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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #652

Superman #652

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 10, 2006

Cover date: July 2006

Writer: Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns
Artist: Pete Woods

Up, Up, and Away - Part Four: "Speeding Bullet"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

In the middle of the night, Clark stands on the street beneath a skyscraper. After making sure he's alone, Clark takes off his glasses and leaps into the sky. Reaching the top, Clark stumbles and rolls across the roof, crashing over the side and falling all the way down to the pavement where he makes a small crater. He's a little out of practice, but he's doing ok.

The next morning Clark is making breakfast as Lois notices that he's resting his hand on the red hot burner. Lois realizes that his powers are coming back, and Clark confirms it. Clark tells her that he thinks that it was his own desires that kept his powers away, and when he wanted them they started to come back. Lois walks away and tells Clark that she has just three little words for him. As she pulls his costume out of the closet, she tells Clark to "go get 'em".

Clark suits up before her and tells her that he can hear sirens a few miles away, but his flight is still gone and he has no vision powers yet. She urges him out but continues talking to him after he leaves, knowing that he's still listening. She tells him that she was happy with him just being Clark, but she also knows that his job is part of the reason she loves him, and she's behind him all the way.

At the Daily Planet, the newsroom is suddenly attacked by the Puzzler. She begins to choke Perry when a crash suddenly distracts her attention. She turns to find Superman standing in front of a broken window, apologizing for misjudging the landing. Puzzler attacks Superman, pushing him back out the window. The newsroom is in chaos at Superman's return, and all Jimmy Olsen can do is smile.

Crashing into the street, Superman and Puzzler continue to battle, but Superman quickly takes the upper hand. He grabs a trash can and catches her face inside. Gathering the rest of her 'pieces' in his cape, he asks the crowd to call for the SCU.

Inside his lab, Luthor curses that Superman can't return now; not before he has his Kryptonian artifact. Luthor cranks his machine up to full power and the Kryptonite Man screams in pain.

Superman leaps across town when he is suddenly attacked by a range of powers. Crashing down to a rooftop, he finds Livewire, Silver Banshee, Bloodsport, Hellgrammite, and Riot standing there. Livewire blasts him off of the roof and across town into the park. Following, they continue the assault. To even the odds, Superman grabs Hellgrammite and crashes over the dam. Livewire and Silver Banshee follow, but the water takes care of Livewire and Superman knocks Banshee out of the fight. Rising up from the dam, Superman notices that his flight is back, but he needs something to bring his powers back in full.

As he reaches the top he hears a gunshot as Bloodsport fires at Jimmy. Superman rushes forward and catches the bullet inches from Jimmy's head. That brought his powers back, but there's still a buzzing in his brain.

5Story - 5: I love every single thing this arc is doing for Superman. His powers are back, the Daily Planet is being used frequently but not excessively, and the weaker villains are being used together to justify their ability to challenge Superman.

I complained, a lot, about how Simone handled the introduction of Livewire to the DCU a few months ago. Now, within the space of a few pages, Johns and Busiek manage to fix her. I'm not even sure what they did, but she feels right now. Combine that with Silver Banshee and Bloodsport, two classic post-crisis villains, and I'm sold on this battle. And Hellgrammite! It's about time they started using Superman's rogue gallery. Just because they aren't at his power level doesn't mean they don't have a use. I'm not too thrilled to see Riot, he brings back way too many unhappy memories of the Superman Revenge Squad, but he also didn't do anything this time, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt until next issue.

My favorite part of this issue though, was Lois. This isn't the horribly evil Lois who hates Lana, Wonder Woman, and the fact that Superman has a responsibility to the world. This is the right Lois. She loves her husband. She supports her husband. And most importantly, she wants her husband to be Superman. Reading the page when Lois tells him that she's behind him all the way made me smile. Some writers will complain that Superman's marriage limits the stories, but this is a perfect example that it isn't the case.

I do have one complaint about this issue, but I didn't knock it down because it isn't the fault of the writers. The solicitation for this issue claimed that it had three little words that would change Lois and Clark's life. Internet speculation ranged from a divorce, to a pregnancy, to many things that I won't print here on a family-friendly site. So when we get the issue and the three little words are "go get 'em", its kind of a let down. I may have loved the moment, but I was expecting a Superbaby or something. Of course, we don't need to read the previews, but don't promise us incredible changes and then not deliver, it's just annoying.

5Art - 5: I loved it last month, and I still love it this time around. Woods does a fantastic Clark, and even his Lois is growing on me too. I don't like how he draws Superman's sleeves going up his hands a short amount, but I doubt the rest of you even noticed that, so it's pretty minor.

Woods does a great job of moving the 'camera' around to get the right layout for each panel. Clark looking up at the tall building (and then jumping), arriving in the Daily Planet, they all look great. Even Lois' solo page is very well done, with the perspective continually changing as she talks.

Woods continues to impress me, and I'm glad that he's sticking around after this arc for a few more months on Action.

4Cover Art - 4: I'm torn on this one. I like the shot of the villains, but I'm not crazy about showing Superman in costume, given that this was the big return of our hero. Livewire looks fantastic though, and Silver Banshee is great, so I like it. It's not going to be a classic, but it's still a nice solid cover.

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

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