Monday, December 11, 2023

Review: Superman '78 The Metal Curtain #2

Superman '78 The Metal Curtain #2 came out this week and was another fun romp in the Donner-verse. We are picking up right after the last series and I think we are still before Superman II in continuity. If you are a strict continuity believer and this is before the second film, there are some things here that are tough to explain away.

But if you decide that continuity details aren't crucial, and you can let a couple of things slide, you can sit back and enjoy this for the absolute fun that it is.

Writer Robert Venditti has been able to tap right into the feel of the movies, the tone, the charm, the action. But most of all, and most entertaining for me, is that Venditti is able to perfectly capture the emotion of the Lois and Clark relationship as well as the Lois and Superman relationship. Throw in a cold war Metallo and you have a great history piece. Plus, we get an unexpected guest star perhaps expanding this DC Universe.

Gavin Guidry really brings it this issue. I mentioned his strong work on Lois last issue but he exceeds that here. He really brings us an expressive Lois, a nice riff on Margot Kidder. We also get some action here. I like how the Metallo of 1978 is appropriately bulky. No sleek mechanics back then. 

If there is one complaint, it is that these are very quick reads. I'd like a little more story.

On to the book.

The book starts with Superman bringing Lois to the Fortress to help fill in some of the gaps about his history. Does this lessen the impact of her going there in Superman II?

But I love Lois this whole scene. At first she treats it like a date but when he says he is going to talk about himself, she reverts to reporter mode. Look at how earnest she is here, asking if she can take notes. Great work by Guidry.

That tension of 'is there romance here' is wonderful.

Superman also shows her all the cities he liberated from Brainiac, including Kandor. Remember, Jor-El and Lara are alive and well in there. I suppose having a live Jor-El and Lara might make some of the events of Superman II a bit weird. Why ask AI Lara about love and marriage if alive Lara is there?

This is my favorite scene in the book by the way. Lois goes back to wondering if this is a date, asking Superman if the purpose was to introduce her to his folks. There is almost an 'I love you' there ... but he stops.

Look at that vexed expression on her face in the bottom panel!! I absolutely love it!

Meanwhile, a US pilot whose callname is Highball sees Metallo on radar. 


Hmmm ...

Maybe it is a date.

Superman decides the time is right to admit he's Clark ... again. (You surely remember in the first Superman movie his thinking about going Clark to Superman in Lois' apartment.)

It is this sort of perfect resonance with the movie universe that makes me smile. Venditti just gets it.

But before he can get back to Lois, he hears the pilot's cries for help and springs into action. He rescues the pilot only to get waylaid by Metallo. 

And that Kryptonite is doing it's job. He kicks the snot out of our hero.

I like that this is a political mission for Metallo, a dyed in the wool Red communist. 

Battling on the ice, the pilot rushes to Superman's defense.

Surely, Highball is a man without fear.

Highball? No fear?

This is Hal Jordan!

Will we see Green Lantern before the end of the series?

We finally get a name-drop of Metallo.

But this is an ugly ending for our hero. Overwhelmed by the Kryptonite, he is bludgeoned and thrown into the sea. 

Overall a very entertaining issue, giving us the emotional stuff with Lois and the action stuff with Metallo. We even get a decent cliffhanger. 

How cool that Hal is in the house! Now if only we can finally get Kara!

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Hal Jordan made it into Superman '78 before Cousin Kara? "Peak DC in Action!"...You'd think sooner or later, Jor El or Lara would just innocently ask "Have you seen anything of your cousin Kara? She was Earthbound too I think..."
And then there is Metallo's inexplicably "open air" power suit, he's invulnerable and all powerful, until someone busts him a good one in the chin.
I kid I kid!
This is a fine read so far and like our host, I am left wanting more...which is a sign of good writing overall. The likenesses of CR and MK are both heartbreakingly good...


Anj said...

I keep hoping that Venditti will do the right thing.

He confirmed on Twitter this is post Superman II.

Maybe we'll get a Kara sighting (I'd take an Argo City mention) by the end.