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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #657

Superman #657

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 8, 2006

Cover date: December 2006

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciller: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Jesus Merino

"Camelot Falls"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

As Jimmy climbs back up a cliff to Lois, he tells her about the stash of medicine he found. His rope snaps and he falls. The ruins around him are all that are left of Metropolis, which has been split in half by a huge mass of rock rising out of the ocean.

Walking across Metropolis, Jimmy and Lois are attacked by four super-powered 'ghostwolves'. They fend of the first, and then are rescued by the arrival of another superhuman, Sirocco. He fights them off, but then one manages to slash him in the back. As he falls, Lex Luthor and the Parasite arrive on the scene to fight them off.

As they help Sirocco, Parasite begs Lois to call him Clark. Lois thinks about how many times Parasite has asked that since he overloaded on Superman's powers years ago. Parasite absorbs some of Sirocco's pain, but he cannot take all of it without letting go of what he holds of Superman.

Back in the present, Arion shows images of this future to Superman, and to Lois, Perry, and Jimmy. He tells them how a disaster is coming. Heroes will fall at the hands of many assailants. He then shows him the face of Khyber. Khyber unites the villains together and attacks the world.

At the end of the battle, Superman attacks Khyber high above the planet. Khyber strikes back and hits Superman with a cloud of nanotech poisons. When Superman is weakened, Khyber lifts him up and hurls him down to the ground.

Superman's impact with the Earth cracks the crust, sending shockwaves across the globe. An electromagnetic pulse knocks out all electronics, earthquakes rock the world, and tsunamis and volcanoes decimate what remains. The ensuing nuclear winter leaves the survivors to freeze and starve to death.

The fighting continues between heroes and villains even after the destruction. Luthor claims Metropolis, defending it from its attackers. The rest of the world is split up among the villains, and one by one they fall to Khyber.

Returning to the future, Lois' gang arrives at their base weeks after leaving Metropolis. Inside, Luthor hands off the supplies he managed to hide in the city and the few heroes left greet him. Hal Jordan's daughter has inherited her father's Green Lantern ring, and a crippled Flash rests in a wheelchair. Wonder Woman appears relatively intact, with the exception of her missing eye.

The base suddenly rumbles with a nearby eruption. They assumed it was just a volcano, but as the lava poured out, Superman emerged from the Earth.

In the present, Jimmy cheers at Superman's return, but Arion tells him that Superman does not save the day. Rather, he makes things much worse.

5Story - 5: After a few slow issues, this storyline really starts to get going. I may not have liked Subjekt 17, but this is a story that I can get in to.

I particularly like the cameos of other heroes across the DCU. One panel of Green Lantern, another of Flash, and a panel of Wonder Woman make this story something that affects the entire world, but without making me buy three pointless tie-ins. It's managing a grand scale, without the need for a pointless crossover.

The best part of this story though, was the group in the future. I always like seeing Jimmy in a more competent role, and it's great. The real stars are Luthor and Parasite though. This issue has done what other series have never quite accomplished for me, shown Lex as being a productive member of society once Superman was removed. Combine that with a Parasite who thinks he's Clark Kent, and you've got something original.

From the looks of February's solicitations, this storyline is going to continue for awhile, and I'm glad. Busiek seems to know what he is doing with this story, and I can't wait to find out what happens after Superman returns.

5Art - 5: Pacheco's run has been great, but this issue gets extra points for the gorgeous splash pages. The page of future Metropolis is great, but Superman's emergence from the volcano was even better. And the splash of the destruction of Earth is incredibly cool.

Apart from those standout scenes, this was another quality issue by Pacheco. His Parasite in particular is great, and the fight scene with Sirocco and the ghostwolves was dynamic without being over the top.

In addition to the fantastic pencils, the coloring on this book is still top notch. Parasite looks great, and the aforementioned emergence of Superman from the volcano was beautiful.

My only complaint continues to be Lois' horribly ugly hair. She needs to grow that out, quickly.

4Cover Art - 4: I like this image a lot, and have ever since it showed up online awhile ago. However, in a story about the destruction of the world, I really feel like the cover could be a little more exciting. It's still a great cover, but it could have been more.

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

January 2006

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