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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #220

Superman #220

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 3, 2005

Cover date: October 2005

Writer: Mark Verheiden
Penciller: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Marlo Alquiza


Reviewed by: Nick Newman

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In the Arctic Circle, John Henry Irons climbs up an icy slope. Coming over the peak he finds the ruins of the Fortress of Solitude.

On the farm in Smallville, Conner (Superboy) helps Jonathan out in the field. Jonathan tells Conner that he has to be careful using his powers. Luthor is bound to be looking for him, and who knows where Luthor can see. Heading into the barn, Superboy finds Clark standing there, waiting to talk. Superboy starts to tell Clark he doesn't need a lecture, but Clark tells him that he wants to talk about himself.

As Dr Irons sets up his explosives, he explains that he installed within the Fortress a failsafe that would beam everything to the Phantom Zone in the event of the destruction of the Fortress. It worked, but he fears that the alarms summoned the Eradicator, trapping him below the ice. The explosives detonate and the weakened ice begins to glow. Within a few moments, the Eradicator bursts from the ice with a scream.

Superboy tells Superman that it's going to be a long time before the Titans trust him again, after falling under the control of Lex Luthor recently. Superman tells Superboy that he has had a difficult time as well, as he thinks back to being controlled by Max Lord. Everyone looks at him with fear now. Superboy tells him that they're both pretty scary guys, before he accidentally slips that he shares DNA with Lex Luthor. Superman is shocked, but he consoles Conner by looking at his 'soul' and telling him that it is growing strong. Suddenly he hears the JLA emergency signal and the two take off for the arctic.

Superman finds Dr Irons knocked on the ground. John tells them to be careful as the Eradicator tackles Superboy. The Eradicator tells Superboy that he can sense the evil in him, and he must destroy it. Superman enters the fight, but the Eradicator tells Superman that he's changed too. The Eradicator will kill him too.

Superman helps Superboy up from the ground when both look up to find the Eradicator holding a huge chunk of ice. He tells them that they both have turned on their allies, and need to be stopped.

As the ice slams into Superboy and Superman, one of the men from Dr Irons' camp suddenly transforms into an OMAC. Within seconds, the Eradicator is knocked out. When Conner and Kal burst from the ice John tells them about the OMAC. Superboy tells Superman that he's someone people will follow, and whatever is bothering him he needs to get over it quick. Superman tells him he thinks it's just beginning.

3Story - 3: I enjoyed this book, I really did, and I'm going to try to be as positive as possible because I'm sick of trashing everyone but Rucka (whom I finally met this past weekend, nice guy) these days. I liked Conner's appearance, and he was in character too. I also like tying this into the recent Teen Titans arc, considering Superboy should be a big part of Superman's life (like a younger brother essentially). I really liked the use of Steel too. It's maybe a little excessive to have him form an expedition to travel to the North Pole alone however. I mean, this guy was on the JLA. I'm fairly certain he could call up one of the eight dozen people that can fly in the DCU and head up to the arctic that way, but I can forgive that. I also really like the fact that they've saved all of the Fortress stuff by shifting it to the Phantom Zone. At least now they can restore the real fortress when the next writer realizes this temple in the jungle isn't the best idea.

So with all this good, why the three? Two reasons. First, Superman looking at Conner's soul. I hated this in Birthright, and I hate it now. Superman can see heat auras, he cannot see someone's spirit, floating outside of their body like a ball of fireflies. He could just have easily commented on the hundreds of good things Kon has done, all of the friends he has made and things achieved over his short life. He doesn't actually need to look at his soul and say its strong... especially when that exact same message was delivered by Raven (a character who actually can see souls) last month in Titans. It wasn't a huge deal to me, but it's just such a bad fit for Clark. Secondly, and this is the big one, why the huge reversal for the Eradicator. Now I understand he's tried to kill Clark before for various deluded reasons, but at his core, he exists to protect Kryptonian life. Considering that encompasses Kal, Kon, and Kara these days, killing two of them doesn't really fulfill his mission, does it? And why in the world would the Eradicator care about Superboy attacking the Titans? Last I checked, the Eradicator was pretty vicious. I can't see why he would care about a few beatings and some broken bones. This whole Eradicator appearance just felt forced, like he was only here to have someone yell at Superman and boy about their recent transgressions, and then to get beaten by an OMAC to show how powerful they are (and why did the OMAC run from Superman and Superboy? Aren't they supposed to be killing all metas right now?) Overall, I did like this issue. It was a pretty solid read, but the Eradicator acting completely out of character just pulled it down for me.

5Art - 5: This art is absolutely gorgeous. Superman and Superboy both look terrific, and scenes like the one with Superman and Superboy flying were just terrific. I liked how Steel looked, and the Eradicator was looking good as well. Everything about the art just felt dynamic. I almost knocked it down to a four because of Jonathan Kent who looks, well, pretty horrible, but I decided at the last minute that I liked the rest of it so much that it still deserved a five. This nice clean style looks great on Superman, and while he's only a guest penciller, Daniel can have a place on the books any day.

4Cover Art - 4: It's a pretty solid cover, depicting a scene from the book with a minimum of text on the cover, but I felt like more could have been done with it. The Eradicator looks fantastic, but Superman and Superboy are just kind of sitting there. I know they're supposed to be under attack, but they could look more aggressive than that. Still a nice cover though, from a great artist.

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