Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Man of Steel #105

Superman: The Man of Steel #105

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 23, 2000

Cover date: October 2000

2000 Shield No. 41

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

"All the World His Stage"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

As you know if you read "Adventures of Superman #583", Superman is now a Krypto-like Super-Dog, Superboy a Beppo-esque Super-Monkey, Steel is a Super-Horse, and Supergirl a Super-Cat, all courtesy of Joker, given his powers by Mr. Mxy, who Joker is keeping in a big blue orb.

Lois Lane is Joker's pasty-faced unwilling bride, sitting next to him in his Ha-Hacienda.

He sneezes, and complains of his allergies. Jimmy Olsen, Grave Digger Lad, offers to destroy Superman. A fire hydrant falls from the sky, apparently from Joker. Joker scoffs at Jimmy, saying he finds no fun in beating a dumb animal, and calls in clownish Kryptonian Battle Suits who promptly kill Jimmy.

Joker hands the orb with Mxy in it to Enigma, aka Riddler, and he gathers his wives, Lex Luthor, and Batman to watch the braincast of Superman's mental breaking, which Joker will accomplish by changing Superman's life to be utterly contradictory. Joker also sends the rest of the JLA back to their previous, Joker-esque silliness.

Superman walks along a deserted alley on a TV screen with his parents. They are promptly robbed and killed while Superman looks on. It's Batman's origin, in Superman form.

Flash to years later: Superman is the illustrator of Krypton Man (who looks like the Eradicator and Jor-El mixed), with Steel. Instead of being happy, he draws the JLA. Outside, a commotion startles them from work. It's Krypton Man, and he blasts Superman verbally for drawing such rabble. Superman is to be taken to Emperor Joker. Superman gets angry, and accidently knocks Steel around the room by raising his hand, killing everyone but Krypton Man, who vows to capture Supes.

Superman comes home, not sure he's done anything. His kids, Supergirl and Superboy, greet him with concern. He hugs Supergirl, and she dies. Superman's heat vision suddenly rages out of control, and he blasts Superboy, killing him.

Krypton Man appears, and blames Superman, but Superman refuses. His breaking is failing. The TV screen fuzzes, and Superman is free. His mind is strong enough to fight Joker.

Superman floats through space. Spectre awakens him, and warns him that if Joker isn't stopped soon, all reality will disappear. Then Spectre is taken under Joker's control.

Back into the television Superman goes. Lois comes home, and sees what Superman has done to their children, yelling at him. Krypton Man breaks in, and Superman takes off with Lois... apparently too fast. Her back breaks, and she dies. Superman, though sad and reactionary, rejects this reality, and the program dies.

The JLA sees this, and rejects their reality as Superman's will manifests. They are back to normal, and ready to assault Joker City.

4Story - 4: There are several problems with the plot that need explaining, but all can be with the excuse of the general madness. For instance, Joker would not know Batman's origin, and thus be unable to splice it to Superman, and also he would not know that Lois was Superman's wife... unless he was all knowing. Which is fine, if that is the case... but if it is, then there are a heck of a lot of ramifications to this story that are far reaching and very, very bad for Superman and Batman. Joker has their secret identity. Unless his brain is wiped of this experience, and unless he dies at the end of this story, things will be interesting when all of this is over. If Joker does not somehow lose this information, and it is glossed over when this series is over, then I give this story a 2. But time will tell.

As for the story itself, it is very good. Unlike its predecessors in this plotline, it is ignoring all that Bounty, Ignition, let's-convolute-the-universe-for-fun bull and getting on with the plot. The heroes are restored for normal, albeit for the second time, and Superman is a proactive force instead of a confused dunderhead. He reacts when his friends die, which he hasn't done in the previous issues, and he deals with his problems rather than running from them or handing them to the JLA. This is a Supes book, and I am impressed. Even the coordination with the art team is superb, with the structure of the TV scenes very tight. Bang bang bang. Three pages, and then Joker with Batman, Luthor with Lane, talking of the implications. If I didn't know any better, I would consider this quality material Loeb's usual work. Very nice. The only reason for the one point off is the possible problems with Joker's omniscience.

4Art - 4: While some of the art is shaky, namely the fire hydrant falling on Krypto, and Joker constantly rolling his eyes, it just blasts off when Supes is in space yakking with the Spectre, or when the tv show tries to elicit the feeling of madness.

3Cover Art - 3: I could say that this cover doesn't give you the idea of the issue, and rail on it for that, but in actuality, it does, just not graphic specifically. It is about fallen idols. But Batman and Steel are not a large part of it, and Batman doesn't even remotely try to escape anything successfully, as he seems to be attempting to do on the cover. Not relevant to the plot or not, it is still well drawn, better than a few previous, and I love the idea of the Superman memorial statue being perverted to be the Steel memorial statue, a la Mr. Joker. The bird poop is especially funny. But dang nabbit all to heck fire, why in the heck is Superman wanted for murder when Lex is still alive!!!!! D'oh!

Other recent reviews:

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2000

February 2000 March 2000 April 2000 May 2000 June 2000 July 2000 August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 Annuals

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2000.