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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: The Man of Steel #133

Superman: The Man of Steel #133

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 18, 2002

Cover date: February 2003

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Tom Derenick
Inker: Norm Rapmund, Walden Wong, Bob Petrecca and Sandy Florea

"Giving In" (Lost Hearts - Part 3)

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

The gentleman with AIDS introduced in Adventures of Superman #611 is stricken with grief and collapses to the ground, taken by the green "heartbreaker" beasts.

In Hell's Heart, Clark, undercover, wonders aloud to himself why he can see the green beasts and no one else can. The bartender gives him a double take and then offers him a drink. Clark takes it. Traci, with him, sees that this is the green beast on Clark's chest affecting him. She points this out, and asks why Clark is sitting and drinking when he could be searching for Lana. He says it's because he's giving up, showing skepticism that the heartbreakers even make people do anything. She mockingly calls him a hero and then leaves.

Clark hears a liquor store robbery in progress, asserts that he is a hero to no one in particular, and uses his heat vision to burn the gun and the man from across the street. The bartender calls him a meta and tells him to leave, pulling a gun. Clark takes it and brandishes it, telling the bartender not to call him an alien. He shoots himself in the hand to show the bartender that he's invulnerable and that it's all a waste of time. He throws a number of men out of the window of the bar and into the street, then thanks the bartender for the drink, leaving.

Lana, on a "photo" shoot, and perhaps a "video" shoot, is coerced by a man with a goatee to be more willing, less inhibited about her body. She gets up, telling him that her name is not Lois, it is Lana. She runs out, steps on a bottle, and leaps off a building. She says, "It's a bird. It's a plane. Make the world safe, Superman." He hears her, sees what is happening, then saves her. She thanks him, and is about to kiss him, when a voice comes from the side. It's the man in the goatee and his posse with a gun. Clark tells him that the gun doesn't make him strong, and then he blows them into the wall. He lifts the man in the goatee and tells Lana to take her turn and hit him. She hits him with a board, and Clark tells her to hit him again. She breaks a 2x4 on his face. The goon swears he'll kill her, and Clark tells him that he'll never hurt anyone again, and prepares to kill him. A blast hits him from behind. It's Traci, telling Clark that he's not thinking straight. She sends Leroy, her Iguana, to take care of the rest of the posse. It does, and Clark flies off with Lana. A hand grabs Traci from behind, calling her Girl 13, and pulls her into the shadows.

Clark takes Lana into an alley, and Lana begs him to protect her, to make her safe, take her from the cloud in her head. They kiss.

5Story - 5: Here we had weeks of absolutely horrible Superman stories with rare exception in Ending Battle, and now things appear to be looking up again. I am a biased reviewer in the sense that I will always prefer continuity to broken up stories, despite whatever creative ability this might give the artist, but on an objective level, I think I can say that there is a strong connection of late to the well done issues in the Superman series and the connected storylines. This is a prime example. I'm actually enjoying this a lot more than the Ending Battle storyline. Here we have the raging, uncontrolled Superman I complained about before, but now there's a logical, controlled reason. His mind is not his. We also have his intrigue with Lana now, which I love. He's needed to resolve his issues with Lana for a long time, and what better excuse than having his behavior a little off kilter. Add into this the novel concept of the heartbreakers, Girl 13, and a plausible storyline, and I'm having a blast. This is a great series, so far. I hope the end makes better that which we already have. Clark going from Corn Flakes with skim milk to whiskey is a great connection, and shows marvelous continuity. Lana was at a porn shoot, and she's at a porn shoot in this issue. In previous "connected" series, we've seen Krypto "die" and then just magically be fine the next issue, Lara-El "die" then just miraculously be alive again, and other such inconsistencies. This issue, so far, has been fairly tight. I have two issues, but they are minor: Weren't there three beasts on Clark last issue? Why would Clark drink if he knows that it won't have any effect? Other than that, a great issue. And anyone who is a regular reader of my reviews knows that I will pick and pick and pick and the scabs of inconsistency until I am sure that nothing could ever grow back. Top notch work. I beg and plead that this might continue. Great series. It already has my nomination for next year's SHIELD awards, if it's not too late.

4Art - 4: A bit dark, so minus one, but otherwise, the characters are fairly spot-on, and well drawn. Lana is a bit more busty than I usually see her, but am I going to complain? I'm a fanboy. Of course not. These are the errors that we as male geeks forgive. :) The action scene in the bar was well plotted and paced, and additionally, tersely put. I enjoyed it, and it got me into just how despondent Superman was getting. Again, very good work here.

4Cover Art - 4: Again, same basic story as the last cover I reviewed for part one. The watercolor is interesting and makes up for a lack of considerable background. The pose is human, and it is Superman in the trenches. It didn't happen in the issue, thus the minus one, but plus one for having a decent logo. Keep these, guys, and take those horrible new ones out. I know that you only use these for continuous crossovers, but they're really great. My vote goes for these, or the old ones. Slight criticism for the fact that Superman doesn't actually need to warm up, but then, who cares? It's symbolic. Just had to point that out. Also, it says Metropolis Terminal, and this took place in Hell's Heart. No biggie, but it's noticeable. Minus one. Still, this beats 99% of what we've seen of late.

As a final note, I will point out in sadness that this is more than likely the last issue of Superman: The Man of Steel I will ever get the privilege of reviewing, as the series is being cancelled. I want to drop a special thanks, no matter how harsh I've been to the creators over the last few years, for bringing us this title month after month for almost 11 years now. When I was 12 years old, I had been away from comics for nearly three years, considering them too "kiddie" until I picked up a copy of Man of Steel #18 and caught my first glimpse of a big Green baddie called Doomsday, and lo and behold, I was dragged back into comics again (GREAT, GUYS, NOW I'M OUT 80 A MONTH. THANKS! JUST KIDDING.). So Man of Steel will always have a special place in this reviewers heart. It was a great run, and thanks for everything.

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