While Grant Morrison has Superman's story moving along at a rocket pace, Sholly Fisch has the plum job of filling in the quieter moments of the cast's lives. And it is in these slower moments that Fisch is adding great depth to the re-invention of these classic characters. So we have seen a loving young Kent couple, and a Clark leaving his youth behind him. And we are lucky to have him introducing us to Steel.
I have to say I appreciate these stories greatly. After the speed of Morrison's stories, Fisch's give me the chance to take a breath and gain an appreciation of the periphery of this mythos.
Brad Walker again handles art on a Steel feature and his tight pencil renditions works great, being detailed and full.
Even the title 'Meanwhile' works well. Because Superman is fighting up in space ... meanwhile Steel is trying to keep the bottled Metropolis safe.
Fisch gives us an intelligent and determined Steel, diligently working to stop disaster after disaster while the city crumbles and settles.
But he is also still young and inexperienced. He realizes quickly he needs a helmet.
The feel of the early scenes of this story is really accentuated by the tilted and irregular panels here. It really adds some kineticism to the action. You 'feel' Steel careening around, you sense that things are shaking apart. It adds a sense of instability. And when art and story come together, things click.
And I love Steel's inner monologue. He simply won't give up. And he uses physics to save people!
I also love how some of the classic Superman sayings are being snuck into the stories here. First we had Jimmy's 'look up in the sky'. Here we have Steel lamenting that he can't change to courses of mighty rivers.
The city is a mess. Steel feels he needs to be everywhere.
And suddenly he understands what it means to be Superman.
It is a small but powerful moment. Because we know he is going to continue to be a hero and strive to be like Man of Steel.
'Meanwhile' ends on an uplifting note, a sort of trademark of these back-up features. Steel sees the people of Metropolis chipping in, helping each other, each becoming a hero in their own right. This is the Metropolis that Superman inspires.
This was just a wonderful story, a sort of 'becoming' story for Steel realizing what Superman does and still striving to be like him.