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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: The Man of Steel #126

Superman: The Man of Steel #126

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 15, 2002

Cover date: July 2002

Writer: Mark Shultz
Penciller: Yvel Guichet and Kevin Sharpe
Inker: Dexter Vines and Walden Wong

Pantheon (Part 1): "The Call Up"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Lois finishes writing a note for Clark and stands up at her desk. As she leaves the Planet, she thinks about her husband. He is literally the greatest man on Earth. She may be married to him, but she still doesn't understand why he does what he does. She has a feeling that she could accept it better if she could just experience it for herself.

Across town, Superman stands proudly as the mayor presents Superman with a giant medal. Across the room, four people in suits watch from the shadows, commenting on the respect and admiration that Superman receives. As Superman begins to thank the mayor, he is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a golden giant rising out of the harbor. Removing the medal, Superman takes off toward the docks.

In the harbor the giant, now claiming to be Midas, turns objects and people alike into gold. Arriving on the scene, Superman swoops in but avoids the golden touch at the last minute, wary that the effect might transmute him as well. After attempting to draw the creature out of the city by creating a vacuum, Clark resorts to heat vision to melt the creature. This doesn't stop him though, as Midas simply continues his rampage as molten gold. As Superman frantically tries to come up with a solution, the four suited people from the ceremony suddenly appear on the scene. One of them steps forward and begins to mutter incantations as his hands crackle with energy. Midas screams out in terror as his body begins to twist and bend of its own accord. As Midas vanishes back to the depths of hell, Superman demands to know who these people are. They do not answer him then, but instead they return everything that was transformed to gold with but a gesture.

Downtown, Lois waits inside a coffeehouse for her interviewer to arrive. A girl comes through the door and introduces herself as Kiki Bones, a Journalism student. Kiki thanks Lois for giving her the opportunity to interview her, and then sits down to begin. Kiki warns Lois that she will be asking some deep, probing questions, but Lois encourages her to fire away. Kiki begins by commenting on the close relationship between Lois and Superman. She then asks, when her father was killed in the war and Superman wasn't there to save him, what did she think about that? Lois looks on speechless.

Inside the Steelworks, Superman apologizes to Natasha for bringing the four mysterious people there, but he wanted them in a secluded place in case they turn dangerous. Turning to the visitors, Superman apologizes for the wait and then gives them the floor. One of the men goes around the table and introduces everyone as Ms. Battle, Mr. Caza, Mr. Rider, and Mr. Malik. Superman acknowledges this, but then again asks who they are. They apologize for the seeming absurdity of it, but they are representing the gods, more specifically the Interfaith Deity Council Of Active Polytheistics. Superman looks on without comment. Believing that a demonstration may help, Mr. Rider steps forward and invites Superman to partake in an arm wrestling competition. As Superman and the god both hold each other steady, neither losing any ground, another tells Superman that over the past centuries there have been fewer and fewer believers. In one last hope, they all allied with each other and formed the council in order to find better ways to promote themselves.

Suddenly, one of the gods teleports them all outdoors as the contest ends in a stalemate. As Ms. Battle expresses her disbelief at his power, another of the gods makes their proposition. They want to learn from Clark so that they may once again hold the power they once did, and in order to do that, they wish to offer him the chance to become a god.

Across town, Lois continues the interview. Kiki asks Lois that if she could be a goddess, what would she want to be the goddess of? Lois responds vaguely, but Kiki proceeds to dig deeper.

Superman brushes their offer aside, telling them that he is a mortal and his world is one of mortals. He does offer them some advice though, if they want more trust, then they should loose the suits; people seem to trust skintight primary colors much better. The gods counter that this new power would let him serve them better. And it is, after all, what Rao would have wanted.

Kiki digs deeper, looking for a more specific answer. Lois finally tells her that she would want to be the goddess of integrity. With a triumphant hiss, Kiki transforms into a scarlet creature, before they both vanish in a puff of smoke.

Superman immediately questions how they know of Rao. Mr. Malik tells him that all know of Rao, the sun god of Krypton. Rao, who left Krypton ages ago and fathered the gods of Earth. Rao gave birth to the Earth, and then millennia later Kal came to Earth as well. Confused, Superman tries to sort everything out in his head as suddenly Lois appears in the sky. With a gesture she reveals the four gods in their true forms as evil demons. Joining them, Kiki, now in her true form as lord of the underworld, celebrates their victory. Superman cannot possibly refuse their offer now because they have his wife, and they have made her a goddess.

3Story - 3: I wasn't quite sure what to rate this story. It was definitely different, which is a plus. It's also nice to see Lois take a prominent role in a story every now and then. However, beyond that this issue really didn't do much for me. We see very little of the evil gods, and other than a few displays of hand-waving and one arm wrestling match we didn't see them do anything at all. This issue strikes me as a big lead-in issue. The next issue has definite promise, but as the introduction to the story, this issue, while I am sure is vital to the story, is just average.

3Art - 3: The art in this issue is neither spectacular, nor horrible. In some places, like Midas and Lois in her goddess form I was quite pleased with it, yet in others, such as Superman throughout most of the issue, I was disappointed. Clark's face was too "line-y" and in some places just lacked detail all together. Therefore, like the story, I feel this issue falls as average.

4Cover Art - 4: One place the issue does excel is the cover. The art is decent, except Superman's expression is a little strange but that's alright, and the pastel color scheme looks really nice. I also like the concept of it. It didn't exactly happen in the book, but it does a good job of symbolically displaying what happens. Plus, it isn't another cover with no background! This issue actually has the entire cover filled with something. The logo is off the cover as usual, but that's such a frequent complaint that I barely even notice anymore. It's not that I don't like the logo, I actually do, but it definitely needs some tweaking. Overall though, a decent cover.

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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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