Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #172

Superman #172

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 4, 2001

Cover date: September 2001

2001 Shield No. 34

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

"Death Be Not Proud"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Over a casualty comparison likened to Gettysburg, Superman stands over the ruins of Topeka Kansas, and the only thing he can mutter is, "Why?"

In the crater at the center of it all, he finds what he believes to be Imperiex, dead, in a crater. A voice calls for help, and Superman responds. A young boy, at the top of the crater, can't find his parents.

He says he's scared to Superman, and Superman returns that he's scared too... but if the boy can be brave, Superman tells him, then Superman will too.

The militia arrive, and Superman asks a soldier about Smallville. The soldier says that he doesn't know, but Luthor seems on top of the situation. Superman stops a building from falling over. When he's finished, Imperiex climbs from the pit.

Chanting the mantra of Imperiex and his quest, the Imperiex probe and Superman battle. Superman uses all of his powers at once, as he was trained by Mongul Jr. to do. The probe eventually explodes, after taunting Superman with the fact that his galaxy has been targeted for demolition.

Supergirl arrives at the top of the pit, and tells Superman that she doesn't know what happened in Smallville. Superman, battered, with his costume in tatters, takes off for Smallville. Supergirl follows.

The Kent farm is in shambles... destroyed. The Kents are nowhere to be seen.

Superman lets out a wail of anguish that deafens Supergirl, now on the scene. When her hearing comes back, he says something, over and over again

"I have all this power... and I couldn't save them."

Supergirl tries to reassure Superman that they might not have been in the wreckage. Superman cries, finding an extra suit his mother prepared for him beneath the floorboards.

The JLA calls, and Superman takes off to find out what they need.

[Continued in "JLA: Our Worlds At War #1".]

5Story - 5: Bang. Perfect. What an issue, and what a start to what will obviously be one of the best, if not the best Superman story in years. The Kents. Wow.

Perhaps they're dead, perhaps they're not. But just take a minute to think of how their possible demise may effect him in this battle versus Imperiex...

I love the reference to the movie, even though it is decidedly Pre-Crisis. I don't know. I like both Pre and Post-Crisis Superman, probably equally. But I don't know how I feel about the Kents being alive or dead. They're a vital part of the ongoing story... but I think this might be a good plot twist, if not a peril we've never dealt with in current continuity. And if they're gone, they're gone. We'll deal with it well, I believe. Superman, on the other hand... well, we'll see.

5Art - 5: The battle and the scripting made the words and the drawings coincide perfectly. I think I've just decided, once and for all, that McGuinness is my hands-down favorite Superman artist ever. He hasn't had a "BURN" moment yet (most of you know what I mean), but I believe that he will with this coming series. And try page 19, for a close approximation, if you follow me. Very powerful, and very real. A shaken idealist. And I give a big round of applause for making Superman seem shaken, and having me believe it. Very nice.

3Cover Art - 3: The cover didn't appeal to me that much. I've seen too much of Superman pulling people out of burning buildings over the years, and it gets old after a while. And besides, the fire filling the whole sky and the boy being rescued in Smallville as opposed to Topeka, where the event really takes place, doesn't help either. But well drawn, if nothing else.

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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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