Steelworks #2, “Collateral Damage” is out and throws us right into the resolution of issue #1′s cliffhanger. John Henry’s mission statement to end the need for superheroes in Metropolis, starting with him retiring from Steel, is off to a questionable start as he suits up to help defend Steelworks from an unseen assailant. There’s some great critical thinking and discussion about the pitfalls of hero worship presented in these pages which is sure to make this series an instant classic.
The standard cover by Clay Mann & Arif Prianto is a poster worthy image of Steelwork’s cast of heroes. Both generations of Steel as well as Jay Nakamura strike a heroic pose with the Steelworks building in the background. Sunlight reflecting off the massive building bathes the trio in a golden aura of majesty. Their stances are the perfect blend of imposing, triumphant, and awe inspiring.
Sami Basri & Andrew Dalhouse’s variant is a fun action shot of Steel mid-swing with his hammer. There’s a real sense of motion as his rocket boots have made a traceable circular motion suggesting Steel is winding up for a power attack. The hammer is also blurred adding to the overall anticipation of the hammer being swung. The black background really makes the brightness of Steel’s armor shine for a truly eye-popping cover.
The variant by Ibrahim Moustafa is a great fighting sequence still shot. Steel is able to unleash his metal fury on a group of robotic assailants in what feels like an homage to the Fleischer style of animation. There’s a lot of shiny metal figures adorning this cover but Moustafa manages to brilliantly accentuate Steel front and center of it all.
The interior art is handled by Samri Basri, Vincente Cifuentes, and Max Raynor with colors by Andrew Dalhouse and Matt Herms. You can usually see the difference in art style and direction when so many talented people work on the same book, but this team creates a seamless look throughout. Whether it’s Jay and Jonathan waving from across a room or Osul and Otho messing around with John Henry’s hammers during a meeting, this art team makes sure every scene is filled with life. There’s even a playful elevator sequence that reads bottom to top as it goes up to the top floor. The art is simply everything you want from a good comic book.
Michael Dorn, lettered by Rob Leigh, really captures the personalities of the entire House of El. John has scheduled a meeting with the entire team to explain his take on the role of Superheroes going forward, and the interactions between them feels just as genuine and cohesive as it is in other stories. Having voiced Steel in Superman: The Animated Series, it’s nearly impossible not to hear Dorn’s smooth baritone when reading John Henry’s dialogue. He also manages to place a couple of clever Star Trek Easter Eggs as a nice wink to the fans.
As mentioned before, Steelworks #2 picks up right where issue #1 left off with some awesome team-up action between Nat and John in their Steel personas. John Henry’s vision of using the Genesis Energy Core to build a city that doesn’t need constant protection is a compelling addition to the philosophy of super heroism and an intriguing concept alongside what’s currently happening in the other main Superman titles.
Can John Henry really make Metropolis into a true City of Tomorrow or will the new antagonist of Charles Walker III find a way to steal the Genesis Energy for his own diabolical agenda? Either way Steelworks #2 is shaping up to be a fun, relevant, and compelling story that’s worth not missing.