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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman: The Man of Steel #130

Superman: The Man of Steel #130

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 18, 2002

Cover date: November 2002

Writer: Mark Schultz
Penciller: Brandon Badeaux
Inker: Mark Morales

"In The Dark Of The Noon Day Sun" (Ending Battle - Part 3 of 8)

Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Superman rushes with all of the speed that he can muster to the Daily Planet. The skyscraper is belching smoke out of a blown out window. Someone has been going after everyone he knows in his private life, and now they have come for his wife. Crashing into the newsroom, Superman yells for Evil Star to stop his rampage. Across the room, Daily Planet employees fight using whatever objects they can get their hands on to battle the Starling creatures back. Superman slams into the villain's back, sending him careening across the room, and demands to know why he is trying to kill these people. Evil Star recovers almost immediately and blasts Superman across the face with a burst of energy. He responds that they simply must die. Grabbing a section of the building, Superman forces Evil Star away and then proceeds to dispatch the Starlings with his heat vision. Problem is for every one he destroys, two seem to take its place.

Across town, Natasha Irons takes a taxi home from school when suddenly the front of the car is smashed into unrecognizable scrap. Rock removes his fist from the remains of the car's engine and reaches into the cab for Nat. Struggling to keep from panicking, Nat fumbles in her bag for something. Pulling a mechanical glove from the backpack, she rushes to put it on as Rock lifts her up and drags her from the car. Getting the gauntlet on, she waits until she sees an opening, and then slaps it against Rock's chest. Bolts of electricity arc around the villain's body and he collapses motionless on the ground. Nat gives thanks for the "Anti-Ion Blowback Equalizer" that her Uncle made for her, when suddenly she is scooped up from behind by S.T.R.I.P.E. Pat tells Nat who her attacker was, and then carriers her back to the Steelworks. The structure however, is completely covered with giant plants.

Inside the Steelworks, Terra-Man moves about the gigantic vines. He explains that the plant was one he found in Hob's River Canyon. He doesn't know why he wanted to control, be he does know that he is going to use it to kill all of them. Rising up behind him, Steel asks why a brilliant scientist would do this. Terra-Man responds my raising his guns at the armored hero. Inside the control room, Natasha and Pat log into the computers. Nat cannot help but wonder why the SCU hasn't shown up yet.

At the SCU headquarters, Dan Turpin and his men fight to repel the advances of Thaddeus Killgrave and his mechanical monsters. Dozens of the robotic spiders continue to charge at the building, barely giving the SCU a moment to think.

Back at the Planet, Evil Star hits Clark with the most intense blast yet. Recovering quickly, Superman sends an office chair flying at Evil Star's head. As the villain falls, momentarily stunned, Superman grabs Lois and rushes her out of the building at full speed. Superman touches down elsewhere in the Planet and quickly explains to Lois that someone has learned who he is, and that she needs to start calling people like they have talked about. As Superman soars back out of the window, Lois begins her calls with Alice White. She tells the woman that she is Superman's Security Coordinator and both her and her son Keith need to seek safety at the Steelworks immediately.

Back at the 'Works, Steel is caught in a tangle of vines launched at him by the Terra-Man. Cutting through the vines with blades in his gloves, Steel and Terra-Man continue to spar. At the base of the building, Rock suddenly returns to the scene. Without giving him a second thought, Steel hurls his hammer at him and knocks him out cold. Then, activating his microphone, he tells Pat to engage the microwave degenerator. The entire building crackles with lightning.

Lois continues to make her calls and Superman gets knocked around by Evil Star. Superman is shocked to find Perry still there and attempting to type up a story on a typewriter in the midst of the fight. Perry doesn't understand how Superman can still be fighting, but Superman explains that he has actually been growing stronger. Evil Star has been blasting him with the very thing that powers him, sunlight. Using all of that excess energy, Superman blasts Evil Star with his heat vision, sending a bolt of red streaming across the Metropolis skyline. The villain drops to the ground, down for the count. As the Starlings vanish around them, Superman flies out to help the rest of his friends.

At the SCU headquarters, Dan yells triumphantly as they repel the attack successfully. At the Steelworks, Terra-Man anguishes over the loss of his plant, but Steel merely brags about the thousand and one uses of microwaves. Finally knocking him out, Steel turns to find Superman dragging Rock behind him. Kal explains to Steel what the situation is, and then tells him about Lois putting the emergency plan into action. The two men turn to see dozens of people coming to the Steelworks for protection.

Inside, Superman tells the assembled people that Clark Kent is in serious danger and because of that so are all of them. For protection, they all need to remain at the Steelworks until the danger has passed. Jimmy and Ron Troupe both argue this. They can't just let the fear drive them into hiding. Superman begs them to stay, when suddenly Lois steps forward. She tells them that there is no where she would rather be than helping her husband, but if Superman says they need to stay there, then they should. One by one, the crowd agrees with her. As they gather together, Pat triggers a switch and a huge dome descends around Clark's friends. As the chamber seals, Superman turns to John Henry.

With everyone safe, Superman can go on offense now. Steel promises to watch over Metropolis as Superman hunts down his attacker. As Steel takes to the sky, he tells Nat and Pat to man the Steelworks. Suddenly, a disembodied voice sounds in his head. The voice says that they can't have someone subbing for Superman. Steel grabs at his head and then crashes earthward, screaming in agony. At the city limits, Superman flies at top speed. The disembodied voice thinks to itself. Superman had a momentary advantage in Steel, but now it has been cancelled. Now he will fly, to Lex Luthor.

4Story - 4: I really enjoyed this issue. Unlike last issue, which had way too many villains for a twenty-two page book, this one worked very well with the three. It was great to see Evil Star also. I know nothing about this new incarnation of the villain, I only know about the old guy in the suit from ten years ago, but having a villain who uses solar energy let them use that cool twist. It is also nice to see that they actually gave Clark and Steel some intelligence by having them design contingency plans. Nat carrying the equalizer was great simply because it makes so much sense to have a family-member of a public superhero carry a weapon. Lois and Clark having a plan to deal with a threat was also a good thing. We got a lot of Mark's cool sci-fi stuff (although just as a backdrop) in his weapons that he had designed. This storyline is really shaping up well, especially after this issue. So why didn't I give this issue a five? It really comes down to one page. Page ten stuck out like a sore thumb. I don't know who wrote this one, but it sure doesn't seem like Schultz did. First, Lois calls Clark "Smallville". She does this when they are casual, not when she almost got killed. Two, Superman calls her "Reporter". This just sounded stupid. Then he tells her that "someone has learned that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same". Now why would he say it this way? He should have said something like "Someone knows who I am" or something like that. Stating it in the double-third person (if that even exists) sounded awkward. This was not me nitpicking and looking for a flaw in this issue. This page stuck out so much. The first time through I cringed when I read this page. It just didn't flow at all. And then the second time through I was reminded right away again. Except for that one page though, an excellent issue. I cannot wait for next week's.

3Art - 3: Some of the art was really good and some of the art was really bad. Superman didn't look that great, which is somewhat of a large fault in a Superman comic. My biggest gripe was with Lois though. I prefer a lot of versions of Lois. John Byrne's, Tom Grummett's, Dan Jurgen's, Kano's, and Ed McGuinness' just to name a few. But Lois did not look good in this issue. Every one of her facial expressions looked unnatural. And Rock didn't look anything like he is supposed to. He looked more like Killer Croc (sidenote: only one month until Jeph starts on Batman, I'm excited) than Rock. The good though, was very good. I thought Evil Star looked fantastic. Badeaux also did a terrific job with every bolt of lighting and blast of energy in this book. When there was a blast of something, it looked great. Check out the top of page fifteen to see what I mean. That is a great shot of Superman blasting Evil Star with his heat vision. Still, there was also a lot I didn't like. Overall, an average issue.

4Cover Art - 4: I like this cover a lot. I have liked it ever since I saw a black and white preview of it back in June. I like the spacing of everything. You've got all of the villains on the cover, and they didn't try to overcrowd the cover with Steel or the SCU. Everyone looks good, and Rock even looks like he is supposed to. I'm not crazy about Superman's expression. He looks more like he is in pain rather than mad. That drops it a point, but otherwise a great cover. I would also have dropped a point for the lack of background, but I've just learned to ignore it. But come on guys, a gradient silver background? Give me three minutes on my computer in Photoshop and I can produce that. Another three and I can produce something better than what you are putting on the covers. I wish the creators would get the message and start putting backgrounds back on the covers.

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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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