The Man of Steel represents the very best in all of us, just trying to live up to Superman’s example in Superman: The Man of Steel #23.

Superman The Man of Steel #23 Cover by Bogdanove and Janke

Superman: The Man of Steel #23

Triangle Number 1993 – 17

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Jon Bogdanove
Inker: Dennis Janke
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Letterer: Bill Oakley

Since his encounter with the Sharks last issue resulted in just a name and no other pertinent information as to the source of their Toastmasters, the Man of Steel is now working to confront another group of them to get more information. Alas, before he can get anything, his would-be informant is also blown away.

The Man of Steel is not the only one searching for the White Rabbit though, as Lex Luthor winds up with the video documenting the Sharks quest to take down the armored man. Lex doesn’t like a new criminal butting in on his turf, so he too is on the hunt for the crime lord, and also on the hunt for his own personal Superman to claim as his own.

As a fight breaks out in the Daily Planet newsroom over who the real Superman is, Lois breaks it up saying that in her estimation none of them is the real Superman. Jeb shows up to take her to dinner, but a story breaks about the Man of Steel fighting gangs on the waterfront, and Lois is out the door. The other notable thing about this sequence is that Jimmy is wearing a Spin Doctors shirt in reference to their 1991 hit single “Jimmy Olsen Blues.”

Also arriving on the scene of the Man of Steel’s fight with the rival gangs is the Kid. The Kid’s showboating results in the destruction of the Planet’s chopper and the death of Frank the pilot. The Man of Steel saves Lois Lane and she’s reminded of the mob scene that swarmed Clark the first time she met him, but as she asks him if he’s going to prove to her that he is Superman, he states that he never made that claim and flies away to have a heart to heart with the Boy of Steel.

Lois sees the lecture that the Man of Steel gives to the Kid, and sees that it seems to have gotten through to the Kid in some fashion, and as such she starts to have her own second thoughts. Maybe what Rosie the psychic said is right, maybe this is Superman’s spirit in another man’s body.

The White Rabbit decides it’s time to have a confrontation with the Man of Steel so allows herself to be found by Lex Luthor, who in turn gives that information to Irons. Here is where we learn their shared connection as Irons remembers his past with the woman now known as the White Rabbit. Her real name is Angora Lapin, both of which are rabbit-related words because this is comic books. She was Irons lover when they both worked for a weapons developer, and she stole his designs after he left. He saw the damage his designs did and wanted no part of that ever again, but now sees it on the streets of Metropolis every day.

When he refuses to join her in her criminal empire she blasts him out of the penthouse with one of his own guns. The Man of Steel is saved by the Kid, who has been dealing with his conscience since their talk earlier. They share a fantastic moment of shared guilt, as they both own a piece of the blame for the death of the pilot. When they return to the penthouse, Angora is gone, her offer made and rejected.

Coming back to Lois, she’s still thinking about how the Man of Steel better represents the ideals of Superman better than any of the others, and she’s absolutely right. While the Kryptonian was meant to show us what Superman would be like without compassion, the Man of Steel works to show us what a normal man can be if he tries to live up to Superman’s compassion. The Kid may still be my favorite due to innate biases, but the Man of Steel is the heart of this entire saga.

Miss any previous entries in The Never-Ending Battle? The early entries can be found at Comfort Food Comics, while more recent ones can be found here at The Beat.