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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #186

Superman #186

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 4, 2002

Cover date: November 2002

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Pascual Ferry
Inker: Cam Smith

"Morning Twilight" (Ending Battle - Part 1 of 8)

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Somewhere dark, a pair of wrapped hands holds a length of chain. At his command, spikes suddenly emerge from the chain links. Setting the chain down, he leans forward over his work table and examines his tools of torture. As he raises one blade up, he thinks that he misses working at the Brig. He needs prisoners to play with, he needs someone to hurt.

A Smallville football player gets slammed into by another player. Pausing the tape, Pete Ross puts an arm around Clark and the two argue about whether Clark was as good as he thinks he was. Then, opening the door, the two friends step out and Lana greets both of them. Pete and Lana head into the Capital Building with Clark following behind. Clark is suddenly stopped in his tracks when he hears someone say "Hello Boy Scout".

Clark grabs his head in pain as cables start to grow around the building. The Secret Service rushes Pete inside the building, only to find barbed wire and chains growing over the entire structure. Within a few moments, everyone is locked into the building.

Soldiers inside the building grab at the chains, trying to force their way out, only to be shocked by the electrified cables. Elsewhere, the Secret Service agents try to keep Pete down, but Pete refuses to listen, insisting that he search for Clark. A man steps from the shadows and tosses a loose chain link towards the guards. The link expands and engulfs the men in cables and chains. Lana looks on in horror as The Master Jailer stands triumphant upon the cables and chains of his new prison. With another link, he entangles Pete and Lana. As he crouches down next to Pete, the floor suddenly explodes upward, sending the Jailer flying.

Superman flies into the room and after the Jailer, but is pulled back as someone grabs at his cape. He turns around to find Neutron, a glowing man in a containment suit crackling with energy. With a mighty blow, Superman sends Neutron flying. Recovering, Neutron responds with an energy blast that even Superman feels. Taking to the air, Kal heads toward the atomic-powered man, but he is stopped as chains and wire begin to grow around his body. The Master Jailer moves up behind him and with a click of a switch, sends a current streaming through the wires, and through the Man of Steel.

Two Secret Service agents burst through the door intent on taking Neutron down. His containment suit, however, has a hole in the back of it. The two men are caught in the rush of energy that pours out, and are both incapacitated. As Neutron moves toward the Master Jailer and his Kryptonian prisoner he tells about how he was caught in a nuclear accident and the government built him this suit to contain him. The suit however, is getting old and gradually his energy is breaking out.

The Jailer hurls Superman forward into the ground. Turning around Superman asks what they want with the Vice President. The Jailer corrects him. They aren't after the Vice President, they are after Superman's friends. When Superman doesn't respond immediately, the Jailer thinks they have won. He is proven wrong when a second later a blast of heat vision tears the metal blindfold away from his face and slams the Jailer into the wall. Breaking free of his bonds, Superman moves forward and holds the Jailer down. Hurling one of his links at Neutron, Superman entangles the other villain as well. In a blur of super speed Kal has all of the hostages free of their bonds.

Returning to the fight, he knocks the Jailer down again and then picks Neutron up and questions why he did what he did. Neutron tells him that it isn't about revenge, he took care of that years ago. They were just there to get the ball rolling; to say hi. And with that Neutron explodes.

As the energy dissipates, Superman finds himself standing alone in the room. He picks up the Jailer's key ring, the only remnant of either of the villains that remains.

Pete comforts Lana outside the building as Clark walks up to the two of them. Pete's phone suddenly rings. Answering it, he finds Lex Luthor on the other end. The two talk briefly and then Lex asks if Clark is there. After hanging up, Pete tells Clark that he has a message for him. Lex said to tell Clark that "You're faster than a speeding bullet." Pete asks what it means. Clark just stares forward.

Elsewhere, The Jailer sharpens new blades for his next attack. In the shadows behind him, a bald man tell him that Superman may seem unstoppable, but even Achilles had a weakness. As soon as Neutron is finished being fitted into his new suit it is time for the next stage in their plans. It's time to let the inmates loose.

4Story - 4: I have been really looking forward to this story arc, and the first part did not disappoint. I like both of the two new villains, even if they are a bit too powerful, especially Jailer. His chains can hold Superman? I don't think so. There was some good action in this issue, as well as a great launch for what will hopefully be a good series. It's about time that Lex uses his knowledge. A few small things bugged me. Luthor's message to Clark (the "Faster Than") was really out of place. Couldn't they have had Luthor say something more in context with the rest of the issue? He could have said 'Good Job' or 'Nice work' in reference to his defeating the two villains. As it was, the remark seemed really out of place. Still, it was a good issue that I thoroughly enjoyed.

3Art - 3: I enjoy some of this art, and other parts of it really bother me. Clark looks good, as do Lana and Pete. The Master Jailer looked decent as well, and Neutron looked great. However, I don't like his Superman. Most places he had way to many lines on his face. Some of the panels seemed out of place to me too. For example, the top panel on page six shows the Capital Building covered in chains. I don't know about anyone else, but this panel made me think that time had passed since they were captured. I'm not sure why, but it just did. Oh well, the art was still decent, and much better than a lot of artists.

2Cover Art - 2: The cover on the other hand, I really don't like. The posing is alright, if not great, but my big problem with it was Superman. He looks horrible. His face is completely grotesque. Luthor also looks a little weird. He has this smile on his face that would fit better on Toyman than it would this mastermind. Three for the concept, but the art just isn't there.

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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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