Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Man of Steel #109

Superman: The Man of Steel #109

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 20, 2000

Cover date: February 2001

2001 Shield No. 8

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Duncan Rouleau
Inker: Jaime Mendoza and Marlo Alquiza

"World Without Superman"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Superman, in Steelworks, blasts heat vision into an apparatus that tests the newly returned Professor Emil Hamilton's robotic arm.

The Professor decides to fill them in:

During the Brainiac 13 attack, he was trapped most egregiously beneath the city, though his appendage transformed into something with slightly more utility than he'd been used to. Being the scientist he is, he couldn't help staying down in the dregs for a while underneath the city studying all of the strange science to be had.

Steel offers to allow Hamilton to set up his lab in Steelworks until he gets on his feet again. Hamilton agrees.

Superman excuses himself to go do his hero deeds for the day.

Emil and John examine a meteor that Steelworks has been looking at, and John tells Emil about a audio transmission coming from the Phantom Zone that seems to be in Kryptonian.

Clark, at home, is plagued by reports of Luthor's activities... that, and reruns of It's a Wonderful Life.

Lois invites him to bed, and he declines. (Reviewers note: Clark... STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!!! And now on with the scheduled summary...)

Lex Luthor, according to the television, is implementing a meta-human program to allow super-heroes to work together in the name of helping the poor and needy of the world.

Liri Lee, of the Linear Men, suddenly appears before Superman, apparently having survived the recent death she'd experienced at the hand of Warworld (see Superman #165).

She reveals that the future is disappearing thanks to Clark's apathy and mental disassociation from the problems of the world Luthor's presidency brings about.

Played before Clark is a future scene:

Perry, Lois, and Jimmy, tired and old, are making an attempt to take Luthor, now much more politically powerful, and dethrone him.

Natasha, of Steelworks, arrives in a futuristic system of body armor, which she removes, giving the three retinal cameras in the hope that they can catch Luthor in a criminal act on worldwide television.

Superman, in this future, has returned to his home beyond the stars... (? Krypton ?)

At the business meeting, Luthor is trying to woo another country into converting to the B13 upgrade. He kills the last Siberian tiger in existence in front of the leader of the country for fun.

Super-heroes, at Luthor's beck and call, take the retinal cameras from the reporters. Luthor, through Brainiac technology, found out long ago about the cameras and disabled them.

Perry and Jimmy are killed. Luthor offers to spare Lois if she'll be his.

The world is encompassed in the B13 upgrade, at this point, 2006, and though Luthor doesn't know it, he's about to be booted from power by a mysterious third party. Perhaps Brainiac again? A shadowy sillhouette of a woman who looks slightly like the Borg queen from Star Trek: First Contact (IE, a new, or at least recostumed villain we haven't seen before) is shown in hologram form. It's blurry.

Liri threatens Superman: change his emotional state, or the Linear Men will change it for him. (?)

In the Steelworks, Emil and Steel find the Kryptonian transmission. They figure, with luck, they can give Superman the Christmas gift of a visit to this new Krypton...

5Story - 5: Automatic five for not having Lunatick in this issue. Just kidding... There are so many things I could nitpick about here, but there is so much done so well here that I won't even touch it. The good? Luthor kills the last Siberian tiger, just because. No relevance to the plot, and that could be a detriment, but I won't make it one. I mean, who doesn't want to see Luthor in more "OOOOh. That's evil" type situations. We haven't seen enough of them in recent years, and I'm glad to see them make a comeback. And while I hated the idea of a new Krypton on paper when I first read it, if it keeps up in this fashion, IE parallel dimension, possibly true, possibly not, or at least explained very thoroughly if true, then I can live with it. I don't want an excuse to change Jor-el's costume wrapped in a terrible put-on. I love the fact that the Linear Men are messing with things they have no business messing in. The Linear Men were missed. Just throw in Warworld, and we'll be good to go. I like the hint that Natasha will take up the Steel mantle. I really, really like that Emil is back, and that he's working with Steel. The whole situation seems like the scientific backing Supes needs that's not wrapped in a corrupt institution (Cadmus), or a government run instituion (STAR), or a police institution (SCU). I didn't like Emil as a dottering old man who gave Supes help at random times. Now it seems more feasible. John, young brains and capability. He can build it. Emil. Dottering old man with ideas. He can conceive it. I hope they stay together. This story is page-to-page packed with story, and the story has respect for the past of Supes, which other books have been avoiding. I'm not sure if that's for lack of knowledge, or just a regard for the future as opposed for the past, but I love the little tips of the hat to the things that made me pick up Superman in the first place when I was younger... Emil, Warworld, Steel as a regular feature, Luthor as a bad gleuteus maximus... and I'm spent.

5Art - 5: This story could not have been put together so well were it not for the way that the artists interpreted and packed so much stuff into each page in a feasible and coherent way. There were splashes that I didn't even notice, and I always nitpick and notice splashes. I didn't even think there was the obligatory one or two page thrown away to the opening title and credits until I searched for it and found it in a little corner. By the way, artists, we readers resent those. A little off subject, but just to let you know. Sorry if I speak egregiously for those who disagree, but I was just yacking in a comic shop the other day, and everyone hates that mandatory wasted one or two pages. It wasn't wasted in this issue. THANKS.

4Cover Art - 4: Cheesy concept, and Superman looks like he just sucked a lemon, but it's relevant to the plot, it's reminiscent of it without sensationalism, and it's interesting how well the convex mirror effect was executed. Kudos, guys. Great issue.

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January 2001

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