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Superman #221

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2005
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.



Writer: Mark Verheiden
Pencils: Ed Benes
Inks: Mariah Benes, Alex Lei, & Rob Lea.

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: An Omac Hunter tries to eliminate Bizarro while Jimmy Olsen covers the story for the Daily Planet with a female intern tagging along. Superman dispatches the OMAC and flies off only to reappear minutes later in his Clark Kent identity. Olsen tells him he’s arrived “too late as usual” and belittles Clark, which doesn’t sit well with Lois, and she lets him know it. Clark tells Lois that he still believes in Jimmy even though he may be acting like a jerk. Bizarro hatches up a plan to get Jimmy’s attention but his robbery scheme fails to impress the up and coming young reporter. While Bizarro tries to conceive of a new plan, Cheetah shows up and tries to lure him into the villains’ scheme to destroy the heroes. Back at the Planet, Olsen tries to meet his deadline and Clark shows up, but before they can talk things over, Bizarro reappears to tell them about his new plan to destroy the world.

Comments: This story is a major letdown following the excellent “Sacrifice” arc which ran through the Superman titles and Wonder Woman these past few weeks. While it’s probably unrealistic to expect anything to live up to the quality of that storyline so soon, this issue feels like nothing more than a big plug for the Villains United mini-series and The OMAC Project, or as SBC reviewer Ray Tate likes to refer to it, The big stupid event. Even so, how Verheiden manages to make a Bizarro story sub-par is beyond me, considering Bizarro is usually tons of fun whenever he makes an appearance. While Bizarro’s actions live up to his name in the eyes of Jimmy, there is actually a deeper motivation beyond his trying to destroy the world. The revelation of this motivation leads to a moving scene between Superman and his deformed half brother which itself may be a plot to lure the big blue softie into a false sense of security while the Villians united try to recruit Bizarro into their ranks. Are you confused? Believe me, so was I trying to keep all this straight. Ultimately, “Jimmy’s Day” aims to tell an entertaining story about the Daily Planet’s maturing photographer turned writer which simply falls flat on its face much like Olsen’s attempts to write journalistic prose which “sizzles off the page.” Something else which doesn’t work is the way captions are used to display Olsen’s journal about Superman. He tells the reader what it’s like to know Superman much like Lois did in the latest issue of Action Comics. It worked then because it gave us a glimpse of what it might be like to be married to the man of steel, it doesn’t work now because Olsen’s musings aren’t nearly as entertaining nor as illuminating.

Regarding this issue’s artwork, the book looks a heck of a lot better than it did when the no-names or second string artists were charged with the penciling and inking chores before Jim Lee and now Benes came aboard. This actually saves it from losing a few more bullets. There are some inspired moments here including the full page where Superman blocks the chopper’s blade from killing Jimmy and his intern. That said, I don’t like Benes’ rendition of Olsen. I guess he is trying to make him look more mature, but he doesn’t even have freckles and he looks weird with long hair. Bizarro looks okay, except his face is not as deformed as in the past. Is it enough for him to sport a gothic pale white look without which he’d look like an exact replica of Superman with a backward “S” on his chest and the Bizarro #1 tag? I’m not sure, but the book’s art is not enough to save it from its narrative shortcomings.

Final Word: Once again, a comic book company’s greedy attempts to sell multiple titles interferes with the storytelling process. Is it really necessary to devote almost an entire issue to the villains attempting to recruit Bizarro into their latest ploy to destroy all the heroes in the DC Universe? The ultimate sin is that the cover is nothing more than a big tease since Bizarro vs. Zoom won’t happen until future issues and is only alluded to in the closing scenes of this comic. Absolutely unpardonable!



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