Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Adventures of Superman #597

Adventures of Superman #597

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 17, 2001

Cover date: December 2001

2001 Shield No. 47

Writer: Joe Casey
Penciller: Derec Aucoin
Inker: Derec Aucoin

"Rubber Crutch"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Lex Luthor is serenaded by Hope and Mercy in the White House, to his annoyance. He remarks that they bother him, and they are shown to be "Jokerized."

Next scene, Clark and his parents visit the General Store, kept old fashioned. They view this as quite the blessing. On the television, however, chaos is erupting, as President Luthor seems to have begun his re-election campaign three years early.

Clad in a purple and green suit, he demands submission and votes from everyone, including children.

Pete Ross watches with the secret service on television. Lex wipes his face, revealing white... Joker white.

Pete Ross, alarmed by this, orders LexCorp made Battle suits, that look suspiciously Kryptonian, after Lex's re-election campaign train.

At one of its stops, in Smallville, Clark Kent is on sight, waiting for the train. When it passes without stopping, colored in Joker purple and green with American red, white, and blue, Clark takes off for his Superman gig.

Superman breaks into the train, tells Lex he isn't well, and prepares to take the President into captivity. Lex pulls out his nuke suitcase, pushes the button, and a Jokerized override operator at the silo allows the nukes to take off.

Superman goes and grabs all of the nukes and throws them into the sun.

The Battlesuits arrive and attempt to get into the train.

Hope and Mercy try to take them out with machine guns. Superman arrives, and dispatches two of the three suits. Hope and Mercy take out the other.

Pete Ross, after finding out that the President is incapacitated, orders the Joker killed. Damage control is already at work making it seem as if the President mixed cold medications.

1Story - 1: Lousy. I mean, lousy. There are so many things here that could have been better, but were not. There was so much implausibility that even suspending one's disbelief as one often does for comics was not enough. It speaks volumes that the summary takes less than half of a word processing page, and yet covers so many events. Your average comic takes about two pages to summarize. For me, anyway.

The things that bothered me the most:

Smallville has had time to rebuild the general store, but the White House is still in ruins?

Luthor doesn't have the secret service?

Hope and Mercy, as well as the underground missile operator, are Jokerized with no explanation whatsoever. Sorry, but if you're good enough to get Hope and Mercy after infiltrating the White House, you're good enough to get Luthor on your own. I don't buy it.

Superman is in Smallville when there is obviously a Joker situation that the entire JLA, nay, the entire world should have known about by then? What do they have JLA communicators, or the telepathic link for? Product licenses?

The button. The button. I mean, seriously. The President does not just push the button like Matthew Broderick in Wargames, then, "Let's play Global Thermonuclear War." No. There are checks and balances, which, needless to say, could not be overridden by an insane President and one co-conspiring silo tender. Or even a hundred. The ridiculousness of the situation had me Joker-laughing, but not from the gas... from the shady plot.

Superman gets the missiles and hurls them into the sun. YAWN. I thought we buried Superman IV for a good reason. Maybe what we need now is a Jokerized Solar Man. "UHHHHNNNNN! CAN I PLAY NOW, LEX!" Please disregard this reference if you were comatose or otherwise indisposed in the eighties.

What the heck is Jokerized, anyway. I posed this in my "Last Laugh" review, and I pose it again now. Is the villain insane, maintaining their current powers and abilities, or do they just become predisposed towards evil... because Luthor doesn't act malevolent, just misguided, one minute, then the next he's launching missiles. And Hope and Mercy don't seem changed much. They still look after their boss, save in goofy fashion. I'm puzzled, and even the secret files made no mention with regards to this situation.

One final thing. Superman was on the scene when Lex was pushing the button. Seeing as Superman obviously knew Lex was ill, he could have very easily, with Super speed, stopped him from pushing the button. Are we to assume he didn't for some absent reason? That Lex's reflexes are better than Superman?

Even a kid could have seen beyond this. It's too much of an attempt to tie in, and it disregarded plot. I'm disappointed. Honestly.

4Art - 4: Better than the story, but very dark for a Superman comic. I also don't like that it took two pages to convey throwing the missiles into the sun. The separations are nice and consistent, what with the three panels a page, for the most part, and the action is portrayed rather crisply, despite being thinned and spread out. Purposefully or not, depending on the story, I'll leave to you. But it worked, for the most part.

1Cover Art - 1: The big face thing wasn't that great three or four years ago, and it's just plain dark and ugly now. The green and purple Superman is interesting, but it's just... ugh. Ugly. This looks like a Batman cover. I know, I know, Batman villain and all. But this is still a Superman book. It's framed nicely, but there's no background, and the head is just all pervasive, and not that interesting. I also can't stand the top of the issue having the Last Laugh banner printed so large. It looks horrible. And the logo itself is even obscured off to the far left, disorienting the aesthetic even more. It has one good thing going for it, and that's the reference to the other Joker cover this week, "Why isn't this man smiling?" On Joker: Last Laugh #3. But even so, it's still a cheesy grabber line. I don't like it.

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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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