Mild Mannered Reviews - Steel Comic Books

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Steelworks #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 6, 2023
Cover date: August 2023

"Steelworks - Chapter 1: City of Tomorrow"

Writer: Michael Dorn
Artist: Sam Basri
Cover: Clay Mann and Alejandro Sanchez
Variant Covers: Jon Bogdanove and Hi-Fi, Sami Basri and Hi-Fi, Ariel Colon, Helen Lenoble, and Joshua "Sway" Swaybe

Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
Click to enlarge

Steelworks #1 John Henry Irons has a press conference to finally open his new Steelworks building. During the press conference he states that his work will be to help regular people solve their own problems, without Superman. Afterwards he has conversations with his niece, Natasha Irons, and later his fiancé, Lana Lang, about how he sounded. Both point out that he sounds super ambitious, and Natasha questions his philosophy as being a tad anti-Superman. Meanwhile corporate rivals kidnap a man and mutate him to receive powers to take down Steel. The issue ends with an attack on Steelworks.

3Story - 3: The story was pretty standard fare, it dealt a lot more with the philosophy of what Steel was trying to do, rather than with action. In fact, there was so little action, and so much talking, that it got a little boring in places. I loved that this builds on the Lana/John relationship that Pak and Kuder established way back in Action Comics during the New 52. It's a great way to incorporate more of Clark's background characters, and it ensures that the awesome character development Lana experienced in that New 52 run isn't completely lost. I am interested to see where the series goes with John's central idea of "people are too dependent on Superheroes." It sounds a lot like Lex's philosophy, but the difference is that rather than just blaming the Superfamily for mankind's stalled development, John is going to help them. It also creates quite the dichotomy, because now Lex is on the other side trying to push Superman to be a more effective hero to the people.

3Art - 3: The art is really hit and miss for me in this issue. Early in the issue there is a 3/4 page splash with the Superfamily arriving to mark the opening of Steel's new building. The art looks great for this image, every character is beautifully drawn, and the attention to detail is great. Lana also looks amazing, except she has a weird reddish tinge to her skin. There area lot of panels though, that felt stiff and the characters have a lifeless stilted expression on their faces... especially their eyes.

2Cover Art - 2: This cover looks fine, but I don't like the scratchy finish on it. The colors are also too muted for a cover, it needs to stand out more.

3Variant Cover - 3: This cover does a better job with the same basic concept of the first cover. However, the colors on this one are too dark, especially the Steel in the background.

3Variant Cover - 3: I like this Natasha cover. It shows off her newer look, but, again, it is too monochromatic. The background, and the majority of her character design are too grey.

5Variant Cover - 5: This is the Bogdanove cover. I didn't love his art on 90s Superman, but this cover hits all the right notes for me. Steel is a bright, highly polished, beacon of hope for the city. He looks great, and so does the city. I love seeing the landmarks in the background.

3Variant Cover - 3: Looking at Steel and Natasha from this perspective makes sense in theory. But again in execution having the light in the background casts a dark shadow over the two main characters. This is the first issue of Steelworks, the covers needed to show off their characters more.

4Pride Variant Cover - 4: Natasha looks great in this cover.

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