Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #158

Superman #158

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 3, 2000

Cover date: July 2000

2000 Shield No. 26

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Duncan Rouleau
Inker: Jaime Mendoza

Critical Condition Part 1 - "Little Big Man"

Reviewed by: Gareth Baker (

Superman is dying. After collapsing in the cave (see Action #766), he was taken to STAR Labs, where the best people are trying to take care and cure Superman before he finally dies. Their job is made harder by the fact that Superman's heat-vision keeps going off all by itself, despite him being strapped down to a chair.

The medical team helping Superman consists of Dr Sarah Charles a meta-human expert, and Dr Kitty Faulkner, Prof. Bridgette Crosby, John Henry Irons and finally Ray Palmer - The Atom. They think there is something inside him, attacking specific parts of his body. John Henry pops out of the containment room and sees Lois Lane. He gives her Superman's cape to look after and give back to him when he gets better.

In LexCorp Towers, Lex is reviewing some video tapes of Lois Lane taking millions of dollars from his account. She was storing it in Swiss bank accounts under the name of Rudy Jones. Lex knows that it was really The Parasite masquerading as Lois Lane. Lex tells Mercy to make sure that all the withdrawals were made before The Parasite died.

Back at STAR Labs, Jimmy Olsen arrives to take photographs and tell Lois that a woman called Encantadora had called for her. Lois runs off to follow it up, after all, Encantadora did try to sell Kryptonite once, whilst Jimmy tries to take some pictures of Superman. He finds he can't do it.

Inside the containment room, The Atom and John Henry prepare to get their team ready. John Henry suits up and meets Supergirl and Superboy. The Atom uses his knowledge to shrink Team Superman down so that they will fit inside a tiny craft. They are going inside Superman's body! Shrinking the ship still further, Team Superman are told their mission. To find the tumour and cut it out of Superman before it's too late.

The ship is put inside Superman's mouth and the journey begins, but not before being warned about the antibodies that might attack them. Once inside the chest cavity, they are indeed attacked. Steel switches the craft from auto pilot, whilst Supergirl goes outside to keep them away from the ship but she is unable to do so. Soon the ship is covered in antibodies and is being broken apart.... 3Story - 3: This was an odd one. For a start there was no Superman. First off, I was a little disappointed because it didn't really follow on from Action #766, especially as Batman did imply that Superman was dead. I didn't like the "leap" in the story. Surely there was a story in getting Superman's body to STAR Labs? Anyway, there were some lovely touches, for example when JHI gave Lois the cape. Was he hinting that he knew their secret? I don't think he does does he? However, I felt that another story chance was missed. Surely the journey through Superman's body deserved more than 4 pages. Great cliff hanger though!!!

4Art - 4: This was a great job by the guest artists. A nice crocked style, check out JHI's nose and Lex's eyebrows. The double page spread with Dr Charles huge in the background, then The Atom and then the ship was inspired as it gave you a real idea of the size of it all, or rather the lack of. My prize this month has to go to the page before, number 13. I loved the way Team Superman walked towards you until you were left with the shields and blackness. The shine of Steel's "S" was a nice touch too.

3Cover Art - 3: Eye catching in that it is very green! The view of Team Superman through the magnifier is a good idea, but it doesn't quite pull it off.

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

January 2000

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