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Adventures of Superman #639

Adventures of Superman #639

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 27, 2005

Cover date: June 2005

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Ian Churchill
Inker: Norm Rapmund

"Lightning Strikes Twice" - Part 2

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

Eclipso uses his new Kryptonian Battlesuit to blast Superman into a skyscraper. Superman recovers and grabs the suit, flying high into the sky. Eclipso tries to shoot Superman with a shard of the black diamond, but Superman dodges and sends the robot flying with a punch. Ripping the arms off, Superman appears to be winning when a blast sends him flying back. Superman tries to lure Eclipso away, but instead he gets out of the suit and kicks the suit off of the roof, and then forces his human host to jump off too.

Soaring in, Superman intercepts the falling Battlesuit and at the last moment blows a mighty gust of air down at the ground, clearing the assembled crowd and creating an updraft to cushion Eclipso's fall. When Superman reaches the ground, Dr Tracey is free of Eclipso's influence and he can't find the black diamond anywhere.

Later, Clark calls Bruce Gordon and tells him about the encounter with Eclipso. Superman tells him that he's not sure what, but something felt different this time. Superman tells Gordon that he hates magic.

Clark returns home to his apartment to find Lois writing a story about Eclipso. Superman mentions being worried about Jimmy, with Ruin out there, and Lois says she hopes she turns out better than Sue Dibny. Clark begins to get angry, when he sees that Lois is writing a story about how Superman attracts these villains. Superman gets mad and asks Lois what's wrong with her. She slams her hand into his forehead as she transforms into Eclipso. Using his anger, Eclipso possesses Superman and the corrupted Kryptonian goes crashing through buildings as he flies over the city. Before he can destroy anything more, Captain Marvel appears behind him.

5Story - 5: I know it's nostalgia talking, because in retrospect the stories weren't that great, but I really enjoyed the mid-90s Superman. It's what I grew up with, and its what will always feel like 'real' Superman to me. This story feels like 'real' Superman to me. For the first time in a long while. Winick has managed to write a Superman story exactly how they are meant to be written. Lots of action, good use of the main characters, great use of Metropolis and the supporting cast, even an awareness of the rest of the DCU. I won't lavish praise on Judd like I will some other writers (like say, Geoff Johns for example) because his work is definitely hit and miss. Outsiders is good sometimes, other times not so much. The same goes for Batman. His Green Lantern run was fantastic. His current Batman run is absolutely brilliant, regardless of how you feel about certain... returns. This arc is definitely a hit for Winick. It's a story I enjoyed reading. There wasn't anything excessively heavy-hitting like some feared, its just a good Superman story.

The little touches are what really do it for me. It's great to see the battlesuits again. It's even better to see an actual fight scene. Superman fought for most of this issue, and I'm really happy about that. When's the last time we saw Superman go toe-to-toe with someone for longer than a page? And that pitiful fight with Zod last week doesn't count. Having a crowd of people assembled, Clark calling up Gordon, Lois and Clark actually being seen together, Clark at the Daily Planet, it's all fantastic.

In summary, this was just a really fun story. Nothing overly dramatic, nothing with incredibly lasting implications, just a good solid book that you want to reread before too long. Judd, if you ever get sick of Green Arrow and Outsiders, you're welcome to come fill in for awhile on Superman. I'd be glad to have you.

5Art - 5: Years ago (has it really been that long) Churchill did the cover for Superman #153. When I reviewed it, I gave it a five, saying that he was not a good artist for interiors, but he was great at covers. I also commented that his art looked too "Image-ish". A while later he did the interior art for Superman #180, and I gave it a five. It still wasn't the perfect art for any setting, but he definitely fit that story (and a great story it was too, can't believe that was three years ago already). Looking at this art though, all I can say is wow. It is absolutely amazing how far Churchill's art has progressed and evolved over the years. This stuff is absolutely gorgeous. The detail is incredible, action scenes are dynamic, Lois looks like Lois, and the list just goes on and on. Just look at the splash of Eclipso-Superman near the end. Absolutely beautiful. The Superman/Marvel fight next issue is going to be great. The only thing I can even think of to knock is that Superman is a little too scrawny for my tastes, but he still looks great. Fantastic stuff.

4Cover Art - 4: I like the cover, especially the pose and the use of Marvel's cape. I don't know if it's in homage to Kingdom Come, but regardless, its cool. I'm not too big a fan of Superman's face though, and the S is way too big. Otherwise though, it's a nice cover. Not quite as good as the interior art, but good nonetheless. I'll extend the invitation to you too Ian. When we get rid of Byrne again (John, your old work was great, but the new stuff just isn't cutting it anymore) how about you come and do twelve issues or so. I know it'd make me happy.

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

January 2005

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