Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #166

Superman #166

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 3, 2001

Cover date: March 2001

2001 Shield No. 10

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artists: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Cam Smith


Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Asleep in their bed, Martha and Jonathon Kent are suddenly awakened by a sudden impact outside of their window. Jonathon goes out to find out what it is, only to discover a glowing sphere implanted in the ground in front of his barn. He approaches the ball when it suddenly explodes. Jonathon is whisked to safety by the timely arrival of his son. Superman approaches the object, now resembling a rocket, and notices Kryptonian writing on the ship. [Editor: For those interested, this writing translates into "Kal-el's Rocket".] With a flash, an image of Jor-el appears. He speaks a few words in Kryptonese [Editor: Which translate into "My Son"], before both Jor-el and the rocket vanish, leaving behind a small glowing rod.

In the Steelworks, Superman presents the rod to Emil and John. Emil remarks on the way the rod is transmitting a weak signal, identical to those that they have been detecting streaming from the Phantom Zone. Hamilton tells Superman that he may be able to decrypt the signal with a new invention of his, a type of thought-projection. Superman agrees.

The two scientists strap Superman in the chair and slip the bar into its socket. With a flip of the switch, Superman screams, and then suddenly finds himself in a white place. He stands, finding Jor-el standing beside him. Jor-el apologizes for 'the truth' and then proceeds to change into classic pre-Crisis Krypton garb. Superman refuses to believe his father, as the true Krypton materializes around him.

Kryptonopolis spreads out below him as he is treated to a replay of the past. He sees his mother, Lara Lor-van playing with her small child. Meanwhile, Jor-el argues before the leaders of Krypton that their planet is doomed. It is slowly falling toward the sun. The only salvation lies in building giant space arks to transport the population of Krypton off of the planet. The group of men violently object, especially the military leader General Zod. Jor-el walks away in defeat.

Running back to his home through yet another quake, Jor-el realizes what must be done. Arriving home, he instructs Lara to bring the child upstairs. They place the baby in the model rocket and, pointing it skyward, launch it. The planet explodes beneath it as the rocket speeds toward Earth.

With a shout, Superman shatters the projection chair. He tells John briefly about what he saw, before Emil tells him that he may be able to return to Krypton.

In a press conference, Lex Luthor introduces his cabinet nominations: General Frank Rock, Amanda Waller (about time too, she's been gone for far too long), Sam Lane, Jefferson Pierce, and Cat Grant. He opens the floor for questions and Lois asks why Jenny Hubbard hasn't been available for interview, it'd be easier to interview the Joker.

Arriving home, Lois tells Clark that she has probably been banned from the White House Press Room for life. Then she notices that he isn't listening. He turns toward her and tells her that he may be able to return to Krypton. Lois tells him that there is no question about it; he's going... and so is she. 5Story - 5: Byrne's era is officially over, as Loeb gracefully re-writes the Superman mythos yet again. With this short issue, he completely revamps everything we knew about Krypton. Clearly, we will have to wait and see what this means for the Eradicator, the fortress, and other things dealing with the false Krypton. It was very well done, and the return to the pre-Crisis Krypton is very welcome by me. The inhuman Krypton was interesting in its time, but there are so many more possibilities with this Krypton. I can't wait for the coming month to see Superman return to Krypton. Plus, this issue marks the return of General Zod (although I think that he has already been introduced in disguise). Great things are coming.

5Art - 5: It's McGuinness, what else do you expect. The art was great as usual. Of particular appeal were the pages of Krypton exploding, and of Superman entering the thought world. Lets hope this guy doesn't get sick of Superman any time soon.

5Cover Art - 5: It's a great, mirror-image cover by McGuinness, and it's foil. I have and will always have a soft spot in my heart for foil covers. My two all-time favorite covers are Superman #82 and the following issue Adventures of Superman #505. Great stuff. The cover was great without the enhancement, and I bought both, and the special edition just pushes it over the top.

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

January 2001

February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 July 2001 August 2001 September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 Annuals

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