Monday, November 6, 2023

Review: Steelworks #5

Steelworks #5 came out a couple of weeks ago, the penultimate issue of a very entertaining mini-series.

I have been pretty impressed with how celebrity writer Michael Dorn has crafted this tale. The spine of this story is John Henry Irons looking into mirror and trying to figure out who he wants to be moving forward. He is truly afraid that the Steel part of his life is taking over. Is he still Irons? I wonder how much of this is some personal experience on Dorn's part. Is he Michael Dorn? Or 'the guy who played Worf'? Or even 'Worf'? Seeing the man struggle with the super-man is interesting and has been handled well.

But Dorn has tacked on a revenge plot. Former employees in Amertek are out to ruin Irons ... and ruin Steel. This issue takes a pretty funny turn, an almost silly Bronze Age super-villain move that made me smile and somehow works. 

I don't usually have high hopes for celebrities who come in to write but Dorn has acquited himself well.

Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes remain on art and bring a fun atmosphere. I like the art here a lot, just veering to the cartoonish without crossing it. 

I'll be sad to see this end. On to the book.

Last issue, Mr. Walker, the former CEO of Amertek hell bent on ruining Steel's life, got hold of the Genesis stone.

His big plan?

To use it to power a giant robot to attack Metropolis. He has made it look like Steel to confuse the populace and implicate our hero.

That is right out of the Bronze Age. 

Let's not use the power of the stone to bring Amertek back to prominence. Or sell it to the highest bidder. Instead, let's build a giant mecha!

I loved it!

We flash back to how the grudge all started.

John Henry was unhappy with what Amertek was doing with his tech and so quit. He had an out in his contract for moral objections.

Furthermore, John is a smart guy and retained ownership of his IP. Hard to believe that Amertek would let that pass through their lawyers. But Steel leaves and takes all his inventions with him,

I do like how this shows how forward thinking John is.

When Amertek sues John, they bleed money. Without his invention, the stock drops until the place is bankrupt. Irons basically destroys the company.

But he did leave behind one thing, the early designs for the phasing tech that the Silver Mist is using. 

As for the Silver Mist, we get his back story, one far more tragic.

Kerry's wife is ill. He has lost his health insurance with the dissolution of Amertek. 

They cannot afford to pay her medical bills. 

The only money they can get quickly is to cash in on Kerry's life insurance.

In a attempt to kill himself so his wife can use the money, he walks into traffic.

Steel arrives to stop the oncoming truck.

So basically twice, John Henry has done something to ruin Kerry's life. His wife dies. He becomes bitter and isolated.

He becomes the Silver Mist.

I'm not always a fan of sympathetic villains. But the Mist is a nice contrast to Walker, someone evil for all the wrong reasons. 

Back at the headquarters, Irons continues to worry about who he is and who he is becoming.

He doesn't want to only be Steel. He wants a life with Lana. He wants to be himself.

This is a nice scene with Lana. Seeing these two close again .. heck seeing Lana again ... is worth the cover price alone. 

Here is where I think the 'maybe this is about being too linked to Worf' feeling reverberated the most for me.

What can a giant mecha do against an entire Superman family? 

Well, it has been shown that the Genesis rock makes the heroes powers go wonky. They all have to retreat!

I worry that this is going to be a big problem for upcoming writers. How can you hope to add an element of threat to the super-books when there are so many of them in Metropolis. I mean the 2 Phaelosian twins could probably handle 90% of the DC villains.

And if you continue to create weapons that can prove to be a threat then suddenly everyone could have a weapon to kill Superman. 

With the supers out, only one person is still around to fight the bad guy!

So nice cliffhanger to get into the final issue. And it is set up in a way that I think it can be wrapped up neatly.

My guess is the Silver Mist sees the error in his ways and comes to the help of the supers. I hope we get a wedding between Lana and Steel. And I wonder if the Superwoman powers, brought into being by the Genesis stone, end up sticking or fading away.

Hope people aren't letting this one slip by. I am really enjoying this.

Overall grade: B


PT Dilloway said...

The origin part reminds me a lot of the Hardware origin I read a few months ago that I think came out a little before the whole "Reign of the Supermen" thing where Steel got started.

Martin Gray said...

Nice review, it’s good that you’re bringing attention to this as it’s a good, solid DC comic. You’re so right about the surfeit of supers, I expect it’ll no longer be a thing when Action Comics changes writers.

Yes to more Lana, she should always be around.