on April 6, 2008
I enjoyed this 6th edition a lot more than I expected to. Byrne just pencils three issues here, the least of the first 6 volumes, but story-wise I found this paperback to be surprisingly entertaining.
Highlights here for me...
*Superman Annual- Titano! Best monkey story I've read in awhile. If you like monkey comics- and really, who doesn't? :)- you might want to give this a try.
*Action 594- Great cover! It's the 1st in an entertaining 2-part story featuring Booster Gold. It's my favorite story in the entire volume. It's also the 1st Byrne pencils we see here- and it begins on page 121(!). The previous editions had Byrne artwork on the 1st page. I love these Booster Gold issues for their clean, cityscape visuals & content. It also briefly guest-stars Batman & Robin.
*Booster Gold 23- Continuing the story from Action 594- Great fun.
*Action 595- Silver Banshee! She looks a lot like some of the girls I went to high school with. Martian Manhunter guest stars!
In all, three annuals are presented, signifying the completion of the 1st great year. I absolutely love what Byrne accomplished with this series- it's amazing to me that he stops after only 2 years! He's gone on record as saying it was largely a negative experience behind-the-scenes; thankfully the 1st year of comics didn't seem to reflect it.
Included in this volume:
*Action Comics Annual #1- John Byrne writes; Art Adams pencils; Dick Giordano inks
*Superman Annual #1- John Byrne writes; Ron Frenz pencils; Brett Breeding inks
*Adv. of Superman Annual #1- Jim Starlin writes; Dan Jurgens & Steve Montano artists
*Action Comics #594- John Byrne writes & pencils; Byrne & Keith Williams inks
*Booster Gold #23- Dan Jurgens writes & pencils; Roy Richardson inks
*Superman #12- John Byrne writes & pencils; Karl Kesel inks
*Action Comics #595- John Byrne writes & pencils; Byrne & Keith Williams inks
on May 15, 2015
Taking place in a small town in South Carolina, the Batman is on a solo mission that lands him in a murder scene and quickly fighting against an angry mob. After outwitting his attackers he contacts Superman for assistance. The two come face to face with a mysterious girl and a town gone mad. What exactly are they up against? -summary
This sixth volume continues the Man of Steel series. John Byrne is on writing duties once again and this time he's flanked by Ron Frenz, Jim Starlin, and Dan Jurgens, with Marv Wolfman sitting this one out. I know of several individuals whom weren't happy with Byrne's run on Superman, but when considering that most of those naysayers are heavy fans of Pre-Crisis DC, most notably the Golden Age, I think it's safe to say that they can be ignored for the most part, due to the fact they usually scoff at the slightest amount of change. These are some very solid Superman stories that work pretty well with its suspense, villains, and this time around the action isn't something to look down on. This volume collects Action Comics Annual 1, Adventures of Superman Annual 1, Superman Annual 1, Action Comics 594 - 595, Booster Gold 23, and Superman 12.
The book kicks off with a bang as Batman tries to learn the source of some grisly murders that originated in Gotham City, with people being found with their throats torn out. This lands him and Superman in deadly battle against the supernatural. This story has a really nice flow and the suspense is worked out rather well. Some folks will be able to see where it's going, but I doubt they'll be able to predict that ending or see certain parts of the plot coming. This is one of the stronger stories. Byrne goes into preacher mode in the story Tears For Titano, that follows a young chimpanzee being used as a test subject. He embarks on a form of commentary in regards to animal cruelty, pretty much stating that even for man's advancement there's no reason why animals should be abused and treated as if they have no feelings. He also goes on to paint man as the true monsters. Although this has been done in so many other works, it's hard not to dislike the scientist and feel for the monkey who ends up in heavy battle with Superman due to his growth being altered.
Byrne doesn't forget to add the over the top action, as Superman battles against superhero Booster Gold, and the screaming evil menace Silver Banshee. He shows a little diversity here by tackling a romance tale that doesn't involve Lois Lane, and it doesn't feel the least bit ham-fisted either. Jim Starlin isn't to be overlooked with his story The Union. Starlin has always been the type to excel in the overly morbid and uneasy stories with the truly evil villains to match, let's not forget, this is the same guy who gave Marvel fans Thanos. This is a story draped heavily in suspense, and I will not reveal how it turns out; I will only add that it does have a pretty disturbing feel to it.
When compared to the last three volumes I would say this one is the most entertaining. Outside of one two parter that runs into the Booster Gold title, all of these stories are stand alone and they are very easy to get through. The pacing is one of the finer features of this book and I never felt my attention drifting. I'm not a fan of the Booster Gold character at all, and even he didn't annoy me.
The artwork is still very strong and it graces the book with some very good action panels, with Superman taking some big blows and also dishing them out. The character designs are done well with some nice figures for the females, and the facial expressions stand out. Although it's only a comic book, the terrified look on the chimpanzee still made me a little uneasy. Perhaps it's just that I have soft spot for animals.
The only flaws I can truly think of is one plot element involving Batman's assistance being left unresolved, because it's wrapped up in a later story. This is something that will probably effect serious Batman fans. And probably the lacking of well known villains other than Lex Luthor will bother others. Overall, the stories are entertaining; the fluid pacing, thought provoking elements, use of the rogues gallery, in addition to being newbie friendly warrants this as a recommended read to comic and Superman fans alike.
Pros: Well written stories, guest stars, well use of villains, artwork
Cons: Romance story may not appeal to action crowd, no really high profile villains
on November 7, 2009
I wouldn't consider myself an expert on comics (nor I'm interested in becoming one) but I do know the kind of things I really like and for instance John Byrne's version of superman is in my (humble) opinion the most humane one I have ever seen; I mean he is powerful and stuff but he is not a semi-god with unlimited powers capable of breaking all physics laws (time barrier, breathing in water and in space, unlimited strength etc, etc and etc) like previous and most current versions of the character which in my mind makes the character more real (as far as it can be); another thing that I like of this version of Superman is the stories, they are really easy to understand and follow and most important with a solid base and foundation that will prevent them from becoming cheeze and predictable. I have to say that I love reading stories from Superman in the seventies and early eighties but nothing compared to the stories written after "The Crisis" back in 85. I can hardly wait to read the next paperback on this series.
on April 21, 2010
Oh yes the "Man Of Steel" volume 6 review the end of the Man of Steel titled series. Events of these books will push over to the Superman TPB Exile..
Okay I know what your thinking when you pick up the Volume 6 book and look at the cover, "Oh man this is where these guys were running out of ideas for stories, I mean look at this he is going to be battling a giant ape. They have Robin in peter pan shoes and the biggest name next to his is this guy booster gold that I have no idea what he does and whats with the mermaid?"
I was wondering about the giant ape as well..However I had a good idea of who it would end up being thanks to the annimated series cartoon.
This book does finish out the series and yes it has some cameos in the close out that people may enjoy. First off Ronald Reagan makes an appearance as the president. Didnt see that coming did you? (or a guy that looks just like him)
Batman makes yet another appearance in this series and we see Robin for a short time..( but not as short as his shorts are..)
Lets just say this final book is a mixed bag of stuff. First of all we have vampires which can ultimately hurt superman do to their magical background. We have a huge ape that just seems to get bigger as the story goes along, you will see and then Booster gold the annoying ego driven super hero.. along with a few other characters that I will not spell out for you.
I enjoyed this conclusion to the TPB volumes of the series and I believe anyone wanting to see how the series ended should pick this book up for the low price that it is being offered for.