Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics
Superman #187Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 2, 2002
Cover date: December 2002
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Pascual Ferry
Inker: Mark Farmer
"After School Special" (Ending Battle - Part 5 of 8)
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Superman plows towards Metropolis, determined. A voice in his head, presumably Manchester Black, goads him forward. In the meanwhile, Master Jailer contemplates his coming encounter with the Man of Steel, glad to have his newfound power given by said aforementioned Manchester Black.
Superman arrives and examines the bars that now surround his city. He does not look happy.
He calls to Manchester, who doesn't answer.
He is suddenly hit with a pie, and looks up to see Prankster, filming the action, hovering on a platform. Superman uses his heat vision to knock the pie off of his face. He is now more noticeably perturbed.
Prankster calls in his backup... Bizarro. Bizarro launches into his backwards dialogue, exchanging blows with Superman until a returned and refitted Neutron drops a tanker truck on them both, taking Bizarro out of the fight.
Prankster, filming it all, rejoices in the chaos. Superman, looking more and more ticked off, lifts the truck and throws it at Prankster. Prankster objects. Superman tells him to move. He falls, landing hard, and exits the fight, stage down.
Neutron brags about his invulnerability as Superman blasts him with heat vision, so Superman throws him into geosynchronous orbit over Metropolis. Neutron freezes into a non-threat.
Brambles reach out from behind Superman and ensnare him, courtesy of another newcomer, Terra-Man. He's tired of Superman infecting nature with his alien bacteria, and he wants Superman taken out. He throws a sun leaching organism at Superman, who heat blasts the thing off his face before knocking Terra-Man through the wall.
Just at that lull, Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up and begins taunting him. Superman gives him a look that could stop a Mr. Mxyzptlk. Seeing the bad timing he's had, he says his name backwards in fear and disappears.
A white-bodied woman made out of puzzle pieces appears, explains her modus operandi, and is quickly dispatched into many pieces by Superman, knowing she'll eventually pull herself back together.
Superman calls for Black, who doesn't respond.
He tears through a wall and, to his horror, finds Metropolitans hung about, tied up, with their mouths covered by some sort of respirators. He tells Jailer that he can't keep him out. Jailer insists that he never wanted to keep him out, but rather, hold him in. Tentacles descend and ensnare Superman, bringing him face to face with the green-hearted threat of Metallo.
Story - 5: Most of the people that I am talking too are like, enough of the villains, already! I, alas, am not. I'm loving it. I haven't seen this much of my favorite side of the Super-mythos in months. We've been dealing with Persuader, random thugs, small time one-hit wonders, and space fillers. So bring it on, guys. This is good stuff, with regards to villains.
I've stated before my undying prejudice towards having Neutron, the living bomb around, and this issue brought me great joy. They made Neutron out to be an easily dispatched one-hit wonder fool in part one, was it? And here he comes, blasting about, in a new, improved suit, suggesting that he may become a recurring baddie. Goodie! Frozen in space as well, he is the only as yet incarcerated villain of the current run, which I applaud! Finally, putting a villain into captivity! It had to happen, sooner or later. Cyborg counts, I guess, but I still say he probably got away.
Black is sure giving Superman a heck of a time. This issue lacked the disappointment of the last one...the blowing off the Luthor Knows storyline, a relatively weak return of the Cyborg, and a worthless throw-down with a pansy Elite. We see Superman laying it out...sure, in a fashion he's been doing for four out of the last five issues, but he seems to be getting a hand on things now, and you can just tell that the writer and the reader are having a blast at the same time. I liked this issue, and for obvious, entertaining reasons. It's good all around. Not much for thinking, but a lot of fun.
Great acknowledgement of the fact that Mxyzptlk has not been around for a while, and a good quick shot to get rid of him for three more months. I laughed out loud. Funny stuff.
I do have my complaints:
Where in the heck is the JLA? Superman should long ago have called in his compatriots. Wonder Woman could have taken Neutron, Manhunter could easily have nullified Black's control over Bizarro, Plastic Man would have out-joked Prankster, and Batman would have just PASTED old Terra-Man. What a puss.
But I guess the point of the story, I have to concede, is Superman, on his own, defending his secret. I still despise the fact that he's not capturing, merely punching around, his villains. He's got more experience than that.
But all in all, a vast improvement over last week. Things are looking up.
Art - 5: I recently wrote back and forth with Pascual Ferry about my critique of his work, and he pointed out a few very reasonable critiques of my critiques of his work. Most notably, me throwing around the term Manga in descriptives of his work, and McGuinness'. I would have to say, given clarification, that he is correct. I don't know the first thing about the art world. I just stick with aesthetics. And generally speaking, I have always liked Ferry's work, with rare exceptions. But here, in this issue, I am overly surprised. My big complaint with Ferry was that his work looked a bit too much like Ed's, and, in this issue at least, I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a more grim Superman, certainly, but a personal rendition, nonetheless. I was rather impressed with several things that stood out. The tanker being lifted, the full spread with Metallo, Metropolis in rubble in the hook, among other things. I also like the new take on Neutron. I like it, well, I can't lie. I don't like it better than the OLD school Neutron, because I am a Neutron FREAK, but I think that this is a more than apt re-imagining of Neutron for the modern Superman. Meaning, hey, I like it.
All in all, the art propelled the story along nicely, and I was very pleased.
Cover Art - 5: Hallelujah, DC be praised, crank out the pencils and the inkwells, because I'm a callin' in a revival!
THERE IS A BACKGROUND ON THIS ISSUE! AN ACTUAL, REAL, NOT FAKE, NOT PASTEL SOLID COLOR, BACKGROUND. THAT'S, WITH A B, AN A, A C, A K, A G, AN R, AN O, A U, AN N, AND YES, SUPER-FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, THE BIGGEST D I CAN COME UP WITH!
And...wait, I must wipe away a tear...
THIS SCENE ACTUALLY OCCURS IN THE ISSUE!
MY HOLY RA!
Further, yes, further, my friends...
IT IS WELL DRAWN! SUPERMAN DOESN'T LOOK LIKE HE'S PASSING EXCREMENT WHILE THROWING A PUNCH!
Phew. I think I just...well, we won't go into that.
Superman has two spit curls and one glowing eye, which makes him look a lot like Cable, which I didn't particularly like, given Cable's disposition, and he's even got the little slash through the top and bottom of the eye (?), but heck, guys. Three out of three, and a great pose, and a solid image, really filling out the page despite the horrible, horrible, horrible, thrice spit-upon new logos, and I'm just, I'm just...
Other recent reviews:
Mild Mannered Reviews
2002Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Joker: Last Laugh #6
-  Superman #176
-  Adventures of Superman #598
-  Superman: The Man of Steel #120
-  Action Comics #785
- Superman Adventures #63
- JLA #60
- Justice League Adventures #1
- JLA/Haven: Arrival
- Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #1
- JLA: Gatekeeper #2
- Superman & Batman: Generations II #4
- Superman #177
- Adventures of Superman #599
- Superman: The Man of Steel #121
- Action Comics #786
- Superman Adventures #64
- JLA #61
- Justice League Adventures #2
- Just Imagine Stan Lee with Jerry Ordway Creating the JLA
- JLA: Gatekeeper #3
- JLA: Incarnations #7
- Adventures of Superman #600
- Superman #178
- Superman: The Man of Steel #122
- Action Comics #787
- Superman Adventures #65
- JLA #62
- Justice League Adventures #3
- Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #2
- Superman #179
- Adventures of Superman #601
- Superman: The Man of Steel #123
- Action Comics #788
- Superman Adventures #66 [Final Issue]
- JLA #63
- Justice League Adventures #4
- JLA: Shogun of Steel
- Superman #180
- Adventures of Superman #602
- Superman: The Man of Steel #124
- Action Comics #789
- JLA #64
- Justice League Adventures #5
- Superman #181
- Adventures of Superman #603
- Superman: The Man of Steel #125
- Action Comics #790
- JLA #65
- Superman/Savage Dragon: Chicago
- Justice League Adventures #6
- Superman #182
- Adventures of Superman #604
- Superman: The Man of Steel #126
- Action Comics #791
- JLA #66
- DC1st: Superman/Lobo #1
- DC1st: Flash/Superman #1
- Justice League Adventures #7
- Superman/Aliens II: Godwar #1
- Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle #3
- Superman #183
- Adventures of Superman #605
- Superman: The Man of Steel #127
- Action Comics #792
- JLA #67
- Justice League Adventures #8
- JLA: Destiny #1
- Superman #184
- Adventures of Superman #606
- Superman: The Man of Steel #128
- Action Comics #793
- JLA #68
- Justice League Adventures #9
- JLA: Destiny #2
- Superman #185
- Adventures of Superman #607
- Superman: The Man of Steel #129
- Action Comics #794
- JLA #69
- JLA #70
- Justice League Adventures #10
- Superman/Aliens II: Godwar #2
- JLA: Destiny #3
- JLA: The Island of Dr Moreau
- Superman #186
- Adventures of Superman #608
- Superman: The Man of Steel #130
- Action Comics #795
- JLA #71
- JLA #72
- Justice League Adventures #11
- JLA: Destiny #4
- Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta
- JLA/Haven: Anathema
- Superman #187
- Adventures of Superman #609
- Superman: The Man of Steel #131
- Action Comics #796
- JLA #73
- JLA #74
- Justice League Adventures #12
- Smallville: The Comic
- Superman/Aliens II: Godwar #3
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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2002.