Natasha Irons must fight for her life to escape from Silver Mist, the intruder at Steelworks Tower. Meanwhile, John Henry must convince the rest of the Super-Family that his vision of the future of Metropolis will work!
John Henry wants to change the world. But can he? Between his own doubts and a competitor that wants to destroy him, Steelworks #3 doesn’t make it easy. The creative team delivers another great issue, though not quite as good as the previous two.
Nat barely escapes her encounter with Silver Mist as Steelworks #3 opens. His attack has caused damage to Nat at the molecular level, but for now she’s up and about. With his niece taken care of, John Henry returns to his plan for Superman Day and considers his plan to reveal his development of zero point energy. Ultimately he decides in favor of an announcement, which he makes from the stage during Superman Day’s festivities. Moments later, Charles Walker’s robots attack, their sights set on John Henry, the celebration, and the Supers.
It must be commented on, before moving to the more significant parts of Steelworks #3, that Dorn writes an excellent Jimmy Olsen. He appears in only five panels, but they are among the most fun in the issue.
Steelworks #3 delivers a nice helping of irony with its action. The whole point of John Henry’s initiative in the first issue was to find ways to help the people of Metropolis to better help themselves. He hoped to reduce the dependence on the Supers only for an attack on Superman Day to require help from the whole family. This kind of incident is certainly not what John Henry was talking about when he said people in Metropolis should take care of themselves. Even the Supers have trouble with Walker’s robots–Conner has to be removed from the fight after an injury. The question will be whether this series will feature only problems that the Supers must solve or is Dorn setting up a scenario by the end where the Supers aren’t totally necessary in achieving victory or at least cleaning up the aftermath. Basically–is John Henry’s viewpoint a feasible one?
The discussion between John Henry and Superman about the potential for zero point energy to change the world, and in a very short period of time, is a compelling real world issue. The idea invites a lot of questions and discussion. But Dorn rushes through it with John Henry’s concerns seemingly dismissed over the course of one night and three pages. It’s worth conceding that a mini-series has only so much space to tell a story, so there isn’t enough room for everything. But rushing through this idea (even if it’s revisited after the fact) is almost worse than not bringing the idea up at all. It dismisses the importance of it too easily.
Steelworks #3 offers engrossing action and establishing shots. There are multiple two-page spreads and splash pages. Basri and Cifuentes deliver the greatest sense of scope in the series so far–appropriate given the pomp of Superman Day and the attack by the robots. But that scope would not be possible without Dalhouse and Arreola’s coloring.
The issue opens with Nat in danger which is punctuated by a burst of blue across both pages as she tries to repel her attacker. It grabs the reader’s attention. Later, during the Supers’ battle with Walker’s robots, swirls of reds represent their energy blasts. The blasts are big, their energies appearing barely contained. Conner being injured as a result of this hit is believable.
And in case the art wasn’t enough to sell this issue’s scale and the power behind its action, Leigh’s lettering goes all out. The sound effects use a variety of fonts. Sometimes the text is solid and other times it’s translucent. During the fight between Conner and the robots, the sound effects take up almost a quarter of each panel. There’s no subtlety here, and it works very well.
Steelworks #3 is another strong issue that’s not afraid to tackle complex themes. Dorn’s writing gives short shrift to one very compelling issue. But overall this is a minor criticism and doesn’t change the fact that the series is something you should be reading.
Steelworks #3: To Change the World
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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