Thursday, February 5, 2015

Superman: Man of Steel #18 Review

In 1992, an event started that would forever change comic books. It would change a nation, actually, for quite a while. Those unaware would never have known the dark seed that was planted back then, but, it would sprout into one of the most devastating events in all of comic books. I would say traumatic, but, there are several more stories that were traumatizing.

To think that this all began as a simple story is quite frankly amazing. The issue we have here before us is nothing special, really. Outside of the brief flashes of the menace that is slowly approaching Metropolis, it's just another Superman story about him saving Lois Lane and beating a few guys up. If you've never read a Superman story, it pretty much gives someone all they need to know about the character. Though, the timing for the involvement of Doomsday couldn't be much better.

The run was just wrapping up its ongoing display of Superman fighting a couple of organizations in the criminal underworld known as the Underwolders and the Warworlders that were looking to take over Metroplolis from the ground up. So, bringing in Doomsday as the next big threat made sense and boy did he make his presence known.

I just find it funny that (arguably) the biggest event for the Man of Steel comes in the same Lois Lane kicks him in the butt. Seriously, it happens. But, let's not dabble in semantics. Let's dive right into "Superman: Man of Steel #18," aka: Doomsday: Part 1.

Cover for Superman: Man of Steel #18 (1992)
The beginning of the end while simultaneously ending the beginning of what happened last issue. 

The cover for this issue is okay. I would say it doesn't necessarily match what goes on in the story, but rather highlights the main event. It shows the character that will eventually become Doomsday plowing through a few walls while thick cables and wires latch onto him from behind, as if breaking free of them. And, that's it. I think a better cover would have had that as well as somehow incorporated Superman taking down the two underground factions--since that's probably the bigger story here--but I'll forgive it as the cover is meant to hype fans up for what is coming. They're really not trying to hide that Doomsday is on the way, though. I mean, it's as unavoidable as someone banging really hard on a door.



Part of me wants to hate this little image because it goes on for four freaking pages and it's nothing but "(adverb)...Doomsday is coming!" But, it also totally gets the ready hyped for Doomsday. Though I do wonder how Doomsday, who has unimaginable strength that can only be compared, obviously, to Superman, is having a problem busting through a metal door. As we see later in this issue, Superman has no problem punching through a giant metal train, so, Doomsday really needs to hit the gym up.

Or, not, as on the next page he manages to jump through God knows how many layers of Earth and spring out of it. Guess he was just stretching his arms, then?

Meanwhile, in Metropolis!

A young boy named Keith, whose mother is missing, boys glow in the dark paint and plans to use it to help Superman track down the Underworlders, who apparently have kidnapped his mother. The Underworlders, preoccupied by trying to look exactly like something out of a "Fantastic Four" comic book, are simultaneously trying to sap the city of all its electricity so they can take it over.

Keith, meanwhile, writes a note to Lois Lane to give to Superman because everyone knows that Lois is Superman's number one girl. But when we see Lois and Clark together, we clearly assume there's just no way Superman would be Clark Kent. Those glasses are too concealing, indeed!

I also love the typical 90s attitude Keith has. "If I'm going somewhere tough, I need a bandanna!" He doesn't say it, but, it's pretty much written all over the page when he puts on the bandanna. Though for being just a kid, he acts pretty darn smart as he uses his glow-in-the-dark paint to create arrows pointing him the way back home once he rescues his mother, who he thinks is trapped down there. Smart move kid. Except it would also point any bad guy in the same direction you're walking. Nice.

Lois gets the note and, rather than wait around for Clark to come back, decides to type him up a note on his computer and then leaves. Because she's clearly equipped to handle something that was written specifically for Superman. If we needed you Lois, we'd put you on the note. Keith has the bandanna in this relationship, listen to the bandanna!

A brief scene of Doomsday shows him crushing a little birdy and laughing about it. Neato.

Superman arrives and is about to read the note when all the power cuts out. Gasp! :O It's not like the city has emergency generators lying around! WE'RE ALL DOOM(SDAY)ED!

The Underworlders celebrate their victory because apparently now the city is entirely helpless and they'll be able to take it over. If only Metropolis had a super-hero in it. That would help.

Lois manages to get into the place--rather impressively, showing off some pretty good moves on the way in--but is quickly captured by Clawster, one of the Underworlders, as well as Charlie, some guy from the soup kitchen. Not the soup kitchen!

They decide to kidnap Lois after letting her know about the big secret weapon they have stored up, called the War Machine.

No, not that War Machine!

Keith, watching in what has to be one of the most impossible ways by sitting atop various pipes while NOBODY notices him, figures out that his mother isn't down there at all, but now he has to go and save Lois with Superman's help!

Back with Doomsday, he punches a tree and we see that he's been plowing through several trees on his walk through the forest. No, no, Doomsday buddy. You examine the trees, not exterminate the trees. There's a difference, however slight it may be.

So, Keith follows his arrows and manages to get outside, then uses his fluorescent paint to create Superman's symbol on a basketball court.  Through plot convenience, either that or Superman was really waiting around for someone to spray paint his symbol somewhere in Metropolis, Superman arrives almost instantly where Keith tells him about the Underworlders and Warworlders.

We get our first two-page spread that is use d effectively to show the great shape of the War Machine as well as the large amount of people both groups have acquired to attack Metropolis. To be fair, it is a father menacing sight, but it's all kind of whittled down when you think about how badly Superman is going to pound these guys any second now. Also: how would nobody in Metropolis notice that right beneath their city there is a giant drill plowing through ground. And how is Metropolis still standing? I feel like most of those skyscrapers would lose a lot of its footing with its foundation being cut off quite substantially.

Before any of those questions can be answered, Superman arrives and pushes the war machine away, riding it up into the ground and making more of it collapse overhead. Ah, Superman. Ever the cautious one. What's next, leading a psychotic alien general into the heart of the city that would make it look like a missile landed there? HA! Preposterous.

In a rather Looney Tunes style fashion, Superman takes down Clawster by shoving a grenade in his mouth, then goes after the other goons, easily dodging all of their attacks and completely overpowering them, despite many of them having heightened abilities because they're monsters. Before one can get away, Superman asks where Lois is, threatening to pretty much bury him alive up to his neck to find out. Well, Superman, that'd be great if there weren't a whole freaking army of other dudes behind you!

Back with Doomsday, he manages to pretty much overturn a bridge. Great, he's trying to copy X-Men: Last Stand. Either that or it's leg day. Can't skip leg day.

Superman manages to find Lois, who is apparently just fine, and kicks Superman in the butt for almost punching dear old Charlie. Apparently Charlie was the one who wrote the note earlier for Lois--my bad, but, the book definitely made it look like it was Keith who wrote it?--and we find out that Charlie has actually been an informant this whole time. So he was faking earlier. Maybe even about *gasp* the soup kitchen.

Thus, everything ends all Jolly Rancher as Charlie decides to remain in the underground permanently as the Daily Planet's underground eyes and ears while he helps sort out the mess with all the monsters, and Superman leaves carrying Lois back to Metropolis. Given what we'll see later, it would be much safer to leave her there.

Our comic comes to a close with our good buddy Doomsday not looking before he crosses the street, which results in a truck getting blown up. See kids? Always look both ways or something will explode. Superman comic books have taught us something today indeed.

And with all of this destruction, all of this mayhem, ALL OF THE TRAUMA GOING ON, there is only one team we can call on:


Er, crap, I mean, the Justice League! Yeah, the Justice League, with Booster Gold and our favorite Green Lantern of all time, Guy Freaking Gardner! :D Oh, boy...

As I said earlier, this comic is alright. It's got nothing amazing about it and the only special parts are the ones where Doomsday basically shows off to us by crushing birds, committing acts of deforestation, flipping bridges like he flips tables, and not looking both ways. If we've learned anything today, it's that Superman is going to have a lot of petty crimes against this man to deal with.

But the story was still fun with Superman, it was cool to see Keith be a smart kid as well as see Lois have athletic ability that makes me wonder where she has the time to get that kind of athleticism. The art was great, the writing fun, and overall, it's a good time that sets us up for many more fun times with our new best petty criminal, Doomsday!

Next time, though, we're going to take a look at a Marvel book because why not, it's February and I was gonna review "Spider-Gwen #1" but it comes out a week later. Gah. Comics.

If you wanna stay up to date on when I post, be sure to follow me on Twitter @seanovan13. Thanks for reading!

Also, I'm doing daily reviews of the anime Sword Art Online II over on my other blog so you should totally go check it out. Go go go!

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