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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Adventures of Superman #624

Adventures of Superman #624

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 21, 2004

Cover date: March 2004

Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Karl Kerschl
Inker: Karl Kerschl with Renato Guedes and Oclair Albert

"Strange New Visitor" - Part 2

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Mr. Majestic, having just caught Lois the issue previous, lowers her to the top of a roof, explaining to her his name, how he isn't in his own strand of the Mutliverse. Lois starts asking him questions, but he takes off to help people.

Lois calls Perry to tell him what's going on in the wind of the storm, when someone tells her someone is catching buildings. She hangs up on Perry after telling him Majestic's name. Perry shouts after her, outside her range of hearing, to stay out of uptown.

Majestic, true to rumor, catches a large building with his hands. Inside, a man asks Majestic what he's doing, and Majestic tells the man to get inside.

After saving the building, Majestic goes down to see the firefighters, who call him Superman. He tries to explain that he's not Superman when a fireman asks him, "Whaddaya know, buddy?"

Taking this for a real question, he explains that time is dialated and reality is under major stress.

In Steelworks, John Henry confers with Steel 2 (Natasha), Superboy, and the newly risen Eradicator in a new red, black, and white costume. Irons tells them that the time storm is poised around Metropolis and is ready to crush them out of existence, unless they find a way to blow it out.

Majestic, meanwhile, saves an old lady and her grandson. He sets them on the ground and goes to save a car falling through the air.

Nearby, Shakedown, Heatstroke, and Coldsnap, the Masters of Disaster, take advantage of the chaos to attack. Majestic arrives as Terrible Turpin is injured, and stops the Masters. He tells the SCU to get Turpin to the hospital.

At the Planet, Lois arrives to find Jimmy and Lena in trouble. Lena's been cut off from the tech, and she needs to get to a hospital. A time storm hits the building, shaking everyone. Majestic arrives to save them.

Perry recognized Majestic from Lois' description, and after Majestic saves them, he asks him what he's here for. Majestic takes Lois off to the side and starts to explain that his Earth, another Earth, had similar problems, and he was somehow sent to Metropolis. They look at newspaper articles of Superman from "Birthright". Majestic calls Superman's clothes retro.

At Steelworks, Majestic tries to explain to Steel what happened, as techs surround him taking measurements. Majestic offers to help save the city, and Steel tells him he can. He shows him the Charged Vaccuum Emboitment they've come up with, a device to punch a hole in the time continuum through the focusing agent of the Phantom Zone, using a shard of Imperiex's armor.

Majestic says that he doesn't believe the plan will work. Eradicator becomes angry at his doubt, and starts questioning Majestic's presence.

A time storm bolt hits Steelworks, and Eradicator blames Majestic, who starts to explain, when Eradicator blasts him into the Phantom Zone. Lois objects, but John Henry and Eradicator leave to enact their plan regardless, realizing that time is short. John Henry chastises Eradicator, but Eradicator indicates that they don't have time to deal with Majestic right now, and that they'll take care of him later.

Eradicator, taking the device, agrees to head for the center of the storm with Steel 2 and Superboy.

A tech tells John that they can't pick up the JLA, and then, a time storm rocks the building. Metropolis appears to be collapsing.

Lois, unleashes the Phantom Zone, releasing Majestic, who, standing angry, tells her that they are all going to die.

5Story - 5: A..affa... haffa... abooooh.

Okay. Okay. Okay.

Turpin. Checking to see if the JLA is available with a major crisis. Care beyond the immediate moment for what just happened in a battle, see asking for Turpin's medical help. Masters of Disaster. Majestic is not just a boob thrown in for crossover. Steel and Super-Family act like a team. Threat real, imminent, plausible, interesting.

This is... well, somebody slap me, this is a Superman book.

THIS is why I stay with Superman through the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you read my review for Superman #200, you'll see that I am really, really displeased with the last few months/year of Superman comics, then along this comes to prove me wrong.

Last issue, we had the return of Bibbo and most of the Planet staff. In this issue, Perry is again an integral part, and we see Jimmy. JIMMY! I mean, you know, the redhead that was on the comics a few months ago?

WHAT IS THIS? Can I, finally, blessedly, STOP complaining?

Well, maybe, maybe not.

For while this story ROCKED, absolutely ROCKED, I have some small concerns. First, Birthright past in present. That STILL has to be explained. But then, that may be explained, given time.

Further, we have seen this story before. Alpha Centurion. But give me Majestic over Centurion ANY day. I mean ANY day.

Eradicator's actions were too easily accepted by John, and seeing as John saw that Majestic would know a lot about the time stream, he might have released him as soon as the Eradicator left, but then, that's a small plot point. Small, compared to how great the rest of the book is.

Real and lasting consequences? Yes. Metropolis is being re-made, Steel 2 is now in REAL action, Eradicator has returned (and flying monkeys, does he now look bada$$ or what?)

Lois is the damsel in distress. She's even being her crude, never-say-die erudite reporter self without doing it just because Lois wants to be a cruel, heartless, characterless person. Every action had a motivation, and she behaved as she normally would. This is CHARACTER!

Start the parade!

God, I could sing the praises of this book. I really could.

Here's the only large concern I have. These three continuous books are all written by the same folks, as I recall. Afterwards, the books diverge again. And while the artists are looking good, as are the writers, I fear what this may do to the continuity just presented. So far, this is a great new start. I only hope it isn't blown by resting on the laurels of this one, great, almost sublime story.

5Art - 5: What's this? Good art? Vivid colors and graphic depictions of the story contained herein? What the heck is this?

All right, so the art hasn't been as bad as the stories of late, but there was room for improvement, and this comic showed that. Perry is Perry. Turpin is Turpin. Lena, Lena, Jimmy, Jimmy, Superman (for his brief appearance) Superman, and Lois?

Well, Lois looked alarmingly like Thora Birch, but we'll forgive that. Most everything else is in complete synch. I particularly liked the coloring, the special effects with the time shots, man, may this be the future of Superman.

But make Lois look a little less like Thora. Not that Thora ain't hot, she just isn't Lois. Dana Delaney, in the late 80s, that's Lois. And hey, she was on the comics. Or maybe even I'd venture to say, Teri Hatcher, even yet.

5Cover Art - 5: It's rare to find a theme cover that works. The last one I really liked was the one with Clark and Superman in the phone booths, both done by Mike Weiringo a few years back. This one shows the new Metropolis coming, and I really like the contrast between the two covers. I would have hated them had Majestic not turned out to be so cool and interesting a story element, but given the whole vibe so far, I am thusly pleased.

Get this... I didn't even NOTICE the horrible logos. How hard is that? You know how hard that is? About as hard as making me enjoy a ten hour marathon of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or the Rosie Talk show. Or maybe a coca-cola enema. In other words, it's dang near impossible. They did it. And look. The old Metropolis.


Words on the cover? Yes. But they make sense, they're not "SEE the giant LIZARD attack KRYPTO!" It's a little note to us, the fans, that they haven't forgotten what's made Superman good in a long stream of bad of late. Harkening to the things that made Superman popular with the World Without A Superman series and the like.

Happy days are here again, at least until two weeks from now (I'm preparing the gnashing teeth, just in case).

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

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