Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Adventures of Superman #585

Adventures of Superman #585

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 11, 2000

Cover date: December 2000

2000 Shield No. 48

Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
Penciller: Mike Miller
Inker: Jose Marzan Jr.


Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Kitty Faulkner, examining all of the Brainiac 13 modifications on long nights and stretching days, is walking through the STAR Labs facility when she notices a downed guard. She investigates, and is belted in the head by her angry alter ego, Rampage. Kitty Faulkner, (as well as the reader), wonder how Rampage can deck her, as Kitty IS Rampage. Rampage knocks her out.

In Clark and Lois's apartment, they practice the ancient Kryptonian art of Torquasm Rao, a centering technique. Lois is failing, and getting frustrated. Suddenly, she's taken from her body on a psychic trip, where she sees a Metropolis under seige by shadow creatures. She returns to her body, and tells Clark.

Mr. Sleaze, Elton Jackson, is wandering down an alley when Thorn appears, and beats the whupping tar out of him with a SPAKT, a STUMPP, and a CRUNTZ! He's been selling VR sex machines and abusing the young ladies who provide him the service.

"Tell them Thorn is back", she asserts, letting him go.

Prankster comes down a ladder, seemingly from nowhere, and confronts her. She remembers him, because he's the guy who broke into Rose's apartment. Rose... Thorn's alter ego. Or vice versa, depending on how you look at it. Prankster ducks into the alley, changes into Steel's suit (stolen during the "Critical Condition" storyline), and knocks Thorn out.

Superman goes out and looks for the shadow disturbance, and the world turns dark. The narrator says that we'll have to wait to find out what happened...

Meanwhile, Luthor rallies in Smallville on his last major stop. The Kents, in the crowd, liken it to the Nuremberg rallies.

A kid named Cary is going to sleep late, having stayed up to watch the Luthor debates, when Adversary busts in cursing up a storm. He grabs the kid and flies off.

Superman is attacked by shadow creatures who are taken apart by white owls. An Indian woman appears in a white cloak and takes credit before disappearing. The loss apparently ticks off the narrator.

The reason is then revealed on the next page, where all of the alter egos previously mentioned are revealed around a board room table with Lord Satanus, the narrator. To be continued... 2Story - 2: Man. That was... something. What? Probably a set up for a bigger story. Maybe a set up for a one issue flop. I have no idea what to expect anymore with the relaxing of the numbering system and a coherent narrative. Maybe this is going to be one more issue of random guest shots, or maybe it will be something inconclusive, a Lord Satanus type Revenge Squad that will be over in three issues when Superman takes these six goons, no obvious threat to Superman, and wipes the floor with them.

Thorn, as far as I gathered, anyway, was never gone, was she? Did I miss a one-shot or something? And Rampage was another one-issue wonder villain, as I recall, right? And Adversary? Man. A buff cursing guy who has powers he doesn't understand. This ragtag group shouldn't appeal to Satanus as a viable threat to Supes. This is the same gripe I had with the Revenge Squad a while back. None of the Revenge Squad, save Maxima, even threatened Superman in any viable sense at all, and Maxima can't really hurt Supes thanks to her newly reiterated character flaw... her love of Superman. You can counter that by noting the recent events with Massacre, but really! Superman wiped the floor with Massacre, too. Even way back to when he'd just died. What is it with the creators grabbing a bunch of villians and throwing them together to attack a superhero? Are the characters that dumb that it takes them in mass quantities to be a threat? This can work... it has... The Sinister Six is a prime example, before Spiderman fell down the tubes... but if you guys, the creators, are going to schlock a bunch of bad guys together, make them worthy of Supes's time. Make the team Luthor, Satanus, Brainiac, Joker, Toyman (The new version), and Doomsday, in some controlled capacity, with the Cyborg in there for fun. Give the man a run for his money. They may hate each other, but they'll unite to kill a man in their way, as the JLA unites despite differences to execute a common goal.

Further, Thorn is not dumb enough to just sit there while Prankster changes into a suit of armor to deck her. Easy fix in the editing room: Make the Prankster show up in the suit.

Also, the summary doesn't offer this, but DANG this thing was wordy. Wordy wordy wordy. And then there were spots, pages at a time, where there were no words. Too arty. Arty arty arty. The idea, here, hence the comic format, is to mix words and art. Not alternate. That bugged me.

Unless the next issue in the storyline redeems this pre game warm up, I'm going to stick with my rating... if the story pays off, understand that this review is based on this issue, standing alone, and as such... it bit.

4Art - 4: I have to say, prejudices against splash pages aside, I liked the art of this story. Even the places where there were no words. Or where there were too many words. The darkness that this story has could have easily eclipsed the tone, but the illustrator avoided that pratfall nicely. A few beefs: astral Lois was hot, but she didn't look like Lois. You can chalk that up to astral interpretation, though. There seems to be a lack of color, though, and that could be addressed. The dark mood is avoided... but barely.

1Cover Art - 1: Ah! The return of the brooding superman! And killer buildings! They're almost as frightening as the gigantic... thing that looked like a fish that attacked Superman on last cover. Here's a vow: If I see one more cover with Superman looming over an overstated version of a fairly minor villain in the story, the shadows in this case, I will kick my cat. To the person who drew the cover: You don't hate cats, do you? You wouldn't advocate the abuse of a cat? Good! Then draw a cover that relates to the motion and plot of the story... like the dualities expressed in the story in some kind of action pose with Satanus in the background! Yeah! Save the kitty!

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