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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #185

Superman #185

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 7, 2002

Cover date: October 2002

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Brent Anderson
Inker: Ray Snyder

"The Second Landing"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

In Clovington, Ohio, two baseball teams meet for a game. As the coach yells at them from the sidelines, the pitcher winds up and hurls the ball at the plate. To his dismay, the batter swings and with a crack sends the ball flying. As all eyes turn skyward to follow the trajectory of the ball, their eyes all shift to watch the fireball descending toward their diamond like a meteor. They all scatter from the field as it slams into the ground, sending dirt and debris flying. Recovering from their shock, the boys slowly approach the crater and peer into its depths. The coaches yell at them to get back, but both men are speachless as soon as they look into the hole themselves.

In the middle of the hole, lies Superman, still smouldering from his fiery descent. One by one the gathered boys look to each other, and then up to the clear sky from which he fell. On asks the other how far Metropolis is, and he responds that it much be at least six hundred miles. As the boys suggests they call the FBI or something, another tells him that Superman doesn't work for anyone. One of the coaches hears this and stoops to correct the boy. Superman works for all of them. He has saved the world so many times, and is better for America than baseball and apple pie. He reaches forward to touch the Man of Steel, but quickly pulls his hand back when he burns it on his chest. Each of the players grabs a glove to protect their hand and together they try to lift him out.

One boy asks if anyone thinks he is dead. Just as they turn to look at each other with fear in their eyes, Superman coughs and all of the boys cheer. Superman rises to his feet and asks where he is. When he learns that it's Ohio, he simply responds with "Quite a punch then." Superman apologizes for ruining the game when one boy shouts and points up. Another comet is hurtling toward them.

With a crash, Major Force crashes down into the parking lot, destroying a pckup that happened to be in the wrong place. Taking to the sky, Superman challenges Major Force, and apologizes to the owner of the truck. Knocking Major Force skyward, Superman then turns and hurls him into a cornfield. Passing by two farmers, he promises to repair the damage after he is done.

Rising out of his own crater, Major Force blasts Superman with a facefull of dark energy. As he rushes forward to punch Superman, he tells him that when he was in the Air Force, the army transformed him into Major Force by grafting an alien metal to his body. But instead of becoming a hero, Major Force became a soldier. With another blast of Dark Quantum Energy, Major Force sucks the solar energy right out of Superman's cells. Lifting Superman over his head, Major Force explains that he was the government's go-to guy for black ops. He did jobs that no one else could handle. Lately there has been talk about Superman in DC, but Major Force says that Superman couldn't handle his job, he's a Boy Scout, too polite.

Dodging another energy blast, Superman takes to the skies and tells Major Force that that is a common misconception. About being a Boy Scout, and being polite. With that, he plunges toward Major Force and punches him across the face. As his eyes begin to glow he begins to burn Major Force. Of course he is polite to good people, but not to people like Major Force. As he turns up the heat, the alien skin around Major begins to melt away. When the heat vision finally cuts off, Major Force is simply a man, trapped in a molten shell of metal, incapable of moving and incapable of doing any harm.

As the Government workers load Major Force into the back of a truck, Amanda Waller questions if Superman wasn't a little rough on him. Superman responds that he'll live, however uncomfortable he may be. With that out of the way, Superman demands to know what is being said about him in Washington. Waller assumes him that she doesn't know, and Major Force was not working for them either. As she turns to go, Superman asks her why she was here, and she tells him that she was just doing her duty.

Back at the baseball diamond, the boys slowly pick their way around the ruins of their playing field. With a suddenly blur and a rush of wind, the park is suddenly repaired. As Superman tells them to enjoy their game, one boys tells him to wait, and then hurls at bat into his hand.

The pitcher winds up with a smile and sends the ball flying. With a smile on his face, Superman swings and sends the ball flying.

5Story - 5: I went up and down a lot on this issue. The first time through I thought that the whole part about not being polite was out of character. And then the second time through, it made a lot more sense to me. Why should Superman act like the perfect boy scout all of the time. Now before you all jump down my throat screaming that that's what he is supposed to be, consider this: how much of a boy scout is he being when he beats up the Parasite? Or any of his other villains for that matter? This issue was right. He is a boy scout, to good people. But to the bad guys, he's not afraid to punish them for their wrong doings. I have to admit, at times I get very sick of Joe Kelly's total farm boy image of Clark. Yes he is innocent and pure, but he has seen enough (and lets not forget that he has killed) that he knows what he is doing and doesn't need to act like he hasn't. I'm not saying he should start killing. Definitely not. Superman is pure. He does things by the book. Action Comics #775 hit that nail square on the head. That is what Superman is. But that doesn't mean he can't, and forgive me for not being at all eloquent about this, beat the crap out of someone who is threating the lives of others. As to the rest of the story, it was good stuff. It was really great to see Superman take an All-American feel for this issue. The baseball game was a perfect setting for this, and returning Superman to the midwest (even if it wasn't in good old Wisconsin) also helped this along. I liked it, and for me the last panel of Superman swinging the bad brought a smile to my face. I enjoyed this issue, it furthered the subplot of deceit in Washington, had Superman show that he's not afraid to fight back, and had a great All-American feel. An issue like this can't happen too often, but if its done right then its great.

3Art - 3: I really like the art. The pencilling was terrific. Superman looks great, Major Force looks great, and the kids look great. There is a good level detail throughout. What dragged it down to a three then? I really, really, really, did not like the coloring. It looked great, and the darker cast definitely has its place, but not with this story. To me, this story needed bold colors. That ending panel with Superman swinging the bat would have been even better if he was in his bold colors. It's like he told the renegade gods back in MOS a few months ago. People like primary colors. When I see Superman, I like to see him as a bold red and blue. But that is just my opinion, but I still with the coloring was different.

3Cover Art - 3: The cover suffers from the same problem. It's too gray. The only real color in the whole cover is in the logo. This is not the kind of cover that leaps out at you from the stands and pulls your attention in. This is the kind that your eye skips right over. I like the pose. It actually happens in the issue and the boy and dog add to the American feel. But the lack of colors just doesn't do it for me. Plus, there is no background, but like I've said before, that is so consistant now that it's barely even worth mentioning.

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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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