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Mild Mannered Reviews - "Superman" Comics

Superman #3

Superman #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 23, 2011

Cover date: January 2012

"A Cold Day in Hell"

Writer/Breakdowns: George Perez
Penciller: Nicola Scott
Inker: Trevor Scott
Cover:George Perez

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Clark thinks back, his mind drifting as he visits the grave of Jonathan and Martha Kent.

A commentary, not of his own, but in symbiosis looks back at his arrival from nowhere and his rise to hero of Metropolis but also the cause of many of its problems (a nice if thinly veiled advertisement to pick up Action Comics #1-6).

As it turns out these thoughts are from one of Clark's own colleagues, Billy McCoy. Superman's recent return coincided with the deaths of two police officers and MacLaughlin, a guard at the Astrodome. McCoy was pitching an idea for a documentary on PGN to Izzy Izquierdo, Perry White and Lois Lane, all of whom reject it as it only has the angle from a corrupt ex-cop (another advert for Action Comics).

McCoy admits he had tried to get Clark involved as MacLaughlin was abducted by a homeless man before he could be interviewed and Clark had a 'thing' for championing the underdog. There was a possibility he could identify the kidnapper but Clark was nowhere to be found. McCoy snidely remarks he had considered approaching Lois about her 'relationship' with Superman.

Perry warns him off and as Clark's boss steps in to contact his 'lost' reporter himself, Perry expects voicemail to vent to but is shocked when Clark picks up. When Clark snaps out of his depression he is reminded by Perry that he ought to be on assignment with Heather Kelley, Jimmy Olsen and Miko. Swiftly Clark changes into his Superman costume and races to get to Heather, cutting off Perry's call in the process.

Perry and Lois remark how out of character Clark and his actions have been, Lois promises to try and reach out to him again after work but her attentions are distracted by her production team and the 80+ degree heat wave they are being treated to.

Heather is more than a little angry that she's been made to wait for three hours to cover a story for Clark. Jimmy tries to stick up for Clark and quietly points out that if it weren't for her personal feelings for Clark they would have packed up, at least Clark called to say he was late. Heather sighs that Clark was becoming more and more unreliable recently.

Back at PGN Lois is shocked to see something suddenly at the site of Clark's old apartment block when he first lived in Metropolis. A terror with Superman trapped inside it, a horrific snow storm freezing everything in its path including the buildings and people. Lois tries in vain to contact Jimmy, Miko or Heather while fending off Billy and in the meantime Superman fights off the snow and ice trying in desperation to help the people trapped in the storm. To his horror Clark realizes the people are frozen through, literally, solid.

Clark makes the connection to both the invisible beast and the fire creature, both had a focal point, something they were tethered to. Clark heads into the centre of the ice storm and sees the alien form of a female ice creature. True to his theory, the creature mutters "Krypton", but even more horrifying is the sight that the creature was tethered to his friend Heather Kelley.

Clark sees another PGN copter in the storm freezing over and rescues it before it crashes with his two friends Stafford and Hubler inside. Soaring with the copter only to witness the new Daily Planet freezing through 'killing' all of its occupants, including Izzy, Perry, Billy and Lois. Racing into the eye of the storm Clark begs Heather for forgiveness before focusing his heat vision onto the tether. The first time the tether was broken when Clark fought the fire creature the fire effects vanished with it. The second time, when one of the aliens bonded with technology, breaking its tether restored Clark's sight. With the ice tether broken, Metropolis and her citizens should return to normal. Clark questions whether breaking the tie would kill Heather too but pulls back too late losing consciousness in the resulting backlash. The ice effects indeed vanish, but so does Heather. Jimmy and Miko call into Lois to tell her Superman had woken up saving the day but both Heather and Clark were lost somewhere.

As Clark's mind wanders back to whether he just committed murder we find that the tramp, MacLaughlin and Heather had all met up as the city had thawed out. All seemingly possessed they utter the word "Krypton" but now with Heather's help they make a deduction and utter a new phrase "Clark Kent".

To Be Continued...

4Story - 4: Positively brilliant in terms of development and content, but annoyingly too much of the introduction was spent promoting its sparse sister title. Elaborating on battles we'll never see, which makes me very angry with the other book and very sad that we'll never see these arcs, at least for the foreseeable future (yes I noticed many of the historical nods but wont spoil them).

Back to the story, we discover many new elements that were never before touched upon, the character of Heather, the fate of Clark's old home, the loneliness Clark feels, his new attitude, all things besides the main plot that are new, freshly dealt with, taking us on a new direction with Clark. I thought I'd miss Lois but I can see now she is still very much integral to both Superman and Clark. She shouldn't be hindered by the desk because her character is acting in the same way we feel - aching to be her old self along with Clark on the beat.

In the main plot we see Clark using his investigative skills to put an end to the ice creature but also in a way that makes him human and fallible. He may have saved the day but did he kill a close friend? Superman may not have a decent rogues gallery yet (despite the flashbacks and the knowledge about the 'Collector of Worlds') but these mysterious creatures are proving a more interesting and equally mysterious team of opponents than Lex and the 7734. I know I shouldn't, but I am trying to figure out who of his pre DCnU villains it could be, to me this is one more reason why Pérez will be missed on the book. The build up and development with story, drama, character and action is beautifully executed, I hope that it continues this formula as the book progresses.

It pains me to give this a 4 but I was really torn by the flashback/advertisement even more as the final page of the digital book was an ad for Action Comics again.

5Art - 5: The art is coming along leaps and bounds, almost mirrors the progression in the book. The art is becoming less crammed and breathing better on the page be it print or digital. The snow and ice could have easily swallowed the book up in white. The glimpses into Clark's past battles look so brilliant it makes you really hungry to see more of it.

5Cover Art - 5: I get that Superman is physically fit, but - those buns of steel! Seriously though, the cover looks great with the menace of the ice creature. I hated this image when I originally saw it as a preview a few months back but here, as a finished product, Clark looks genuinely fearful of the creature's power, another foe testing his very limits!

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2012

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