Superman: No Limits!

Superman: No Limits!
Superman No Limits review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 1-5638-9699-0
  • Release date: 2000
  • UPC: 9781563896996
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

By the late 1990’s John Byrne’s radical refreshing of Superman and his mythology was beginning to look a little tired, while the sales kick generated by the Death of and Return of Superman was fading fast. With the new millennium approaching new writers and artists gradually moved Superman into more bombastic, hyper-powered territory. No Limits covers 1999 to 2000

It opens spectacularly with ‘We’re Back!’ by Jeph Loeb and Mike McKone, which sees The Daily Planet restored, rebuilt and returned to glory after a dark period under the ownership of Lex Luthor. Loeb allows Lois Lane-Kent plenty of opportunities for reflection, remembrance and handy recapping before the sinister son of alien marauder Mongul explosively crashes to earth.

Mark Schultz and Doug Mahnke then reveal ‘Krypton Lives’ as a Superman robot malfunctions in the Antarctic allowing humans to enter the Fortress of Solitude. It triggers the escape of a bizarre string of ancient yet impossibly alive Kryptonian artefacts and creatures. Forced to destroy the last vestiges of his alien heritage, Kal-El returns to Lois thinking that a precious chapter of his life is over, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

In ‘Deadline U.S.A.’ Loeb and McKone resume the interrupted battle with Mongul Jr., but all conflict ceases when the mammoth monster finally gets the Man of Steel to stop hitting and listen. The beast has come to warn of a vast, universe-ending threat and, in conjunction with Luthor, is offering to train Superman to beat it. More pedestrian, but no less distracting problems arise from Jimmy Olsen’s photo of Superman’s hand sporting a wedding ring, sparking a media frenzy.

‘Something Borrowed, Something Blue’ by Stuart Immonen, Mark Millar, and Joe Phillips follows that strand as old foe Obsession resurfaces in a Superwoman outfit, claiming to be the much-sought Mrs. Superman. However her deranged tantrum leads to nothing but tragedy and disaster.

Joe Kelly and Germán Garcia then focus on ‘Never-Ending Battle’ as a small army of minor menaces and misfits lead the Man of Tomorrow to Latina sorceress La Encantadora. Even when the elusive enchantress is finally corralled, she delivers one last surprise which will make much mischief for the Last Son of Krypton.

Returning ‘Home’ (Schultz and Mahnke) Clark Kent finds his Metropolis apartment has been transformed into a terrifying outpost of his destroyed birth world, courtesy of renegade miracle machine the Eradicator.

Lois’ valiant nature is truly tested by Kelly and Garcia when Wonder Woman asks the Man of Tomorrow to join her in a battle beside gods against devils. For the feisty journalist it’s mere days until Clark returns, but she’s unaware that her husband and the perfect warrior woman have been comrades – and more – ‘For a Thousand Years’.

The last Christmas of the 20th century ends as ‘Say Goodbye’ as Loeb and McKone have the Action Ace head for space with Mongul to battle Imperiex, Destroyer of Galaxies. It seems an easy victory followed by an improbable betrayal, but Loeb has a surprise in store.

Before heading to Endgame, this initial chronicle then closes with Schultz and Mahnke’s ‘Bridge the Past and Future’, wherein John Henry Irons – AKA Steel – and his niece Natasha, hi-tech armourers to the City’s police force, join Superman in battling the possessed personification of the Eradicator.

This blistering collection features less of a re-imagination and more of a reorientation for the greatest of all superheroes, but the scale, spectacle and human drama of these tales will still delight all fans of pure untrammelled fights’n’tights fiction.