Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #168

Superman #168

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 7, 2001

Cover date: May 2001

2001 Shield No. 18

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Cam Smith

"With This Ring..."

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

*Special mention to Tanya and Richard Horie for the colors is given by the reviewer: See ART portion of the review below.

Krypto has ripped the cover off of the oven and the turkey lies on the floor, half eaten. Lois berates Clark for not controlling his new dog. She isn't very fond of Krpyto. Alas.

Clark takes another bird from the freezer and speed cooks it with his heat vision.

Martha arrives with a cape for little Krpyto.

Off in the distance, as dinner goes on, an eye from far away watches through binoculars.

Sam Lane, along with his wife, ribs Clark for bad judgment when it comes to Luthor. Clark takes it for a while, but then his parents are offended and leave. Lois fumes at her father. Krypto, using his X-ray vision, I imagine (not explicitly stated), notes Batman watching from a far off roof and barks.

Superman arrives, asking why Batman is spying on him.

Superman tells Batman that there should be no more surprises. Exactly, Batman intimates.

The next day, the mysterious financial backer of the Daily Planet repurchase is revealed... Bruce Wayne. Bruce and Clark clench teeth at one another, and Lois takes some of Bruce's advice not to find the news, but to make it.

She goes, in attack gear, to Gotham and turns on the Bat signal. Batman arrives, and they both take off to get the Kryptonite ring, which Sam mentioned that Luthor had at dinner, piquing Lois' curiosity.

Batman is intrigued that Lois doesn't know his secret identity, and mental notes himself to talk with Clark about it.

They sneak into the White House's private chambers by jamming security on a night tour, only to find Superman waiting, demanding that they end their quest.

4Story - 4: Some of this is kind of cheesy, and badly done, but the pacing is such that the story carries itself, and you don't catch the cheese until the third time through. Trust me on that. Batman is good. Batman is Batman. As is Superman. As is Sam Lane. As is Lois. As is Bruce. The close attention to character as opposed to format is what makes Loeb the man that he is. But one thing that Loeb lacks, the thing that killed the one point, is attention to continuity and possibility. IE, he does things that are impossible, and some of the things that are possible he ignores, and these things are directly influential upon and influenced by continuity. I'll make that more simple. Krypto just came to town. A normal dog has just gained the ability to fly, to shoot heat vision, to use X-ray vision, to follow heat trails, to destroy anything he pleases, to run away at will, to chase and eat cars, to do all kinds of dog-gy things that all dogs dream of. What does he do? Demolish a benign, non threatening oven to get to a turkey. He would have smelled the beef Bourgignon with Ketchup a mile away and gone for it instead of a half cooked turkey, if you'll forgive the punny reference. If we have to step in the proverbial super pet fecal mess lying on the ground of the past, then let's do it right. Superman's getting idealistic again. That's good. That's 70's. I like that. But too much of the old crud that made the Crisis on Infinite Earths necessary is coming back with it. What next? The monkey? The horse? The cat. SHUDDER! But character, character, character. Loeb is amazing with the way he can pay attention to the simple dynamics between two people. You can see it in the movies he wrote (Not commando, but commando was still cool), and it has come full circle. He has experience, here, and it shows. Who would have thought of using Lois Lane and Batman together. Nice. Implausible at first, but he's managed to pull it off, and I don't know how. I'm impressed. Lois is a normal civilian. Batman is... well, he's BATMAN. He doesn't need civilians. But I believe that he does here. Nice work Jeph. Just get Krypto tearing stuff up.

5Art - 5: And again, I say, 5 of 5. One for Ed, and one for the coloring team. If you read Batman, then you are familiar with the red, black, and white motif that makes up the bat books. The way that this is carried over into this book is amazing. It's such attention to detail. It's for the fans. They didn't have to do this, but they did, and it floats my boat and makes me happy. McGuinness, like always, makes everything very vivid, and he's very attentive to everything. And though I'm becoming a study in contradiction for saying this recently, I do not notice any of his splashes when reading the comic because he does them so well. I guess that's the test, isn't it? When the pages are big in terms of story for McGuinness, he splashes them. Not just for when it seems a convenient time for him to explore his own artistic ability. Nice.

4Cover Art - 4: Minus one for not being a scene that occurred in the issue. The Superman signal is never seen, they never work together in Metropolis, and Lois most certainly never swings on her own rope. She's scared out of her gourd to be on Batman's arm. I dislike such deceiving things in covers. But otherwise, the aesthetic is simply brilliant, and the coloring lets you know that this issue is half Superman, half Batman.

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

January 2001

February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 July 2001 August 2001 September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 Annuals

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