Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Man of Steel #103

Superman: The Man of Steel #103

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 21, 2000

Cover date: August 2000

2000 Shield No. 32

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

"What He Didn't Do"

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen

Clark Kent is writing a news story in the wake of Hurricane Alecto, which just barely, just recently missed mainland Metropolis. The article is an exclusive interview with Superman regarding why he didn't do more than he did about the hurricane.

Back to days previous: A news report warns the world of the coming storm. Clark and Lois see it on the television together and are concerned, briefly, before realizing that the B-13 tech will more than likely keep the city together. Supes takes off into the night sky to do his job after giving Lois a romantic kiss to rendezvous with his secret JLA meeting... Aquaman.

Superman asks him if he's behind this storm... first diplomatically, and then bluntly. Aquaman tells him that if Atlantis were to attack the mainland, Superman would know. Aquaman then gives a sermon as to how humans in their ignorance are destroying the environment and are in essence causing large storms like Alecto themselves. He cites a low count of plankton and the large number of pollutants in the air. He then disappears in a white flash, leaving Superman alone, telling him to let the coastline heal itself, so that they might absorb the assaults of future storms.

Superman flies to the barrier islands, and sees a large number of developed condos, adversely holding the beachhead artificially.

Superman checks the SCU, and makes sure that they are prepared for the storm. They assure them that thanks to Brainiac, they're now prepared for anything short of a nuclear meltdown... hint, hint, foreshadow.

Superman then stops and visits John Henry Irons, in Irons' headquarters. Irons says that he's researched storm control for Metropolis before, but that Lexcorp already has a pretty good handle on the situation, using a series of underground pumps that, although untested, should adequately handle the problem.

Superman is now watching the storm. Supergirl appears, and asks him why he's not stopping the storm. Superman vaguely asks leading questions, then they take off together to save a couple that wouldn't leave. Superman makes no move to save their property, and it is destroyed.

Superman suddenly remembers Aquaman's earlier words: "Look beyond the island...". Superman realizes what Aquaman was trying to tell him, and he streaks off beyond the barrier to a nuclear plant, about to melt down because of the flood.

Superman saves the day with Supergirl, shoring up the plant, and they both streak back for the barrier. The entire barrier is gone, destroyed.

Supergirl explodes at Superman, asking him how he could let such a thing happen, then she timidly rescinds, realizing his age and experience more than hers. Superman has allowed all of the condos and houses to be destroyed in order to allow the sea and climate to repair itself.

Back to present: Lois is reading Clark's article. She enjoys it. Clark takes it, and tears it up, claiming that it was only for himself. Lois protests, but Clark will not back down, until Lois suggests that he exclude Superman. He agrees, and she stays up with him to be his late night editor.

3Story - 3: The story deserves more than half of the points for being a damn good story. Period. I enjoyed it. However, I have certain problems with the way that the issue was executed. This whole issue, and all of the actions that Superman perpetrated, were basically the actions, thoughts, ways and means of Aquaman. Superman had a decidedly Lassiez-faire (if I spelled that correctly) attitude towards the property and livelihood on the barrier, in the name of environmental improvement. Superman takes the Aquaman approach, allowing the barrier to be destroyed. But what would Supes have done? He'd have taken the entire barrier and relocated it. He can. He's Superman. Or, barring that, he could dive into the sea and create a new barrier. Or, barring that, he could stop the storm and try and think of a creative solution. That's what Superman does. He's an idealist and an optimist. Aquaman is lassiez fair. So plus five for a good story, well written, Mr. Schultz, but minus two for using the right character in the wrong way. I'm tempted to make it four for making Supes work in the rain...a rare occurrence. I have to say that's a nice touch.

4Art - 4: Very clean, very nice. The reason I give it a four instead of a five were a few little things that bothered me. Superman seems a bit dark and moody, but he can be such in the rain just fine... still, it's a little out of place. Also, there is a big splash page that really didn't seem that necessary, on page 5. However, I really love the appearance of Supergirl on page 11. Very well done.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover is very aesthetically pleasing. Especially Supergirl. (YOWZA!) The reason there is a point missing is the nit picking side of me. Superman is using his heat vision, but if you look at the reflection in the windows, what's he shooting at? Plus, he never uses heat vision in the issue. Not once. It seems he's blasting at buildings. Not cool, Supes. Also, I wonder what he's drilling up from. Rocks? Water? But if you just look at the thing, it's pretty sweet looking if you're not critical.

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January 2000

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