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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: The Man of Steel #123

Superman: The Man of Steel #123

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 20, 2002

Cover date: April 2002

Writer: Mark Shultz
Penciller: Yvel Guichet
Inker: Dexter Vines

"Everyone Wants the Aegis"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Superman wars with a rogue piece of B13 technology that has risen from the city to challenge him. He subdues the electronics, then returns to the Steelworks. The S.C.U. and Dan Turpin are present with Steel to deal with the missing Natasha. Turpin tells Superman that he doesn't usually have any use for meta-types, then asks him to look around the place for evidence. Superman finds nothing.

Turpin tells Superman about the Overmind, something they've found in the ransom note frustrating Steel on his computer system.

John Henry laments that his Aegis is drawing so much negative attention. Superman consoles him. As he does, Talia Head appears on a psionic projection that only Steel can see. Superman asks him who he's talking to, and Steel asks to be alone. Talia tells him that they have a mutual enemy, despite their company rivalry. Talia demands the Aegis for Natasha back.

Superman wakes Steel up after he collapses. Steel says that he is fine, but has to follow a hunch about Nat. He goes to CAELOSS and demands some results from the environmental scanning equipment he's been funneling them.

The Overmind, holding Nat hostage, tells her that he has brought her there for her computer and aptitude acumen, high above that of an average human. He has hard-wired her to the B13 network and is forcing her to be an amplifier, seeking to take control of the great weapon beneath Luthor's Lexcorp towers.

Talia pulls herself from the experimental brain splicer, exhausted. A tech tries to convince her to take it easy, and not to use the experimental brain splicer again until it's further tested. Talia tells her to prepare Cybernetics for an attack.

Superman, feeling estranged from John Henry, uses the Clark Kent persona to find out through a witness about the Cybermoth's input in this situation. Pun intended.

Soon after, Superman plows underground, attacking the mutated tech. Superman sees Cybermoths nearby, and pulls off a recognizable one's mask... it's Luna. In a far off, ritzy country, Lois and her mother talk about how she is definitely not having an affair with Superman. Lois' mother points out that she saw them together, twice, and one of those times, they were kissing. Lois' mother attempts to relate, telling Lois that she is sure that in the past Lois must have been aware of her own illicit affair. Lois spits out her drink.

Luna tells Superman about how she and 10 were not fit to be the queen anymore, according to the Overmind, and were thus deposed. She also tells him about how the Overmind recruits young people to play the soldiers of the Cybermoths.

Steel arrives on the scene with CAELOSS, only to find Earthquake ready to dish it out. Earthquake buries Steel in the ground. Superman arrives, and attacks Earthquake, who pounds him into the ground. End part one.

3Story - 3: There were some good things here. Seeing the Cybermoths again is nice. I like seeing this storyline finally develop. I've been eagerly awaiting what happens here. I also wanted to know what happened to Natasha, and why Emil was suddenly evil.

A lot of little things were overlooked in this issue. Steel suddenly starts talking to thin air, and Superman's just gonna walk off? No. Earthquake has magnetic based powers, and he pounds Steel instead of just ripping his armor apart and killing him? No. Steel would take CAELOSS, ordinary, non-superhero humans, down into the belowgrounds to do battle with who knows what? No. Steel, an honest and good man, would lie and cheat to avoid having Superman's help in a situation? No. Steel would even CONSIDER giving the Aegis to Lexcorp? No. Maybe. But probably no. It would need more set-up than it has been given. Turpin telling Superman he doesn't like his type? No. Not at all. He's always relied upon Superman and enjoyed his company, as far back as I've read. And what's with the neo-bowler? Ew.

As part one to a longer story, it is interesting on its own. It lacks an end, which is detrimental to the enjoyment, and since the next part is a month away, rather than next week, we will more than likely not even remember Earthquake and the situation with Steel and Superman, unless, of course, we must review the issue or pay very close attention. ;)

There is a lot of intrigue going on here, and the payoff will undoubtedly come in the next few issues. It's hard to be objective about this, as a piece, without the whole in front of me. But generally, the issue flowed, flowed well, and was concise. The continuing narrative shared by all of the major players was nice... but nothing really stuck out. An average issue, with a one-hit villain, and hinted at machinations never brought to bear in the foreshadow background. Eh.

4Art - 4: I don't like Superman being so dark. I don't. I don't know why he has to be, and why he is constantly made that way by most people. He's idealistic, red, and blue, even under the earth, and that should be shown. Still, I can't deny the artists their technical proficiency with the B13, and I also can't deny that dark as it was, the art was done well. Thus I knock a point for brooding darkness, and give the rest for a job well done.

4Cover Art - 4: This is a great cover. It would be five of five if the giant hand had anything to do with anything that happens in the issue at hand. Yes, I understand that Emil's hand made him do something crazy last issue. But the key words there were LAST ISSUE. I hate false advertising on covers, so goodbye one point. But other than that, a very nice, very aesthetic cover. It needs a background, but the color works so well for the general scheme of things that I'm not going to knock it. Action, Adventures, Superman... take a look. Your new logos pale in comparison to this one.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2002

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