Mon-El battles against the Parasite and Bizarro in Superman 695 (Feb. 10), by Robinson and Bernard Chang.
Mon-El’s battle with the Parasite and Bizarro is made more difficult by the fact that his powers keep turning on and off. But this turns out to be a plus where the Parasite is concerned. When the Parasite draws off of Mon-El’s powers he also draws on his lead poisoning, and the pain makes him easy to subdue. Bizarro fights until he no longer feels like fighting. He leaves for Bizarro World. This is the final appearance of the pre-Flashpoint Bizarro.
Mon-El meets with Perry White, and learns (as do we) that Jimmy Olsen is still alive. Natasha Irons is also there, and fills Mon-El in on the Captain Atom storyline taking place in the back pages of Action Comics. Together, they add up the various things they know of Sam Lane’s plans. But the public remain in the dark, as Morgan Edge interviews Lane, who spreads a great story about Mon-El getting mind controlled by the Kryptonians, and the government releasing the story that he was dead to give them time to de-program him.
Mon-El and Billi Harper take their relationship to a new level. You gotta be happy for Mon-El, as things are, otherwise, not going to well for him.
The story ends with a lead-in to the next issue of Action, as Mon-El and the Guardian discover Nightwing and Flamebird busting out of the Science Police headquarters.
Superman 665 (Sept. 07) is a Countdown crossover of sorts, a special issue devoted to Jimmy Olsen, relating how he came to work at the Planet, and become friends with the Superman cast.
Busiek is joined by Rick Leonardi and Ande Parks as we meet Jimmy as a young boy, selling newspapers on the street. Perry White is impressed with the boy, who also makes an impression on Lois Lane and new reporter Clark Kent.
After Clark finds out that Jimmy is homeless, and living secretly at the Planet, we get the story about the disappearance of his father, and how his mother went off searching for him.
Some criminals are working with experimental kryptonite based armor, and Jimmy happens to be on the spot when they are threatening Superman. He risks his life to help the hero, which leads to their long, close friendship.
Not bad for what it is.
Superman 657 (Dec. 06) is the first half of a two part story which sees Arion tell of the future to come, by Busiek, Pacheco and Merino.
There are some truly wonderful visuals in this tale, I cannot fault it for that. But aside from that, there is little here I find entertaining.
Arion tells Superman, Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen about the eventual rise of a villain called Khyber, and the world shattering battle that erupts to take him down, eight years in the future.
There are loads of cameos for various heroes and villains, but nothing that in any way impacts the real development of the characters. Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are a part of the future struggle.
Arion gets only halfway through his story in this issue, which concludes in the following one.
Busiek begins his solo run on the book with Superman 654 (Sept. 06), with art by Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino.
Intergang is back and causing problems, as Superman and the SCU have to deal with Neutron. Some energy collecting rods help take control of him.
Perry White informs Clark Kent that his old flame Lana Lang has been appointed to take over Lexcorp, and suggests that Clark get an exclusive interview with her.
But before he can do that, there is a lot of other running around to do. The Prankster does not really appear in this story, only his latest annoyance, of giant electrified popcorn.
Far more dangerous is the return of Ugly Mannheim, now given power to take on giant size. Superman wonders if he is still getting his weaponry from Darkseid, but Mannheim seems to have a new partner. He disappears, but vows to return.
As the cover of Adventures of Superman 645 (Dec. 05) proclaims, the issue leads in to Infinite Crisis, and takes a few less artists to do so. Rucka is joined by Defilippis, Weir, Guedes, Kershl and Faucher.
The Daily Planet staff are shown, watching the endless loop of Wonder Woman killing Maxwell Lord. The discussions that Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Ron Troupe and Clark Kent have about how to interpret the out of context material help to convey the attitudes of the people across the world seeing it.
The skies of Metropolis fill with OMACs. They aren’t taking action, just “protecting,” and making no one feel safe.
While Luthor, with Mercy and the female Parasite at his side plots with both the Secret Six and Ruin. No wonder he’s getting headaches.
Emil Hamilton visits Lupe Leocado, having deduced where Ruin must have his power supply. She heads out, although we do not see her again this issue.
Luthor draws out Superman for Ruin, in a broad daylight confrontation. Superman figures out that Ruin’s teleportation is physically draining him, and that he must be using Phantom Zone technology. But before he can unmask Ruin, he gets teleported away.
Superman winds up at the Moon, and the wreckage that used to be the Justice League Watchtower. Infinite Crisis 1 picks up from this point.
Rucka and Kerschl bring the Ruin storyline to a close – or at least appear to – in Adventures of Superman 640 (July 2005).
Ruin goes after John Henry Irons, and Natasha as Steel, in this story. Clark meets with Lana, who is eager for the divorce, and then Pete, who is not.
Lois Lane gets Ron to do research for her on her shooting, while Superman flies off to deal with Ruin. Hearing about the fight, Lois and Jimmy head down to the street, and as Jimmy snaps pictures, Superman unmasks Ruin.
It’s Pete Ross. But is it, really? I didn’t believe it for a second.
The mystery of Ruin’s identity takes centre stage in Adventures of Superman 637 (April 2005), by Rucka, Guedes, Clark and Lanning.
The issue opens with a flashback to the period when Luthor was president, and Pete Ross his veep. Luthor shows Pete the proof that Superman is really Clark Kent, his longtime friend, who has been lying to him for all those years.
Lois Lane meets with Perry White, and they discuss her shooting. Investigating, she has learned that there were no Umec snipers at their position. Someone else was behind the shooting. So who was playing them?
Ruin goes after Jimmy Olsen in this issue, but Jimmy manages to use his signal watch, which brings Superman, and Lupe Leocado gets on the scene quickly as well.
Emil Hamilton has provided the SCU a weapon designed to take out Ruin, but when Lupe uses it, it simply increases his powers. And though he doesn’t kill Jimmy, Ruin does teleport away again.
The issue ends as Pete Ross comes to meet with Clark. Once again, he talks about Lana leaving him. He asks Clark to let Lana know he still loves her.
The story continues in the next issue.