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Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Post-Crisis Superman Comics



Return of Superman TPB

The Return of Superman

Cover date: 1993

Featuring: Superman #78-82, Action Comics #687-691, Superman: The Man of Steel #22-26, and Adventures of Superman #500-505, and Green Lantern #46.

Writers: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kessel, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern, and Gerard Jones
Pencillers: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens, and M.D. Bright
Inkers: Brett Breeding, Doug Hazelwood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier, and Romeo Tanghal

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey



AOS #500 PROLOG: Adventures of Superman #500:

First sighting:

On the streets of Suicide Slum, a gang war erupts, utilizing huge weapons not typical to street thugs resulting in gruesome death.

A woman leading the gang with the "toastmasters" tells her boys to continue firing. Toastmasters will corner the market within the week, she says, without a Superman to stop her.

A DOOM thunders, and a black hand reaches from the ground. A bald black man pulls himself from the wreckage of a building as the gangs scatter, and he rises, bearing a hammer, with three words:

"Gotta stop Doomsday!"

First sighting:

A man in a car listens to the radio, where an announcer talks about the spiking crime rate since Superman's death.

As the announcer gets to carjackings, a thug points a gun at the man in the car and tries to take his car. The man drives off, in a panic, and the man with the gun fires at him. A voice from the dark commands him to stop firing.

The thug runs.

Reaching the roof of a nearby building, the voice from the dark rises to confront the man. It is a man in a Superman suit, only with a different bottom, with black along the sides, and with the cape attached to the S-shield. His hands glow.

The man fires into the seeming Superman's chest, and the bullets bounce off.

The man, claiming to be Superman, offers the vengeance of Superman to the thug, killing him.

First sighting:

Guardian blasts into a locked door where Westfield stands, stumped, talking about experiment 13. They find broken cloning cylinders and a piece of Superman's cape, along with a scientist tied up with metal in a bow, in Superman style. The Newsboy Legion helped the "experiment" escape.

Outside, a grate flies off a sewer pipe, and the Newsboys hand their charge a leather jacket, which he puts on. One of them calls him Superboy, and he turns around, showing a red panted, blue stomach, black shoulder unitard with a leather jacket. That, and a younger looking version of Superman, who tells them not to call him Superboy.

First sighting:

At the site where Superman was killed by Doomsday, a family admires the plaque. A figure looking remarkably like Superman descends, uses heat vision to melt the plaque, then takes off, revealing the body of Superman with cyborg attachments to 3/4 of the head, the right side of the body, and most of the legs.

"I'm back." He says.

End prolog.

5Story - 5: How can you argue with this? I mean, you have the first appearance of four new Superman, and at the time, with Superman dead, the assumption was that one of these men would end up taking Superman's spot.

Superboy? No. Sounded too immature.

A black guy with a big hammer? Okay... but why?

A murdering Superman? That didn't sound right.

That left the Cyborg, who seemed the closest to the real deal.

And this is the end of Adventures 500, showing us, for the first time, a preview of the events of the months ahead. After reading this for the first time, my 13 year-old hands pushed back the comic and went "Whoah." Like killing Superman wasn't crazy and out of sorts enough, and venturesome.

Now, reading it ten years later, I still say "Whoah." Good entrances.

4Art - 4: The Eradicator is a bit choppy and dark, which is typical of Guice, but other than that, the paneling and pacing were top notch. Given four pages for each story, none of them seemed rushed or deliberate, making for the final splash in each having a great deal of efficacy.

5Cover Art - 5: The legions of the underworld confronting a frightened and lost Superman and Pa Kent in the middle of the ether...nice. And close enough to what really happened in the issue not to lose a point.



Action Comics #687 Action Comics #687: "Born Again"

A pair of scientists see massive flairs in Antarctica, and head in to read sensors, considering it a problem with the ozone layer.

Inside the fortress massive fluctuations tear though a circular matrix, and the fortress robots try to bring back the energy of something.

The form of a red humanoid awakens from the matrix and demands to know what is going on. A robot tries to explain, but as the form touches the robot, it shorts out.

The form accesses the fortress to see the news from a satellite, and the form finds out that Superman is dead. The form realizes that the power is still in the body, and leaves the fortress in a rush.

The form arrives at the Superman memorial, finds the body, and attempts to take power from it. He is stuck in the process, and the statues heats up. The form becomes a solid humanoid with the body of Superman but the costume from the prolog. It takes the cape and moves to exit the tomb. The hole leading to Cadmus blinds him, and the form realizes that it needs to get back to the fortress.

Bibbo, hearing about the rising crime in the city, goes and puts on a Superman sweater and decides to head outside to do some crime fighting of his own, or at least good deeds.

Action Comics #687 At the fortress, the form realizes his eyes are hard pressed to adjust to light. He orders the viewscreen changed, and revels in his power, nevertheless, accidentally taking out a wall with his blasts. On the screen, he sees the new Superman cult, and responds to the screen.

The man arises, now with a Superman shield, and heads for Metropolis.

He finds a woman being accosted by a burglar, and he throws the man through a wall, killing him. Cut to the happy woman from the Prolog, grateful her attacker is taken care of.

A montage of the apparent new Superman is shown, saving lives, causing news reports.

In the Lexcorp Tower, Supergirl breaks through guards to see Lex, who is upset that the cameras did not record the body disappearing. Lex shares the information, and Supergirl asks why he didn't tell her.

A plane descends toward Metropolis on a crash course. The Visored Superman arrives, taking the plane in for a landing and placing it in the park.

A crowd gathers, including Lois Lane, who the Visor Superman whisks away to a rooftop.

She asks him who he is, and he has some general truths about Clark and Lois, and Lois's importance to Superman, but when she starts to press him, he turns away and disappears.

Lois wonders if she has lost Superman again.

5Story - 5: An intriguing new Superman, a bunch of plot to stir up speculation, things to indicate that this may or may not be the real Superman, and several key pieces of the puzzle falling into place. First, the Fortress of Solitude, second, knowing some of the information, and thirdly, the shield. But this Superman, this Superman killed...

Bibbo's transformation, as well, is one of the best moments of grief in the whole series. I loved Bibbo's reaction to Superman's death, and his subsequent desire to be a hero stands out as one of my favorite moments of the death and return.

3Art - 3: Guice was never my favorite Superman artist, but he always got from A to B. I think it's something about the odd posturing that always set me off. The Visor Superman looking like he's doing Kung Fu while flying around the fortress, Supergirl showing underwear almost every scene it was possible (not that I cared at 13, but critically, it's a little odd). Still, there was nothing particularly bad, and it got through a lot of material in a short amount of time.

5Cover Art - 5: I was a big fan of the cut away covers. They detailed exactly what was in the book, they became iconic over the next few years, and they offered vision to a new string of stories that changed comics.

3Newsstand Cover Art - 3: Waaaaay not as cool as the cutaway cover. I mean, sure, it's curious, you want to see what's inside, but the first issue with a new iconic character? Come on! I mean, the color scheme is a bit wonky too, but it's not like with Man of Steel 22, where the wonkiness grows on you, it's just.well...odd.



Man of Steel #22 Superman: The Man of Steel #22: "Steel"

Henry Johnson, a large black man sitting on a stoop in Suicide Slum, explains the story of John Henry to Zoid, Henry, and Keith. They are skeptical as to John Henry's value, save Keith, and the leave.

Out in the street, a group of gang members geared up with Toastmasters blow Zoid to death, and Johnson pulls the boys to safety, chasing after the car.

The men in the car scoff, but Henry overpowers the car and tries to force it to a stop. He's thrown into a wall and bloodied awful.

In the hospital, Myra, Keith's guardian, pays a visit to Henry Johnson. Keith is there, and he points out that Henry's name is basically John Henry's backwards.

Keith says he wish Superman had been there to stop the creeps. John Henry tells him about the time Superman saved him. He was working on a high rise, and a worker fell off. Henry swung out to catch him, and managed to get him to safety, but as he did, his own cable let loose, and he fell. Superman caught him, and telling him to make his life worth something, set him back down.

Later, in the Doomsday fight, he tried to go and hit Doomsday, but his building collapsed on him. He came back out disoriented, thinking he still had to kill Doomsday, but soon after realized Superman was dead.

Later, Henry heads into a basement and forges armor made of Steel. Realizing he has to stop the toastmasters and make his life count, he forges a suit of armor with the Superman shield and the Superman cape.

As he does, the gang members return, lobbing a firebomb into the building and setting it on fire.

He breaks through to save a psychic friend he'd talked with briefly earlier, and calls himself the Man of Steel.

Man of Steel #22 She tells him about other people inside, and as he saves them, she tells the news that she's a psychic, and she knows Superman is back.

Lois, outside, interviewing, runs into Jeb Freidman, who tries to console her. Lois is, indeed, in need of much consolation.

Luthor, watching the appearance of Steel and the toastmasters on television, demands that Happerson find out where they come from, and who Steel is.

Steel, meanwhile has tracked down the men who killed Zoid.

Inside, Henry starts handing out rear ends, but one of the goons pulls out a toastmaster, shooting through his "partner" to hit Henry, who, hitting the wall, realizes that the toastmasters are his design. He flashes back to some images of suffering, then rises anew.

He pops rivets into Dutch's (the gang leader) arms, pinning him to the wall, and demands to know where he got the toastmaster.

A woman with white hair and a chunky associate, up on a rooftop, shoot Dutch before he can say anything.

At the Daily Planet, Lois remembers Clark, and Jeb hovers over her, offering to take her to dinner.

In the hospital, Jonathan Kent sees the Man of Steel and wonders if Clark is back.

In Lexcorp towers, Luthor wants a meeting with the new Man of Steel.

5Story - 5: Again, here we have continuity, new plot developments, dire consequences, death, and a new hero with an origin, one which has had limitless impact on the DC Universe over the past decade.

The armor forging process is very memorable, as is the first White Rabbit, the first appearance of Rosie, later important, and a number of sub-plots which span all four titles are begun, including Jeb, Pa Kent, and Luthor's obsession with figuring it all out.

Keith almost being killed with street violence, in a period of years where gang activity became much more fierce in the United States, was also a very poignant statement of the times, to say nothing of the idea of the toastmasters, an Uncle Ben for the future John Henry.

All in all, classic.

5Art - 5: Bog was always on and off with me. In this issue, he's on. The Steel splash, the White Rabbit (and her butt, for that matter, heh), the Toastmasters and their damage, and even the hard to pull off fall from the skyscraper, which was totally in motion despite the lack of motion on a comic page. Spot on for this one.

5Cover Art - 5: Again, continuing the now classic cut-out run of covers which became iconic over time. Really well planned and executed.

5Newsstand Cover Art - 5: I considered knocking a bit for the disjointed color scheme, but the more you look at it, the more you like it, and how can you get over such an explosive scene. Memorable. Not as glitzy as its cutaway counterpart, but about as good as it could be otherwise.



Superman #78 Superman #78: "Alive"

Lois reflects on the loss of her husband and the recurring reports of new Supermen. Dr. Meyer, from Superman 51, meets her to give her information, telling her of how Superman appeared and saved them all from a nuclear incident.

Lois is skeptical, but the man shows her a picture, with the cyborg aspect of Superman hidden in shadow. Lois' eyes widen.

The Cyborg Superman arrives at Cadmus, his face still in shadows, demanding to see the mayor. He asks the mayor where Doomsday is.

Lois is driving back when she hears that Superman is at Cadmus. She calls Jimmy, who tells her that it's true, and that Superman's body has disappeared from his tomb again.

Director Westfield scrambles his sky sentinels when he finds out that the person approaching Cadmus at high speed is not Superboy returning. Cyborg Superman blasts past the troops at superspeed.

Guardian prepares to defend Cadmus. Westfield views a scan of the Cyborg Superman, and we see thermals of where the cybernetics are on its body.

Superman reveals himself to Guardian and demands Doomsday. Guardian refuses to help, so Superman uses his X-Ray vision to burrow deep into the complex, retrieving the monster.

Superman #78 Cyborg Superman laments that the JLA didn't destroy the body. Westfield tries to stop him, but Superman takes Doomsday and flies for space.

Lois sees him, recognized him, and cries out... the Cyborg Superman is too busy to listen.

Superman returns to speak with Lois, explaining that he's lost his memory. She tells him that's awful convenient, and he comes up with a farm in Kansas, and the name of Kent.

Lois takes him to Emil Hamilton, who confirms the Cyborg's DNA. Emil says that this Superman is the real deal.

In space, Doomsday awakens, and laughs.

5Story - 5: Helped along by top-notch art, this story helped engross us in the Cyborg Superman, the one who, for the record, I dropped my hat to and thought would be the real Superman before the story played itself out, largely due to this issue right here.

There's evidence offered, the farm, Kent, and the DNA scan, the hate for Doomsday, the contempt for evil social organizations like Cadmus, the powers, especially.

In retrospect, I would say I would have knocked a point at the time for having Superman not just vaporize Doomsday, which doesn't make sense, but given that Doomsday is a part of Cyborg's larger plan (Per Hunter/Prey), I forgive it easily.

The anticipation of reveal for the Cyborg is interesting as well, as is the constant attention to continuity and the thought process of the reader. A very impressive piece, even against time. I mean, they bring in Dr. Meyer from Superman 51... it could have been any doctor, but attention to detail was just paid with the older, triangle number system. I really miss it.

The ending is priceless, with Doomsday alive in space, the story is spot on in character and action, a really impressive issue, and probably my favorite of the first appearances.

In fact, no probably about it.

5Art - 5: Just flip through this issue and look at that art. Sure, you could argue that it's a little cartoony, and that Lois is spacey at times, but really, it doubles the efficacy of the story at hand. Cyborg has an intriguing, interesting design, he looks like a Supes, he acts like a Supes. Even little subtle manipulations catch my eye, like when Superman is calling Guardian "Harper" and looking down. It's almost like watching it in real life. Excellent work by Jurgens and Breeding.

5Cover Art - 5: The best of the cut-out covers, and definitely a striking pose for the Cyborg. It was worth the extra money when I was a cash starved kid, and it's a jewel of my collection now.

5Newsstand Cover Art - 5: Like the Steel cover before it, this cover just really blows you away for newsstand price. We have Doomsday, who at the time everyone wanted to know more about, the crazy new alternate Cyborg Supes, and a great backdrop of space. It's a bit gimmicky, but not enough to detract from a fantastic image.



AOS #501 Adventures of Superman #501: The Adventures of Superman... When He Was A Boy!

A group of punks in a car start shooting the Superman memorial statue, then decide to run down a female jogger. Superboy stops them with one hand and holds the woman in the air by her butt with the other.

He quips as he takes their weaponry apart, and leaves them for the cops after stealing a kiss from the lady.

In Suicide Slum, Bibbo passes sandwiches out. A lady cries in the background, because she didn't know he was bringing food, and decided to send her puppies to a better world.

Bibbo, in his full Superman regalia (per his promise to honor Superman's memory in Funeral For A Friend) leaps into the water and pulls the bag out.

Only one puppy survives. Bibbo takes it, and names it Krypton, after Superman.

Superboy appears at the Daily Planet, berating Lois for covering the Cyborg Superman and not him. Jimmy tells him he's acting like a SuperBOY, and Superboy takes him and holds him upside down, agitated. He reveals that he's a clone of Superman, feints at playing Clark Kent, and then is distracted into following Tana Moon out the door.

Tana is furious over Perry giving her a small fry assignment because she's a student, and quickly takes up Superboy's infatuation in order to get an exclusive on TV.

Luthor, watching it, smashes his television with a bat, his leg in a cast (from Legacy of Superman).

AOS #501 Vincent Edge conspires at WGBS to make Superboy their pet hero, and soon Tana has Superboy going after Steel Hand, an Intergang boss.

Superboy proceeds from a helicopter, making a show of dusting off the goons easily. An exploding manhole surprises Superboy with pain, but he keeps it to himself. A bus armed with spikes slams at him, but he shrugs it off.

Angry because his jacket has been ruined, he flies in, takes out Steel Hand, and hands him over to the police.

Lois calls the Kents and suggests that maybe this boy is Superman, without the Kent's steady and even raising.

Superboy reflects on a rooftop, and Guardian shows up to chide him for his inexperience.

Tana meets with Vincent Edge and offers to take on Superboy full time.

Luthor meets with Packard, who explains that Experiment 13, Superboy, occurred because of the rush to a new Superman. He starts to explain to Luthor.

3Story - 3: Actually, in retrospect, I was really jazzed up as a kid with this issue, but now, today, I have to rate it honestly, and there are a number of things in this story that aren't up to par and are boring or irrelevant. For instance, in the last issue, we had intrigue, character, excitement, and in this issue we have an annoying teenager fighting inefficient villains, a new character who's kind of boring (Tana), and very little speculation as to Superboy's role as the real Superman... more an outright denial, and a destruction of speculation before it even starts. Part of the fun of this was that these Supermen could be the new Superman, and then they weren't. This one fizzled the fastest.

And then some tired Intergang stuff, Vincent Edge acting like a sleaze... I guess that was okay, but could have been better.

The best part of this issue was the introduction of Superboy, obviously, but also the Bibbo rescue scene, which really sticks in the mind over time. I'm always complaining about how the real Krypto is the one that Bibbo rescued, because I like that origin better, and if I ever get a comics writing gig, I'm gonna try to work in Bibbo asking Superman what happened to give their dogs both the same name. But I digress... it wasn't enough to make a sad introduction epic, but there IS intrigue, it IS the start of a character that's been around for a long old time, and I can't say it stank.

About Average.

And God, if the "youth" language Superboy used didn't sound contrived, even at the time, as I recall. Now it's just horrible. Like reading an issue of 2099... REALLY trying too hard.

4Art - 4: I'm the biggest Tom Grummett nut on Earth, really I am, and this issue is no exception. He wasn't given too much to work with, but there's something about his style from another time, it's evocative, at least to me, of the older spirit of comics melded with the new. Maybe I'm crazy, I just like his work.

Luthor Looks a little like Dr. Zaius, but Superboy looks distinctively like a younger Supes, and that's hard to pull off without seeming like Superman lite.

4Cover Art - 4: Continuing the cool covers concept that we've had for the whole run, this one loses a point for being more kitchy and posing, I guess. I mean, with Steel, Cyborg, and Eradicator, there are these great action poses, here it looks like the kid is looking at a Camera, which I guess makes sense in the context of the story, but still, it's a little odd.

3Newsstand Cover Art - 3: Gah!

Bad enough that there are words all over the cover, but that Superboy himself is writing it?

Gah!

The drawing is great, I have to give it that, but the whole context and cheesiness loses is a whole two points.

It smacks NINETIES!



Action Comics #688 Action Comic #688: "An Eye For An Eye"

Guy Gardner looks an issue of Newstime with the Superman dilemma on it and tosses it down in disgust.

The newsstand lady asks him to pay, so he flies off.

Gardner recalls the fight with Doomsday, and clashes with Superman in the Justice League.

The visored Superman catches a bank robber opening a safe. The robber, afraid of being killed, tells Superman that he's not a violent criminal. In response, the visor Superman cripples the man's hands.

In the hospital, Lois visits the man, who tells her that the visored Superman did this to him.

Cat and Lois talk about the new Supermen while eating lunch, and Superboy goes on with Tana Moon. Lois realizes that none of the Supermen seem quite right.

Leaving, she sees a silhouette that looks like Clark and tries to stop him, only to find an older man.

Visor Superman arrives at the Fortress of Solitude and has the robots attend him. On the screen, he sees the other Supermen and decides to deal with them, but only after utilizing the regeneration matrix.

Inspector Henderson calls Maggie Sawyer into his office. It seems that he's been named the commissioner after the last one stepped down in the wake of the massive crime wave that came after Superman's death. He tells her that it's always bothered him that a Captain was the head of the SCU, so he promotes Maggie to Inspector.

Visor Superman examines an abandoned warehouse with motorcycles parked behind it when Guy Gardner arrives and smashes into Visor Superman, slamming him into water. Underwater, the Superman slams into Gardner, sending him flying away, then swats him away despite yellow armor Guy produces.

Guy lands in the warehouse, where a bunch of hoods are plotting with toastmasters.

They attack the two. Superman tears them apart quickly.

Gardner, seeing that Superman has become more ferocious, stamps his approval on the visor Superman. They part peaceably.

On the television, Guy vouches for the Superman, and Inspector Henderson and Maggie Sawyer decry the new Superman, and vow to stop vigilante justice.

In the Fortress, Visor Superman watches, not understanding.

Kelex asks him for the second time if he wants to change. Visor Superman agrees. Kelex has some red clothing with Kryptonian frills on it.

4Story - 4: There's a lot of ground covered in this issue, and unfortunately, a lot of it is very plodding. Also, there's the throw down with Guy Gardner, which, condensed, comes down to a few punches back and forth, nothing really innovative, which, when you have Superfolk clashing all the time, has to be there in order for things to remain unique after time.

There is good characterization here, I have to give it that, and that's why the higher rating despite certain flaws of plot. Henderson, Maggie, they're all very affected by the events of this issue, and Lois is spot-on. In fact, reading over these last few issues, I can scarcely recall a better characterized Lois, a better used Lois.

There's also the issue of continuity, which is still in force here, all four titles working together to become a force, and I really miss that.

Visor Superman's methods are severe, so it makes sense that Guy Gardner would be brought in for an endorsement.

And just this reading, for the first time, I notice the fact that the clothes Kelex mentions are the Eradicator's garb... little hints, strewn about for the whole issue, leading you toward the mystery. Like Eradicator saying, "Superman doesn't have to deal with you, nor do I!" Which is essentially saying that he's not the real Superman, but he's related.

All in all, not a monumental issue, but definitely much better than average.

4Art - 4: I'd say a three of five, because Guice has never really been my bag in a lot of ways, and there are some awkward poses to the characters. But then, there's times when he just really shines.

Like the part where Gardner flies through the air in the city. Say what you want about the general quality of the art, but I STILL have dreams where I'm fling that are evoked by that panel, that utter feeling of being with Gardner way in the sky to the beginning. One of the best poses in flight I've seen, which is odd and out of place in an issue like this.

4Cover Art - 4: It was really cool at the time, and so cool, it even caused another cover homage to it, with Guy Gardner as Warrior vs. the long haired Superman, which came out right about the time of the "death" of Clark Kent.

Minus one for less of a background, but the stark coloring makes up for it a good bit.



Man of Steel #23 Superman: The Man of Steel #23: "Ambush"

A group of hoodlums with toastmasters pursue Steel into an alley, filming the event.

Steel descends and takes them out, asking where to find the White Rabbit. One is about to tell him, when he is holed by another of the gang. Steel takes apart the toastmaster and puts them in jail, using the film as evidence.

Luthor acquires the tape before it can go to the newsmedia, and ascertains that the goon trying to tell Steel where the White Rabbit was meant the Metrospire, a hotel downtown.

The White Rabbit tells her crony Graham to wait on attacking Steel, and instead tells Digit to make it easier for Steel to find her.

Lois and Jimmy mull over the Superman. Jeb arrives and asks Lois to dinner.

Over the wire, word comes that street gangs are fighting Steel. Lois tells Jeb she'll do dinner later, and they head for the fight. Superboy is already on scene with Tana.

The gang members shoot into the air and kill Lois' pilot. She leaps from the plane, and Steel catches her. She is surprised that he knows who she is.

Steel is mobbed by people, but he pulls away, grabbing Superboy. He pulls him to a roof and lectures him about the dead pilot. Superboy leaves, uncertain.

Lois speculates that perhaps walk-in souls do exist, and Steel has Superman's soul.

A Lexcorp Lex-Man appears to speak with Steel.

At Lexcorp, Luthor tells Steel about the Metrospire, and plants a bug on him. He makes an offer to have Steel work for him, just like with Superman before, and Steel refuses.

At the penthouse, Steel realizes that the White Rabbit is Angora Lapin, his old associate from the toastmaster program, also his old lover. Steel broke ranks when he found out the toastmasters were being used in Qurac, destroying the prototypes. But Angora kept the designs for the next step up.

She tries to kiss him and bring him in on her plot, but he refuses both.

She blasts him away with a toastmaster. Superboy pulls him from the fire, and Superboy burns a little bit, to both of their surprise.

Lois reflects further on the Supermen.

Across town, Lex talks with Supergirl about finding the Supermen. He muses to himself after she's gone about Steel's Achilles heel, the design of the toastmasters, and ruminates on how Metropolis will yet be his.

4Story - 4: A lot of cool action, a lot of fleshing out of characters, crossovers, the consistency with Lois that I've been describing, and the reveal of the White Rabbit, which really isn't too bad of a villain for Steel. An old associate, a former lover, etcetera.

Only a few things drove this one down for me...

First, the arbitrary need to make Lois put Superman's qualities to this Superman. It's pretty obvious that walk-in souls are ridiculous, and an analytical, logical reporter like Lois would not jump to such a conclusion. It's kind of silly. And just because he acts like Superman did when the crowd descended doesn't make him Superman. Heck, I know celebrities that run from crowds. It's a human reaction to mass attention.

I also don't like the fact that such a big deal was made of the White Rabbit's smoking. Now before you pull your libertarian guns and shoot me dead, realize that I am not against smoking, I think it's your own right to make your skin oily, your hair raggety, to make yourself age prematurely, your teeth rot, your lungs cave in from anerobic air intake, whatever. Rock on, dude.

What I don't like is when a magazine geared toward kids glorifies it, even in the villain. She's a hot looking villain, so it makes her look like something a young lady might aspire to be (not should, might, if her priorities are guided by attention and approval). Why is the smoking important to the character? You could blame the artist for this, but then, he didn't write the character.

Maybe smoking turns you on. Good for you. And they have every RIGHT to make the character. They just bear the responsibility of our disapproval as readers. I disapprove, personally, and I'm sure that most would.

It drug down the story even as a kid.

Otherwise, not bad at all.

5Art - 5: Bog has on issues and off issues. This one was on. Despite a few crazy splashes that seemed out of place, the characters were on, stark, imaginative, and very cool looking. I especially like Lois in this issue, and Jimmy. Very spot-on. And hey, beef about the smoking aside, the White Rabbit was hot.

2Cover Art - 2: What the heck? Superboy vs. Steel? That isn't what the issue is about... not at all! And add in the fact that the scene never happened, the only thing this cover has going for it is a neat, albeit awkward pose saving it from a 1. Kind of sad, actually, given the rest of the art for the book.



Superman #79 Superman #79: "Prove it"

Ron Troupe types the story of his encounter with the Cyborg Superman.

Wanting to take Clark Kent's place in the wake of his death at the hands of Doomsday, Ron Troupe is assigned to go out and find an assignment worthy of Clark's exclusive on Superman.

Trying to interview Max Lord at the White House, Ron is embroiled in a terrorist attack. The Cyborg Superman arrives, foils the attack, and become the target for the automated defenses. Ron tries to go out to get Superman's DNA so the system can be shut off, but Cyborg Superman has already stopped them.

Cyborg Superman taps into the White House's computers, then melts Lord's briefcase, learning of the second plot from the computer system to blow up the White House by switching briefcases with Lord.

President Clinton takes a personal communication device from the Cyborg Superman, and Troupe has his story.

Perry gives Troupe Clark's place, and tells him to do well by Clark's memory.

5Story - 5: It takes Cojones to stop in the middle of a giant crossover event and try an experiment issue. It takes a miracle, at that, for one to work. And this one does, spectacularly.

It solidifies Ron Troupe as a viable and integral character, it puts to rest the story of Clark Kent in this continuity, and it also shows another side of the Cyborg Superman's breakthrough into the public eye.

And hey, who wouldn't enjoy seeing a sitting president interacting with Superman. I loved both appearances of Clinton in the Superman comics, and this one has him in Superman's debt. Interesting.

Does it forward the plot? No. But it is a nifty story that sticks with you in the years following.

5Art - 5: Top notch per typical, and if you're going to go splashes all the way, this is the way to do them. It tells a story without panels, which is tough. My lone complaint is that Clinton looks like a rummy, not the president I remember, and even did when the book came out.

But the White House computer interaction... just spooky. And Ron and the other characters are very well done and constant.

5Cover Art - 5: Possibly the best cover of the Reign, next to 92. A really cool vision of a potential Superman that stands for America but signifies, perhaps, something else. This cover just kicked my butt when I was a kid, and looking at it now, I'm STILL impressed.



AOS #502 Adventures of Superman #502: "Boy Meets Girl"

Tana Moon reports on a car that has crashed off the Metropolis bridge. Superboy, on the scene, scoops up the car after pretending to not have a grip, to psyche out the television viewers.

Superboy lifts the car above his head, and Supergirl lifts Superboy, arriving on the scene.

Superboy puts the car down, and Supergirl invites him to dinner at Lex's penthouse. Tana starts to ask Supergirl questions, but, talking to Lex through her headpiece, Supergirl says she endorses WLEX only, and flies off.

The kids explain on camera that they purposefully crashed off the bride to get Superboy there.

The television screen smashes, and the Stinger is at the end of the blow. Standing with Rex Leech, the promoter/manager, he assures that Superboy will be at a certain point at a certain time.

Bibbo, meanwhile, tries to get a dog collar for his puppy. The guy who made the god collar for his dog Krypton only does six letters, so the dog's name becomes Krypto, and Bibbo punches the guy for being a chiseler.

In the penthouse of the Lexcorp tower, Lex Luthor and Supergirl try to woo Superboy to work for them. Supergirl finally wins Superboy over, saying that they can work together, appealing to his hormones.

Leaving, he realizes that this will make Tana upset, but still agrees, because Luthor says he will take care of Tana.

The next day, Vincent Edge offers Superboy Clark Kent's old apartment, and uses Rex Leech's daughter to con him into signing a contract making him work for WGBS. Tana gets frustrated at all of the people abusing Superboy, but Vincent Edge warns her that she is expendable. He then tells her to be on her guard. He has arranged a fight with Superboy. Tana is not happy.

Superboy is carrying a train across town the next day when something slams him. He catches the train and crashes into the Metropolis Central Park, and he's going to find the guy who hit him when the Stinger steps out, choking Superboy with a taut line.

The Stinger makes his introduction, then tosses Superboy toward the bay.

In Bibbo's, a fight breaks out over who the real Superman is, and Bibbo hits them all with the fire hose.

Stinger wraps his cable around Superboy and sends the other end of the cable into the Hobsneck Bridge, electrocuting the under-cautious Superboy.

Supergirl arrives to save him, but Superboy slams Stinger anyway. Stinger recoils and leaves, saying that he wasn't paid to fight two heroes.

Leaving, he puts charges to the Hobsneck Bridge that blow it in and implode it.

An alien ship comes out of hyperspace just outside of Saturn's rings and targets Earth, which it will reach in three days.

5Story - 5: Okay, it's really hard to make a crummy villain become plausible, and here we manage to do it, and why does it work? Characterization. The Stinger is just a suit with a string, but the writing here shows that Superboy is true to form, powerful but young, so an amateur would be able to take him apart in a few seconds. This is why continued reiteration of plot points in multiple books, read: continuity, is important. In Action, Man of Steel, and etcetera, we've seen Superboy be under-whelming in his youth, so it makes sense that Stinger is a fair attacker.

Add to that some FANTASTIC dialogue, better than usual. Lex's double entendres, the joke about Lex being a clone (you'd have to see the specifics of the story's dialogue, it's not covered in my summary because it would be a much longer summary if I did). Heck, even Vincent Edge, talking about how his first thought after Clark Kent died was if his apartment was over.

Add into it the recurring theme of trademarking the Superman name, and how they try to take advantage of Superboy because of his youth.

And the scenes with Supergirl as his sex object, meaning, where he's oogled into being duped by a woman, they just don't show that in media, like women are a sacred cow or something, so I applaud that move by the writer. It's a criticism of that failure of youth. It's also good comedy, heck, and that's likely how it was intended. Good pacing makes it plausible.

All around a good issue, so good you forgive the fact that it's not forwarding the Reign plot TOO much.

But hey, continuity up the yazoo, that which I plead for in the modern comics. Just a little blurb, half a panel stating that Cyborg met with Clinton, was all it took to show the interconnectedness of the titles and the connection between the worlds, making this one big coherent narrative that makes sense.

I wish they would bring that kind of plotting back to the books.

5Art - 5: Grummett at his best. Supergirl looks fantastic, as does Rex's daughter, the action is top-notch, the fight scene catastrophic even with The STINGER, of all things, and that bridge collapsing, that was just nuts. It's why Grummett remains my fave...

5Cover Art - 5: Stunning pose, it happened in the issue, an interesting, relevant background, and a cool logo. Complete with triangle. What more do you want, huh?



Action Comics #689 Action Comics #689: "Who is the Hero True?"

Tana Moon covers the results of what happened at the end of the last issue, with the Hobsneck bridge collapsing in on itself.

Supergirl and Superboy rise from the rubble to catch a car and a semi. They then dive into the bay to save some of the survivors of the catastrophe.

As they do so, Tana laments the fact that Vincent Edge set up this catastrophe, and continues reporting.

In the Fortress of Solitude, Kelex and the robots wake "the master" from his regeneration Matrix, which is overloading.

The master, who looks exactly like the Visored Superman without his glasses (and, in fact, exactly like the real Superman) sits to wake up more fully. The robots show him what's been going on, with the multiple Supermen.

He also sees Superboy on the bridge, the Superman cult, Steel, and the Cyborg Superman. On the Visored Superman, the man in the seat stops the recording and begins to make preparations to head for Metropolis.

On the bridge, the news crew reports that the bridge has been shored up, and Superboy and Supergirl stop to talk about it. Superboy tells Supergirl about signing with Rex Leech.

Luthor, furious, promises to tie him up in court for years, coming up with the loophole that since Superboy is technically too young to sign a contract, he can make his contract questionable.

Pa Kent, watching the whole affair on TV, is furious at the multiple Supermen. He also scolds Supergirl for cavorting with Superboy, talking with Martha about how they raised her better than that.

Steel, meanwhile, stops some punks with toastmasters. As he's doing so, Visored Superman swoops in and kills them all.

Steel, naturally, takes issue with this, and tells the Visored Superman that he's not acting very Superman-y. Visor Superman decides to deck Steel for it, and does.

In a café, Lois and Jimmy talk about Clark Kent, missing. Jimmy feels bad telling Lois that Clark is dead, but Lois wonders if Clark is perhaps hiding in the Visored Superman. They head outside when they hear the battle between Steel and the Visored Superman.

Visored Superman tries to tell Steel he was merciful for not killing the whole gang. Steel doesn't put up with it, smashing the Visored Superman who is obviously more powerful than Steel is. The crowd of gathered cultists begin cheering them on.

Lois steps out and stops their fight.

Lois points out that they are both dishonoring Superman. They stop fighting, and make amends. Steel points out that he is not trying to say he IS Superman, just that he's fighting to honor the man. Visored Superman agrees that this is appropriate, and apologizes.

A representative of Rex Leech arrives, serving both Steel and Visor Superman with cease and desist notices on the trademark. Visor Superman fries the papers and prepares to kill the process server. Steel instead pulls him up into the air to avoid the murder.

The Visored Superman becomes belligerent, adding the power of his flight to Steel's and taking him up into space. Steel is forced to let go.

The scene pans further out into space, where a large warship first hinted at in the last issue enters the asteroid belt.

The silhouette of what is clearly Mongul gloats over the revenge he shall have on the Kryptonian's adopted homeworld.

Steel tries to slow his re-enty, avoiding burning up.

Eradicator hits him from behind and slams him into the streets far below, leaving a crater that spectators crow no one could survive...

4Story - 4: There is a lot of deepening mystery here, and a lot of crossing over plot... it really felt like reading a piece of all four books at once here, and the continuity was seemless from the last issue to this one, and from this issue into the next.

A lot of stuff got done in this issue, but none of it seemed rushed. The action suffered a little bit for all the dialogue, but then, that's only one point, and it's still a much better than average story.

There are also some really good lines and moments in this story. First and foremost is when "the master" leaves his regeneration matrix. Now, reading this for the first time, I glossed right over the fact that this was (spoiler, sorry) the return of Superman, right here, a few months before the real reveal. I just thought (thanks to some clever maneuvering and writing on the part of the crew) that this was Visor Superman regenerating, as was indicated a few issues back. There's the reference to low-light, the fact that he is exhausted, and the fact that after this man complains about the multiple Supermen, Visor Superman shows up to throw down.

Masterful storytelling, that. But it has an even greater moment... a piece of dialogue from Superman, upon seeing his shield on so many watered-down violent images.

"I've heard more than enough. Things have gotten completely out of hand. The name of Superman will NOT be turned into a franchise!"

I love this quote so much, I plan to use it as a signature. That's the problem with Superman right now, ironically. There's such a struggle to make him marketable, such a ploy to make him the property of any one writer or artist over another for numbers, Superman has become less an icon for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, and more of a product to be sold to drooling Jim Lee fanboys. It has gotten out of hand, and it is MY job to make sure the name of Superman is not turned into a franchise (though it is, we can all hope for a nobler purpose).

Also, I really like the idea of Eradicator burning the process server to death, simply because I'm not fond of the legal system... but it would be out of character, and wrong. Still, it was funny!

3Art - 3: I still think this art is awkward and a bit hard to take in. Pa Kent, when he's standing there, is a prime example of what's weird and contorted about this work. No one stands like that when talking.

The hammer to the head was cool, though, and Guice has a great penchant for backgrounds... the bridge is masterful.

It evens out to average...

5Cover Art - 5: Not even for the picture... more for the fact that though this issue is about the things depicted on the cover, for the fact that it is the answer to this big mystery they've presented to us, RIGHT THERE, and no one noticed, no one got it. At least, in my circle of friends.

It's also an interesting preview of what's in the issue, it's not misleading, and yeah, there are words, that stinks, but it's ultimately forgivable because nothing compounds the badness. And it's a Watchmen reference, which gets you a little cred.



Man of Steel #24 Superman: The Man of Steel #24: "Impact"

Steel and Visor Superman, having landed in California, resume their battle. Steel summarizes why he's attacking the Visored Superman to the Visored Superman, slamming a fist into Visor's face after Visored Superman hits him with an energy blast.

Steel slams him again and again, telling him how the real Superman would act.

The visor is smashed off. Visored Superman flies off, hearing distress calls from Coast City. He tells Steel that they are at peace... to go and defend Metropolis. He has been impressed by Steel's compassion and responsibility.

A Team Luthor squad bursts in on the White Rabbit, whose goons open up with toastmasters.

Lex soon gets a call that the White Rabbit has been captured. He immediately offers Steel a ride in a Lexcorp helicopter, thinking of how he will eliminate Steel for refusing to work for him.

Lois, feeling sad, prepares to leave the Daily Planet. She sees a shadow like Clark's, but it's only Ron Troupe, wearing a new hat his sister gave him. In fact, Lois notices that Ron is taking Clark's place...

Jeb comes up and offers her a coat for the rain, and they agree to go to dinner together.

Steel, on the helicopter, thanks the pilot. He realizes that if the Visor Superman had hit him much harder, he would have died... as things stand, he's fairly weak.

Lex Luthor goes in to see White Rabbit, and tells her he's going to give her a chance to wipe out Steel. They conspire against each other in Machiavellian style.

At the airport, White Rabbit attacks with an ambush party. Steel sends the pilot away with a command to call the police, and attacks, asking where they make the toastmasters.

He KO's Digit, and White Rabbit sends Graham after Steel. Graham grows to a huge size, coming down on Steel, who burns his stomach with his flight jets.

Steel takes White Rabbit to the place where she produces the guns. She tricks Steel, trapping him beneath a press and leaving a bomb. She tells him this isn't really the plant, and that there are many more.

He pushes out of the press, which brings the roof down. He escapes, the bomb goes off, and the White Rabbit is assumed killed.

He stands outside the warehouse and wonders why Luthor would have it in for him when Luthor is supposed to be one of the good guys.

Luthor gloats over his victory, the White Rabbit gone, her henchmen in his employ.

Just beyond the moon, the spaceship gazes down upon the Earth and prepares for attack.

2Story - 2: Well, we have an end to the Eradicator fight with Steel, and it's really, well, anti-climactic.

Then we have Machiavellian work with Luthor and White Rabbit, that was nice, and then a fight with White Rabbit's forces and Steel... not so nice. Even weakened, Steel just rips right through them, even with toastmasters.

After that, we have several splash pages that don't need splashes (though the art is okay) and then Luthor gloating. And that's about it, actually. That's this whole issue. It doesn't really forward the story too much, it doesn't play up what the issue was supposed to be about, Steel vs. Eradicator, round two.

But it does maintain continuity while doing its own little story, the Mongul plot does advance, and Luthor makes some motion as a character.

But man, what is with Graham? He can just, what? Get larger?

And Steel just leaves him behind as he's drinking oil or whatever. He starts out this issue plugging Eradicator for being irresponsible, and he leaves insane fatboy to kill whomever. NOT cool.

And that summary at the beginning Steel gives through dialogue... just ATROCIOUS.

So there's some payoff, here, but the issue itself had a lot of stinky-poo.

Like Jeb. Oooh, rebound man. What a putz. I'm glad he ends up dead later. I only wish Clark had offed him. Joke.

5Art - 5: On the other hand, the story allows for the Bog to just go NUTS, and that almost makes up for it. Great battles, splash pages, Luthor and White Rabbit look great, as does Lois.

There's also the splashes, which, while unnecessary storywise, are just great looking.

All in all, a great issue for art.

4Cover Art - 4: A stunning depiction of the two Supermen about to do battle... too bad the issue hardly delivers that, so minus one on the review. The words, too, that almost knocked another point. Even more false advertising. But with such an image, a lot is forgiven... a good cover. This is back when a missing background was dramatic, because it was done less. ;)



Superman #80 Superman #80: "Deadly Alliance"

Lex Luthor II ponders the nature of the Supermen. A secretary informs Lex that satellites have picked something up.

Lex puts it on, and sees Mongul's ship before the ship destroys his satellite.

Lex is informed that one of the Supermen is in Coast City, where the ship is bearing. Lex tells his secretary to tell NASA and STAR Labs.

Visored Superman finishes putting out a flame. The firemen thank him, then tell him about the alien craft. He vows to take care of it.

In Metropolis, the Cyborg Superman flies overhead. A transmission comes in from the White House communications device, telling him about the alien craft and the Visored Superman's presence. The Cyborg Superman tells them that the Visored Superman might be leading the invasion. He goes to check things out.

The silhouette of Mongul, meanwhile, commands his troops to drop the carnage globes, which they do, spreading over an 85 kilometer area of Coast City.

Green Lantern's family talks on the phone about events from the recent Green Lantern annual.

Visor Superman tries to understand the globes, when Cyborg Superman arrives, smashing him. He tells Visored Superman that he believes he is responsible. The Visored Superman turns his back on Cyborg Superman, and Cyborg grabs him from behind, shooting through his back and out his stomach, painful style. He tells the Visored Superman that he'll be blamed for the death of millions.

Mongul orders detonation, and Coast City is blown to pieces around the Supermen.

Visored Superman vents from his stomach wound, and Cyborg admits surprise that he has survived.

Cyborg tells the Visored Superman that he wants the city obliterated, and blows a hole from one side of Visored Superman's head to the other as an atomic explosion levels the city.

Seven million people die, and the Visored Superman is returned to his pure energy form. He flees.

Mongul releases the "Seeds" which begin constructing Engine City, the beginnings of the next Warworld.

Cyborg flies above the wreckage and gloats, saying that he'll get back at the world for not accepting him.

The White House calls, and Cyborg keeps up his story, telling them that the ship disappeared but Coast City is gone.

Meanwhile, in the Fortress, a Kryptonian battlesuit powers up and begins moving toward Metropolis.

Cyborg flies to a ledge and stands. Mongul bends to kiss his hand.

"Earth will be DAMNED!" Cyborg declares.

5Story - 5: I remember reading this and about wetting myself. I mean, at this point, I had no idea whether or not this was the real Superman with some kind of mental problems, from an alternate future, beyond death, or what, and seeing him rip apart Eradicator, seeing him cause an atomic explosion, and seeing him working with the evil powers... that was just shocking, unexpected, and totally cool.

It's also my first glimpse of Mongul, ever, and I had no idea who he was at this point, but what a way to come in, eh?

Add into a shocking story a bit of continuity, the White House device (ah, using the things you've set up! Good call, writers!), the Green Lantern reference (SEE! That's CROSS-CHARACTER continuity. They were REALLY good back then.), and the violent demise of the Visored Superman, you can instantly see that they mean business.

To top it all off, we end with a prime example of why it's not good for Superman to curse. Because when you see someone who's supposed to be like Superman cursing when Superman hasn't cursed in a long while, it's... WOW. I mean, Earth will be DAMNED! You see that Cyborg means business. If he said that now, Superman would be like, "No, YOU be DAMNED!"

And that's a flaw in the recent creation of character. But here, it's just... chilling.

5Art - 5: I'm very fond of Jurgens' art, and in this issue, he really got to stretch out. An atomic explosion, the big spread with the ship, Cyborg in the end, really great stuff, and fine continuity. A great argument for writer/artist singularity.

5Cover Art - 5: It exploits the best parts of the issue without spoiling them, it has a great background, it happened, the only thing that stinks is the words, but it's far overshadowed by the fine work on the cover.



AOS #503 Adventures of Superman #503: "Line of Fire"

Cyborg flies over the remains of Santa Barbara, commentating to the White House.

He finds some survivors, tells him the rogue Superman is behind them. They turn around, and Cyborg kills them, laughing about the fact that he told them.

He tells the White House to send in Superboy for reinforcement instead of the JLA.

Vincent Edge tells Tana to get Superboy, and she does, finding him with Rex and Roxie Leech playing a fighting video game of the Death of Superman.

Tana kicks them out, and Rex hints that he has a plan for killing Tana to his daughter.

Tana tells Superboy that she can't go, because he needs to cross the country. She thanks him for being a friend, and he takes off.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica, the battle suit drops into the ocean and proceeds south. Its feet make "DOOM" sounds as it walks.

Superboy and Cyborg prepare to go in. Cyborg warns the camera crew that they should stay, because if they go in they will die. They scoff.

Superboy says everything will be all right, and Cyborg tells him that he wishes he had as much faith in his powers when he was Superboy's age.

This immediately sets Lois off, because she realizes that Superman didn't have any powers at Superboy's age.

Inside the blast zone, Cyborg blows up the helicopter and attacks Superboy. Superboy responds that Superman will win. Cyborg agrees, telling Superboy that he IS Superman. He smashes Superboy with a tree.

Superboy shirks at some fire, and Cyborg mocks him.

Superboy starts questioning himself, seeing as he can't use vision powers, and how his powers kick on and off. He thinks he may be an imperfect clone.

Cyborg attacks, and Superboy uses his tactile telekinesis to flay Cyborg's arm.

Mongul tells his men to hold off helping the leader, conspiring to be in command of Warworld again.

Meanwhile, Superboy is smashed to the center of Engine City by a huge rock, and Cyborg puts his flayed appendage into Superboy's face with a bloody smash.

5Story - 5: Okay, there was some housework here, like Tana, like Vincent Edge, sub-plots that were somewhat lackluster, but all contributed to the continuing, action packed plot, and that every important continuity. The fight between Superboy and Superman was as it should be, intelligent, but violent and no-holds-barred.

The Death of Superman game was a nice humorous touch, and Lois realizing that Cyborg would not have had powers is a masterful way to have Lois in a story she's not really involved in, particularly.

It also shows a writer who knows and cares for Superman's backstory, and that he didn't have powers when he was young. Seems writers have forgotten that now, thanks to a certain TV show that shall remain nameless, ere my review becomes dated.

And quite the ending... a bit bloody, but then, it served its purpose, to scare us into thinking perhaps Superboy had died. And given that we didn't know at this point (no real internet to spoil it, ah!), it was a cool, important issue in the overall storyline, one that really got you wanting next week.

And hey, more continuity. More on the battlesuit. See, a running thread like that? It's really cool! The writers seem to have forgotten that. It's better to go for a weekly story than a monthly one, I say, even if each story is a little different in certain intents.

5Art - 5: Grummett!

The action scenes are all over the place, interesting, cool, and the characters are consistent. The moment with Superboy leaping out of the window really made me stop and look for some reason, something really human about it, and Cyborg flying over the ruins was nice as well.

I also like the Cyborg blowing up the helicopter, the pacing of the final panel, and the whole fight in general. Great work.

5Cover Art - 5: Just like the last issue, there's a nice action pose here, it happened in the issue, and just look at that background! The colors are stark and vivid, it's busy without being cluttered... I really like this cover. It helps you get into the size and scope of the issue at hand, and sells it instantly.



Action Comics #690 Action Comics #690: "Lies and Revelations"

In Centennial Park, Superman cult worshippers fight over who is the true Superman. The SCU moves in, and Maggie Sawyer guilts them all into going home, telling them Superman would want them to do something positive with their faith.

Superboy, waking up held together by a massive prison holding his arms and legs, finds Mongul and Cyborg Superman gloating over him. Cyborg explains his plan to the boy and shows him Engine City, and tells him he will learn to serve Cyborg. They leave him to ponder his future.

In the Fortress, the Visored Superman falls in, beaten soundly and near death. He moves to the regeneration Matrix, but is startled to find it empty. The Fortress robots explained that they merely followed their programming.

Meanwhile, the battle suit plods onward on the ocean depths toward Metropolis.

Lois talks to Maggie Sawyer about Cyborg's slip about his younger powers, and the inspector assigned to the disappearance of Superman's body tells them that some of the mass from the nearby slab is missing.

A picture of the Visored Superman killing people in Coast City, a fabrication created by the Cyborg Superman, filters into the JLA Headquarters.

The Cyborg tells them, along with Superboy, that they need to chase the aliens to the asteroid belt while they handle the disaster. Guy Gardner stands by the Visored Superman, but the JLA agrees. They leave.

The Cyborg Superman gloats over how easily they are duped with his computer generated images. He browbeats Mongul, who grits his teeth and feeds Cyborg's plan over video to Superboy.

He plans to destroy Metropolis.

Superboy, hearing this, realizes he has to escape soon.

In the Fortress, the robots force the Visored Superman to realize the truth, as his psyche is on the verge of becoming discorporate.

They help him realize that he is actually just the consciousness of the Eradicator device that Superman did battle with, a device designed to rebuild Kryptonian society, and that upon hearing of Superman's death, he went to the tomb, caused a matter flux, and created himself in Superman's image out of raw mass nearby, taking Kal-El back to the Fortress and placing him in the regeneration matrix.

Eradicator accepts this, but is still far from health.

Meanwhile, the battle suit draws farther forward as the robots remark that the master is now beyond communication...

Inside, familiar blue eyes think in frustration about lacking sight, audio, or speaking capabilities... but he still feels comfort in the fact that the true Superman is returning to Metropolis.

4Story - 4: A lot of good stuff here, a lot of good stuff. Mongul and Machiavelli, the real Superman returning to Metropolis, finally revealed in the battle suit, and the origin of the new Eradicator, the resolution of the storyline of the Last Son of Krypton. You have no idea how comforted I am, 23 pages into this article, to no longer have to write "The Visored Superman" knowing who he really is. Not that most of you don't know, but hey.

And is it a surprise? It was at the time, certainly, and an interesting one. I had an idea at this point, but I still didn't know, and this issue just brought everything falling into place and really put the mystery into perspective.

That said, there's a point off for a number of kind of odd and silly stuff in this issue. The first being the ever-horrible cliché (even back in 1993) of telling the hero the plot so that the hero knows just how to stop it. Cyborg killed 7 million people. Why would he spare Superboy? Like Scott in Austin Powers. Get a gun and cap the mother.

Sigh.

So minus one, though I see it had to happen for the story to progress as it does.

And continuity, yet again! Lois and Maggie talking about dialogue from last issue, spectacular! And hey, stuff from WAY back, the battle suit, the Eradicator, these were people who knew and cared about their frame of reference and continuity. Good deal.

And hey, I know this shouldn't be a consideration, and it sounds sophomoric, but there are just TOO MANY WORDS on each page. It's like it was squeezed a bit. And while some comics benefit from many words on a page (like Cerebus, I'm finding) others, however, are much less benefited.

3Art - 3: Ah, Guice. Master of contortion!

There is something to be said for his level of detail, but there's also an unfinished and contorted quality to the work. Does he get from A to B? Yes. And are his characters distinctive? Yes again.

But is it anything more than average? Not really, not with time. And back then, I was less than impressed as well.

It's not BAD, it's just not, well, very good either. It's just normal comic book work.

5Cover Art - 5: This cover surprised me, because it happened in the issue, and yet it's still outlandish, crazy, and distinctive. A very cool concept for a cover. The background is there, the colors work, and there's a nice action pose.

And hey, it makes you wonder how they're gonna pull that off in the issue. I remember thinking as a kid, "Man, this is one of those covers that shows you something exciting that never happens in the issue." I was critical about that kind of thing even back then, so this one surprised me fairly well.



Man of Steel #25 Superman: The Man of Steel #25: "The Return!"

Superboy, trapped in Engine City, laments that he can't escape.

Lex Luthor learns that there is something under water headed for Metropolis, and orders his people to keep him appraised of the situation.

Steel, meanwhile, is the only one left behind to defend Metropolis, and he does, fighting gangs on the streets.

Superboy, panicking in his restraints, sends out a huge blast that frees him. He breaks out and flies for Metropolis.

In a sports bar, Lois has dinner with Jeb. They hear Cyborg tell the world that Superboy has been brainwashed by the Kryptonian Superman. On the way to her door, she kisses him reluctantly and leaves.

The next morning, Lois gets roses from Jeb and decides to head for Coast City to cover the madness. Perry objects, but Lois Lane says that the real Lois Lane is back, and she never needed Superman to protect her (reviewer's forced note... yeah, right! Watch those Fleischer cartoons. She'd be SO dead! Sorry. You get a bit interjection-ish at page 24. :) ).

Supergirl tells Lex that she's going to Coast City, but Lex tries to stop her, telling her about the battle suit advancing on the city.

Lex has a sub drop a depth charge at it, but it doesn't stop the suit, it only buries itself, killing all aboard.

Steel and Lois meet up and share their distrust of the Cyborg. Above, Supergirl arrives.

The battle suit emerges from the water.

Lex orders Supergirl to stop it, and she grabs its foot, throwing it, but it lands on Lex's chopper on accident...

Superboy arrives, and Steel and Lois move to see what's happening.

Supergirl tells Steel that the suit killed a sub crew, and Steel takes her word and plows right into the suit.

The suit grabs Steel, crushing him, but Superboy puts his foot to the suit and forces it to drop him with tactile telekinesis.

Steel slams his hammer into the suit, which hemorrhages a figure like an amniotic sac.

Lois tells him to hold back, having heard about battle suits from Superman.

Superboy begins filling them in on the Cyborg's activities, and tells them Cyborg is coming for Metropolis next.

"Metropolis?" The figure in black says, standing, "Over my dead body!"

It's Superman.

4Story - 4: Minus one for the sleazy, unnecessary Jeb. I never liked him as a character, and I never saw the point. Sure, Lois is desirable. Just like Clark is, that's why Lori keeps chasing him around. But then, why the heck would Lois be sleazing around with a dude she knows wants her a few scant weeks after Clark died?

You can argue that Jeb took advantage of the fact that she's vulnerable, but I mean, what did this add to the plot? Jeb was always a real abortion of a character to me.

And right in the middle of a story like this?

I mean, this story, admittedly, is about going from Superboy in the Engine City to Superman on the dock, and that's where it should have focused. And when it did, it was very well done. I mean, how hard is it to plausibly take six main characters and give them an excuse to be on the same dock, and yet they did it plausibly.

And then, the payoff... Superman, in the end, with one of the best lines of the whole series. VERY nice. And the cliffhanger of cliffhangers.

All around a lot of action and fun, but when it tried to have character, we ended up with Jeb.

Lex, to top it off, thinks out loud too much about his machinations with Supergirl... sure, he wants her under his thumb, but reiterating that every few actions doesn't make it clearer, it makes us annoyed. So do it once, and we'll get it. We're big kids.

There's also the fact that, hey guys, a sub full of people died, and it's never mentioned again. I guess the fault for that lies with then next issue, but it's still there.

I sound like I'm down on this issue, but I'm not. It was fun.

4Art - 4: There are some things about Bog here that are off... his Cyborg is just weird looking, and Lois suffers from parachute pants in a few places. That's the lost point.

The rest, where the action is, is fantastic. Especially the end. Great pose, great slime, cool.

I also noticed, looking about, some unintentional (or intentional) mirroring that added a later of depth I didn't expect. Lois and Perry, for instance, mirror each other, and there's a pose with Supergirl lifting the battle suit, then a few pages later, Steel is smashing it down with the same pose. It adds some symmetry.

5Cover Art - 5: Okay, so there's no background, but hey, when you've been waiting for the Return of Superman for the better part of a year, this is just the cover you want to see. And it's even good enough to get and homage later... pretty cool, if you ask me. Not too original, but bold, you have to give them that.



Superman #81 Superman #81: "Resurrections"

Superman, now revealed to have much longer hair than before, steps forward and tells them who he is.

They doubt him.

Steel moves forward, squeezing his shoulder, and Superman winces in pain, explaining that he's not back to full strength yet.

Superman tells Lois he wants to speak with her, and tries to prove who he is by using the phrase "To Kill A Mockingbird", which Lois knows to be Clark's favorite movie.

Superboy tells them to hurry, because Cyborg is moving to destroy Metropolis and Coast City has been destroyed.

In Engine City, Cyborg and Mongul speak of the missile that will obliterate Metropolis. Mongul begins gloating about his regained power, and Cyborg blasts him to put him back in his place, reminding him that the deal is that the Cyborg is in command, and Mongul gets to satisfy his bloodlust by being in his operation.

Walking away, Cyborg pushes a few aliens aside.

The aliens start talking about Cyborg, and one tells the other his origin.

The Cyborg started out as a man in a space flight with three other people, bombarded with cosmic rays. Upon returning to Earth, they all had powers which started killing them. He managed to save them, but seemingly died in the process.

Finding he has the ability to control mechanical devices, the man comes back in a robot form to see his wife, but this drives her mad and she died.

Despondent, he transfers his consciousness into the Eradicator in space, appropriates information and a stardrive, and takes to the stars.

Arriving at Peroton 5, the Cyborg finds Mongul ruling a backwater planet. Cyborg takes on the form of a native, and upon seeing Mongul, Mongul slaughters the body.

Cyborg jumps into Mongul's computers, and then his cruiser, learning about his plans for Warworld and his hatred of Superman.

He realizes that he can have Earth with Mongul's help, and subjugates Mongul with a display of force.

Mongul accedes, and agrees that if he can have a Warworld and revenge upon Earth, he will help Cyborg.

The alien then reveals that the Cyborg's real name is Hank Henshaw, and that he fabricated Superman's genetic code from the Eradicator's data banks in order to form his Cyborg Superman body, in order to have Superman blamed for destroying Earth, because Superman didn't save his wife and friends from the space shuttle accident.

In the Fortress, the robots heal Eradicator.

Steel and Superboy are dubious about Superman, but Superman pulls Lois aside, tells her a number of details that only Clark would know, and then pulls her aside and kisses her, using the words he used when about to be killed by Doomsday, "Just remember, no matter what happens... I'll always love you. ALWAYS."

She realizes it is him.

Superman starts to leave, and Steel starts to tell him he doesn't think it's a good idea. Superman says he doesn't care.

Lex offers Superman some Lex-Men flight boots, and says he's going with or without the other Supermen and Supergirl.

They agree to go with him, reluctantly, flying for Coast City. Supergirl stays behind, as does Luthor and Lois.

5Story - 5: Revealing the Cyborg explained an awful lot, and the scenes with Lois and Clark reuniting were just pivotal. Add into that the fact that they were extraordinarily consistent with issues nearly a year old, and you have some great writing work. Bringing back the pivotal kiss moment with Lois, all of the events of the last 7 years of continuity, you can tell the writers really cared for what had been accomplished since the revamp, and wanted a contiguous story.

Steel's dubious thoughts, the whole story with the aliens, all were well executed. The origin especially had that quality that "Prove It." had, storytelling while showing an important and well thought-out story.

All around, just a good comic book.

I remember realizing that I'd lucked out and had the issue where Henshaw is first introduced... it's just some cheesy little horrible Fantastic Four rip-off, really, but the point I'm making is that this issue, this series, took a really odd, horrible concept, and turned it into something cool, and this issue is the apex of that.

5Art - 5: Like I said, there is a lot of intelligent and difficult storytelling going on here, along with scenes harkening back to a previous issue long ago, and keeping that conistent is tough, but the artist manages in top fashion.

Mongul in pain.

The alien being taken over by Cyborg.

The past issue with Henshaw.

Especially the scenes with Lois. Just amazing.

4Cover Art - 4: Minus one for not happening in the issue, but otherwise, pretty fantastic. There's a great format, it fills the entire page, and it's a dynamic portrayal of the new, returned Superman. I'm extremely bugged by the fact that there's a green take on what seems to be Engine City (it's like they chose color by how it would look on the page, which makes some sense, but as relates to the story, we got problems).

But I honestly can't complain. It's an amazing cover.



AOS #504 Adventures of Superman #504: "Assault on Engine City"

Superman laments taking so long to fly across the country, when he used to do it in under four minutes.

Steel wonders if this is the real Superman.

Superboy, meanwhile, realizes that he hasn't eaten in a while, and recalls talking to Tana.

As they approach, Superman tells them Warworld will have heavy weaponry waiting for them.

Cyborg sees them on viewscreens. Mongul laughs at the fact that perhaps Superman has returned, and Cyborg twists his arm for it, then fires a huge salvo at the trio.

Superman tells Steel that he admires his style, and Steel tells him that "It'll take more than one blast to his THIS man of steel."

Superman asks if it's okay if he just calls him "Steel", and thus his final superhero name is coined. I've just been a bad review, calling him Steel before that. Sorry!

A sniper robot aims for Superman, but fails to shoot him (a near miss) when Superboy uses his tactile telekinesis to take him apart.

Superman, realizing that he was almost killed, grabs a bunch of guns and loads himself up with ammunition.

Cut to Lois, watching TV, seeing a bunch of talking heads.

They press further into the city, firing and attacking. They find the giant rocket that will level Metropolis, and realize that it's taking off.

Alien hordes start to attack.

Cyborg, seeing that they are in the missile room, launches it.

The Supermen barely escape into a side room as it takes off.

They realize that Superboy is gone, then spot him on the missile, trying to stop it, climbing up the side to the top, trying to use his tactile telekinesis.

Stepping outside, they realize that the Cyborg has burned his own alien horde to death. Superman laments that he's using his name to cause evil, and leaps into the shaft, knowing full well that he won't survive and telling Steel to catch him.

Superboy shoves on the missile with all his might, turning it away from Metropolis at the last second just over the Daily Planet. He goes over the water and it explodes with a force that would have leveled Metropolis.

Tana, on camera, weeps.

3Story - 3: It's amazing, going from such a solid run of stories, taking such a dip.

It's not that this story isn't well executed, it's just, well, cliché. A giant missile? Alien hordes? Attacking head-on as the villain watches and cackles?

To put it bluntly, also, Superman acts a lot less like Superman and more like a brazen fool with vengeance on his mind, loading up on guns, rushing in without strategy, and using mocking banter dialogue with Steel and Superboy.

To top that off, there's the whole boy scout "be prepared" moment, which glorifies guns... and don't get me wrong, I'm a hunter AND a gun enthusiast, but encouraging SUPERMAN using guns is like encouraging Roget Rabbit to take out someone with an Uzi. Yeah, he might given certain circumstances, but really, why? Wouldn't he just armor up and go in like an honorable guy? That sounds more Superman to me.

But it is a cool moment, regardless.

It's like, oh yeah. They're gonna destroy Metropolis. In "Fall of Metropolis" you had a fear the city could be destroyed, and it was, but in this series, it's just kind of an empty threat.

And Lois from nowhere? Why? This is an example of how NOT to insert a character, unlike earlier, where she heard Cyborg on the television (earlier in the overall story) and turned to it... that was a great interjection. Here it doesn't work out.

Continuity is still remarkable... all four books working in perfect conjunction. I'm still astonished looking at it.

Though Superboy potentially dying at the end is nice. Not because I hate Superboy, but because it's a nice moment of characterization... you're really concerned he might die, because at this point, we had no idea who would make it out of this series.

4Art - 4: Grummett. I'd say 'nuff said, but I've gotta get specific.

Superman in his abhorrent gun moment, still manages to look somehow "right" thanks to Tom.

The missile is cool, the attack is detailed and interesting, and the opening is better than the exit splash of the issue before this one, if that's possible.

Superman leaping off the ledge is also a great moment.

There are some packed panels, and that takes from some of the art, but by and large, it's all right.

3Cover Art - 3: It covers what happened in the issue, but it's also kind of awkward, and not incredibly dynamic... it's obscuring the logo, which is nice, but it's also just generally obscured. I don't know what it is exactly about this cover that gets me... maybe it's that it looks more like a panel in the issue than a cover, per ce.

Either way, it just didn't sit right. It's not a BAD cover, it just doesn't leap up out at me.



Action Comics #691 Action Comics #691: "Secret Weapon"

Superman and Steel descend into the shaft.

Another wave of aliens attack. Superman and Steel lay into them, and an invisible force also helps them out.

Superman, recovering slightly, uses his X-ray vision in order to see which enemies are robots, and he shoots only the robots.

Cut back to Superboy, meanwhile, who has let go of the missile at the last moment and crashes to Earth. Lex Luthor comes up, demanding to know where Supergirl has gone. Superboy tells him that he doesn't know, and tries, despite being tired and wounded, to leave for Engine City. He passes out.

In Engine City, Cyborg screams at having lost Superboy, and believes that even if Superman is alive once more, he can destroy him. Mongul questions the intelligence of his alliance with Cyborg in his mind.

In the Fortress, Eradicator is brought back to full strength, drawing the Fortress in upon itself to heal himself. He bursts out in flames, determined to help stop the Cyborg.

In Engine City, Superman shoots out some cameras. A robot tries to hit them, and suddenly explodes. Superman explains to Steel that Supergirl has been tagging along, invisible, the whole while. She helped carry Superman across the country, and filled him in on the situation in his absence.

Superman and Steel press on. Superman manages to leap a 25-30 foot chasm, showing that his powers are starting to come back.

A wall slams down, 20-30 feet thick, and they are forced to take another corridor. Cyborg is herding them, having melded his consciousness with the entirety of Engine City.

Mongul, meanwhile, turns the engine in Engine City on early, attempting to spin Earth out of its orbit while making his escape. It is revealed that the engine is powered by a huge chunk of Kryptonite.

3Story - 3: This plot isn't horrible, but it isn't exactly epic, either. It's an A to B plot, but it's executed with too much thought and too much haste. There's just a glut of dialogue, a solid glut, and there is a lot of needless extrapolation if you've followed the story so far. For instance, Mongul talking out loud about how he feels about the Cyborg in a complex that he supposedly can see and hear everything in? What's with that? And why would the Cyborg allow Mongul to be able to start up the engine, if he controls the tech?

The cool thing about this issue is Eradicator powering up and destroying the Fortress. That's a big deal, for sure. And the scenes with Superman getting to know Steel set the basis of a hundred comic's worth of friendship. The Supergirl hidden angle is predictable, but also well done, and Luthor and Superboy's banter worked out well.

I didn't like how Superboy was just fine after the big buildup, but it's made up for by the way the Superman with guns situation is handled... turns out he's only shooting robots, which is fair, cool, and goes a long way toward alleviating his boy scout gun endorsement in the last installation.

2Art - 2: Contorted, a bit inconsistent, all over the place. It's got a style, but I'm not sure it's Superman's. I mean, look at Mongul on the next to last page. He's making a declaration and balling his fists. How many times have we seen characters in this book balling their fists and making declaration. Definitely, this is an artist who can do action, but when it comes to dialogue, it slips up.

4Cover Art - 4: It's an interesting symbolic cover, with a lot of the elements that the issue covers, but it seems kind of, I don't know, stereotypical. Still, there is a lot of detail, the poses are striking, and I like the format, I really do. Lose those words, and you might have a five of five.



Man of Steel #26 Superman: The Man of Steel #26: "Blast Off"

Steel and Superman press on, hoping that Superboy has managed to save Metropolis. Mongul drops down before them, determined to destroy them.

Steel pulls off his mask, showing Superman who he is, and takes off to stop the Engine. Superman stays to fight Mongul, who begins making short work of him.

Lois calls the Kents and they all think the new Superman really is Clark. Jeb Friedman comes up from behind to say hello to Lois.

In Engine City, Cyborg realizes Mongul's treachery and sends Supergirl to help Superman defeat Mongul for his insolence, coasting over the electrical system to the engine itself, to shut down the reaction that will destroy the Earth.

In the engine room, Cyborg attacks Steel, taking several forms and grabbing him from all angles.

In a diner, Lois sits with Jeb and schemes to get to Engine City.

In space, Hal Jordan sees the wreckage of Coast City, and having recharged his ring, moves to deal with the problem.

Superman, in Mongul's grip, feels another rib crack. Supergirl arrives, and starts pummeling Mongul invisibly. Mongul coats her with engine fluid and commences beating Superman while Supergirl struggles.

Eradicator arrives above the Engine City.

Steel attacks the engine, trying to trick Cyborg into telling him how to attack it. Cybrog slips, and Steel figures out where to attack.

Steel flies into the gears, stopping the engine.

Cyborg realizes that Green Lantern is approaching, and leads him to Mongul so that Cyborg himself can take on Superman and kill him.

5Story - 5: This is exactly what the last issue, Action Comics, tried to do but failed. An action packed run toward the climax of the story involving all of the players. Steel is on, Steel and Superman have a great interaction, Supergirl is well played, Mongul acts in character, and Cyborg forwards the Machiavellian feel.

The Engine City threat is palpable, and Steel stops it well, and we find out what is coming, with Green Lantern and Eradicator. Seeing Green Lantern realize that his home has been destroyed, you just KNOW something good is coming... something cruel and explosive.

Not much to say about the issue, because it went fast, but it was action packed, not particularly brainy, but fun, and that's not necessarily a bad thing when done right. Jeb stinks, as ever, why did he ever become a sub-plot? But at least he's brief, take it or leave it kind of thing.

5Art - 5: Bog really kicks it out for the action, everyone knows that, and here he is given full range, full creative power, and it comes out astonishingly well. This is his best issue in the entire reign, if not one of his best issues for action ever. Cyborg is insane, all over the place, Steel is vivid, Supergirl is very realistic in her few scenes, and you can really feel the punches when Superman and Mongul are fighting. You really feel for Supes.

My only complaint? Jeb Friedman. But that's a writing thing. Still, he exists! And Bog drew him! Ah, who am I kidding?

3Cover Art - 3: Well, it shows something that happens in the issue, but it's also not incredibly dynamic OR even hewn. I mean, it's exciting, yeah, but compared to what's inside, add words, it gets pretty darned common when it comes down to it.

It's also a little cartoony, and a little loose, which is Bog's trademark, I know, but here it's a little TOO loose. It's not bad, it's just not astonishing, like his art in the book.



Green Lantern #46: "Death City"

Superman lies at Mongul's feet, beaten.

Green Lantern screams through the Engine City toward the one his ring hears laughing about the destruction of his home city.

He wants to kill the people who did this to his city, but he bites back his homicidal rage.

He slams into Mongul hard, taking him for a ride.

He wants to take him apart with the ring, but since Mongul is yellow, he can't. Instead, he smashes him about. Mongul tries to hit back, failing.

Lantern starts to bring the place in on Mongul, who laughs, telling him he is releasing Kryptonite from the engine core that will kill Superman.

Lantern is distracted by this, and Mongul smashes him into a catwalk, hurting his knee badly.

He flies back at Mongul, but Mongul swats him aside, hurting Lantern's arm badly.

Lantern threatens to kill Mongul, and picks up Steel's hammer, standing and armoring himself with his ring's power.

He smashes Mongul with Steel's hammer, hard enough to shatter it. Mongul lands in debris, stands, prepares to fight, and passes out, beaten.

Green Lantern revels in having silenced the voices in his head crying for vengeance, but wonders what new voices await him.

5Story - 5: Similar to the last issue, this is just a rock-em sock-em, but there's an added burst of character. Here we see Green Lantern unbridled, with much the same blood lust as Superman might have if Lois were killed by a monster, and the results, while not pretty, are pretty exciting, rough, and gritty, even for the early nineties.

Definitely one of the best Lantern battles I've read, and my favorite Hal Jordan story. He could kill Mongul, but he doesn't. Pushed to the end, he shows the strength of his spirit, and abides by it enough to pursue vengeance and yet not kill. Noble.

And fun.

5Art - 5: Half of the story above is the envisioning done by the pencils, and they are done here fantastically. You can get the sense of Hal, of his inner turmoil. You can see his will in action.

The action is really strong, as is the battle, as is the pace. You literally fly though, without realizing it, and it feels like you're right there with Lantern, feeling his anger, wanting to kill but knowing you can't.

4Cover Art - 4: This cover is well done, it's got a dynamic background, some great action, and incredible poses. My only beef, the thing which knocked it a point, is that it shows Cyborg and Eradicator fighting, and they weren't even in the issue, so that's kind of fals advertising, and I usually dock for that. Lame. But otherwise, a great depiction.



Superman #82 Superman #82: (Untitled)

Outside of the Engine City, Eradicator arrives, hoping that he's not too late. He meets up with Superboy.

Briefly, what happened in Green Lantern 46 is recapped, showing Green Lantern and Mongul fighting.

Inside the engine, John Henry emerges from the cogs beaten, with his armor worn and torn apart in places. He sees Mongul fighting Green Lantern, and decides to find Superman.

Superman regroups with Supergirl, and they prepare to go confront Cyborg.

Cyborg watches it all and gloats.

Lois meanwhile, commiserates with Jeb about whether this is the real Superman or not.

Supergirl and Superman meet up with Steel just as Cyborg appears, blasting Superman in the chest with his heat vision. Cyborg runs.

The trio starts after him, when Superman realizes that it's likely a trap. Cyborg could easily have finished him off, and didn't. They go in another direction.

Steel tells Superman that the Cyborg can control the entire engine, so Superman starts blasting at it from all angles. The engine starts moving in, grabbing Supergirl and Steel with wires and cables.

Steel tells Superman to go ahead to the main room, and Superman grudgingly admits that he has to, for the sake of the world.

Cyborg takes over Steel's armor, having not thought of it yet, and starts making John Henry strangle himself.

Superman reaches the Cyborg's body. Cyborg starts revealing his identity, but Superboy smashes him in the back of the head. Regardless, Cyborg reveals himself as Henshaw, and Superman is duly surprised.

Superboy uses his tactile telekinesis to take off Steel's mask and save him. Eradicator and Superman pair off and head for the main engine room.

In the corridor, Superman tells Eradicator that he doesn't trust him. Cyborg appears, telling Superman that he will pay for murdering his wife and friends. Superman realizes that Henshaw is paranoid. Eradicator steps up to save him from Cyborg.

Superman is surprised, but Eradicator reveals that it was he who brought him back to life, so why should he not have changed? Superman asserts that he doesn't believe he died... or did he?

Eradicator tells Superman about putting him in the Matrix and saving his body.

They arrive at the engine, and Cyborg reveals the engine's power source, Kryptonite. He breaks it open and begins to bombard them.

Superman turns a crank and seals the rest of the team off, leaving just Eradicator, Superman, and Cyborg, in order to leave heroes for the world in case Superman dies in the battle.

Superman aims a gun, but Cyborg takes it over and blows it up.

Eradicator unleashes all of his energy on Henshaw, taking his jaw off and nearly putting him down.

In response, Cyborg rips off one of the energy feeds to the Kryptonite, unleashing a full force Kryptonite blast into the pair.

Eradicator throws himself into the blast, but his body isn't enough to stop it. It flies through them into Superman, and both take the full force brunt of the blast.

The K dust fills the room, dissipated in the discharge, clearing.

Green Lantern arrives and breaks into the room, shielding them from the dust with his ring and purifying the room.

Henshaw walks past the dead shell of the Eradicator, looking for Superman's body.

Superman stands, fully restored to power, putting his fist through Cyborg's chest.

Cyborg asks how, and Superman realizes that the Eradicator, in dying, must have re-powered him by converting the energy somehow.

Superman vibrates his fist, shattering the Cyborg into negligible pieces. Green Lantern checks with his ring, finding no trace of the Cyborg in the Engine City.

The world is saved.

Supergirl takes the Cyborg's cape, and telekinetically rearranges the molecules on Superman in order to restore his costume.

Superman flies off to Metropolis to inform the world of what happened. The others stay behind to regroup and take care of the body of the Eradicator.

Superman flies through the air, gleeful, restored... he feels ready for anything now, having experienced death.

4Story - 4: Believe it or not, I have to knock a point on this issue. Not because it's a bad issue at all, no. I mean, the last part of it alone is mythical in the mind of most Superman fans, and sets up a dozen storylines over a decade. It's a great story, and an epic climax. I just knock a point because it takes five or ten pages to get going, establishing things that we've already known and seen. Too much summary, that was the biggest problem of the continued continuity storyline... but after that...

Cyborg is destroyed in a fashion that makes you question, did Superman just kill again? But with what he's done, it's not even really a big consideration. I mean, would you cry a big tear if Superman killed Hitler? It's a similar situation. And Superman knew, likely, that Henshaw would survive. Heck, he does.

Also, we have the final fight, which is awesome, the tearing off of the jaw, putting the fist through the chest. It's just knock-down drag-out. I actually had fears that Superman was dying again, from the way that the final blast of Kryptonite was described. VERY well written, VERY well done, an absolutely classic finale to the longest and in my mind, best Superman story of the Post-Crisis.

5Art - 5: Still top-notch, as it has been for the entire series. Why, oh why, did Jurgens go the way of the dinosaur on Superman? He's one of the best Superman artists ever, and this is a prime example of why. Stunning splashes, action that makes you feel what's going on. Amazing. Especially the finale, with the Kryptonite, the dead Eradicator, and the renewed Superman. You can feel his pure joy in flying free again for the first time, and it's a great note to close on.

5Cover Art - 5: This is a 6 of 5, if it can be. This metallic cover is in my top five Superman covers, and has been since I saw it. A great pose, a killer background, a new metallic form of the medium, which looked cool even when crazy covers were a dime a dozen. This is just an amazing cover.

The newsstand one, not so much, but then, I'm gonna leave off of that one. One cover's enough.



AOS #505 Adventures of Superman #505 (an excerpt)

Superman knocks on the window, startling Lois from sleep. She's convinced it's a bird, but this time, it's Superman. They kiss above the city.

5Story - 5: Not much to say, it's just a light blurb, but it is beautiful.

5Art - 5: Nice splash, for what it is, being short and all. A good moment, the kiss.

4Cover Art - 4: A gimmicky cover, with the foil thing... it just didn't work like Superman 82, but it's still a nice effect, and a good drawing by Grummett.



Action Comics #692 Action Comics #692 Excerpt: "And Who, Disguised As Clark Kent"

(Epilog)

Superman pulls some debris up, and reveals Clark Kent underneath some rubble.

Lois is tearfully reunited, and they pose for a photo of Superman, Lois, and Clark.

A lawyer comes up and tells Superman to cease and desist using the Superman name. Superman scoffs at it.

Clark, meanwhile, agrees to a cursory medical checkup despite being in decent health.

The news reports on the fate of all four Supermen, and reveals that the JLA have returned home.

Luthor calls to Superman while he's in the air, and decides for himself that his arch-nemesis is back from the dead.

In the Kent apartment, Superman arrives to talk with Lois. He tells Clark to give him his woman back, and Lois chooses Superman over Clark, good-naturedly. Clark changes back into Supergirl and flies off, giving Clark and Lois a chance to catch up and recuperate from the events of the past few weeks.

5Story - 5: A nice little wrap up of all the loose ends. AH, that thing called continuity, which is so well forgotten (don't I sound like an old man?). I had no idea how they would bring Clark back, and this is a very good, very plausible way. I thought Clark might have to die, and here they made it swing. Impressive.

Also neat is seeing Luthor's reaction to his return, the closing off of the loose ends in the press, and even the scene with Supergirl was cute. Good stuff. A nice little epilogue.

5Art - 5: Surprisingly, no great contortion, and everything is really well done here. No complaints.

5Cover Art - 5: Classic pose, but with the new hair. I like it. It's framed well, the background works, and sweet lord, NO WORDS!



4Overall - 4: An epic story in the Superman mythos. I strike one for the issues which dragged, for the failures that were decent attempts, but overall, this is a MUST read for any Superman fan, old or young. Even if you don't like it, it's an essential framework, and heck, it's just plain well organized, well planned, it's a textbook example of a good crossover.

Most important, it brings Superman back from death, which a lot of people, believe it or not, don't know has happened yet.

Read it! That's all. I'm tired. 36 pages of reviews, I'm lucky I can still COUNT to five. Ciao!


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