Superman - The Man of Steel Volume Six
Taking place in a small town in South Carolina, the Batman is on a solo mission that lands him in a murder scene and quickly fighting against an angry mob. After outwitting his attackers he contacts Superman for assistance. The two come face to face with a mysterious girl and a town gone mad. What exactly are they up against? -summary
This sixth volume concludes the Man of Steel series, and it ends almost as strong as it began. John Byrne is on writing duties once again and this time he's flanked by Ron Frenz, Jim Starlin, and Dan Jurgens, with Marv Wolfman sitting this one out. I know of several individuals who weren't happy with Byrne's run on Superman, but when considering that most of those naysayers are heavy fans of Pre-Crisis DC, most notably the Golden Age, I think it's safe to say that they can be ignored for the most part, due to the fact they usually scoff at the slightest amount of change. These are some very solid Superman stories that work pretty well with its suspense, villains, and this time around the action isn't something to look down on. This volume collects Action Comics Annual 1, Adventures of Superman Annual 1, Superman Annual 1, Action Comics 594 - 595, Booster Gold 23, and Superman 12.
The book kicks off with a bang as Batman tries to learn the source of some grisly murders that originated in Gotham City, with people being found with their throats torn out. This lands him and Superman in deadly battle against the supernatural. This story has a really nice flow and the suspense is worked out rather well. Some folks will be able to see where it's going, but I doubt they'll be able to predict that ending or see certain parts of the plot coming. This is one of the stronger stories. Byrne goes into preacher mode in the story Tears For Titano, that follows a young chimpanzee being used as a test subject. He embarks on a form of commentary in regards to animal cruelty, pretty much stating that even for man's advancement there's no reason why animals should be abused, and treated as if they have no feelings. He also goes on to paint man as the true monsters. Although this has been done in so many other works, it's hard not to dislike the scientist and feel for the monkey who ends up in heavy battle with Superman due to his growth being altered.
Byrne doesn't forget to add the over the top action, as Superman battles against superhero Booster Gold, and the screaming evil menace Silver Banshee. He shows a little diversity here by tackling a romance tale that doesn't involve Lois Lane, and it doesn't feel the least bit ham-fisted either. Jim Starlin isn't to be overlooked with his story The Union. Starlin has always been the type to excel in the overly morbid and uneasy stories with the truly evil villains to match, let's not forget, this is the same guy who gave Marvel fans Thanos. This is a story draped heavily in suspense, and I will not reveal how it turns out; I will only add that it does have a pretty disturbing feel to it.
When compared to the last three volumes I would say this one is the most entertaining. Outside of one two parter that runs into the Booster Gold title, all of these stories are stand alone and they are very easy to get through. The pacing is one of the finer features of this book and I never felt my attention drifting. I'm not a fan of the Booster Gold character at all, and even he didn't annoy me.
The artwork is still very strong and it graces the book with some very good action panels, with Superman taking some big blows and also dishing them out. The character designs are done well with some nice figures for the females, and the facial expressions stand out. Although it's only a comic book, the terrified look on the chimpanzee still made me a little uneasy. Perhaps it's just that I have soft spot for animals.
The only flaws I can truly think of is one plot element involving Batman's assistance being left unresolved, because it's wrapped up in a later story. This is something that will probably effect serious Batman fans. And probably the lacking of well known villains other than Lex Luthor. Overall, the stories are entertaining; the fluid pacing, thought provoking elements, use of the rogue's gallery, in addition to being newbie friendly warrants this as a recommended read to comic and Superman fans alike.
- Well written stories, guest stars, well use of villains, artwork
-Romance story may not appeal to action crowd, no high profile villains
What did you think of this review?