Sovereign Seven #24 (June, 1997)
Writer – Chris Claremont
Penciller – Ron Lim
Inker – Chris Ivy
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors & Separations – Prismacolors
Associate Editor – Eddie Berganza
Editor – Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $1.95
I wasn’t planning on doing another Sovereign Seven review for quite a while… and most certainly not just a random issue, either… but, c’mon… look at that cover! I was browsing at one of the local shops and found this while flipping through issues of Lobo of all things (looking for a Wild Dog appearance). I’d never seen this cover before, and as soon as I did, I knew I had to have it.
Luckily their 1990’s back-issues (for the most part) are marked at “Get these the hell out of my store!” prices, so it was a quick pick. Can the inside even hope to live up to it’s cover? Let’s find out…
We open at the Kent Farm in Smallville, Kansas. Rhian/Cascade has been forced into a mindlink by her Sovereign Seven teammate, Network as the Kents (Lois and Clark included) look on. Cascade attempts to, well cascade (shift into her carbonated beverage form), however among the confusion Clark pops into his electric blue Superman togs and halts her transformation. This freaks the poor girl out to no end, and she faints into Lois’ arms. Clark takes the opportunity to discuss the fear that comes with change, having recently become a bit “blue” himself, and his parents hug him.
In the Kent kitchen, Cascade spills the beans on her enemy. He goes by the name Triage… which I would figure means he’s a healer… but I guess not. Anyhoo, he wants to draw Cascade back to the Crossroads… for an unknown reason. She is apparently the last of the free Sovereigns. Lois gets that wild look in her eye, and insists that she (and maybe Superman) follow her into this trap.
After a quick road trip (with Superman flying overhead lamenting the fact that he can’t “come out” to Rhian), Lois and Rhian arrive at the Crossroads. Rhian is acting a bit stiff… to which Lois encourages her to… *shudder* “strike your pose, girl!”. Shortly after, perhaps as karma for her cringe-worthy line, Lois gets mauled by a lion… okay, okay, she gets scratched by a cat.
Rhian pulls Lois upstairs to tend to her wound, which as luck would have it, helps their plan fall right into place. From a bedroom window where Sovereign member Cruiser now slumbers, Lois spies the baddie Siege skulking about. Cascade enters the room and informs Lois she’s found the rest of her teammates (minus Network) sleeping in other rooms.
Lois alerts Superman to Siege’s whereabouts, and he confronts him with some moderately embarrassing dialogue. Luckily the talk is left brief, and he quickly gets to punching. The battle causes the Crossroads to shake and quake… ultimately knocking Lois and Cascade into what they call the “Blood Room”… the most dangerous room around. The pair find themselves smack in the middle of all the Sovereign’s nightmares. Ya know… that thing where everybody has to face their worst fears? Yeah, that.
Meanwhile, Superman and Siege battle on. Siege is joined by a woman in red, who amazingly doesn’t introduce herself when she pops on panel. The fight continues into the Crossroads until Superman runs smack into the one they call Triage.
Back in the Blood Room, Lois and Cascade see a destroyed Metropolis. The Daily Planet has fallen and the streets are nothing but a pile of skulls. We find out that this is where the Sovereign member Finale is being kept. Finale, believing herself to be responsible for all of these deaths begs Cascade to kill her, and for a moment it looks like she does… but, instead tells her that she is indeed innocent.
Lois and Cascade attempt to bring Finale out of the Blood Room, however, she states she’s still got work to do in there. She grabs Lois, and appears to threaten her, telling her not to leave… hmm…
Cascade joins Superman in the battle downstairs. They attempt to “cascade” away, however are halted by the trio of baddies. Suddenly a sword-wielding Finale comes flying off the second story balcony straight toward Triage (who we find has “cascading” abilities himself). Cascade notes that though we see Finale’s costume and sword… that is most definitely not her.
As the fight rages on, the rest of the Sovereigns get involved having been woken up from their nightmares. With the team at (nearly) full power (plus a Superman) Triage and Company teleport out.
As the dust settles we come to learn that the phony Finale was… get this, Lois Lane. Yup… Superman (and I) can’t believe it, and after a bit of finger wagging they embrace.
Superman heads over to Cascade to check on her, and give her a quick pep talk. She takes his words to heart and heads over for a Sovereign Seven-sized group hug as Lois and Clark look on from the foreground.
Not gonna lie… I really wanted to like this one more. I mean, as a story, it certainly wasn’t bad… but so many things just didn’t work for me.
I can get Superman and the Kents wanting to help Cascade… but, Superman’s desire to “out” his secret identity to a near perfect stranger just strikes me as a bit premature. Perhaps this was done to better “ground” the Sovereigns into the lore of the DC Universe… I still think there must be a better way.
The end, with Lois pretending to be Finale? I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it. She jumped from the second story of the building onto the big bad… really? I know Lois is portrayed as fearless and strong… but one thing she’s not, is stupid… and this was stupid. I mean, just a handful of pages earlier she lost a fight to a cat… now she’s leaping from balconies onto supervillains?
The dialogue, though mostly good and familiar (if you’re a Claremont fan, which I am)… had a few embarrassing tiks. Superman asking about Siege’s “lawful activity”, Lois encouraging Cascade to “strike her pose”… the red clad villainess telling Cascade that they “own her cute little butt” all pretty cringy. I gotta add that I can always do without the “teammates face their worst fears” trope too…
Ron Lim’s art was very nice! All of the characters looked great. He draws a great looking electric-blue Superman and a very nice Lois. It’s the muddy muddy coloring that did his work no favors. This is hardly a fair criticism, as many colorists/coloring firms were having run-ins with “the muds” during this vintage, but I feel it’s worth a mention.
Is this worth checking out? Well, despite my reservations and numerous complaints… yeah. If you’re a fan of Chris Claremont, of course you should check this out. If you’re into the Electric Blue, this is an appearance you need in your collection (whether it actually happened or not). I believe the rights to Sovereign Seven are no longer with DC, which means if the series does ever get reprinted or collected… this issue will likely (or almost certainly) be left out. I’ve only ever seen it once in the wild, but was able to procure it for a song. Maybe keep an eye out for it. For me, the cover alone was worth the price!