Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #177

Superman #177

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 5, 2001

Cover date: February 2002

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness and Kevin Maguire
Inker: Cam Smith

"Metropolis E-Mailbag"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Inside the Daily Planet building, Superman and Jimmy debate the merits of e-mail versus "snail mail". Jimmy argues that a letter is so old fashioned, but Kal says that there is something special about being able to hold a letter in your hands. Perry agrees with Superman, before wondering where Kent is. As Superman makes an excuse for Clark's absence, people on the street outside look up to see dozens of shadows flying in the sky. Perry explains to Superman that the Planet gets e-mails from all over the planet for him, and it would be nice if Superman could find the time to answer some of them.

Across town, the airborne objects suddenly come into view as miniature Superman figures, in manga style and complete with an "Up! Up! And Away!" battle cry. The diminutive Super-robots zoom onto the scene, attacking a very perturbed Metallo. Looking out the Planet's window, Superman sees the chaotic scene and zooms out of the building.

The Last Son of Krypton swoops in and delivers a solid blow to Metallo's metal cranium, but the android quickly retaliates by opening his chest cavity. Kryptonite radiation floods out at Superman, bathing him in green light and slamming him into the pavement below. Metallo tells him that he didn't break out of Stryker's just so he could be stopped by Superman and his toys. Superman tells Metallo that the robots aren't his, and before Metallo can argue, the true creator of Metallo's android assailants appears on the scene.

A giant robot storms toward Metallo, declaring that the technology that built Metallo belongs to him. Metallo suddenly realizes that this must be the person from Japan that has been writing him letters while he was in jail, the new Toyman.

As the two metal behemoths begin to attack each other, and decimate the surrounding buildings, Superman zips over to a nearby construction site and borrows a wrecking ball. Rearing back, Kal sends first one, and then the other intruder sailing out into the ocean with two mighty swings of the ball. Hovering triumphant above Metropolis, Superman decides that with the two combatants out of commission for awhile, he will have a chance to tackle some of the e-mails waiting for him at the Planet.

Responding to an e-mail from a priest in a foreign country, Superman pays them a brief visit. Their church was damaged during the war, and with Superman's help the repairs will be completed before Christmas. As he finishes placing the new bell atop the church, he spots another problem. Superman departs the scene amidst the ringing of a church bell and the cheering of the overjoyed townspeople.

Arriving at the newly formed 'Atlantic Corridor' (see ) Superman finds the new Toyman and Metallo battling again, only to be joined by the giant monster that Superman faced the last time Atlantis challenged Metropolis. Toyman demands that Metallo return his circuitry to him, but obviously Metallo refuses. Swooping down to the battle scene, Kal hoists the sea monster above his head and flies him out to the ocean, far from the fight. With Aquaman gone, the beast has no one to look after him, and he can't be blamed for defending his home. With the innocent giant safe from harm, and the other two fighting far from any innocents, Superman decides he has time for another e-mail.

In Cambodia, Superman brings needy children the few small things that they need to survive. He receives an e-mail from a small girl whose father works in Alaska. With his help she is able to see her dad for Christmas. An eighty-three year old woman wants nothing more than to see the Statue of Liberty, and with Superman's help she gets to see it from a vantage point that few ever do as Kal carries her around the great symbol of freedom. Heading back out to the ocean, Clark thinks that Lois will never believe the day he is having.

When Superman gets back to the trench, he isn't sure if even he believes the day that he is having. Metallo and Toyman are still fighting, but they have again been joined in their battle, this time by a fire-breathing moth and a giant rodent with electric cheeks. Superman uses his super-breath to freeze the giant moth into a giant ice block, just until he can figure out to do with it. A blast of heat vision sends 'Bling', the electric creature, diving back into the ground. Now free of interlopers, Superman dives underwater and drags Metallo out to the ocean.

Kal asks what Metallo's problem is, and the metal giant reluctantly answers that ever since the war his B13 tech has been acting weird. Superman tells Metallo that after he returns him to Stryker's Island, he will have some of his friends take a look at him and see if they can't set him right.

Returning to the trench, he finds the Toyman robot just sitting there. Prying off its head, he finds a kid inside. The boy looks at Superman, and then the robot explodes, sending Superman skipping across the water like a well-tossed stone.

Back at the Steelworks, Dr. Hamilton analyzes one of the Superman robots that attacked Metallo earlier that day. He can't find anything dangerous about the tiny doll. Superman then asks Emil if he will have a chance to drop by Stryker's and take a look at Metallo's B13 tech. The scientist agrees, but wonders why Metallo would be having trouble if Hamilton's own arm is functioning fine. Kal asks Steel if he has any theories about the problem, but John doesn't even turn around. Hamilton whispers to Superman that all John does anymore is analyze the Entropy Aegis, and Emil is starting to worry about him.

Responding to his last e-mail for the day, Superman pays a visit to Caleb, the small boy he rescued in Topeka when Imperiex first attacked. After giving the boy the Superman robot, Caleb asks the Man of Steel why he changed his costume. Superman explains to him that the black helps him remember the people he has lost. Caleb looks down, and remembers his parents that he lost. He asks if Superman could get him a shirt like that too. Superman tells him that he will try.

Back in Kansas, Ma agrees that she will be able to make a shirt for Caleb. Clark and his mother then discuss Lois absence right now. Then Clark begins to ask about his father. Jonathan hasn't begun to do anything around the farm since he returned. Martha tries to hide her own concern, but even she knows that something is wrong with her husband.

Back in Metropolis, Clark finally makes an appearance in the newsroom, presenting Perry with three stories for the day. As Kent heads out to write the stories, Perry hands him a package from Lois. Ripping open the package, he finds an envelope addressed to Superman. Lois tells him that if he comes to visit her, she will be extra good next year.

In Africa, Clark talks with his wife. Lois and her mother are getting along great. Despite how horrible it sounds, Lois thinks that her father's death may have been the best thing for her mother. Lois is just thankful that she was at the White House when he father died, instead of up in space with everyone else from Metropolis. It was just lucky that Luthor called her down. It was almost as if Luthor knew her dad was going to die...before it happened!

4Story - 4: I'll start out by saying that this was a really fun read. I enjoyed it from cover to cover, especially the appearance of the distorted Pikachu fighting Metallo. It was just an exciting issue. However, some of those things also worked against the issue. My main problem was that he just dumps Metallo in various places and goes to answer e-mails with a psychotic killer on the loose, especially when you consider that he didn't have any trouble just taking Metallo back to Stryker's in the end of the issue. It just didn't seem very responsible. Also, while the appearances of the other two creatures were interesting, they really didn't have anything to do with the story. I guess it's alright with the Japanese overtones happening in this issue. The Pikachu and Mothra appearances worked along with the theme, but it was still a little weird. Overall, it was a solid read, even if a bit incredulous at times. But then again, we do all need to remember that comics are works of fiction, and not the real world. Right?

4Art - 4: I love McGuinness' work. He is one of my top five favorites of all time. Kevin Maguire isn't bad either. His facial expressions are a little too pronounced for me, but otherwise I'm very fond of his work. However, mixed-artist books, and especially standard-length mixed-artist books, don't work so well for me. I just don't like when the art is varied in the middle of a book, it throws the flow off. Still, the art was good. I do think, though, that they forgot to credit Kevin with page 12. It looks more like his than Ed's work. Good art all around though.

5Cover Art - 5: As the first of the "Full-Coverage" month issues, I really like this cover. It is very eye-catching and it even goes with the content of the issue, as opposed to many of the other comics that are coming out this month. It works very well, and that's about all I can think to say about it.

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January 2002

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