Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #171

Superman #171

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 6, 2001

Cover date: August 2001

2001 Shield No. 30

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

"Of Course, You Know This Means Warworld"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Superman speeds through space towards a shadowed mass. As he approaches it, he expresses his disbelief that Professor Hamilton was able to find the missing planet, Pluto. Hamilton responds via the JLA subspace transmitter that it wasn't that hard; just keep looking until it was found. Superman's eyes grow wide as he dips down to the surface, and zooms between towers above a landscape covered with machines. He radios Hamilton that whatever this is, it isn't Pluto.

Inside the White House, Luthor is woken by the cries of a baby. Pulling a pistol from beneath his pillow he gets out of bed and moves to his door, calling for anyone on his security staff. He opens the door to find a woman standing with her back to him. With a mere gesture the door slams shut. Luthor raises his gun and empties the clip at the blonde woman. Holding her hand out, she slows and stops the bullets (a la Matrix) and causes them to fall to the ground. She tells Luthor that every one of the great US presidents have had one thing in common, a war.

Exploring the planet, Superman reports that while it may be Pluto, someone or something has transformed the planet into Warworld. As he moves through the dark passages, a shadowed figure raises an axe and strikes. Coming out of the darkness, the Persuader slices Superman's arm, actually cutting through his uniform. Kal kicks his would-be executioner away when the ground beneath him is ignited. Mano (I think that was his name) walks toward Superman with his lethal hand glowing. Superman quickly freezes the killer appendage and subdues the villain. Superman suddenly hears cries for help. Tearing across Warworld, he finds a woman cowering on the ground. He attempts to console her when she stands and blasts him with a green eye. The Emerald Empress stands triumphant, before Superman seals the eye in his cape and sends her flying with a blow from his makeshift ball and chain. Kal is then struck with a lightning bolt produced by the giant Validus. The giant lunges forward, burying Superman into the landscape. Nearby, the Cyborg announces their victory, and the Fatal Five is complete.

In the White House, Luthor questions the woman about her warning of an upcoming war, and the necessary casualties. She tells him that he of all people should understand that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Superman is at the mercy of the Fatal Five when he suddenly realizes something. Wounding Validus with his heat vision, he drags the giant into the atmosphere until the giant dissipates in a flash of energy. The Five had no scent; they are simply hard light creations. The culprit left his fingerprints all over the trap.

Luthor asks the woman of Superman's involvement, and she tells him that he will be needed as never before. Luthor refuses to believe this. He looks up and asks why she would help him. She responds that he knows why. As she disappears she tells him that he must choose how he wishes to be remembered. Luthor touches the window and, looking skyward, thanks his daughter.

Superman plummets toward the surface of Warworld as the planet becomes fully operational. He crashes through the surface to find a control room emitting a binary code sequence. Hamilton suddenly decodes it as a countdown timer. Superman speeds from the planet as it detonated behind him. Turning around in space, he finds nothing but a vacuum where Warworld was. As he heads home, Superman wonders why Brainiac-13 would destroy an entire planet just to get Superman off Earth. Behind him, the fragments of the planet come together until Warworld stands again, as if never torn apart. Inside the giant machine, Brainiac-13 quietly remarks that it went well. By his side, Lena Luthor smiles.

5Story - 5: This was definitely a great start to this summer's story. It had some good action, and I liked seeing the meeting of Luthor and his daughter after the year and a half since she was (thankfully) taken from us. Pluto finally reappears, even though I knew all along that it was going to reappear as Warworld. Really, it's hard to say anything else about this story without the continuation of the "Our Worlds At War" story to go off of. Still, I enjoyed it and it got me excited for next week, which was all it was supposed to do.

4Art - 4: Good McGuinness stuff. Superman looked good as always, as did most of the Fatal Five, but one thing bothered me. Mano (again, I think that is his name and I am too lazy to dig out my Legion books) looks way too cartoon-y. He has no build at all and he looks more like Gumby with a glowing mitten than a Super villain. Other than that the Five have never looked better.

3Cover Art - 3: I know myself giving a McGuinness cover anything less that a five is very out of the ordinary, but I felt that I was warranted. First off, it was not the Our Worlds At War design. I liked it and I am glad that all of the issues are being tied together with something. My main reason is Superman's face. It just looks horrible. And his hand isn't much better either. In addition, Gumby makes another appearance and I really don't like it. I still love McGuinness' work, but this cover is just not good. Plus, you can barely even see Warworld in the background. I didn't even notice it until I looked it over right now. I still like your stuff Ed, but clean up Superman's face.

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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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