Monday, January 17, 2011

Superman: The Man of Steel #24 (August, 1993)

"This is Neil Watts, live for WLEX Coast City. The WLEX news chopper is circling the impact crater in the Coast City Mall parking lot. Whatever made it came hard and fast! Holy smoke! Inside the crater are two of the Superman... the Man of Steel and the visored one who calls himself the Last Son of Krypton! Minutes ago they were brawling in Metropolis! Like thousands of viewers I'm asking myself... what are they doing in California? And what is this fight all about?"

A process server had tried to deliver cease and desist papers to both men, as someone seemed to be legally shoring up the Superman name for themselves. When the Last Son of Krypton tried to fry the worker for the slight, Steel came to the defense. The Kryptonian took Steel into outer space, and the pair crash landed on the other side of the country. Steel then began to pound the Last Son, repeatedly pointing out all the things he had done that Superman would never do. While the art clearly showed Steel battering the pseudo-Superman senseless, (editorially mandated?) thought balloons had the Kryptonian insisting Steel's display was foolish for one whose power he so clearly dwarfed.

The Last Son of Krypton came to the realization that he lacked the human compassion the Man of Steel had in abundance, and that "there must be more to Superman than power!" When police arrived, the Kryptonian bid Steel return to Metropolis, as he answered cries for help there in Coast City.

Team Luthor raided a toastmaker factory in Metropolis. Gangbangers with BG-80s penetrated some troopers' body armor, but the thugs had no defense against a gas attack. The White Rabbit looked on from an office, putting off her pudgy nerdlinger aid Graham to hear "what little Lexie Jr. wants with me!"

Luthor II heard the word on the Rabbit, and while obfuscating the facts from his girlfriend Supergirl (Matrix), also had Steel offered a plane ride home. "If I can't own you, Man of Steel, I want you out of the picture. Permanently!"

Lois Lane was still coming to terms with Clark Kent's "death," as his apartment would soon be up for grabs, and his job at the Daily Planet was already given to Ron Troupe. Her friend Jeb Friedman was still around to console Lois, and he thought to himself "if the only way I can have you is on the rebound... I'll take what I can get."

Lex Luthor, still keeping up his Aussie shtick while prancing around in a cloned body, negotiated to have the White Rabbit and her gang ambush the Man of Steel upon arrival at Metropolis International Airport. When Toastmakers and "Dr. Bunny's" enforcer Digit couldn't stop Steel, the White Rabbit finally unleashed Graham. The portly poindexter ripped out of his glasses and already undersized striped shirt to become a blob so rotund he looked to have eaten a few Frederick J. Dukes. However, Steel's boot jets worked to singe Graham's belly, allowing the hero to catch his Rabbit and fly her away for questioning.

The BG-80s were being produced at the old abandoned Ordster plant, at least in part, but the White Rabbit was willing to sacrifice the digs if she could snare Steel in a trap. A bomb destroyed the plant, but the Man of Steel managed to escape, wondering about why the missing White Rabbit would reference "giving me to Luthor for a present? He's supposed to be one of the good guys."

Luthor II thought it a shame such an attractive woman had appeared to perish, but he had access to her henchmen, a BG-80 he could replicate, and the secret identity of John Henry Irons he could manipulate.

"Impact!" was by Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove & Dennis Janke.

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