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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #658

Superman #658

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 3, 2007

Cover date: January 2007

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

"The Last Tomorrow"

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Click to enlarge

In the year 2014, the remaining heroes fight against Khyber's forces. Jimmy and Luthor suit up and join the Parasite in the battle. On the way out, Parasite asks Lois to call him Clark, but she refuses again.

Watching the view screen, Lois sees Parasite begin to lose his power before falling to one of Khyber's soldiers. Lois' tearfully says goodbye to Clark. Luthor's defenses begin to push back the invaders, when Khyber suddenly appears. Luthor starts to attack him, when Superman reappears.

Superman grabs Khyber and forces him above the clouds and into the sunlight. He tells the villain that he spent years trapped at the Earth's core before he could absorb enough energy to break free. They battle in the sky and Superman gets the upper hand. When he is about to deliver the killing blow he hesitates, and Khyber takes advantage to finish the Man of Steel.

Suddenly Sirocco flies up and impales Khyber. Below, Khyber's forces all drop dead. They thought it would finally be over, but the fighting continues. Three years later Lex dies in battle. They bury him next to Superman.

Years later the survivors live off Luthor's stockpiles, but gradually their numbers dwindle. In 2045 Lois dies and Jimmy buries her next to Clark. Eleven years later, Jimmy writes his final journal entry, having not seen another human since Lois died.

In the present, Arion explains to Superman that civilizations need to rise and fall, and the longer he delays the fall, the worse it will eventually be. In order for mankind to survive, Superman must let civilization be destroyed.

5Story - 5: I continue to really love this story arc. The apocalyptic future has been done to death in comics, yet this one still seems fresh. Keeping the heroes in the background and focusing on Lois, Jimmy, and Luthor really make for a great story.

The pacing of this story is a nice touch too. I like the fact that we're getting two issues of this and then some self-contained stories before getting back into the future storyline. It lets Busiek tell an epic story, without burning us out on it.

One of the nicest touches in this is the use of Lois' journal (although I really have to wonder how far in advance she orders her stationary if Jimmy was still using the stuff in 2056). I've been a fan of using Lois as a narrator ever since Jeph Loeb did it in his run on the book back in the late 90s, and it works exceptionally well here.

Overall, this arc has just been a nice change. A real breath of fresh air from the regular type of Superman story we're used to. Now if this book could just get back on schedule, I'll be quite pleased with it.

5Art - 5: More beautiful stuff from Pacheco here. With all of the battle scenes in this issue he had some great material to work with and he does not disappoint. Right from the fantastic opening splash of Wonder Woman, everything is dynamic and exciting. The Superman/Khyber fight in particular is a great example of Pacheco's talent. His one weakness continues to be his Lois, which still isn't working for me. Other than that, perfect art.

5Cover Art - 5: This is an absolutely gorgeous cover. The expression is great, the colors are very well done, and I really like how it's subtly breaking the fourth wall and grappling with the reader. I did want to knock it down to a four due to the horribly cheesy 'The Day the Earth Died' tagline, but I didn't feel it was fair to punish an otherwise fantastic cover for something that probably wasn't done by Pacheco.

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

January 2007

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