Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Man of Steel #99

Superman: The Man of Steel #99

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 16, 2000

Cover date: April 2000

2000 Shield No. 16

Reviewed by: Gareth Baker (

"All That Dwell in Dark Waters"

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Pablo Raimondi
Inker: Sean Parsons

Clark is visiting his parents again and expressing his concerns about his marriage when he hears the sound of screeching tyres coming from Drear Lake. A quick change, and a suggestion that the Kents call the emergency services, and Superman is off. As Superman flies to the lake he recalls the old stories about it being haunted. But why is anyone there at 5.00am? The lake is covered in a film of fog, but a burst of superbreath gets rid of it. Plunging into the lake, Superman is alarmed to discover the car at the bottom contains no less than Lana (Lang) Ross. Having got her to safely she quickly panics and tells the Man of Steel that Pete is down there too.

Superman dives down again, and begins to pull Pete's body free when he comes face-to-face with a tall, green haired woman. She tells him that she, Unketeli has claimed the life of Pete Ross. Telepathically she informs Superman that Pete Ross is evil and that he belongs to her. Unketeli attacks Superman. Her supernatural powers make Superman feel weak.

Unketeli is the spirit of the lake and a spirit of vengeance. Long ago, evil men drowned a young girl in lake Drear. The spirits of the earth took pity on her and made her one of them. Superman feels sorry for the woman, but does not agree that Pete is evil. Cutting his way free, with his heat vision, Superman rushes Pete to the surface. By the time Supes gets to the surface the ambulance has arrived. The men recognise Pete as an ex-congressman. Superman leaves.

Back at the Kent's farm, Clark looks up at his old tree house. Lana arrives and disturbs his thoughts. Lana confesses that she and Pete were arguing when they came off the bridge. Clark hints that he is having similar problems, and then changes the conversation to Pete. Did he see anything down there? Lana tells Clark that she doesn't think so, and then asks why he is looking at his old tree house. It was his Fortress of Solitude as a kid. Lana tells Clark that she sees him as a farmer. He wants to help things grow, and do the right thing. Clark suggests that introducing alien species to the land can do more harm than good. Lana points out that he isn't an alien. He has more in common with humans than he thinks.

"In The Belly of The Beast"

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Sean Parsons

Deep in the bowels of Metropolis, Steel lies in wait watching a group of cybernetic thieves. They are tapping into the stream of digital information, but what for? What are they after? To make matters worse they are also laying explosives. Steel dives into action. Natasha (who is communicating with Steel via a new psyber-link), tells her uncle to be careful; It's a new suit!

The thieves begin firing and run, so Steel goes to see to the bomb. There isn't time to figure out the mechanism, so Steel just gathers all the parts together and pulls it all into his chest. The new armour survives.

Superman arrives on the scene, and Steel asks where he has been. Steel fills Superman in on what he knows about the thieves, which isn't much. Steel believes that maybe the thieves can gain control of the city from Luthor, if they can access the data stream.

Suddenly Natasha comes over the psyber-link, there is a problem at the steelworks. The two heroes rush there. On route, Superman asks Steel about a residue that he heard Natasha mention. Steel explains that it was left behind by Brainiac 13 when he rebuilt the city.

When they arrive, the residue has grown to a huge size and is trying to suck everything into it. Steel rescues Natasha. Is a new sun or even universe forming? The gravitation force is huge. Is it a booby trap left behind by Brainiac 13?

Superman dives into the source, but it is too hot and there is nothing to grab hold of. Steel has an idea. Telling Superman to get out of the way, he tips 24 tons of molten iron into the residue. This has the effect of turning it into a blackhole... suddenly it disappears. As Steel walks towards where it was, his hand disappears. Superman knows what is happening. He's seen one of these before, in the future. It's called a Tessaract - a pocket universe. Then Superman has an idea. Could Steel help him build a new Fortress here?

High above in the roof of the steelworks, one of the techno thieves is watching...

3Story - 3: I was tempted to review each story separately as they are different, but they are not unrelated. The idea of a new Fortress glues them together. The stories were both nice from a character point of view, though I'm annoyed that the Rosses are having problems. Just leave them alone. This isn't a soap opera. Unketeli seemed to be thrown in, just so Supes could have a fight with someone, though hopefully the evil of Pete Ross will be revealed soon. The Steel story was very similar. Fight to grab our attention and developing the story line. I like these issues where things are set up. Lets just hope it all works out this time.

4Art - 4: Two artists on this issue. Though I prefer Doug, Pablo did a nice job of making Lana look good. Page 6 looked nice, loads of muscles. The design of Unketeli was good, but nothing special. I liked the changes in colour, between the fields of Kansas and the bowels of Metropolis.

4Cover Art - 4: This was a great cover. If I was a kid there is no way I'd play in that nasty looking treehouse.

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January 2000

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