Monday, December 4, 2023

Review: Steelworks #6

Steelworks #6 came out last week, the last issue of a very entertaining mini-series focusing on John Henry Irons wondering if he should change his life and rid himself of his Steel persona all while dealing with some revenge-driven people from his past.

Michael Dorn, that's right Worf from Star Trek fame, writes a fun story that has pushed John Henry forward a bit while keeping him pretty much embedded within the super-family. John is worried he is becoming Steel and losing himself. He wants to protect Metropolis making the supers superfluous. He wants to create limitless energy. And he wants to marry Lana. In the end, he realizes that perhaps he doesn't need to change things so dramatically. 

But to get there, he needs to fight the former CEO or Amertek. While all the character stuff about Steel is played seriously, Dorn gives me something I realize now that I needed ... an old school villain. Mr. Walker could walk away with the zero energy generator. Instead he loses his mind, screaming insanity, and being hell bent on revenge with a giant mecha. Glorious!

There is some loose comic book science, done to keep the Kryptonians on the sideline so Steel can save the day. But that also felt classic to me.

Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes bring pleasing art to the proceedings. Everyone just looks great. If a 'Lana as Super-Woman' story get put in the Action Comics anthology, I vote they be on art. It all looks top notch here. 

I doubt we'll get a sequel but this was worth it. Kudos to Dorn for stepping in. On to the book.

The giant mecha is powered by the Genesis-stone energy generator and is actually pretty tough. With the Super-family's powers wonky because of the Genesis energy and Steel less than effective, things look grim. 

I love this juxtaposition of Steel saying the heroes need to get control while Walker, spittle flying, is yelling how he is in control.

Comic is a visual medium. When panels unfold like this, the words and images mixing so well to create an effect, it is magical. 

And check out Walker, eyes wide and screaming. He is an old school villain, just looking to humiliate his enemies and cause some property damage.

Someone who might actually be effective is Lana, re-juiced and Superwoman once more, again because of the Genesis energy. 

Here I like how she is irate, ready to battle because Walker is smacking around her family!

I wouldn't mind if the Superwoman powers stuck around for a bit.

Things are getting ugly and Walker is actually doing some real damage, putting innocents in danger. It's enough to make his flunkies wonder if he should stop.

I just love the addled Walker. He's rich and powerful and won't stop. He's in charge. There is no shades of gray here. There is no 'sympathetic background' for the villain. He wants power. And he is going about it in the most bizarre inefficient way!

Again, lovely art here. Walker is in a sort of holodeck, controlling the robot. Nice diagonal cut to show him in both environs.

Comic book science 101 - make up something to remove the most powerful heroes from the board because they can end the story. So the Genesis Wave energy is messing everyone up. The younger you are, the more it can sideline you. Jon and Kara can't control theirs. Conner is really impacted. It 'makes sense' for comics. Even Nat puts it in quotes.

Comic book science 201 - you can use other vague science to undo something which doesn't need to impact the story anymore.

Mr. Kerry, the Silver Mist, the intangible henchmen for Walker, turns a new leaf when he sees the carnage. He heads to the heroes who use his intangible tech to allow the Genesis energy to phase through them. Here come all the heroes. 

The fight ends quickly. The robot is destroyed.

As for Kerry, he actually entered the robot to unplug the generator. It kills him.

Kerry did have a tragic backstory, fired from Amertek and denied the insurance it would need to save his wife. I am glad that he got to turn things around.

That is a nice ending for this character and an excellent contrast to Walker.

If Walker wasn't old-school enough for you, how about Superman chucking something into the sun? The Zero Energy generator, complete with Genesis stone, is vaporized in a Bronze Age trope.

Don't you think it should have been put in the Fortress for future study??

I'm not complaining. This made me smile!

Nothing left but the wrap up.

John realizes that he can be Steel because it is the man inside the armor that matters.

And by the way, the wedding is still on. 

I'd read more of these two. I'd read more issues from this team. I have no idea how this series sold. But it was a winner in my book, a sort of modern comic done with some classic comic flair. Lovely art.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Lovely review, this ended well, with a pullback on the Idea of Metropolis as a super-city. Lana was the hero of the day, I agree, let’s keep the powers for awhile. I loved how John had total faith in her to handle things where the Super Folk failed.

So, when’s the wedding?

Dick McGee said...

I'm struck by the fact Lana went into a brawl with a giant robot wearing her engagement ring. Unless it was sourced from a Kryptonian jeweler or something, she's lucky it survived intact. Neither gold nor even diamond are really great at punching hand-wavium steel plate, and she's a lot more durable than her ring is when powered up. There's reasons Clark doesn't wear his wedding band while doing hero work, and they aren't all secret identity related.

Come to think of it, I don't think any super wears matrimonial/engagement rings, even when they aren't nigh-invulnerable super-strong types.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

Good point about the engagement ring, but this is a visual medium. I'll say that Lana has some type of aura.

And yes, I hope we get a wedding issue!!!