Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: The Man of Steel #119

Superman: The Man of Steel #119

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 24, 2001

Cover date: December 2001

2001 Shield No. 48

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Yvel Cuichet
Inker: Dexter Vines and Walden Wong

"Snowball's Chance (Not An Imaginary Story)"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Superman flies back into Metropolis only to find Killer Frost and Icicle, with their henchmen in tow, attacking Metropolis. He lands and finds Maggie Sawyer, clad in an SCU battle suit, trying to stop the villains. She barely has a chance to mention that she is transferring to the Gotham P.D. before telling Superman that the attack is centered on the Steelworks.

Inside the building, Killer Frost and Icicle stand triumphant. In front of them is the absolute zero chamber.

Heading for the Steelworks, Kal finds STRIPE heading the same way. As the duo land through the skylight, Superman's worst fears are realized. It is the abzero chamber that they are after. The two super-villains turn and taunt the heroes. STRIPE leaps forward to stop the intruders, but before he can do anything, they freeze him solid. Superman launches himself at Killer Frost, heat vision smoldering. Suddenly the chamber lets its prisoner loose and the Eradicator stands freed.

The Kryptonian killing machine stands before his rescuers, and questions the chemicals that they have subjected him to. While the Joker chemicals should have made him insane like all the others, he has never felt saner. Letting Kal-el go, he blasts Killer Frost and Icicle and escapes through the roof, mentioning that the visions he has seen must be found, and eradicated.

As STRIPE, Irons, and Hamilton begin to thaw out, Superman tries to figure what the Eradicator meant by visions, and then he remembers the memories of the new Krypton that Kal-el showed the Eradicator when they last met. The new Eradicator is seeking to eliminate the Krypton of Krypto and his parents that he visited recently. Leaving STRIPE to mop up, Clark leaps up and heads southbound to the Fortress of Solitude.

At the South Pole, the Eradicator attempts to crack the sphere that houses the Fortress tesseract. He cannot figure out how to open the gate, and so instead decides to kick the structure across the frozen landscape. Inside the Fortress, Kelex and the Superman robot discuss what to do about the Eradicator's assault, while Krypto tries to get at the attacker. The droids come to the conclusion that while the Eradicator cannot solve the puzzle that will open the gate, he may eventually destroy the containment vessel and gain access to the Fortress. They assemble the defensive robots and begin to open the tesseract. However, as soon as the gate is opened, Krypto dashes past them and out into the world.

The Eradicator immediately recognizes Krypto as the creature from his visions, and links him with everything blasphemous about this other Krypton that he has seen. Abandoning his assault on the sphere, he turns his attention to the dog, and prepares to kill.

Dodging an incoming energy blast, Krypto sweeps in and bites a chunk of the monsters shoulder off of his body. The robot whips around and smacks the canine out of the air. As the warbots are finally scrambled from the Fortress in hopes of rescuing Krypto, Superman arrives on the scene. With a 'Keep your damn, dirty hands off the puppy!' he slams in to the Eradicator and drives him through the portal and into the Fortress.

Inside the Fortress the Eradicator immediately begins to smash everything around him, heading towards the Phantom Zone portal, and the way back to the other Krypton. Superman calls his dog to his side and together they begin to focus their heat vision on the Eradicator. Heating the robot's armor to a plasma state, they then cross their heat beams and capture the electrons that have been freed from the Eradicator's body. With the Eradicator in tow, Superman and Krypto back into the null chamber and graft the electrons from the Eradicator to the pillar of stability. The rest of the Eradicator is drawn along by the force between the atomic particles. As the creature attempts to free himself, Kal explains that he has been atomically bonded to a pillar composed of the most atomically inactive elements in the universe. While that nullifies his morphing ability, the room itself also dampens his strength. There the Eradicator will be trapped, until Superman can find a way to eliminate his kill program. With that, the door slides shut, sealing the Kryptonian robot inside.

As Superman looks around at his destroyed Fortress, he realizes that it is time for a little remodeling. Donning the interface helmet, he shows the Fortress what he wants and it is built around him. The new Fortress honors both Kryptons, with two versions of both Jor-el and Lara holding up the giant model of Krypton.

Now, done with the Eradicator and his cleanup, Clark rubs his pet's head and heads out the portal, as he and Krypto do a couple of laps around the planet.

5Story - 5: Mark Schultz at his very best. First of all, Krypto. Nothing is better than Krypto. Actually, many things are, but you've still got to love the little pooch. His occasional appearances make him so much more special (as a side note, when talking to Jeph Loeb, he told me that these occasional appearances are how Krypto will be used). I love what the new team has done with the Super-dog. Second, the Eradicator is back, at least temporarily. It was nice to see another creator work the Joker storyline in without having it interfere with the creative thrust of the story (as another side note, rumor is that many of DC's creators are not too happy about the mandatory 'Last Laugh' tie-ins so soon after OWAW). While they do say that the Eradicator has been affected, the exact same story could have been told without the virus, with the exception of the introduction of Killer Frost and Icicle. Plus this story reminds me why I love Schultz's writing. The sci-fi element is so well done; it makes for an incredibly entertaining story. This issue alone gets me excited for the upcoming storyline centering on the Steelworks. This story left me feeling happy to be a reader, and that's always a good thing. The only two bad things about this issue are Kelex's really bad dialogue, and Superman's willingness to take Krypto for a 'walk' when he knows that the rest of the world is going straight to you know where. Kind of a poor judgment call, but I guess I can excuse the second due to my dislike of Last Laugh storyline.

3Art - 3: And then we get to the bad part of the issue. It is with this issue that we see our beloved Mahnke and Nguyen team depart for new projects (not too far though, just two months until their JLA debut with issue 61). This issue introduces the new team of Yvel Cuichet and Dexter Vines. Now I really don't do it justice by saying the bad part of the issue, because this is just their first issue and I do give them the benefit of the doubt. However, going off of strictly this issue, their art looks like an imitation of Mahnke's, without the same level of quality. Everyone looks horrible, with the exception of Eradicator, who I will admit did look cool. But check out the shot of Superman's head on the very last page. That is not cool. I give a three just because it's their first issue, but lets hope it gets better.

3Cover Art - 3: A good looking cover. The art is good, but two things ruin it for me. One, when does Superman save small children from a falling building in this issue? I am a big fan of symbolic covers, in fact I hate covers that show exactly what will occur in an issue, but the symbolism should be about something that actually happens in the book. Nowhere does Superman save anyone from anything, with the exception of Krypto, not a good choice. And two, the body of the Eradicator looks great. However, who decided that everyone's favorite Kryptonian killing machine would be wearing a giant grin? It just makes the cover look tacky. Even with the kids on it, a cover with the normal Eradicator would have earned a higher score. I don't like Last Laugh, and I don't like Superman villains with stupid Joker grins on their faces.

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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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