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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #692

Superman #692

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 30, 2009

Cover date: November 2009

"Down Time"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Fernando Dagnino
Inker: Raul Fernandez

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Morgan Edge pontificates on the evil of Supergirl, Flamebird, and Nightwing while the heroes attempt to solve the water crisis in Metropolis.

John Henry's nanites stop the heroes from repairing the damage, but John Henry is now comatose and in the hospital.

Intergang helps Riot and Bloodsport hijack water, given water's current high value. Guardian stops them.

Morgan Edge continues to pontificate.

Zatara awakens in front of Mirabai. Mirabai attempts to get Zatara to believe that the magician he was seeking is actually the Parasite, and that Lane is being controlled by the Parasite.

The Guardian gathers the Science Police and outs Mon-El as Jonathan Kent, thinking that he's dead. Jamie Harper reveals that she's the grand-niece of the original Harper, and calls Guardian Uncle John.

Guardian talks with Wilcox. Wilcox goes home and receives a call that seems to indicate she's a mole in the Science Police, and calls forth an image of heroic Legion-looking clothing while looking at a picture of "Val." (Honestly, this reviewer isn't sure who it is, and no indication is given that makes it clear to me, sorry for the vagueness. The real hilarity is that I'll probably be shamed for this in the comments instead of the writer for a lack of clarity, but I speak before the "review" label...).

Codename: Assassin and General Lane muse over their recent acquisition, Mon-El.

2Story - 2: I enjoy the elements of this story that relate to the ongoing, broader plot, but in terms of a story, this was at best chaotic and at worst unbridled nothing.

There are wasted pages, when Morgan Edge reiterates what is already established in the intro.

There are plot problems, like when Zatara has the Lane plot explained to him (monologuing in a modern comic aside) and we're not even sure if Zatara even knows Lane's name. Beyond that, I don't recall Zatara being kidnapped. Do you?

There's also Mon-El being held in green liquid. Kind of weird as a prison, given he's a Daxamite and his weakness is lead. I thought Lane didn't know he wasn't Kryptonian?

Then there's the outright blatant crazy, when Harper gives Jonathan Kent's secret identity out before finding the body. Firstly, being a man who maintained a secret identity, you're telling me he wouldn't realize that villains would take revenge on the surviving family members? Beyond that, there's one degree (not three, not six, one) of separation between Jonathan Kent and Clark Kent.

Maybe Harper wouldn't realize what he's doing in that respect, but I'm sure James Robinson does. Or should have considered it.

I also have a very hard time believing potable water to be a problem in Metropolis when there are any number of people with superstrength, flight, and magic around that can bring water in. I mean, we're in a universe where, quite literally, Zatana turned Metropolis from a technological future city into its previous incarnation with a magic spell. You're telling me there's no one that can purify water or bring it in? We've got Metamorpho, any Green Lantern, Wonder Woman can carry water, Flash can bring in water, etc, etc. There are a million holes in that plot. And that's assuming you buy the idea that a Green Lantern ring can't destroy nanobots. I don't, personally.

I love the idea of a misperception leading to the public labeling the heroes as terrorists. That's a cogent, modern idea that relates to the reader. But it's enough to threaten the water, isn't it?

There's also so much here that I don't care about or understand. What the heck is Wilcox doing? Why is Zatara needed if Mirabai outclasses him so much? Why are we watching Guardian booze it up when there are things that need doing?

On a fundamental level, why is the original Bloodsport (who had a complex and quite compelling motivation as a Vietnam vet before he was killed) now a low-level criminal stealing water from the impoverished?

Again, there are too many plates spinning here for a compelling narrative. I want to like this, but there's just too much attention being paid to how interesting a given random tree is and not enough to the forest.

3Art - 3: Nothing sticks out as great or horrible. The story is told in the typical way, but there's no real experimentation that leads to greatness, or any really bad stuff that sticks out (there's a Guardian moment that's kind of goofy, and a few iffy panels, but nothing terrible).

3Cover Art - 3: An interesting dilemma to base a cover on, but Guardian looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, which undermines how effective it could have been.

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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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