Monday, 26 July 2010

Legends of the DC Universe #6

Fear of God

Story: Kelley Puckett
Layouts: Dave Taylor
Finishes: Kevin Nowlan
Letters: Willie Schubert
Colors: Kevin Nowlan
Separations: Dicicham (Digital Chameleon)
Edits: Darren Vincenzo and Scott Peterson
Cover Artist: Christopher Moeller
Cover Date: July 1998
Release Date: 13/05/1998

Robin takes out a minor gang of thugs in Gotham City. Finishing the fight, he sees the Bat Signal in the sky, and goes to answer the call. Atop the Police HQ, Robin is surprised to discover that he has been summoned by Superman, who had been looking for the out-of-town Batman. Superman has tracked a gang who had stolen experimental EM pulse weaponry from STAR Labs into Gotham, and, respecting Batman's wishes, is asking for permission to finish the pursuit. Robin agrees.

Superman gives Robin a lift to the gang's hideout, flying him above the clouds. Poised outside, Superman uses his x-ray vision to identify the crooks' positions and formulate a plan with Robin. The two go into action, and during the fight the heroes realise that the EM guns are active. Superman absorbs the blasts, becoming temporarily charged and magnetised, easily disarming the gang and finishing the fight. As Superman shakes hands with Robin, he accidentally shocks him. He departs, leaving Robin awed and gently afraid.

Wow, that was fast. I think this might be my shortest review yet. So, this is a nice, little story featuring the first meeting between Superman and the first Robin. There's some nice work involving flashbacks to set up Robin's admiration of the hero, although the payoff to that does come off a a little trite, with Robin getting an electric shock and being a little cold to Superman after their fight.

But we're not here to talk about Robin, we're here to look at Superman. As far as the Man of Steel is concerned, he has his working relationship with Batman fairly well in hand at this point. He asks permission to work in Gotham, not because he needs to, but out of respect for his fellow hero. And with Batman out of town, that respect extends to Robin. Superman seems to enjoy himself in Gotham for possibly the first time. Maybe it's the lack of complications that arise from working alongside Batman, the fact that he know he completely outpowers the criminals, or that he's working alongside a young hero for possibly the first time, but Superman smiles a lot more in this issue than we've seen so far in his interactions with Batman, and he definately enjoys taking Robin for a ride above the clouds of Gotham.

I really like Dave Taylor's art here. He uses shadow wonderfully to portay the darker side of Gotham, without making the art or his renditions of Robin and Superman grim and gritty. There's a great flow and pace to his action scenes, but it's the quiet moments that really stand out, such as the aforementioned flight, or the whistful moment where Superman contemplates working with a partner. In these moments, the amount of detail on Superman's face really stands out. It's a shame that Taylor never got a chance to continue drawing Superman.

Superman and Robin isn't really a pairing that normally holds much weight in the DCU. This issue shows how a simple, art-led story can really make this pairing work, unlike the recent team-up in Superman #700.

The Geeky Bits: Kelley Puckett is best known as the creator of the Cassandra Cain incarnation of Batgirl, as well as for his work on the various Batman titles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His most recent Superman work was as the final writer on Supergirl before Sterling Gates arrived, the Way Of The World story arc.

The inclusion of the Dick Grayson Robin is always a continuity nightmare for projects such as this one. In Superman's timeline, we're approximately five years into his career. Batman started his career not long after Superman's first appearance, and in these five years has managed to fit in all of his Year One stories, his solo pre-Robin stories, the majority of his adventures from Legends of the Dark Knight, as well as taking Robin under his wing and training him up so that he can operate solo in the Caped Crusader's absence. If we're being really pedantic (and why shouldn't we?), the training of Robin has only occured in the months following World's Finest #2, where Batman was very much a solo operative. We'll be returning to the sticky problem of Dick Grayson when Superman meets the Teen Titans in Action Comics #584, which occurs after Robin will have transitioned to Nightwing...

Next on World of Superman: It's an official Man of Steel tie-in, published only 12 years later! Written and drawn by John Byrne, featuring the first time that Superman officially meets the inhabitants of New Genesis... it's Jack Kirby's Fourth World #20!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

JLA: Generations #2

OK, so it's been a bit longer than expected to get this post up. Apologies to omike from the Superman Comicboards who got a promise that a post would be up on Sunday and then one didn't appear. It's not been the greatest week in the world for me, as I've been dealing with having a very ill girlfriend a very long way away from me. Blogging hasn't been something I've been up to doing the past few nights, but I'm back, the blog is back, and we've got us some pseudo-Silver-Age JLA to take a look at.


Writer: John Ostrander
Penciller: Val Semeiks
Inker: Prentis Rollins
Colorist: Jon Kalisz
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Assistant Editor: Steve Wacker
Editor: Dan Raspler
Cover Artists: Val Semeiks, Prentis Rollins, John Kalisz
Cover Date: August 2001

Fire-Eye, a power-vision-wielding dinosaur from a different time, is attacking Gotham City harbour. The JLA move in to attack, unknowingly observed by Batman. Their assault initially seems to work, impressing Batman with their tactics and teamwork, but Fire-Eye is able to shrug off their attacks and continue his attack. Batman approaches Green Arrow and Black Canary, giving them an alternative battle plan. Despite Green Arrow's resistance, the JLA use Batman's plan, forcing Fire-Eye back to the portal that he appeared from, whilst Batman himself works to protect the bystanders from collateral damage. Fire-Eye refuses to enter the portal, but the sudden arrival of Superman tips the battle in favour the JLA, and a quick blast of heat vision through the portal destroys the apparatus maintaining it. In the aftermath, Superman is pressed by a reporter to join the JLA, a request that Superman finally agrees to. Superman and other members of the League take off, whilst Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow and Black Canary help to clear up after the battle. Flash takes umbrage at the brusque nature of Batman's intervention, whilst Arrow and Canary grow closer and reveal their identities to each other.

The next morning, Bruce Waynes is quizzed by Alfred as to why he hasn't joined the JLA despite several requests to. He points out that the League could offer him something he has very little of - friends. Batman then heads out on patrol, meeting Commisioner Gordon at a zoo, where the apes have been broken out of their cages and several security guards have been killed. Batman recognises a photo of the perptrator as Gorilla Grodd, and on his return to the batcave realises that every zoo on the east coast has been hit.

Barry Allen stops by for lunch with Hal Jordan, complaining about Superman's lack of trust in his team-mates, as evidenced by his holding back in a recent Superman/Flash race for charity. Clark Kent meanwhile attends the funeral of a schoolfriend, who had been killed whilst working as a policeman. Affected by his friend's death, he vows to never let a similar event happen again.

A few nights later, Batman spies on a gather of Grodd's forces, and manages to attach a tracer to one of the gorillas. The next day, Grodd attacks Washington DC, rounding up the government and caging them in zoos, and proclaiming that America belongs to him. The Atom infiltrates the Pentagon, but finds the gorillas there incapacitated by Batman. On Batman's instructions, Atom shrinks down into the cybernetic enhancements used by the gorillas, and discovers that they help Grodd maintain control. Batman liases with the JLA, deterring them from a direct assault and setting them up to neutralise the gorilla army. However, the plans go awry when Superman arrives, ignores J'onn's telepathic warning, and directly attacks Grodd.

Grodd telepathically makes Superman imagine that he has kryptonite, forcing Martian Manhunter and Aquaman to step in. Grodd makes Aquaman think that he is dehydrating, and attempts to disable J'onn by forcing him to believe that he is surrounded by fire. As the two telepaths face off, Atom finally discovers how to disable the cybernetics, and does so, causing the gorillas to revert to a pacifist state and the resulting feedback to break Grodd's telepathic concentration. The JLA makes quick work of Grodd.

In the aftermath, Superman is berated by Batman for not trusting the JLA and for charging in to directly confront Grodd, putting the League at risk. Batman explains that whilst he is short and abrupt, he has total respect for the capabilities of the League. Superman reflects on what has happened, and decides to step down from being a full member, reverting to his honorary membership. Before doing so, he initiates a vote to accept Batman into the JLA, a vote that passes, and Batman agrees to membership.

Back in Wayne Manor, Bruce smiles as he realises that he belongs in a group.

One of the interesting things about doing this blog is the way I can just dip into a limited series for an issue or two then come away from it having only experienced one chapter of an overall story. Sure, there are times when it's going to be frustrating to try and follow the story of the series, but when the series is structured like this, then we get a lovely done-in-one that can stand apart from the other 6 issues of this series. JLA: Incarnations was a 2001 JLA spin-off where each issue looked at a different era of the JLA, from their formation all the way to the (then-current) Morrison-style Big Seven era, stopping off in the Satellite era and the JLI along the way. It was a fairly well received series at the time, although not well enough to receive a trade paperback.

I like this issue, despite it's diminished focus on the JLA. It's basically the JLA meets Superman and Batman, whilst also doing something quite common from this era in Superman's life, a compare-comparison between the two heroes that for once presents Superman in a less-positive light, making a virtue out of the things that are normally negative points for Batman. The structure is quite clear. The JLA have a fight, Batman and Superman turn up, the JLA loves Superman but is not happy with Batman. Then there's a bit of downtime, before the JLA have to fight again. Batman and Superman turn up, but this time Batman gets their respect whilst Superman realises that he's not as much of a team-player as he thought. Superman actually gets a little bit of a short shrift here. His first intrusion into the story is well reasoned, using his abilities and intelligence to realise the missing piece of the puzzle that allow him to assist the JLA in defeating Fire-Eye. His second is basically the same, charging at Grodd, but this time not using his abilities and intelligence to work out what is going on, resulting in a disruption to Batman's plans and placing two fellow Leaguers in danger. There is a moment that attempts to explain this change, the scene at Clark's friend's funeral, but it requires a leap in reasoning to apply Clark's thoughts from the funeral to Superman's unusual single-mindedness on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Batman is a far more rounded and human character than we've seen so far in this blog. We've yet to see him come out of his shell in World's Finest, and The Man of Steel  is very much about presenting Batman as a reluctant ally to Superman. Here, the animosity that characterises their early interactions is still present, but wether softened by his years in the cowl, or just a shift in focus in the writing, Batman is now taking time to stand up for himself and his methods with his peers, which allows them to see beyond the brusqueness and superiority. Even Superman sees this, nominating Batman for membership, something he wouldn't have done after their first meeting.

I know I didn't enjoy Val Semeiks' art in ULTRA Humanite, but here it comes across a lot stronger. Watching his rendition of the JLA in action against Fire-Eye is a real joy. I like the little details, such as the 5 o'clock shadow on Green Arrow's face when he is confronted by angry Gotham residents hours after the fight. Olly looks genuinely exhausted in this scene, his face is longer and more drawn than usual, and this shines through even when he's flirting with Black Canary. Semeiks' Grodd is also well portrayed. Of late, Grodd has tended to be a behind the scenes opponent, using his telepathic powers over his physical prowess (I think the last time I read Grodd as a physical opponent was JLA Classified #1-3), but here he is physically impressive, and on every panel is portrayed as the kind of villain who could easily go toe-to-toe with Superman.

The Geeky Bits: John Ostrander is one of the most respected writers in modern comics history. He is best known for his five-year run on Suicide Squad, which has been thematically revived in the last few years, with contributions from Ostrander, in the Gail Simone-written Secret Six. Although Ostrander has never worked on the core Superman titles, he wrote the subsidiary series The Kents, some issues of which I looked at here.

This is, as far as I can tell, Fire-Eye's only DCU appearance. A few searches have a character called Fire-Eye in Elfquest #1-2 from the 1996 run, which would work with the idea that Fire-Eye is not from our time or reality. A fire-eye is a species of small bird noted for having red rings around the eyes.

This is one of the first times that Green Arrow reveals his identity to Black Canary. I honestly don't know when this first happened in comics, so if anyone knows this, please throw it out in the comments!

As far as post-Crisis continuity is concerned, this is the only time that Superman is an official member of the JLA until the Big Seven era. This hasn't stopped him from being a reserve member, and helping out the team on multiple occasions. This status would get changed in the aftermath of Infinite Crisis, where Superman would revert to being a founder member of the League.

Next on World of Superman: Batman's got a new companion, and it's time for him to meet the Man of Steel. It's Legends of the DCU #6!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The World of Podcasts, part deux

So, despite some pretty awesome promotion across the internet recently, posts have kind of dried up here. Rest assured, faithful reader, for I have not abandoned this project. Far from it - the next installment, featuring JLA Incarnations #2 by John Ostrander and Val Semeiks is almost ready to go.

It's just that I've been a little distracted by Spider-Man over the past week. Last weekend I received an invite from a good friend of this blog, Jon M. Wilson, to be a guest host on Teenage Wasteland: An Ultimate Spider-Man Podcast. I said yes, and then spent the next few nights reading, re-reading, recapping, note-taking. re-compressing and rhyming my way through the Hobgoblin storyarc. We recorded last night, a monster four hour session covering the entire arc and the following issue, Dumped, and you'll be able to hear the fruits of our labour in a few weeks, once they've removed the babbling, swearing, dribbling, and general unbroadcastable craziness from the show.

Having completed that, I vowed to sit down tonight after dinner and finish up the post, scan in some artwork (something I've been slacking on recently), and get the post up. But the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.

(Skip to four minutes in to find out more about that weird saying)

So, in five hours time, I'm going to be stepping in as a last minute replacement for the absolutely awesome Amazing Spider-Man Classics, which gives me 5 comics to reread and take notes on. I'll be recording from about 2am to 6am UK time, which means that by the end of it, I'll either be insane from the lack of sleep, or my bladder, stuffed to the brim with strong coffee, will have handed in it's notice and be clearing out it's desk.

So, Superman gets delayed by another day. But fear not, a new post will appear very soon, and something approaching a reasonable schedule shall be resumed.



Up, up, and away!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Legends of the DC Universe #3

A good week for friends helping out with this blog continues. Jon M. Wilson, who already spent part of an earlier podcast mentioning the blog, read out two of my e-mails, along with associated plugs for this blog at the start of episode 12 of Amazing Spider-Man Classics. And then, in a moment of utter awesomeness, I have just tuned into episode 58 of From Crisis To Crisis, to hear both Mike and Jeffrey give a very welcoming thumbs up to the blog. Many thanks to my friends out there, I hope my little back-links can go a little way to repaying your kindness.

And now, on with the show!

ULTRA Humanite Part III: Mad Scientist

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Val Semeiks
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Assistant: Maureen McTigue
Mad Scientist: Joey Calvieri
Cover Painting: Glen Orbik
Cover Date: April 1998

Two days before the LexCorp Tower opening, and thigns are still going poorly in Metropolis, with repeated LexCorp catastrophes, attacks by Madness, and technological thefts. Meeting with Drake, Superman discovers that he is now considering actress Dolores Winters as a viable host for the ULTRA Humanite. Whilst they talk, Luthor has one of his goons execute Merrit, the other original suspect.

That night, Superman takes Winters from her apartment and takes her to Lois, who will look after her. Superman isn't so sure about Winters being the ULTRA Humanite, and needs to get hold of Madness to question him about the timing of his attacks. But in order to do so, he's going to have to ask a favour.

Later on, as a blimp losees height and threatens to crash into Metropolis, Superman tackles Madness. He charges through the crowd of temporary insane citizens, careful not to hurt them and grabs the villain, lifting him into the sky. Superman is able to focus his madness into anger, intimidating Madness into agreeing to talk. As they fly away, Superman reveals that he had contacted Blue Beetle, who has saved the blimp from crashing. Superman and Madness arrive at the dockside hideout of the ULTRA Humanite, containing the mind-swapping machine. Superman accesses the computer and sees a list of people that Wilde had transferred his mind into, and realises who the ULTRA Humanite currently is.

Lois is driving through Metropolis with Winters, whilst under attack from LexCorp City Security, who Luthor has ordered to kill the other ULTRA suspect. Superman contacts her mobile, telling her to get to the LexCorp Tower opening ceremony. She pulls up just as Luthor is about to declare the tower open, and City Security back off, unwilling to make a direct public attack. Luthor demands to know what is happening, and Superman explains that the stolen tech had been installed into the tower to allow it to spread Wilde's soul throughout Metropolis at the moment of the opening. Superman flies to the top of the tower, destroying the transmitter and confronting the ULTRA Humanite - Drake.

Drake/Wilde is wearing a new prototype of the City Security armor, and the two fight for a while, Drake attempting to distract Superman enough that his backup plan to destroy the tower will succeed. Superman is able to direct the fight so that it destroys the supports of the LexCorp Tower, causing it to collapse inwards on itself. Drake/Wilde disappears in the confusion. Luthor is angry at Superman for destroying his dream, and as Superman leaves to try and find Drake/Wilde, he vows to build a new tower to remind everyone in Metropolis that the city belongs to Lex Luthor.

At the hideout, Superman finds Drake's body in the ULTRA machine. The computer records have been wiped, meaning that Wilde could be in any body. Alone in the night, the ULTRA Humanite plots his revenge against both Luthor and Superman.

 Following the rushed plotting and exposition of the last issue, the final part of ULTRA Humanite gives its story time to breathe, slowing things down without breaking the tension or ruining the pace. Stakes are raised, the ticking clock ticks away, but we are never rushed through the story. This is instantly an improvement, and whilst this issue still doesn't quite do it for me, or live up to the standards of the first in this arc, it makes for a much more pleasurable read.

I'm not a fan of this reinvation of the Ultra Humanite, but the paranoia over the identity of the ULTRA works well here, with red herrings being thrown at us with more credibility than in the second issue. I particularly like Dolores Winters as the most notable herring. Unless she has a fairly sever off-panel haircut, the sillhouette at the end of the story clearly isn't her, proving that whilst Robinson is happy to tip his hat to continuity, he doesn't feel the need to be beholden to it. Admittedly, killing off the two most notable suspects at the end of the last issue and the start of this one does make for a whodunnit with only one other main suspect, and the reveal of Drake as ULTRA is a little inevitable. The final battle is a little anticlimactic - Drake/Wilde/ULTRA turns up in a bigger battle suit that we've seen so far, and Superman smacks him into a building.

One nice little continuity touch is the cameo appearance from Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle. It's a small moment, but one that represents Superman's growing influence in the DCU, as well a nice bit of humility for the Big Blue - he knows he can't apprehend Madness by himself, and he's not afraid to ask for a favour. And talking of Madness... I rather like this villain and his MO, and especially the way that Superman overcomes his 'madness aura' by focusing his own personal madness into righteous anger and scaring the pants off the villain. I find it a shame that Madness has not reappeared since this series (based on the fact that there is quite literally no information that I can find on the internet, even at the normally very reliable DC Database). The idea of a villain that could never hope to go toe-to-toe with Superman but is able to fight him with chaos is an attractive one for me, and it's a pity that he's a one-shot villain.

Although Luthor has not muc on-panel presence, his villainous side seeps through the issue, from the opening page where he has an ULTRA suspect executed in his office through to his final vow to rebuild the tower as a testament to his power over the city. This is old-school-modern-era Lex (a classification of my own design, true old-school Lex is equivalent to new-school Lex, being pimped out in battlesuits and more of a mad scientist), a public smile but a private snarl.

I've avoided talking about the artwork across this series so far. There's a very simple reason for this - I have no feeling regarding the artwork at all. It does the job, tells the story, is pleasing to the eye, but very few images stand out. The most notable for me is the splash page of the Blue Beetle saving the blimp from crashing, mainly for the nice framing thaat simultaneously puts the focus directly on the Beetle whilst making him just about the smallest thing on the page. I do think that part of ambiguity towards the art comes from the fact that Glen Orbik's covers for these three issues have been absolutely superb. Nowadays, it's rare to see non-Alex Ross painted covers, so for me, these covers really stand out. There's a wonderful grace to the posing of Superman, especially in the cover to this issue, and his representations of the three classic descriptions of Superman's powers - Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound - make for a wonderful tryptich of covers.

The Geeky Bits: As far as I can tell, this 'reboot' of the Ultra Humanite never troubled the DC Universe again. Perhaps another brain jump went wrong and the consciousness of Professor Wilde dissipated into nothingness. Perhaps his surrogate body ate some dodgy chicken and died of food poisoning. We'll never know.

The real Ultra Humanite would keep a fairly low profile during the post-Crisis era. His origin was retconned so that he was a nemesis of the original Justice Society and other heroes from that era. His most notable 'current' appearance before Infinite Crisis was in the JSA story Stealing Thunder, where he occupied the body of Johnny Thunder, enslaved the Thunderbolt, and ruled the Earth for about five issues before he was defeated. Post-Infinite Crisis, he appeared in the Power Girl series.

ULTRA Humanite has never been collected.

Next Time on World of Superman: Superman finally joins the JLA.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Legends of the DC Universe #2

Just before we dive into today's review, a shoutout to Jon M. Wilson and Zach Henderson over at Teenage Wasteland: A Ultimate Spider-Man Podcast, who spent a bit of time at the start of their most recent episode giving some lovin' to this blog. Many thanks for the shoutout guys, and keep up the great work!

ULTRA Humanite Part II: Mad Science

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Val Semeiks
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Assitant: Maureen McTigue
Editor: Joey Calvieri
Cover Artist: Glen Orbik
Cover Date: March 1998

It's several months after the last issue. Luthor Towers is days away from completion, but the upcoming celebrations are marred by a series of setbacks to LexCorp. Software and equipment failures have resulted in huge losses for Luthor, and all the evidence points to internal sabotage, although Lex's investigations have failed to reveal the culprit. The latest catastrophe involves a construction droid going rogue, only to be taken down by Superman. At the same moment, Madness strikes the First Metropolis Bank, causing chaos and making off with a large amount of money.

Meeting up with Lois after the events, Superman learns that LexCorp had provided the software for the construction droid, and that Madness has struck again, following his trend of striking at the exact moment that a crisis strikes LexCorp. Also at the same time, a theft of high tech equipment takes place. Superman then meets up with the LexCorp City Security Commander Drake who gives him information about the attacks on LexCorp. Two suspects have been identified, Senior VP Edward Carlisle, and Junior VP Thomas Hewett, but Drake is afraid to act in case he has it wrong. Their conversation is interrupted when an urgent call comes through for Superman - Lois is in trouble.

Lois is being attacked in her apartment by two of Luthor's suited goons who are searching for the photograph given to her by Professor Wilde before he died. Superman arrives and takes care of them. Drake arrives on the scene, revealing that the order to attack Lois had been sent by the saboteur, and that Luthor had no knowledge of the photograph. Superman examines the photo with his microscopic vision, discovering a message in a microdot. The message details Wilde's research into a bioelectric field generate by all human beings, which he was able to monitor via a device he called ULTRA. The possible benefits of his research included a cure of Parkinsons, which was why LexCorp became interested. The message continues to explain that Wilde discovered that he could use his research to move the field from one body to another, effectively switching minds between bodies. They realise that Wilde survived the explosion and is the mystery saboteur. Their deliberations are cut short by a LexCorp-built bullet train running wild, which Superman heads off to save. At the same time, Madness strikes, and more tech is stolen.

After the crises, Drake confronts Edward Carlisle, revealing him to be Wilde, the ULTRA Humanite. As Superman and Lois arrive, they discover Carlisle dead having blown his brains out.

The middle chapter of the ULTRA Humanite story feels is a very different beast to the first part. The industrial sabotage plotline that drives the majority of the issue is completely new, and the Professor Wilde plot, so prominent in the first, is all but forgotten about until the latter half of the story. Madness, who had a great introduction in the first issue, is relegated to a couple of panels, his presence reduced to one element of the three-pronged attacks that occur rather than as a menace in his own right.

I found this issue very unsatisfying, due to the amount of information that is dumped upon the reader. There is a lot going on in this issue, and a gap of several months between this issue and the last only serves to highlight how much we have to be told rather than shown. From Lois' 'narration', which feels more of an extraneous narrative device than normal, through to the incredibly dense and awkward 'Superman reads the plot from some text in a microdot in a photo' scene that sets up the entirety of what this story is about, the reader is inundated with plot information that does not flow naturally from the story itself. The scene with the photograph is torturous to read and understand, and also features one of my pet hates when it comes to reinventing characters and concepts in comics and science-fiction - taking an established name and revealing it to be an acronym, in this case ULTRA.

If anything, this story is too condensed, and should have been spread across two issues. We could have seen things go wrong for LexCorp, whilst hints of the posession strand of the story come to the surface. Madness could have played a much stronger role. We are presented with a whodunnit in terms of the industrial sabotage plot, but with no insight into the characters of the two chief suspects, they might as well be anybody. In fact, the only difference between the two suspects is that one is a Senior VP and the other one is a regular VP. There may be a moustache involved. The cliffhanger to the issue is supposed to shock us that the main suspect has either comitted suicide or been murdered by Drake, but the climax is rushed, with Superman and Lois quite literally appearing out of nowhere, ruining the suspense.

The Geeky Bits: Val Semeiks makes a rare Superman pencilling appearance in this arc. Outside of LotDCU, Semeiks pencilled the 1999 Lex Luthor miniseries, and 1998's Adventures of Superman #557, as well as Grant Morrison's first DC crossover, DC One Million. Outside of Superman, Semeiks is best known for lengthy runs on Lobo and The Demon, paired with Alan Grant as writer.

Glen Orbik is an occasional cover artist for comics, graphic novels, and novels.

Next on World of Superman: We wrap up our coverage of the ULTRA Humanite arc, before putting it all behind us.