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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: War of the Supermen #2 Superman: War of the Supermen #2

Superman: War of the Supermen #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 12, 2010

Cover date: July 2010

"The Battle For Mars"

Writer: Sterling Gates and James Robinson
Penciller: Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Standard Cover Art: Eddy Barrows & J.P Mayer with Rod Reis
Variant Cover Art: Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan with Brad Anderson

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel with Barry Freiman, Ralph Silver, and Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

The Daily Planet is back to buzzing like it did when Perry, Cat, Ron, Lois & Clark used to be the 'fuel' to the newsroom 'engine'. Lois reveals New Krypton is dead and is in the process of a 'kiss and tell' all about her father's drawn out scheme, but bad-mouthing him leads to sibling rivalry! Lucy crashes in and abducts her sister!

Up in space Supergirl and Superman tussle through the field of kryptonite meteors until they crash into Callisto, New Krypton's moon. Kara cries it's her fault, and Superman sadly reveals she's the Last Daughter of New Krypton. They realize they are the only two that stand between Earth and the Zod's forces and decide they will do whatever it takes to save them both.

Meanwhile the rag tag band (Jimmy, Steel, Nightwing, Flamebird, Superboy & The Guardian) track Natasha Irons to a cell inside Mount Rushmore and launch a rescue mission. At the same moment inside Project 7734 Codename Assassin and General Lane are rejoicing over the deaths of the Kryptonians as Lucy arrives with Lois. Sam's cheery attitude doesn't last... Earth's Mars base is being destroyed by Zod's forces. Kal & Kara arrive and force both sides back and Zod uses the fact that the Super family are busy to launch an armada of soldiers directly on a course for Earth.

Sam flips a switch to see Lex on a video screen. Luthor reveals he's harnessed the power from Jax-Ur's botched Rao corpse and the government's time pool technology to launch their counter attack. In return he regains his beloved Lexcorp along with his pardon. With the deal done, a missile housing a huge store of red kryptonite is shot into the sky through the black hole/time pool tech directly into our sun making it a huge red sun!

Floating in space, Superman, Supergirl and the Kryptonians gasp for life...

To Be Continued...

Adam Dechanel's Review:

2Story - 2: We rehash through the last two issues again through lots of expositional dialogue and honestly, not a great deal happens. They bring Kara closer in origin to Clark's by also making her an orphan in a really weak way that sounds even more stupid when they talk about it but at least it gives them some common ground to grow from.

Rather than montages the long drawn out speeches (in a way people don't actually talk) are poor and draw you out of the book. A throwaway comment and a small box with "as seen on issue #0 & #1 of War of the Supermen" would have sufficed and would have saved us six pages in this issue alone.

Kara has always been an annoying teenager but now she has to grow up and learn, which will be interesting to see. There are some nice parallels between Zod and Lane but the "Battle For Mars" is over in a page and a half... Then there is the whole Lex thing - again a throwaway attempt to restore the awkward characterization of prisoner Lex back to his business man status.

Another continuity fluctuation is Nightwing... Over in Action Comics he went all Anakin Skywalker but here he's back in the blue rubber... Not something that I'd usually nitpick but a great example of the plethora of plot holes and editorial errors...

The Rag Tag band pose for a third group shot and don't do anything, and the writers set up the good old 1930's "Lois is a damsel in distress".

I'm so off the 'Geoff Johns team' train now - I just hope J. Michael Straczynski can deliver the quality of story he did with Midnight Nation and Supreme Power and bring it to Superman.

3Art - 3: Every part of this art tells the story, it depicts it in a way you can understand and delivers a good standard, as it should, but there is nothing that really stands out in the artwork. It just... is, and some of the awkward facial expressions and physical impossibilities are just... odd.

3Cover Art - 3: A cover on a comic should be like a movie poster. You should feel "If I buy any book this month it HAS to be this book". Did you get that vibe? I didn't...

"Taking sides", it boldly states on the cover with Supergirl twisting about waving a flag, with an army of soldiers ready to take on a bruised Clark. Well nobody takes sides, nobody shows they are a budding contortionist and, though it is an eye-catching cover, it just doesn't pack the punch it could. Three artists collaborating on a mediocre cover.

2Cover Art (Variant Cover) - 2: Supergirl takes centre stage on the second variant and it's just as bland as the first. Montages don't work IN the books why would you thing a sparse cover would work with the cover? Aaron Lopresti made Wonder Woman spectacular in his recent run but Supergirl looks really bad here...

Barry Freiman's Review:

5Story - 5: It always comes down to Superman and Lex. Two worlds are going to heck in a hand-basket. Two Generals on opposing sides are going bat-sh** nuts. Superman's rallied his forces. Lois is having a super-dysfunctional family reunion. Supergirl suffers yet another tragedy and rises to her cousin's inspiration. But the most exciting part of all this is the set-up for what happens when Superman returns to Earth after the Kryptonians have been dispatched. Lex Luthor has apparently been pardoned for crimes against humanity by helping humanity in its time of need. By using his science to turn the sun red, Luthor has regained control of his company Lexcorp and presumably a place of respect in Metropolis and the world. This is the moment that sets up the next stage in Superman's life, one hopes so anyway. The new original adventures of Superman in his post-Secret Origins existence need to spend some time in Metropolis or at least on Earth. We need to see the re-emergence of Clark Kent as a character. And putting Lex back on top of Metropolis seems a good start to achieving that. Here's hoping so anyway.

4Art - 4: The most impressive aspect to the artwork is the way Supergirl, now truly an orphan, seems to have grown up in appearance just within the issue. She looks more like her pre-Crisis counterpart than ever before. And her decision to stick with Superman rather than the Kryptonians shows she's more like her doppelganger than ever before too.

3Cover Art - 3: It's a pretty cover but one that misleads the reader into thinking Kara has chosen poorly once again. That's the main reason I'm giving it only a three rating.

3Cover Art (Variant Cover) - 3: This is a bit more on target to what's actually happening in the issue but not nearly as pretty. It feels kind of random to have Kara, Lois, Superwoman, and Agent Liberty be the characters profiled on this cover. Sure they are all in the issue but I'd hardly call each of them the book's stars.

Ralph Silver's Review:

5Story - 5: This is an exciting and fast-paced issue from start to finish; with several surprises along the way. The excitement is due to some excellent character interactions between the major players.

I loved the opening scene, with Lois running through the Daily Planet office shouting excitedly about the destruction of New Krypton. As Perry pumps his star reporter for information, we have our first big surprise, the arrival of Superwoman, crashing through the wall to get her hands on Lois. Lois gets the huge surprise that Superwoman is really her sister Lucy. She does not even have a moment to digest this startling new piece of information before she is whisked away by Superwoman. The action in this story never slows down.

What kind of monster arranges to have his daughter kidnapped?!? General Lane is never going to be nominated for "Father of the Year". :)

The heart of this issue is the extended scene with Superman and Supergirl. They get a little rough with each other. But neither one is really trying to injure the other. Supergirl is mostly letting off steam after receiving the shock of New Krypton's destruction and feeling some guilt about it. And Superman is mostly trying to get his cousin under control before she hurts someone. Each of them knows how durable the other is; so there is no risk of either one of them getting seriously hurt during this tussle.

I liked that the authors used Callisto, the moon of New Krypton, as a story element. Superman and Supergirl needed a place with enough atmosphere to hold a conversation. That moon was introduced way back in World of New Krypton #7, presumably so that it would be available as a place to talk in this issue.

I loved the scene where Kara pours her heart out about the final moments of New Krypton, and then Superman and Supergirl hug warmly and express their love for each other. This scene was very moving. I liked that Superman did what he could to assuage Kara's guilt by pointing out that General Lane was the real culprit.

The scene where Zod's army makes mince-meat of the Human Defense Corps Space Fleet on Mars is a grizzly reminder that the people of Earth would be at their mercy if the Kryptonians arrived on Earth fully powered. Note that when General Lane is given the bad news, he is not told that his fleet was *defeated*. The word is "destroyed". The stakes in this war are very high.

But General Lane has another trick up his sleeve, which is our next big surprise. Lex Luthor, using advanced technology, manages to turn the sun red and de-power all the Kryptonians.

The final scene showing Superman, Supergirl, and other Kryptonians choking to death in airless space, is very powerful.

I cannot wait to see what happens next. To me, there is very little middle ground here. Either the sun stays red, and the Kryptonian threat is completely neutralized; or else the sun returns to yellow, and Earth and its populace get crushed. But I am sure the authors have a third option in mind.

I expect to see the Justice League, the Green Lantern Corps, or other superheroes on Earth take direct action. Maybe that is coming next issue.

5Art - 5: The Pansica/Faucher artwork is very strong. I liked the splash showing the arrival of Superwoman through the Daily Planet wall. The entire scene between Superman and Supergirl, showing them in conflict and then in a very emotional conversation, was well done; as was the final splash showing Superman and Supergirl in distress after the sun turns red. I also love the depiction of Mount Rushmore.

4Cover Art - 4: I like this cover. Supergirl, looking angry and determined, carries the Kryptonian flag as she heads right towards Superman, who looks startled and a bit apprehensive. Callisto shines in the background. The caption at the bottom, "Taking Sides", tells the whole story. This is an effective image.

4Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 4: This is another strong cover. Supergirl is front and center, looking determined. There are two inset pictures; one of Superwoman bullying her sister Lois; the other one showing Codename: Assassin firing his weapon. The craters of Callisto are visible in the background.

My only objection is that Codename: Assassin did not play a very active role in this story, and has not earned a spot on the cover. He asks General Lane one question, and he blocks Lois Lane with his arm when she approaches her father. But Luthor turns an entire sun a different color. I would have preferred to see Luthor in the upper box on this cover.

Nevertheless, in terms of eye appeal, both covers get a 4 from me.

Neal Bailey's Review:

2Story - 2: Wow. That fell apart.

We have an issue that's half people talking about plot points we've already been over about a thousand times, a fight for a Mars base I had no idea existed.

I thought (and I could be crazy, but) the end of issue #0 was those guys in orbit attacking Earth. Now, 27 minutes later (when Superman can cross the country in 5 minutes, as I recall), they're not on Earth?

Supergirl and Superman fight, and not just argue, they FIGHT, attempting to hurt each other, over a disagreement, while people are dying.

And then, to cap it off, they pull the "YOUR SUN IS RED!" bit. I suppose the whole argument about differing gravity and/or science in a solar system with a different sun went right out the window.

But at least now we know why a buttload of Kryptonians started their attack in a bunch of ships... because there's no other way they would survive and have any power after the red sun comes down.

Which is bad writing.

But the biggest waste is having the culmination, a full quarter of the tale of a thousand people with Superman's power descending on Earth, spend an entire issue focusing on one small base no one knew existed and the heroes talking.

2Art - 2: The story was conveyed, but the characters were rather rough hewn and it felt hurried. There's a scene where, after the Daily Planet has had a hole put in it and Lois is taken away, someone without a face talks, and I have no idea who it is. I think the other person is Perry. I should know.

2Cover Art - 2: The implication is that Supergirl turns against Superman with an army, which taps into that impulse covers are known for, emphasizing the odd situation to exploit what that picture could mean, and for that, it's an interesting choice, but it's coupled with that odd, broken spine art and Supergirl looking down. Why down, and not at Supes? It just looks awkward.

2Cover Art (Variant Cover) - 2: Again they contrast scenes that don't happen with what appear to be panels from the issue as opposed to anything that would draw me in. Codename: Assassin is what, one panel in the issue?

Also, who took Supergirl's mug?

Mild Mannered Reviews


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