Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Man of Steel #104

Superman: The Man of Steel #104

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 19, 2000

Cover date: September 2000

2000 Shield No. 36

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

"No Axioms"

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen & John McCrea

In part three of this Bizarro saga, we open with Superman being hosed down after his recent encounter with Jimmy Olsen playing the part of a gigantic Turtle Boy. Dr. Skizim examines Superman for any psychic weakness or damage. Deeming him maladjusted to his world for not wanting to escape, i.e. not a backwards person, Skizim puts Superman in an adjustment room. They are now about the S.S. Arkham, a mobile detainment facility.

Here he meets John Henry Irons, someone who thinks just like a "normal", non-Bizarro person. Figuring this conclusive evidence for their sanity, they attempt an escape.

Superman remembers that John Henry had a suit of iron somehow, and he breaks them out to find it. The prison staff calls in Bounty to find them. Bounty is a cowboy looking character on a horse with metal legs who Superman thoroughly thwomps with heat vision he doesn't recall having.

John Henry gets his suit on. Bizarro arrives to stop the party, pummeling Superman. Bizarro moves about to take on Irons, but Superman uses backwards logic to confuse Bizarro, and John bashes him into a building, knocking it down.

A bald man with a bowler hat, whose name we all know but cannot pronounce, walks along lamenting that all five dimensions have gone haywire. He's about to get hit by a train for the third time in so many issues, when it suddenly is stopped by the falling building. He takes this as a sign that things are righting themselves.

He sees Supes and John Henry and tells Superman that the secret to unraveling this mess lies in the JLA command center. This just before he's crushed by a giant ten thousand ton weight.

Lois chases John and Superman around and captures them both in a giant purple and green pod machine. She then blasts them into the S.S. Arkham, hoping to somehow come out on top if the world is destroying itself.

2Story - 2: Again, as I stated in my review of the first issue of this series, this plot has already been done and in every previous incarnation it has been done badly. This time is a rare exception in ways. I find myself surprised by little things, like the green and purple pod reminiscent of the Super-Friends, and the references to odd, unused characters. Most especially the return of Bizarro, who I miss. But the man who cannot be named without killing your tongue is inevitably behind this or a major catalyst in the ending of this story, and further, I can already tell, as I predicted before, that this will be a story of massive confusion for three issues, and then one where everything is cleared up. The only saving grace is the good technical writing, save the confusion of the backwards logic and its ramifications, much like trying to make a good time travel story... see my review of DC Two Thousand #1 for some thoughts on that. Bounty was a waste of time. Each story seems to be trying to showcase a new and fairly boring character. That's also boring. I look forward to the issues of the last few months returning. Writer guys: take this storyline, put a plasticky cover on it, and call it a special. Or Elseworlds for the first three parts, anyway. This is hiding a stand apart event in monthly issues.

4Art - 4: Frightening. Not necessarily in a bad way. The characters are very Batman, rather than Superman, and they all seem straight out of a horror flick. But the backgrounds are excellent, everything seems nice and tight, and while some of the art seems too gothic, some of the items are rather nicely put and surprising.

2Cover Art - 2: I've taken a lot of flack from my friends for reviewing these covers so harshly, but to me they seem pretty dull. Gimmick covers have always bugged me, and it's a matter of personal opinion, but I think that a cover should at least slightly summarize the contents of the issue. For example, issues with dead main characters on the cover, when the main characters don't die in the issue, that bugs me. This cover seems like a playing card, and it doesn't reflect either the bizarro feel of the book or the main part of the book, which is Supes gaining back a few of his memories.

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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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