Click here to return to the main site.

Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

The Man of Steel - Volume 6


Authors: John Byrne, Jim Starlin, Ron Frenz and Dan Jurgens
Artists: John Byrne, Art Adams, Ron Frenz, Dan Jurgens and various inkers
Titan Books
RRP: £11.99, US $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 440 1
ISBN-10: 1 84576 440 4
Available 23 May 2008

The Man of Steel faces death and grapples with some of the most horrific menaces he’s yet faced. Investigating a spate of grisly deaths, Superman and Batman travel to a small southern town and confront “Skeeter”, a beautiful girl with a terrible secret. In another ravaged town, the Man of Steel may have to cross a line he has never dared to cross before. Plus, the citizens of Metropolis are crippled with fear as they are terrorized by the giant ape Titano, attacked by rogue superhero Booster Gold, and encounter the deadly Silver Banshee, who slaughters anyone who dares to oppose her - even Superman himself...?

This volume of 1980s adventures contains very few stories from the actual monthly Superman titles - only from Action Comics #594-5 and Superman #12. This is because this graphic novel contains three annuals (Action Comics Annual #1, Superman Annual #1 and Adventures of Superman Annual #1) as well as an issue of Booster Gold (#23), which completes the two-part crossover tale that begins in Action Comics #594.

As a result, the art is a little more uneven than usual. Penciller Art Adams and inker Dick Giordano do great work on “Skeeter!” (Action Comics Annual #1), a gruesome tale guest-starring Batman, but elsewhere the art looks relatively crude and flat when it isn’t provided by John Byrne (whose work appears in Action Comics #594-5 and Superman #12). Compare Byrne and Keith Williams’s work in “All That Glisters” (Action Comics #594) with that of Dan Jurgens and Roy Richardson in the follow-up “Blind Obsession” (Booster Gold #23).

Similarly, the scripts aren’t as hot when Byrne isn’t doing the writing. For instance, the alien villain of “The Union” (Adventures of Superman Annual #1), written by Jim Starlin, is a two-dimensional religious loony with a name lifted straight out of the sci-fi/horror movie spoof The Man With Two Brains, which is presumably some kind of in-joke. And presumably Hfuhruhurr was made an alien to avoid offending any real religions.

Byrne’s in-jokes work rather better, such as when Booster Gold refers to Lois Lane as “Superman’s girlfriend” and the Silver Banshee (“The Ghost of Superman”, Action Comics #595) refers to Jimmy Olsen as “Superman’s pal”, both of them paraphrasing the titles of Silver Age spin-off comic books.

The comics have their more serious sides, too, though. Both “Tears for Titano!”
(Superman Annual #1) and “Lost Love” (Superman #12) are moving tragedies, and “Lost Love” ends on a cliffhanger involving Jonathan and Martha (which is not resolved in this volume).

Thought not as satisfying as some previous volumes, this collection contains enough good stuff to ensure a super reading experience.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£7.19 (
£8.99 (
£7.19 (
£8.96 (
£8.39 (
$13.59 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.