Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #697

Superman #697

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 24, 2010

Cover date: April 2010

"Man of Valor" - "The Espionage Squad - Part 2"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Bernard Chang
Inker: Javier Pina

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Control reveals himself to be a shape-shifting Durlan, and tries to explain why he's there. General Lane hits him with an energy being, and he escapes with a tiny robot named Quislet.

Guardian and Mon-El follow. Guardian is taken down by Lane. Mon-El watches the Durlan turn into a butterfly thing, and then Superman appears, but turns out only to be an illusion caused by (I'm assuming) Saturn Girl (she's not named, in fact, none of the Legion characters here are named aside from the Durlan, and I'm not a big Legion guy, so I'm essentially reading in massive confusion here - Neal). The Legion members flee into the sky.

Steel is shown to have fixed the water in Metropolis, and is seen stopping several obscure villains and the Composite Superman in one panel.

Billi and Mon-El shower together. Mon-El explains that apparently, he was saved by Hover-Cam 2 the first time he lost his powers because it was, in fact, Quislet.

Conner finds Mon-El while Mon-El is fighting an unnamed giant man with a green bowler. They talk about how Conner has finished repairing his rocket. Mon-El indicates that he is burdened by Superman's responsibilities.

Conner tells Mon-El that he wants him to come to Smallville to meet some people. It's indicated that's the Legion folk who attacked him earlier in the issue.

1Story - 1: We're STILL at the ruins of the Science Police?

I dunno. This is one chaotic mishmash of fanservice and obscure reference. If I had any idea who the Legion members were without having to google extensively, it might be neat. I know Quislet is a big deal to some people who were reading comics ten years before I was.

And here's a big clue: It might even be a big deal to me, if you'd tell me what the heck a Quislet is, or why I should care. The name of the task that would present that information to me is WRITING. And it needs to be done before presenting something.

What happens this issue? We see static shots of villains being fought out of context, but from a character standpoint, from the story standpoint, we learn that people in disguise have been monitoring and tampering with Mon-El (something we already knew before the issue began), that Mon-El finds shouldering Superman's burden difficult (y'think? And also something we already knew) and that Mon-El's rocket is finished, which has no real relevance, given that we have no idea why he wants the rocket or to what end.

Oh, and Steel's back. I guess that's something. Two pages of something. But he doesn't do or say anything.

No story occurs here. None. It's indulgent to the point of absurdity in the name of what appears to be an attempt at atmosphere instead of telling a story.

The only thing even remotely interesting is the Composite Superman, but then, why show the guy if it's only for a one-off bit? That's the only thing in the issue I wish I could have more of.

3Art - 3: The art's okay. Tells the story, but it's a bit wooden at times. The splashes don't really feel like they carry much weight, but that's not the art so much as the fact that the big moments aren't really big moments.

3Cover Art - 3: Average enough image. I suppose I could make a commentary on how it depicts what the issue is about, standing around throwing the stick to the dog for no apparent purpose, but the cover is still a decent enough image.

It did have one funny thing going for it. When I got the book, the person next to me looked down and said, "Why is Superboy throwing that dog?"

Made me laugh. Also illustrates a larger principle. People don't know that Superman has a flying dog, necessarily.

And people don't know the Legion, either, generally. So if you're going to introduce a concept or a theme, it must be explained or written coherently, right?


Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2010

February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2010.