Adventures of Superman #624 (March, 2004)
“Strange New Visitor, Part Two”
Writers – Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencillers – Karl Kerschl & Renato Guedes
Inker – Oclair Albert
Colors – Tanya & Richard Horie
Letterer – Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.25
After all that build up yesterday, we get one page of Mr. Majestic? C’mon, we can do better than that!
By the way, how ’bout that cover? If this story happened today… you can bet that between this and Action #811 there’d be a lenticular variant (see below for my sad attempt)!
Picking up where we left off, Majestic is carrying Lois to safety… and rather than being, ya know, thankful… she’s got questions. He notes a vaguely different smell in the air and deduces that he is on a different Earth… likely a result of the Time Storm. Before he can go much further, he hears people screaming and speeds off to help them. Lois ‘lone, heads to a phone booth and calls into the Planet, reporting to Perry on this strange new visitor.
The Chief tells her to stay away from Uptown, ya know for her safety… and so, we know exactly where she’s about to head. We rejoin Majestic… Uptown, where he’s holding up buildings!
After getting one securely stood up, instead of being thanked… he gets another “who the hell are you?” Man, Metropolitans are jerks. Finally some emergency service folks arrive and do thank “Superman” for the assist.
We shift over to S.T.A.R. Labs where John Henry is a bit incredulous that the Eradicator is there to help. Natasha and Kon vouch for the Artifact, claiming that hes provided access to Kryptonian Technology… which appears to be the only tech not affected by the Time Storm. We again hear that the B-13 tech (and it’s rejection) is at the bottom of this… and they concoct a plan to create a way to “blow out” the storm before it destroys Metropolis.
We return to Majestic as he rescues a boy and his (horny) grandmother. Everybody is still referring to him as Superman… just thinking he’s had a change in costume. I will say, at a glance, dude could very well be the Man of Steel. Anyhoo, it’s now that a trio of baddies decide to strike. It’s the Masters of Disaster, Shakedown, Heatstroke, and Coldsnap… ay yai yai. Majestic drops them with ease.
Lois returns to the Daily Planet where Lena Luthor reveals that she lost all connection to the B-13 technology. Now, I suppose it’s worth mentioning that “Lena Luthor” is an artificial intelligence. Jimmy decides it’d be best to get her to S.T.A.R. Labs… I dunno, Jim… they might have their hands full already!
The Daily Planet building is hit by lightning, and as it begins to crumble Mr. Majestic swoops in. He orders an evacuation, however, the staffers are far too enamored with him to do much. He can tell that Perry is the man in charge, and asks him to take over giving orders. While the gang evacuates, Lois and Majestic continue their chat from earlier. He covers his Supermanly origin, and describes his Earth as only being slightly different… comparing their Earths to Pepsi and Coke. Hmm, those can be quite different… I mean, just looking at a can of Pepsi will give me a day’s worth of heartburn! As they walk and talk they wander past some Superman newspaper clippings… and things being to make a bit more sense to Mr. M.
Lois takes Majestic to S.T.A.R. Labs so he can help the super-brains. Some lab grunts run up to him with tachyonmeters, finding that he is off the charts with chronal energy. John Henry shares their plan… they have assembled a Charged-Vacuum Emboitement using some Imperiex (from Our Worlds at War) tech along with a Phantom Zone Projector. Majestic’s all… Cool story, what’s your Plan-B? Ya see, he doesn’t think this is going to work all that well.
This really seems to irk the Eradicator, who isn’t used to being second-guessed. And so, he… exiles Mr. Majestic to the Phantom Zone?! Wow, talk about an overreaction.
John Henry appears annoyed at the Eradicator’s antics, but realizes now’s not the time for infighting. Lois, on the other hand, is ready to throw down. Irons then turns to her… and suggests she might be projecting a bit of Clark on Majestic, which… as you might imagine, she resents. The All-S.T.A.R. Squadron then decides to move forward with their Emboitement-bomb plan.
The Eradicator, Superboy, and Steel head out with the bomb… and wouldn’tcha know it… it doesn’t work! Instead of blowing out the storm, Metropolis itself begins to collapse into itself! Amid the madness, Lois is able to free Majestic… who, with a scowl on his face, informs her that they’re all going to die!
A very good middle chapter to the Time Storm story.
I feel like Abnett and Lanning really captured the feeling of Crisis for the Metropolitans… from the folks on the street, to the Daily Planet staffers, to the whitecoats at S.T.A.R. Labs. Hell, even the frickin’ Masters of Disaster, who I probably could’ve done without, picked the right time to strike… or so they thought.
I appreciated Mr. Majestic’s presence. He was depicted as having a similar soothing and calming aura as Superman. I think his being there added some hope to a hopeless situation… and made people feel safe. He clearly wasn’t there to loiter… he really made a difference in his short time in Metropolis. As someone with very little Mr. Majestic experience, I gotta say, I really liked him here.
I really liked John Henry’s accusation that Lois might be projecting a bit of her husband onto this Strange New Visitor. I mean, it stands to reason… and projection is one of those things that we don’t always know we’re engaging in… until it’s pointed out. I really dug how quick Lois was to take offense… it was a knee-jerk reaction… she didn’t allow herself to think about it. Fitting in times of crisis… compounded with the idea that it might not be something she wants to consider in the first place.
The art for this chapter sees some improvement. Early on Lois still looks “bubbly”… almost a cartoony “fetal” look. Around midway through, however, it really tightens up.
Overall… I’m having a pretty good time with this story, though I might guess that it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. I will say, if you’re buying a Superman title to see, ya know, Superman… you might be disappointed.
My Sad Attempt at a Morphing Cover!