Superman #678 (September, 2008)
“The Coming of Atlas, Part 2: Time Lost”
Writer – James Robinson
Penciller – Renato Guedes
Inker – Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist – Hi-Fi
Letterer – John J. Hill
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.99
Well, we didn’t get a whole lot of Atlas action yesterday… let’s rectify that.
We open with Jimmy and Lois riding between traffic on the Olsen-cycle on their way to Superman and Atlas’s battle scene. They get to the point where they must continue on foot, and Jimmy wonders aloud how Superman’s morning might go… does he eat breakfast? Drink coffee? Read the paper? Stuff like that. Since Lois is along for the ride, we pop into her head for a bit. She recalls that very morning having a somewhat contentious breakfast chat with the Man of Steel himself over… Zatanna? Meanwhile… Superman introduces Atlas to his left fist.
While the two titans tussle, we visit with the shadowy “Lady Who Watches”… that is, the woman in charge of Metropolis’ Science Police Control. She runs down the Sci-Cops B-Squad leader, Daniels for his ineffectual leadership skills and reliance on Control to dictate his every move. I dunno… at least he’s not being insubordinate, right? Anyhoo, Atlas absolutely wallops Superman with a punch… sending him flying through a shop window.
The Science Police circle Atlas, and attempt to take him down… this leads to a Ben Day-flavored flashback of Atlas wrecking fools en route to the Lizard Kingdom… presumably shortly after the events of 1st Issue Special #1 (1975). He is reacquainted with his (only) friend Chagra… but is hurled into a sort of portal before they can properly “rejoice”.
He finds himself sent through time… and maybe space. He witnesses visions of various seminal moments of human (and DC Comics) history… annnnd, sleeps.
He wakes to find himself attached to some futuristic-looking machinery. There is a man in military garb standing before him… and so, he shouts at him in his alien language. It isn’t long before the former King of the World becomes the learner to the military fella. The General wants Superman… he wants him delivered alive so that he could be studied. In exchange, he’ll wish Atlas well in his endeavor of taking over the world. Seems fair, right?
Atlas inquires as to how the General brought him to the present… and he answers that he had been granted the opportunity to “fish in the pool of time” to find a champion powerful enough to take down Superman. From here we jump back into flashback mode to learn how Atlas became King… and his ultimate betrayal at the hands of Chagra and mages known as “The Three Who Are One”.
Back on the street, Superman emerges from the shop wreckage and… runs away? Well, that’s what the people on the street think. What he’s actually doing is getting himself a head of steam so he can come at Atlas harder for their “Round Two”.
Another really quick read! I almost feel like I’m cheating.
This was a fight scene… and a proper introduction for Atlas. After lying dormant for three decades we finally learn what happened when Atlas and Chagra went to the mountain! It’s pretty much what we figured would happen… but it’s nice to have some confirmation.
It’s interesting seeing Chagra as an untrustworthy sort… especially if you’re reading the current Bug! The Adventures of Forager miniseries from DC’s Young Animal. Seems many creators who’ve “met” Chagra find him to be a bit shady.
Something I want to mention is the portrayal of Lois here. We see her as maybe a little jealous of her husbands sometimes teammate with the fishnet stockings (no the other one). I thought seeing this more vulnerable side of Lois was pretty refreshing. I think it stands to reason that she might feel like she’s at a bit of a disadvantage when compared to members of the Justice League… even though her husband doesn’t see it that way. This is oddly, a very human look at a marital dynamic… it’s relatable for men and women alike, and taps into real apprehension spouses may have.
Overall… a decent enough “Chapter 2”. while at the same time… it’s just a “Chapter 2”. I’m enjoying the story, but will concede that you’re likely to get a more satisfying read if you were to nab the collected edition. Pains me to push anyone away from pursuing single-issues, but I gotta be honest.