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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #224

Superman #224

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 7, 2005

Cover date: February 2006

Writer: Mark Verheiden
Penciller: Thomas Derenick
Inker: Wayne Faucher


Reviewed by: Nick Newman

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Luthor thinks back to his time in Smallville, when Clark cheered him on as he climbed a rock face. In the present, Luthor flies a stolen jet across Alaska with the pilot dead beside him. An OMAC intercepts him and destroys the jet. Scrambling out, Luthor escapes the explosion and parachutes down to the ice.

Clark is visiting Lois at the Daily Planet, who tells him to go and demand his old job back, when Jimmy tells them that a dead pilot was found at an Alaskan airport, and someone claimed to see Luthor stealing the jet. Dashing out, Superman heads north.

Luthor remembers when they went to an outdoor camp in high school, and he was lucky enough to get Clark as a roommate. Luthor sneaks around the ice, trying to get back to his battlesuit in the crashed jet. Suddenly the OMAC sees him and takes off after him; the OMACs that were built using his stolen technology. Tumbling down a hole, Luthor looks up at the OMAC above him.

Tearing across the sky, Superman is hit by a blast of energy. Blackrock flies up to him and blasts him again, sending Superman flying through a building.

Luthor pulls a revolver and fires three shots at the OMAC, triggering an avalanche and burying the cyborg. When the snow clears the OMAC has reverted to its human host. Luthor shoots the man in the head.

Superman grapples with Blackrock before she blasts him with energy, dropping him to the ground.

Luthor begins to climb out of the hole he fell into and he remembers when he was climbing a cliff at the camp when the safety line suddenly pulls from the rock. Faced with the danger of death, Luthor hears Clark telling him he'll be fine as long as he concentrates. Gritting his teeth, Luthor scales the ice face just as he did to the cliff all those years ago.

Superman reaches a similar point and focuses, hitting Blackrock and trapping her in an old room filled with lead paint. Cut off from radio and microwaves, the Blackrock loses its power. Superman turns her in to the authorities and continues after Luthor.

Three more OMACs arrive at the crash site, and are met by Luthor in his battlesuit. Destroying the OMACs, Luthor continues on his journey.

3Story - 3: I'm going to try really hard not to penalize this issue in particular for DC's stupid decision to use Birthright's history. As much as I hate the idea of an 18-year-old Luthor hiring a father and moving to Smallville, that's what DC is going with these days (we can only hope that Crisis will fix this...but don't hold your breath).

That being said this was still a pretty average issue. I like the idea of a focus on Luthor, but all of these flashbacks to his time in Smallville really detract from what could have been an interesting look at the character. And I really liked the way Luthor was written in this book. It's nice to see a Luthor be evil again, killing people and ruthlessly pursuing his goal. But by spending so much time depicting Luthor as a weak little teenager, they really ruin any picture of a strong villain.

The brief appearance of the newsroom is always a nice touch, and if more of the books did this it would really add a lot to the Superman stories.

Blackrock. Why Blackrock? What makes DC think that she is a good villain? We could have seen Superman fighting Luthor, but instead we get to watch him battle someone who looks like Witchblade. The reason someone like Batman has a great rogues gallery is because they actually develop and use it. But here we get one lame villain after another when we could be getting Metallo or Brainiac. I just hope that this defeat means we won't ever see her again.

I'm also sick of Superman being a weakling!! Why does he even consider giving up? He's Superman, he should act like it!

This is one fan that hopes Crisis fixes his favorite hero.

4Art - 4: I've always really liked Derenick's art, ever since I first saw it back in the end of 2002. Looking at it here, his style has changed in the three years, adopting more of a McGuinness look to his work. And I think it looks good. His work has a great animated look to it, while still maintaining some realism to it. I particularly liked the few half-splash pages. Both of the Superman splashes look great, and Luthor's stack on the OMACs near the end was also terrific. I knock it down one point due to the inconsistency in the book. The two pages where Superman defeats Blackrock almost look like they were done by a different artist. Overall though, this was some fantastic work.

3Cover Art - 3: It's not that I don't like the art on the cover, because Superman looks pretty good. I'm a fan of Benes' work, and have been for a while now. My problem, however, is that this cover is extremely generic. This could have been a great shot of Luthor fighting OMACs, but instead it's just a typical shot of Superman destroying something. The crossover banner also annoys me, not because it disrupts the cover, but because this issue hardly crosses into Infinite Crisis. Other than Luthor mentioning that his tech created the OMACs, this issue adds nothing to IC, and if I was someone who didn't buy Superman I'd be pretty upset at the misleading banner.

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

January 2006

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