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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #217

Superman #217

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 18, 2005

Cover date: July 2005

Writer: Mark Verheiden
Penciller: Ed Benes
Inker: Ed Benes

"The Journey"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

At the White House, a group of people investigate a huge Superman symbol burned into the rock in South America. Next to the symbol, a gigantic stone key rests on the ground. They don't know what it means, but they know they have to send someone in.

Lois and Jimmy search the docks for the Daily Planet correspondent that was supposed to meet them. A woman steps out of the crowd and introduces herself as Jessica. She leads them to a boat and they head upriver. Jimmy sets up a small transmission dish and contacts the Daily Planet, but when he tells them about Jessica, he learns that Jessica was found tied up in her bathroom. The imposter comes in holding an assault rifle. The fake Jessica and her male companion tell them that Superman has been interfering with their rebellion, and perhaps a dead friend will convince him to leave. He pulls the trigger just as Jimmy presses the button on his signal watch.

Miles away Superman hears the signal and takes off, soaring down the river at well over the speed of sound. He hits the boat with a crash, disarming both of them and catching the bullet. Back at the port, Superman tells them he has something to show them. He picks them both up and flies them off into the jungle.

Landing in a small village, Superman shows them around, introducing them to a small boy, Jesse, who has befriended him. Leading them away, Lois and Jimmy see his new Fortress of Solitude, a huge stone ziggurat. He tells them that the crystals from his old Fortress, which surround the temple, did most of the work.

After Jimmy falls asleep Lois and Clark head up to talk. Clark tells her he just needed some time to collect his thoughts.

The next morning, Jimmy barges in saying that someone on the radio is talking about the dam. Superman soars out, spotting a group on top of the dam, one of them holding a detonator. He swoops down towards them, when an OMAC unit suddenly falls from the sky and slams the Man of Steel into the ground. Too late to stop them, the dam suddenly explodes, unleashing the river on the town below. As the villagers flee, their homes are destroyed by the onrushing water. Superman and OMAC trade blows, before Superman unleashes his heat vision. When the blast clears, the OMAC unit has disappeared.

Returning to the village, Superman approaches the people, but they shy away from him. He offers to rebuild the dam, but they tell him that he has done enough.

Sitting in his Fortress, Superman knows that it happened because he was there. Lois consoles him, and he tells her it's time to go home.

4Story - 4: This story had a lot I liked, and a few things that really bothered me, so I'll get the negative out of the way first. I really don't like the idea of the Fortress being in the Amazon. Keeping it in the arctic (or the Antarctic) was a nice reference to the Silver Age, and I don't see why it couldn't have stayed that way. It's supposed to be a Fortress of solitude, a place that he can hide from everyone. If there's a big sign outside, it kind of destroys the purpose. I also didn't like the concept of the village turning on him. It's been done before, and it's getting cliche to have people blame the hero after something bad happens. Apart from that though, I really enjoyed this issue. I really liked the way Verheiden dealt with his powers. Mentioning how Clark would need to regulate his speed in the atmosphere was a nice touch that really added to the issue for me. I also liked the cotton balls touch. And, while I don't like the concept of it, I do have to admit that using the crystals with the fortress like he did was really cool. Finally, I really liked the way they tied this into OMAC. This actually works with the series. Max has unleashed his army, so in this issue one of his soldiers strikes. This is the kind of continuity I like, something that makes sense, ties it all together, and doesn't prevent the regular story from being told. He even used it to his advantage, using OMAC to further the main plot. Overall I thought this was a real solid read, and I'm looking forward to more from Verheiden.

4Art - 4: I have always been a huge fan of Benes' work. For those of you that didn't read the final arc of Supergirl (and shame on you for not doing so, if there had been more readers maybe DC wouldn't have cancelled that fantastic series), he did some incredible work. As such, I was very excited when he was announced for this book, and he did not disappoint. Lois looks fantastic, Superman looks really good, and his super-speed panels are very well done. I did drop a point because Jimmy just doesn't quite look like Jimmy (where are the freckles?) but everything else was absolutely gorgeous.

3Cover Art - 3: I suppose this is an introductory book to a new team, so a standard pose cover can be justified, but I still think that a lot more could have been done with this cover. Superman could have been flying over the jungle with the Fortress below perhaps? The art was solid, and I like the eyes effect, but the image of Superman emerging from a collapsed building just isn't working for me. Unless of course this is intended to symbolize Superman emerging from the wreck that was 'For Tomorrow'. If that's the case, this earns a definite five out of five, because this issue made me enjoy the Superman title again.

Awesome work.

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

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