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Superman: Metropolis #11

Superman: Metropolis #11

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 17, 2003

Cover date: February 2004

Writer: Chuck Austen
Penciller: Teddy Kristiansen
Inker: Teddy Kristiansen

"Photo Finish"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

In the streets of Metropolis, chaos reigns, with Killgrave controlling the tech. Lena, having been stabbed in the power center along with Jimmy, pleads for their lives. Jimmy is unconscious. Killgrave says no.

Lena reaches into the tech that stabbed them, and pulls herself and Jimmy in.

Inside the tech, Sledge pleads with Lena to let him out. She says that she will, but he won't like it, because she has to make room for Jimmy. Sledge screams and disappears, sending lights out all over Metropolis.

A pair of cops complain about the chaos, and Creeper turns the corner riding an Elephant.

In the house where the woman who speaks to God in her television just arrived in the issue previous, she explains to the couple she saved how the television told her to come save them, only it wasn't the normal God she usually saw, it was more like Lena, though she doesn't know Lena's name. Jimmy appears, and they turn to look.

In the tech, Lena is relieved to find Jimmy safe and inside. Jimmy finds the tech strange, and Lena tearfully confesses that she had to kill Sledge to save his life.

Superman moves in and stops the Elephant and Creeper, asking Creeper if there are any more Elephants running around. Creeper indicates that he hopes there are. Superman asks him to handle the mob while he returns the Elephant, and both turn to hear a voice asking Olsen where he is.

It happens all across the city...

Superman rises into the air and starts speaking to Killgrave, while Creeper calms the Elephant, and makes it stay.

Neon rearranges itself into the form of Killgrave's face, in order to speak with Superman. When asked why he wants Olsen, the building takes the tech Killgrave's form, and moves forward, shedding people which Superman then saves.

Killgrave tells Superman that he wants Jimmy in order to kill him. He then punches Superman into the ground, hard. He then tells him that he will seek his revenge by destroying Metropolis.

4Story - 4: There were many good things in this issue, which I'll get to, but I want to get the bad out of the way, first, because this is an overwhelmingly positive review, and it seems to make more sense to me, today, to get the nastiness out of the way first.

This story is a bit of an extended lead in to the final story, and it's spread out too much. For instance, the page with the cops, the opening telling us that what we already know is going on is going on, and even the three pages it takes to indicate that Killgrave wants Olsen. That said, the Olsen calling was a cool art spread, but storywise, it was just unnecessary. It goes back to my retracted criticism that Austen, at times, fails to grasp the pacing of a story, meaning, the first four or five issues were all a gigantic set-up that might have been done with more brevity. That said, I regretted saying those words once the God woman, the couple with the child, Muldoon, Creeper, Killgrave, and Sledge all came back into the story, but this issue, I can safely say, I will not regret this criticism, because there's no way such stretching can be justified over one more issue.

Further, tangentially, I noticed something I hadn't yet... why is a low-grade villain, such as Killgrave, afforded such a postion in this issue, when such an attitude and such an attack could easily have been done with the more popular villain, Cyborg? I'm actually torn on this, because part of Metropolis' underrated appeal is that it uses the little guy, the Jimmy, the Bibbo, the Muldoon, and unnamed people. But really, the series could use some big names and some effect for the main plot.

That said, I have no idea why this title, despite how good it is, sells so poorly compared to the Casey run. Ah, yes. I forgot. People buy things for their recognizable features, not their qualities, which is why the cell phone outsells your local authors of poetry and creators of art... but enough cynicism for one review. On with the good.

The story now moves forward, albeit slowly, and we have all of the major characters created and utilized in this story well involved. Supes, Jimmy, Lena, Killgrave, Creeper, Sledge, and even the elephants and the people changed by the tech. Good storytelling.

Further, we have an elaboration on Killgrave's plan, the resolution of Jimmy's near death without a Kathy Bates DIRTY BIRDY cheap way out (Jimmy's body is dead, folks.) and a great character debacle, the killing of Sledge.

Now, let me put this as non spoilerish as I can, but spoiler freakos, just don't read the next two paragraphs:

Things are going to happen to the Superman universe this week (according to information I received from a fan through email) that will render all plot points moot. Or rather, at least, make this story inconsequential. Which saddens me, truly, but it also allows me to look with more effect on this series.

Jimmy may die, folks. I don't think they'll do it, because I just don't think, even with the changes of Superman #200, it'll wash, but the way things are, big stories could take place next issue, a la Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?. I don't expect it, given the light hearted goodbyes of Casey and Kelly, but regardless, it makes the next issue interesting, but...

Aforementioned spoilers also negate the long-term effects of the killing of Sledge. For while this is a cathartic moment, if what I mentioned happens, what will it matter, come this Wednesday?

Still, the idea of killing a bad person or choosing between deaths is here explored from the human perspective. As I have mentioned previously, my favorite Superman comic is the one where Superman has to choose between killing Joker or letting Lois die, and he chooses letting Lois die, because that's the right thing to do to maintain the sanctity of the fight for Truth, Justice, etc.

But Lena? Lena's a human, a learning human, not a God-like anyman force for morality like Superman, and she errs. Or maybe, she does what you or I might do, and that simple elaboration alone in the Superman universe made this issue better than most.

Creeper is trusted by Superman to take care of the elephants, though? What was that? I guess, given that Creeper started behaving once Superman scolded him, it'll slide, but it was still out of character for Supes. Austen is better with Jimmy, to be sure.

5Art - 5: I'm still liking it, despite the artist change midstream, and some of the art in this issue will stay with me, which is more than I can say for most art these days. The neon twisting was incredible, as was the full city spread when Killgrave called Jimmy. Not called for, story wise, perhaps, but what was delivered by Teddy here is just amazing. The perspective alone made me stop on the page for a few minutes and just look at it. Good work.

5Cover Art - 5: Get this... especially you other main book guys.

This cover dynamically shows Jimmy dead, laid out on the floor, with a cool logo, an image that actually happened in the issue (perhaps with different clothes, but that can slide) and though the background is absent, mostly, it is a floor, and what can you do with the floor, really? It's enough to see Jimmy dead to grab my attention. And even with that said, there is some attempt to make a background, with the splash of color and the creeping tech.

Still, words on the cover, but... BUT, it is the ACTUAL title of the comic, so I'm gonna call that fair. They never do that. It's always "WHO DIES TONIGHT?" And inside, the story's title is "Speeding Rickets" or something completely unrelated.


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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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