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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: The Man of Steel #124

Superman: The Man of Steel #124

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 20, 2002

Cover date: May 2002

Writer: Mark Shultz
Penciller: Josh Hood
Inker: Marlo Alquiza, Andy Lanning, and Walden Wong

Gangs of Metropolis (Part 2): "Turfwar"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

The Overmind speaks benevolently to Superman. He declares that Metropolis is his, and with the abilities of Steel's niece Natasha, he will be able to defeat Lexcorp and obtain control of all of the B13 tech in the city. He hadn't wanted Superman to interfere, but now that he has, he has no problem doing away with him. Overmind knows that while synthetic Kryptonite is unable to harm him, when it is vibrated at ultra-high frequencies it becomes incapacitating. The Overmind has every intention of keeping Superman subdued until Lexcorp has been beaten.

Elsewhere, the Caeloss members attempt to wake Steel up. Coming around, Steel asks them what happened, and then examines the Overmind war machines moving out; looking for the nerve central. He then sees Luna, but before he can say anything she assures him that she is no longer affiliated with the Cybermoths. Luna explains that the Overmind is using Natasha as a power amplifier in order to beat Lexcorp to the nerve central. If Steel wants his niece back, he is going to have to give the Aegis to the Overmind. Luna says that whoever gets to the nerve central first will get control of all of the B13 tech, but no one can get in. Steel stops her and says that he thinks he knows someone who can get them in.

Inside the bowels of Lexcorp, Talia Head walks up to a panel and opens a portal. Walking through, she greets Metallo. She tells him that only Lexcorp can keep his B13 virus subdued, but in return he is going to have to help Lexcorp.

In her apartment, Lois speaks with her mother about her "affair" with Superman. Lois insists that she isn't cheating on her husband, but her mother still doesn't believe her. Lois tells her mom that all of them will get together to sort this out: Lois, her mother, Clark, and Superman.

Returning from Stryker's Island, Steel rejoins the group with Shrewface, the reluctant villain with the ability to pass through matter. All joining hands, they quickly walk thorough the walls and arrive at the nerve central. A huge glowing ball, the nerve pulses with energy. Around it, Cybermoth and Lexcorp ships desperately try to keep the others away. Suddenly, a number of Cybermoth ships are knocked out of the sky by something huge. Out of the smoke comes Metallo. Steel tells everyone else to make for the central, while he takes off toward Metallo.

Writhing in pain, Superman suddenly hears Natasha's voice and opens his eyes. Before him stands a glowing image of Nat. Turning away from the Last Son of Krypton, she passes her hand through the kryptonite machine and promptly shorts it out. Getting to his feet, Superman asks how she got free, but Natasha explains that her body is still held captive, but she was able to create a digital form of herself. Before Kal can ask any more questions the Overmind, housed in a robotic body, comes up behind him and attacks him with bolts of lightning. Turning away from Superman, the Overmind quickly blasts the virtual clone of Natasha, dispersing it. Superman rises to his feet and launches a blow at the Overmind.

Steel attempts to put Metallo down, but he just isn't powerful enough. He tries to figure out what the link between the B13 technology and the Entropy Aegis is. He futilely swings his hammer at Metallo, but the blow has no effect. Entwining Steel in metallic ropes, Metallo hoists him high above his head. Steel cannot help but think that if he had the Aegis, the battle would already be over. Suddenly, the Aegis bursts through the wall and charges straight into Metallo. With one blow, Metallo is stopped as his huge metal body crashes to the ground with only a metallic groan. Steel has no idea how it knew to come, but right now they have precious little time to worry. Joining hands, the group proceeds into the nerve central.

Inside the nerve, Steel has Clemente sedate Shrewface to prevent anything bad from happening. Then turning to looking into the nerve, the three are shocked to see the B13 technology building itself its own brain. Thinking quickly, Steel tells Luna that he needs her to help him build a systems override for the Aegis with B13 tech. If he can bring the suit under his control, then he'll turn it over to the Overmind.

Superman struggles to throw off the hordes of Cybermoths being thrown at him by the Overmind. His is unable to explain his weakness, until the Overmind explains that he is feeding him solar inhibitors, starving him of solar energy. Kal tries to deny it, but has barely the energy to stand.

Inside the Nerve, Luna finishes with the suit and the Aegis falls under Steel's command. Once inside, his memories are cleared. Steel remembers who killed him; who the Overmind really is.

Grabbing Superman around the neck and forcing him to the ground, the Overmind stands triumphant as he reveals the face of Brainiac 13.

3Story - 3: I really don't know what to make of this story. At one time it's a nice sci-fi tale, but then again, it's also a weird combination of elements that don't really seem to go together. It bothers me that the B13 tech can have no effect on the city for months at a time, and then suddenly everyone is battling for this nerve central. Also, the whole Lexcorp angle seems kind of forced. Talia knows how to handle all of these situations. I realize that Lexcorp is powerful, but this normally isn't the kind of thing that Lex used to get his hands in. There is also the annoying tie-in with Natasha. I realize that comics are always extremely coincidental, but does Steel's niece really have to be the one the Overmind needs? Also, the idea of Steel leading numerous innocents (Shrewface, Clemente) into harms way is just against character. I suppose the ends justify the means, but still. I did, contrary to everything above, enjoy the issue. It was nice seeing Metallo again, Brainiac's return (hopefully eventually to his original form, I never cared for 13), and Steel donning the Aegis all made for an enjoyable issue. However, on the whole this entire "Gangs" storyline seems kind of forced. It's an interesting concept, but they needed a bit of a prologue to introduce it, instead of just jumping in. I guess I'll wait till next month to see how it all pans out.

3Art - 3: Average. It wasn't good art, it wasn't bad art. I really don't know what else to say. Not really much detail and Superman was drawn way to skinny, but not bad. I did like Hood's Metallo, as he actually looked like he was made out of metal as opposed to his normally perfect shiny exterior. Other than that though, nothing really stood out. The art conveyed the story, and stopped there.

1Cover Art - 1: I really don't like the cover though. One, there are no colors in it at all. This thing would just blend in on the newsstands. Two, it doesn't represent what happens inside at all. I realize they are trying a sort of theme with all three of them, but this issue needs some color or something. Plus, I would say the "Face of Death" from this issue was either Brainiac or Metallo, not Talia (that is Talia, right? I wasn't even sure). The entire thing just doesn't work. It did have nice art though; too bad it was just the wrong picture.

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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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