Superman #666


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Superman #666


  • Words: Kurt Busiek
  • Art: Walter Simonson
  • Inks: Walter Simonson
  • Colors: Sinclair and Loughridge
  • Story Title: The Beast from Krypton
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2007

The Man of Steel is dragged into a supernatural nightmare. Will he be damned to Hell forever? Or can a multitude of guest-stars save him from the fiery depths?

After Batman reaching this ominous issue number recently, it’s now the turn of Superman to give us an issue 666 with a suitably devilish theme. Pitting Superman against the forces of magic, one of his few weaknesses, this is ostensibly a complete-in-one story. However, there are further hints that at least one key element of the plot may be leading to something far greater in the future.

When the Phantom Stranger turns up at the Daily Planet offices with a dire warning for Clark Kent it leads to a frighteningly callous and brutal change of personality for Krypton’s last son. Having given up on everything he stands for, and everyone he loves, has Superman finally succumbed to a darker side of his alien origins? And what surprise part does his Kryptonian heritage play in this demonic threat?

Kurt Busiek’s recent run of stories on Superman and Action Comics has deserved much more buzz in fandom than it’s been receiving. There’s been an unpredictable mix of Superman tales from traditional super-heroics to the mystical right through to embracing some of the wackier elements of the Silver Age (albeit with a refreshing modern day sensibility). Busiek provides another winner this month with a trip to Hell that has an epic, big-screen feel throughout.

Walter Simonson’s art is a sublime fit for Busiek’s plot, ably capturing the scale of events with some suitably placed "pin-up" pages. His out-of-control Superman is a quite chilling image and his depiction of Hell and its denizens is grotesque yet magnificent. This issue deserves the double-sized page count. It lets the story breathe, ensures the pacing isn’t lost over two issues and gives us 38 glorious pages of Walter Simonson art!

Busiek crams in a number of guest characters as befits an "anniversary" issue, some in featured roles and others in cameos. The revelation of the origins of the story’s villain is imaginative and clever and teases us with the possibility that all is not quite right with the Man of Steel’s continuity timeline. I suspect there may be the seeds of a bigger Countdown/Final Crisis plotline being planted here…

Kurt Busiek’s imagination has given us some quite wonderful (and most importantly fun!) Super-books of late. If delays elsewhere in the Superman line had put you off following the Man of Steel’s adventures then now is the time to jump right back on board. You really won’t be disappointed!

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