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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #182

Superman #182

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 1, 2002

Cover date: July 2002

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Cam Smith

The Secret (Part One): "Dead Men"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Lois holds a tape recorder out to Ray Palmer and questions him about Luthor's preexisting knowledge of the Imperiex war. The Atom says that he's not sure; General Rock would know, but he's dead. Lois gets a similar reaction from Doctor Magnus of the Metal Men, and gets threatened by Amanda Waller when she questions her.

Atop the Daily Planet, Lois watches one of her shoes tumble down as Solomon Grundy lifts her above his head, and then hurls her out into the sky. As Lois plummets toward the ground, screaming for help, her trajectory is suddenly intercepted by an ice slide. Landing on a nearby rail whale track, Lois looks up to find Killer Frost standing before her. Frost tells Lois to keep her nose out of other peoples' business, and then freezes the girl reporter to the tracks. Killer Frost jumps off of the track as a train comes into view. Lois begins to panic just as Superman slams into the front of the train and brings it to a stop mere inches from his wife's body. Turning around, he melts the ice off of Lois and helps her to her feet.

Standing atop the Daily Planet, Deadshot centers Lois' head in his crosshairs and sends the bullet flying. Superman catches the bullet in the air directly in front of Lois' face. Opening his fist, he suddenly realizes that it's not a bullet. Leaping skyward, Clark leaves his wife alone as the tiny bomb lights up the Metropolis skyline. During the explosion, Kal hears a familiar voice speak out over a radio frequency, telling the attackers to abort.

Landing again next to his wife, Superman produces her missing shoe and returns it to her, before she wraps him in a big hug. Then glancing at her beeper, she sees that she needs to meet an informant. Superman is worried about Lois' near-death experiences, but Lois seems not to care. She has been working on a very important story, and one of her tips led her to the roof where Solomon Grundy was waiting for her. Superman can't understand why she is so eager about the attempts on her life, when she explains it to him. They didn't want to kill her. Killer Frost saved Lois from falling when Grundy threw her, and if Superman hadn't shown up then Deadshot's exploding bullet would have derailed the train before it ever hit her. Someone may want her to be scared, but they don't want her dead.

At the meeting place, Lois questions her informant. Luthor may have known about the Topeka attack, but without General Rock they can't prove anything. The informant warns Lois to look at the big picture. Luthor couldn't know about the future unless he could talk to someone from the future. He must have had an alliance with Brainiac 13. When Luthor made the deal back during Y2K it was all arranged. He knew all along. Lois turns back to the informant and asks why she is helping her. Hope steps out of the shadows, and tells Lois that she was tired of Mercy getting all of the attention. Suddenly Lois spins around to a squeal of tires and flash of headlights and when she turns back Hope is gone.

Suddenly fearing for her life, Lois quickly retreats from the parking garage and heads home. Panicking the entire way, Lois finally gets inside of her apartment and then fumbles for the light switch. A voice from the darkness stops her before she can illuminate the room. Luthor steps out of the shadows holding a snow globe that Lois had given him years before. The base of the globe, modified by Lexcorp, gently hums, creating a null field in the apartment. Not even Superman can hear them. Luthor tells Lois that he is calling their deal. Lois has to kill one story, and this one is going to be it. Of could he knew that everything was going to happen, before Imperiex ever arrived on the planet, but he did what he had to do to save the world. Lois falls to her knees as Luthor exits out the window into a waiting helicopter.

In her office, Amanda Waller turns around to find Superman standing in the shadows with his eyes glowing. Glancing down, he shatters the lamp on her desk and then turns his attention to Waller. He tells her that she's put Suicide Squad back into action and that it was her voice he heard during the explosion. She tries to deny it, but Superman just tells her that if she goes near Lois again, she'll be sorry. As Superman exits out the window, General Rock walks up behind Waller. He tells her that she broke the chain of command to send the Squad out after Lois, and if she does it again, Rock will go looking for Lane with plenty to tell her.

In Smallville, Jonathon and Martha walk out of the doctor's office and down the street. Jon begins to look for the truck, when Martha reminds him that they walked. Jon turns around, and then tells his wife that she shouldn't tell Clark about this, because he has too much to worry about.

Sitting in their apartment, Lois tells Clark about everything, about her deal with Luthor and the story that she found that she now has to kill. Rising to his feet, Clark tells her that is was a selfish thing to do, but also one of the most courageous things that she has ever done. Luthor had manipulated her from the very beginning, but only Lois agreed to kill a story, not Clark. To beat the devil, they have to play by his rules.

The next day at the Planet, Clark turns in his story about Luthor. Perry doesn't understand how Clark beat Lois to it, but Clark assures Perry that the story is all accurate.

Sitting in his chair in the Oval Office, Luthor reads the Daily Planet. Emblazoned across the front page is a gigantic "Luthor Knew" headline. Below, a picture of Kansas after the Imperiex attack lets no one forget what happened. Luthor mutters only one word, "Kent".

5Story - 5: This was terrific stuff. We finally get to see Luthor pulls Lois' story, and then we see Clark beat Luthor at his own game. However, there is one problem that Superman doesn't know about. Luthor knows who he is. I cannot wait to see what happens next month. The Luthor knowing storyline just fit so well, and it tied the Y2K storyline perfectly together with Our Worlds At War. As Loeb leaves the book (tear) we see him tie up many of the things that he has built up over the past two and a half years. This was just a great story, and I'm sure that it will only get better next month.

4Art - 4: Good McGuinness stuff. However, I was never the biggest fan of his Lois, and since this issue focuses on her then I knocked it down a point. However, all of the members of Suicide Squad looked great and Superman was terrific as always. I will be sad to see Ed leave the book as well, but we only have a few months until they pick up on World's Finest.

2Cover Art - 2: Why? Why hasn't a Superman cover had a background for over a month? Are they trying to say on ink? I really don't understand this. Would it have been that hard to have put the Planet behind them? Perhaps they could have used a background with Lois in it, anything other than this monochrome page. It just looks horrible. In addition to that, Superman never even saw Grundy this issue. I was looking forward to a fight between the two of them (not that the story disappointed me in any way) and then the issue doesn't deal with this at all. I understand symbolic covers. For example, if the cover had Lois and Luthor battling somehow I'd be fine with that, but why Superman and Solomon? I really was unhappy with this cover. I wish I knew why the backgrounds have all been lacking lately, but I hope it changes soon.

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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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