competition guys lol!

2Cover Art - 2: Beautifully painted but still a pretty uninspiring effort.

Ugh. Sorry I love the pose but hate the characterization. Why does Superman look... ugly... and old? Why am I actually thinking ol' leatherface looks superior to Superman...

Perhaps it's me but the Alex Ross covers are starting to bore.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2008

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