Mild Mannered Reviews - Steel Comic Books

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Steelworks #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 4, 2023
Cover date: September 2023

"Steelworks - Chapter 2: Collateral Damage"

Writer: Michael Dorn
Artist: Sami Basri, Vicente Cifuentes, and Max Raynor
Cover: Arif Prianto
Variant Covers: Sami Basri and Andrew Dalhouse, Ibrahim Moustafa

Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
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Steelworks #2 Natasha leads the defense of Steelworks against the unknown intruder. The security systems cannot lock onto him, and this leads to them shooting at everything in the space, including her. John enters the room in his Steel suit and together they are able to stop the security system. Having not seen any invader, John believes it is a malfunction of the system. Natasha convinces him that a guy was causing the security problems. We then cut to the assailant on a bench, he is approached by Charles Walker III's men and brought to his mansion. Charles has promised this man his children back, and that he will cure him of the condition Charles put him in, if he takes down John Henry Irons. Meanwhile John and Natasha are met by Jay Nakamura who is acting as a press relations expert for Steelworks. The three go to a meeting John has with the Superfamily to discuss his idea of phasing out Superheroes from Metropolis. In the midst of the meeting Natasha notices the earlier assailant on the streets below, and in an attempt to catch him, he incapacitates her.

1Story - 1: I may have been too grumpy while writing this review. I really wanted to enjoy this. I love John Henry Irons, and Natasha Irons. I would love to see them go on grand adventures and expand their rogues gallery. This just seems like DC's attempt at copying Tony Stark, or what if Lex Luthor was a good guy. Which is really unfortunate because Steel has had a pretty interesting trajectory since his rebirth in the New 52. Morrison and Pak both did interesting things with him as a side character, and I would have loved to have seen more of that. Plus, the story really hurts by abandoning one of the more interesting Superman Family supporting characters of recent history, Lana Lang. Give me a Steel story of him traveling around the world with Lana and Natasha, bringing technology to underprivileged communities, trying to help them solve their problems while also seeking inspiration from them... That would be an awesome series. But, having Steel become this... cheap pastiche of both Luthor and Stark, whose primary motivation is the same motivation that Luthor has had for decades, it all just comes across as poorly conceived. To make matters even worse... we have Jay Nakamura in the issue as this press relations guy. Jay represents every blogger's dream, blog enough to be discovered as some press savante and then become the press relations manager of some multimillionaire. I can not stand Jay as a character. He is worse than anything Bendis created... including Rogol Zar. He is just the worst.

2Art - 2: The art is ok. I think the oversaturation of the colouring, a consistent problem in DC these days, doesn't do it any favours. But to be fair, most of the action scenes take place in a very bland environment that drowns out the two main characters resulting in a visually dull sequence. I don't think the artists get the chance to do anything very interesting, primarily because of a lacklustre story. Most of the issue is just people talking in different, boring locales. Talking in a study, talking in a lab, talking in a board office. When your main characters can fly anywhere, why on earth would you have them in such boring settings?

3Cover Art - 3: cool cover, with a great perspective. I dinged a point automatically because Jay is on the cover.

5Variant Cover - 5: This cover doesn't break any new ground, and the background is pretty boring, just the blackness of space. But dang, Steel looks awesome all armoured up, boot thrusters firing, and the big ol' hammer poised to do some real damage.

2Variant Cover - 2: This cover has Steel facing off against a few foes. It is a cool idea, but the proportions are way off on John's body. Making for a weird image.

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