Monday, August 7, 2023

Review: Steelworks #3

Steelworks #3 came out last week and remains an unexpected delight in my reading pile. I have admitted in the past that I thought Michael Dorn as a comic writer was a stunt. But dang, he is killing it on this book, respectful of DC history while carving a new path for Steel. 

One of the underlying plots here is John Henry Irons trying to make Metropolis a safe city through technology. He wants to shed himself of his armor. He wants to make the super-family superfluous in Metropolis. And he wants to bring free energy to the wall. But at times he sounds almost like a fanatic. Those aims could veer into Luthor-ville. 

What I find interesting is that each issue seems to show that Irons probably isn't going to get there. On this world, it'll be hard to be completely safe. It'll be hard to be completely magnanimous. Steel is the straw that stirs the drink of this book. But the super-family, especially Natasha, are around to help.

I find this book a very interesting read. It is dense and heady. But Dorn knows he needs to put action in the story to keep it moving. It's working.

The art is again mixed by Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes. There is a polished feel to the pages. They certainly know their way around the super-family. 

On to the book.

Last issue, Amertek's Mr. Walker again sent his agent The Silver Mist to attack Steelworks. Natasha, angry at her uncle's new attitude went to face the Mist alone.

Natasha is put down pretty quickly. But when the Mist tries to copy her armor's code, her defense mechanisms kick in. And do they ever, sending out a massive concussive blast, that blows through Steelworks and even the nearby neighborhoods.

There's a lot to like here. I like that Natasha has a robust defense mechanism in her armor. I love the artwork, showing that this is probably more than she intended given the look of pain on her face.

Steel zips in to save her. But he can't be everywhere.

It is the super-family who needs to tend to the aftermath in Metropolis. 

Remember, Steel thinks Metropolis doesn't need the super-family. Will he recognize how many times they have had to swoop in to save the day here?

Basri really draws a sharp looking super-family.

Then we get some comic book science. 

The Mist not only disrupts technology, he alters it in some way. When he attacked Steelworks the first times the guns wetn haywire. When he attacked Natasha here, she briefly became some sort of amalgam with the suit.

This is a lot to chew over if you consider this the 'Chekov's mutating tech' moment in act 2. What could this mean?

Maybe the zero-energy from Warworld gets mutated and is unusable, an easy way to keep Metropolis semi-grounded in the real world.

Maybe Steel gets mutated into his armor, being one with it and being able to truly become Steel rather than having to don armor. It would be pretty ironic given his desire to stop wearing it.

Hmmm ...

At least Irons understands what zero-point energy will do to the world. Everything will be different. From economics to politics, free energy will rewrite the world. Of course, people will want to weaponize it ... or destroy it ... or use it for their own gains. What should Irons do?

He asks Superman for advice. But perhaps even Superman doesn't know what to do.

I love this non-answer by Supes which Steel knows means Superman is chicken. 

This was my favorite moment in the book. 

The zero-energy announcement is at the Superman Day event celebrating Superman's fight with Doomsday. Everyone is there!

I think Jimmy would have a little more tact that to make a dying joke at this event. But I suppose it is a carnival atmosphere.

Cat Grant wants nothing to do with it. I'm with her for once.

Guess what happens.

The event is attacked when Irons unveils the energy source.

Once again, the Supers that he thinks aren't needed need to show up and save the innocent.

I know Irons hasn't implemented his defense system yet but maybe this shows him that he might be wrong about this one. 

And then a decent mystery.

We know the Mist and Amertek's technology can disrupt other machines.

But can it alter humans?

Conner unleashes an ungodly blast of heat vision. He didn't want to do this.

And then Lana starts to re-manifest her Superwoman powers.

Hmmm ...

I don't know why Mr. Walker would want this. Maybe just to bring chaos?

But seeing Lana back in the Superwoman outfit, crackling with energy? That made me smile.

And now we have a couple of mysteries to unravel. A couple of foreshadows to puzzle. 

This is a very good read for Superman fans and for Steel fans. I'm so happy this is on the shelves. 

I hope this is selling well.

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

Great review, this book is proving a real treat. My favourite moment this time was the Jimmy and Cat Show, get our red-headed reporter on TV regularly, he was a hoot. Maybe Mr Action could even return.

I wonder why Superwoman is back. I suppose it’s the old comics bit of energy powers never really leaving a person. I bet Lana quickly rallies and fights at Steel’s side.

I do share your worries about Steel and this free energy business. Is what he’s doing even legal? A new power source, freely integrated without anyone being asked… who knows what damage it can do. John’s hoping to give the world a nice surprise but you surely cannot do something like this off your own back.

Gosh, Vicente Cifuentes, I don’t think I’ve seen his work at DC since Rebirth kicked in. It’s nice to have him back.