Superman: The Man of Steel #24 closes the chapter on the White Rabbit.

The Man of Steel and Last Son of Krypton face off on the cover of Man of Steel #24

Superman: The Man of Steel #24

Triangle Number 1993 – 21

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

From this issue on, we’re moving steadily to the conclusion of the “Reign of Supermen” story arc, with each issue leading directly into the next and just picking up more and more speed as the action keeps escalating. Due to the Kryptonian nearly taking them into space during their fight in Action Comics, he and the Man of Steel have landed in Coast City, California. As a reminder, the fight started in Metropolis, which in the Post-Crisis DC Universe was canonically in Delaware, so it’s a bit of a jaunt from one to the other.

Despite knowing he’s physically outmatched, the Man of Steel keeps fighting, all along the way proclaiming the things that make him doubt this man’s claim that he’s the only Superman. As the Kryptonian’s visor breaks and the flashing lights of police cars blind him, he reconsiders his actions, and wonders if indeed, Superman needs compassion. One thing I absolutely love about the opening fight scene is the way Bogdanove, Janke, Whitmore, and Oakley all work together on the title page, where the title of the issue, “Impact!” plays directly into the action on the page.

Back in Metropolis, Team Luthor has captured the White Rabbit. But Luthor’s plan is more self-serving than altruistic, as they usually are with him. He believes that he can deliver the Man of Steel to her and that at the very least one enemy will take care of the other. In the same vein, he has offered the Man of Steel a private jet back to Metropolis from Coast City in order to lay the trap.

Over at the Daily Planet, Lois once again sees Clark in the shadows, because Ron Troupe is sitting at Clark’s old desk in the dark, and his sister got him a fedora in honor of his promotion. She is seriously mulling over Jeb’s offer to have her come overseas with him, as he arrives to console her over the small pieces of Clark’s life that are slowly disappearing.

As the Rabbit’s men ambush the Man of Steel, he works them all over without breaking a sweat before he’s confronted by Angora’s servant, Graham. Unexpectedly and unexplained, Graham is able to expand his mass to a giant bloated blob, and he uses the new size to try to smash the Man of Steel. After Irons blasts him in the stomach with rocket boots, he starts drinking drums of vegetable oil while Irons makes off with Angora. As she tries to destroy both the Man of Steel and the smaller weapons factory that she brought him to, Angora gets inadvertently caught in her own trap and perishes as the building explodes, without the Man of Steel inside.

Angora Lapin would return for a few issues of the Steel series when that would launch in a few months, but to my knowledge, this issue was the last time her servant Graham would ever appear. What an absolutely bizarre way to leave a character, just chugging drums of vegetable oil.

In the end, Luthor got what he wanted, the White Rabbit failed to kill Irons, but did take herself off the board, and left him with enough knowledge to lord over the Man of Steel to ensure his cooperation.

In space, the alien ship has arrived in Earth’s orbit, set to attack in the next week.

In the letters page of Man of Steel #24, assistant editor Jennifer Frank confirms that in attendance at the funeral of Superman were: Jon, Judy, and Kal-El Bogdanove, Brett Breeding, Dan Jurgens, Jerry and Rachel Ordway, Roger Stern, Walt and Louise Simonson, Dennis Janke, Mike Carlin, and herself; accounting for a vast majority of the Superman creative and editorial teams.

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.