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Superman '86-'99

A thorough chronological examination of the best/worst period in Superman history, by Maxwell Yezpitelok. All covers stolen from comics.org.
Aug 17 '14
Adventures of Superman #471 (October 1990)
The Sinbad Contract, Part 2: Davood Nassur, the superpowered 14-year-old from Qurac, continues to shame Superman in every possible way. This time, he outsmarts and roughs up Lex Luthor, something Superman has failed to do in his entire career so far.
Back in Part 1, young Davood came across a mysterious belt owned by Luthor that amplified his latent metahuman powers: he can now fly, shoot psychic blasts and see through walls. Davood’s sister Soraya, a secretary at LexCorp, calls Luthor saying she convinced her brother to return the belt. Naturally, as soon as Soraya politely hands over the thing, Luthor turns around and orders her killed — at this point Davood crashes through the wall and gives Luthor a psychic beatdown. Turns out Soraya gave Lex a fake belt just to see if he’s really evil. (Spoilers: he is.)

Meanwhile, Superman once again runs into those armored flying dudes who are also looking for Davood’s belt. They invade a hospital just to rescue one of their members who ended up there last issue, only to try to kill him so there won’t be any loose ends. Superman isn’t fast enough to save the guy, but Davood is (Davood: 3, Supes: -5), and then reads his mind to find out who he works for: it’s some organization called “D.M.T.” Oh, right, Davood can read minds now. Also, he teleports back home, because why not.
Superman then goes to Metropolis’ Little Qurac sector to see if he can talk to Davood, but the citizens attack him with bottles and boo him off, because they’re still pissed at Superman for invading their home country a while back (apparently they don’t remember the huge killer tanks Qurac’s president sent to Metropolis before that).

Superman puts on his pants and comes back as Clark Kent, but it turns out Quraci residents just hate white people in general and Clark finds himself surrounded by a crowd of angry people.
The issue ends with Luthor joining forces with the leader of the mysterious D.M.T. guys, who offers to sell Lex a UFO. Seriously. TO BE CONCLUDED!
Plotline-Watch:
There’s a scene with Lex shooing his sexy secretary away from his bedroom because he’s getting weaker and weaker due to his terminal disease. His illness was first hinted back in Action #656 when Lex yelled at Dr. Kelley for giving him some bad news, but it still isn’t explained what exactly is wrong with him (though it’s not that hard to guess). Hint: it’s not alopecia.
Also, I wonder if Davood saying “Assuming you have a future” means he read Lex’s mind and found out about his illness there. In that case, that’s probably the only thing that saved Lex from an even more humiliating psychic wedgie.
WTF-Watch:
So how does Davood get the codename “Sinbad”? Well, Lex Luthor pulled it out of his ass. After Davood beats him, Lex retaliates by calling the cops and telling them Davood’s entire family are terrorists — they ask for Davood’s name and “Sinbad” is the first thing Lex comes up with. You know, because the kid is Middle-Eastern and stuff.

Good thing he didn’t go with “Aladdin” or “Osama” or something.

Adventures of Superman #471 (October 1990)

The Sinbad Contract, Part 2: Davood Nassur, the superpowered 14-year-old from Qurac, continues to shame Superman in every possible way. This time, he outsmarts and roughs up Lex Luthor, something Superman has failed to do in his entire career so far.

Back in Part 1, young Davood came across a mysterious belt owned by Luthor that amplified his latent metahuman powers: he can now fly, shoot psychic blasts and see through walls. Davood’s sister Soraya, a secretary at LexCorp, calls Luthor saying she convinced her brother to return the belt. Naturally, as soon as Soraya politely hands over the thing, Luthor turns around and orders her killed — at this point Davood crashes through the wall and gives Luthor a psychic beatdown. Turns out Soraya gave Lex a fake belt just to see if he’s really evil. (Spoilers: he is.)

Meanwhile, Superman once again runs into those armored flying dudes who are also looking for Davood’s belt. They invade a hospital just to rescue one of their members who ended up there last issue, only to try to kill him so there won’t be any loose ends. Superman isn’t fast enough to save the guy, but Davood is (Davood: 3, Supes: -5), and then reads his mind to find out who he works for: it’s some organization called “D.M.T.” Oh, right, Davood can read minds now. Also, he teleports back home, because why not.

Superman then goes to Metropolis’ Little Qurac sector to see if he can talk to Davood, but the citizens attack him with bottles and boo him off, because they’re still pissed at Superman for invading their home country a while back (apparently they don’t remember the huge killer tanks Qurac’s president sent to Metropolis before that).

Superman puts on his pants and comes back as Clark Kent, but it turns out Quraci residents just hate white people in general and Clark finds himself surrounded by a crowd of angry people.

The issue ends with Luthor joining forces with the leader of the mysterious D.M.T. guys, who offers to sell Lex a UFO. Seriously. TO BE CONCLUDED!

Plotline-Watch:

There’s a scene with Lex shooing his sexy secretary away from his bedroom because he’s getting weaker and weaker due to his terminal disease. His illness was first hinted back in Action #656 when Lex yelled at Dr. Kelley for giving him some bad news, but it still isn’t explained what exactly is wrong with him (though it’s not that hard to guess). Hint: it’s not alopecia.

Also, I wonder if Davood saying “Assuming you have a future” means he read Lex’s mind and found out about his illness there. In that case, that’s probably the only thing that saved Lex from an even more humiliating psychic wedgie.

WTF-Watch:

So how does Davood get the codename “Sinbad”? Well, Lex Luthor pulled it out of his ass. After Davood beats him, Lex retaliates by calling the cops and telling them Davood’s entire family are terrorists — they ask for Davood’s name and “Sinbad” is the first thing Lex comes up with. You know, because the kid is Middle-Eastern and stuff.

Good thing he didn’t go with “Aladdin” or “Osama” or something.

Aug 14 '14
Superman #48 (October 1990)
The Sinbad Contract, Part 1: Superman gets beaten up by a 14-year-old! Not even some tough gangbanger 14-year-old. This one:

That’s Davood Nassur, who was a regular kid living in Metropolis’ Little Qurac sector until that alien invasion last year, when the invaders dropped a “meta-bomb” that gave superpowers to random people. In Davood’s case, right now he can levitate a little and deflect 50% of baseballs thrown at his face, but he’s still young so his powers are still developing. One night, Davood is visiting his sister Soraya who works as a secretary at LexCorp (and is a big fan of Lex himself), when they’re accosted by a bleeding guy who hands them a package meant for Luthor and immediately dies. Davood and Soraya are still trying to process that when a bunch of ’50s B-movie-looking flying robot guys start shooting at them with super-weapons.

As they’re running away from the robots, Davood decides to open Luthor’s mystery package and finds a weird-looking belt inside, which of course he takes the time to try on, because it’s not like they have an army of death machines at their heels or anything. This turns out to be a good decision, though, because the belt amplifies Davood’s powers and allows him to fight off the robots (who are just guys in armors) and fly away with Soraya.
Where the hell is Superman during all this? He’s in this paragraph, duh. Superman had fought the same robot guys the previous night until they escaped in a big ball of light. When he sees the robots are at it again, Superman tries to save Soraya from them, only for Davood to do this:

He knocks Superman out without even touching him. Holy crap, why didn’t they let this kid fight Doomsday instead of Superman?
Anyway, CONTINUED!
Plotline-Watch:
This three-part story guest-written by the great William Messner-Loebs is part of the special “Curt Swan month” in the Superman titles, which also included that month’s issue of the Superboy series (but I’m not covering that here, since it’s based on the late ’80s TV show and thus not in continuity). This was also a way to give the regular Super-Teams a break before jumping into the next big storyline. In my memory this issue didn’t have many links to the regular comics, since it’s by a different creative team and all, but there’s actually a lot of relevant stuff:
This is the issue that reveals that Lex Luthor is terminally ill and has a year to live. Before he goes, however, he wants the satisfaction of killing Superman at least once, but we’ve yet to find out his plan.

Davood attacks Superman like that because he still remembers that time Supes singlehandedly destroyed his home country’s entire army (Adventures #427). Of course, said home country is Qurac, a terrorist nation, but Davood doesn’t know that.
We previously found out Metropolis has a Little Qurac sector back in the Action Comics Weekly serial, which was also drawn by Curt Swan.
Clark Kent has a nice elevator chat with another Daily Planet reporter called Keith, who also appeared recently in Action #656 (he’s the one who first found out about Jimmy and Jerry getting shot and called Perry White). Keith looked like a nice dude in that other issue — too bad he’s actually racist:

And finally, DC made a big deal out the meta-bomb that awakened superpowers in normal people back at the end of the Invasion! crossover, but unless I’m mistaken, Davood and one other dude were pretty much the only ones we ever found out about. I guess all those other metahumans just kept living normal lives and only used their powers to prank people at the office. Hey, maybe Keith is one but his power is racism.

Superman #48 (October 1990)

The Sinbad Contract, Part 1: Superman gets beaten up by a 14-year-old! Not even some tough gangbanger 14-year-old. This one:

That’s Davood Nassur, who was a regular kid living in Metropolis’ Little Qurac sector until that alien invasion last year, when the invaders dropped a “meta-bomb” that gave superpowers to random people. In Davood’s case, right now he can levitate a little and deflect 50% of baseballs thrown at his face, but he’s still young so his powers are still developing. One night, Davood is visiting his sister Soraya who works as a secretary at LexCorp (and is a big fan of Lex himself), when they’re accosted by a bleeding guy who hands them a package meant for Luthor and immediately dies. Davood and Soraya are still trying to process that when a bunch of ’50s B-movie-looking flying robot guys start shooting at them with super-weapons.

As they’re running away from the robots, Davood decides to open Luthor’s mystery package and finds a weird-looking belt inside, which of course he takes the time to try on, because it’s not like they have an army of death machines at their heels or anything. This turns out to be a good decision, though, because the belt amplifies Davood’s powers and allows him to fight off the robots (who are just guys in armors) and fly away with Soraya.

Where the hell is Superman during all this? He’s in this paragraph, duh. Superman had fought the same robot guys the previous night until they escaped in a big ball of light. When he sees the robots are at it again, Superman tries to save Soraya from them, only for Davood to do this:

He knocks Superman out without even touching him. Holy crap, why didn’t they let this kid fight Doomsday instead of Superman?

Anyway, CONTINUED!

Plotline-Watch:

This three-part story guest-written by the great William Messner-Loebs is part of the special “Curt Swan month” in the Superman titles, which also included that month’s issue of the Superboy series (but I’m not covering that here, since it’s based on the late ’80s TV show and thus not in continuity). This was also a way to give the regular Super-Teams a break before jumping into the next big storyline. In my memory this issue didn’t have many links to the regular comics, since it’s by a different creative team and all, but there’s actually a lot of relevant stuff:

  • This is the issue that reveals that Lex Luthor is terminally ill and has a year to live. Before he goes, however, he wants the satisfaction of killing Superman at least once, but we’ve yet to find out his plan.

  • Davood attacks Superman like that because he still remembers that time Supes singlehandedly destroyed his home country’s entire army (Adventures #427). Of course, said home country is Qurac, a terrorist nation, but Davood doesn’t know that.
  • We previously found out Metropolis has a Little Qurac sector back in the Action Comics Weekly serial, which was also drawn by Curt Swan.
  • Clark Kent has a nice elevator chat with another Daily Planet reporter called Keith, who also appeared recently in Action #656 (he’s the one who first found out about Jimmy and Jerry getting shot and called Perry White). Keith looked like a nice dude in that other issue — too bad he’s actually racist:

  • And finally, DC made a big deal out the meta-bomb that awakened superpowers in normal people back at the end of the Invasion! crossover, but unless I’m mistaken, Davood and one other dude were pretty much the only ones we ever found out about. I guess all those other metahumans just kept living normal lives and only used their powers to prank people at the office. Hey, maybe Keith is one but his power is racism.
Aug 10 '14

gpack3 asked:

I've been working my way through this era and right now, I'm deep in the Mullet Period with no end in sight. When does Superman lose the mullet? And when does Clark get rid of that ridiculous ponytail? I'm not sure how much more I can take.

As I recall, he loses it at the end of 1996, right in time for the wedding. I have an awful confession to make: I loved the mullet as a kid. I thought it made him look more badass, and it was also an easy way to tell the more recent comics apart from the older ones, so whenever I saw the mullet in a cover I got excited. I’m curious to see if it’ll bug me this time around.

Anyway, thanks for writing in! You have won a trading card of The Mullet:

Aug 9 '14
Action Comics #657 (September 1990)
Superman vs. Toyman vs. Intergang! And vs. John Byrne too, because this issue contains a very small inconsistency with an earlier Byrne comic that always bugged me. You see, three years ago at the end of Toyman’s first appearance in Superman #13, we saw him getting kidnapped by someone wearing what appears to be a glowing green ring on his right hand. Here are the specific panels from that issue:

(Uh, the green is clearer in my TPB copy.)
Note that this was back when Lex Luthor still had a right hand, and wore his kryptonite ring on it. Well, in this issue we find out that the guy who kidnapped Toyman was Metropolis businessman/criminal mastermind…

…freakin’ Morgan Edge! Holding a cigarette! Is that a marijuana cigarette? Marijuana has green smoke, right? I told you it was a small thing but it still bothered me irrationally as a kid.
Anyway, we learn that Edge recruited Toyman to work for Intergang since he was the only one who could make sense of the weapons they were getting from Apokolips. However, since Edge went to jail (Action #654), Intergang’s new bossman “Ugly” Mannheim has been having trouble keeping Toyman in check — lately, he’s been squandering Intergang resources by creating animatronic toys to kidnap the children of Lexcorp executives, since he still hates Luthor for firing him from his toy company.
As Luthor laments that this whole “everyone’s kids are getting kidnapped” thing could affect his employees’ productivity, he arranges for the remaining children to go on a fun camping trip with some armed guards to keep them safe. However, all the kids’ sleeping bags morph into animatronic bears at night, courtesy of Toyman’s technology, and they take the children into the forest as they sleep (I’m never getting inside one of those things again). Superman arrives right in time to watch the bears march into a Boom Tube.

Superman figures out that Toyman is keeping the kids in an Intergang hideout set in an abandoned amusement park, goes there, and starts punching stuff. Meanwhile, Intergang’s goons try to take Toyman to a safer place but he wants to stay with the children, so he actually helps Superman defeat the goons by activating the convenient “melt all weapons” feature. Toyman explains that he only took the children because he wanted them to be happy and their parents ignored them… but as soon as they see their parents with the police, all the kids instantly abandon “Uncle Toyman” and run towards them. Awww.

Character-Watch:
That last panel is kinda creepy in light of Toyman’s future transformation into a child killer. All through the story I kept thinking how out of character that thing was/will be because Toyman really seems to care about the kids in this issue, but it makes a little more sense considering he’s doing all of this because he was so lonely. Clearly, spending all those months alone working on Intergang weapons did a number on his head.
Plotline-Watch:
This, somehow, is the first time Superman notices that Intergang is using technology from Apokolips, since he recognizes the Boom Tube (up till now he just figured they must have great scientists).
Speaking of which, the abandoned amusement park, Happyland, has a history with Apokolips: Darkseid’s lackey Desaad used that place to secretly torture people in Jack Kirby’s old Fourth World comics until it exploded. Despite the fact that the hideout is exposed for the second time in this issue, Intergang will actually rebuild the Happyland franchise and use it for crime once again.
I like the understated way Roger Stern deals with the death of Luthor’s biological son, Jerry White (a week earlier in Adventures #470). The one panel below is the only way the issue acknowledges what happened — we already saw Luthor dropping a single tear for Jerry last week, so anything more than this would have been tacky.

WTF-Watch:
Hmm, why does this bear look so familiar?

Hey, wait a minute…

ARGH, IT’S SLEEZ! RUN, GIRL! RUN!

Action Comics #657 (September 1990)

Superman vs. Toyman vs. Intergang! And vs. John Byrne too, because this issue contains a very small inconsistency with an earlier Byrne comic that always bugged me. You see, three years ago at the end of Toyman’s first appearance in Superman #13, we saw him getting kidnapped by someone wearing what appears to be a glowing green ring on his right hand. Here are the specific panels from that issue:

(Uh, the green is clearer in my TPB copy.)

Note that this was back when Lex Luthor still had a right hand, and wore his kryptonite ring on it. Well, in this issue we find out that the guy who kidnapped Toyman was Metropolis businessman/criminal mastermind…

…freakin’ Morgan Edge! Holding a cigarette! Is that a marijuana cigarette? Marijuana has green smoke, right? I told you it was a small thing but it still bothered me irrationally as a kid.

Anyway, we learn that Edge recruited Toyman to work for Intergang since he was the only one who could make sense of the weapons they were getting from Apokolips. However, since Edge went to jail (Action #654), Intergang’s new bossman “Ugly” Mannheim has been having trouble keeping Toyman in check — lately, he’s been squandering Intergang resources by creating animatronic toys to kidnap the children of Lexcorp executives, since he still hates Luthor for firing him from his toy company.

As Luthor laments that this whole “everyone’s kids are getting kidnapped” thing could affect his employees’ productivity, he arranges for the remaining children to go on a fun camping trip with some armed guards to keep them safe. However, all the kids’ sleeping bags morph into animatronic bears at night, courtesy of Toyman’s technology, and they take the children into the forest as they sleep (I’m never getting inside one of those things again). Superman arrives right in time to watch the bears march into a Boom Tube.

Superman figures out that Toyman is keeping the kids in an Intergang hideout set in an abandoned amusement park, goes there, and starts punching stuff. Meanwhile, Intergang’s goons try to take Toyman to a safer place but he wants to stay with the children, so he actually helps Superman defeat the goons by activating the convenient “melt all weapons” feature. Toyman explains that he only took the children because he wanted them to be happy and their parents ignored them… but as soon as they see their parents with the police, all the kids instantly abandon “Uncle Toyman” and run towards them. Awww.

Character-Watch:

That last panel is kinda creepy in light of Toyman’s future transformation into a child killer. All through the story I kept thinking how out of character that thing was/will be because Toyman really seems to care about the kids in this issue, but it makes a little more sense considering he’s doing all of this because he was so lonely. Clearly, spending all those months alone working on Intergang weapons did a number on his head.

Plotline-Watch:

  • This, somehow, is the first time Superman notices that Intergang is using technology from Apokolips, since he recognizes the Boom Tube (up till now he just figured they must have great scientists).
  • Speaking of which, the abandoned amusement park, Happyland, has a history with Apokolips: Darkseid’s lackey Desaad used that place to secretly torture people in Jack Kirby’s old Fourth World comics until it exploded. Despite the fact that the hideout is exposed for the second time in this issue, Intergang will actually rebuild the Happyland franchise and use it for crime once again.
  • I like the understated way Roger Stern deals with the death of Luthor’s biological son, Jerry White (a week earlier in Adventures #470). The one panel below is the only way the issue acknowledges what happened — we already saw Luthor dropping a single tear for Jerry last week, so anything more than this would have been tacky.

WTF-Watch:

Hmm, why does this bear look so familiar?

Hey, wait a minute…

ARGH, IT’S SLEEZ! RUN, GIRL! RUN!

Aug 4 '14
Adventures of Superman #470 (September 1990)
Soul Search (or “Superman in Hell”), Conclusion: Someone lives! Someone dies! Everyone else continues the way they were! And nothing will ever be the same again.
In Part 2 of this saga, Superman managed to rescue Jimmy Olsen’s soul from the sexy demonic entity known as Blaze, but there are just two problems: 1) they’re still in Hell, or something like it, and 2) Blaze still has Perry White’s troubled son, Jerry. Another thing Blaze has is this giant rock monster trying to punch Superman:

Unfortunately, since Blaze’s powers are magical and Kryptonians don’t get along too well with magic, the more time Superman spends in her domain the weaker he gets. To make matters even worse, Blaze has the hots for Supes and tries to kiss him — he pulls away, but her lips graze his cheek and some sort of satanic herpes starts covering Superman’s face, then his entire body. Literally, all of his body.

Very observant, Jimbo. While Superman is busy dealing with that nasty infection and the giant rock monster, Blaze starts getting romantic with Jimmy. It’s implied that if she kisses you on the lips, your soul is hers forever, and Blaze “feeds” on souls, but still… Jimmy Olsen, Blaze? How starved for affection are you?

(Can you tell I’m loving the art in this issue?)
Anyway, with all the distractions going on, Jerry manages to break himself free from Blaze’s control for a moment and thinks about ditching this place… but then reconsiders because he feels bad about leaving Jimmy. Since Jimmy took a bullet for Jerry recently (in Adventures #469, which started this whole mess), Jerry decides to take a kiss for him and volunteers to make out with Blaze. As a result, she literally sucks the life out of him. Back in the real world, Perry and Alice White are notified that their son has been pronounced dead.

Lois Lane, Jose Delgado and, for some reason, Professor Hamilton are there too and there’s a sad time all around.
Meanwhile, since Superman’s current strategy (punching everything) isn’t working very well, he decides to fight fire with fire: he shoots his heat vision at Blaze’s personal lava pool, and soon her entire domain starts overheating and crumbling down. Yes, Superman burns Hell to Hell. Blaze is squashed by her own giant rock monster (Wizard of Oz style) and Jimmy’s soul self fades away, as he returns to life in the real world. Then we see Superman flying out of a volcano, so I guess Blaze lived there all along, like a Bond villain.
So, yep, Jerry is dead… but then on the last page we see the Black Racer gathering Jerry’s soul from the morgue and escorting him to Heaven, since he’s been “deemed worthy”. (Or at least I think he’s going to Heaven. Maybe he means Apokolips, where Jerry will become one of Darkseid’s generals.) THE END.

"Oh, my cousin Tammy says hi.”
Beard-Watch:
As you can see above, it’s… it’s back! THE BEARD IS BACK! You know shit’s getting real in Superman comics when Superman suddenly sprouts a beard. How long was he fighting Blaze in that volcano, anyway?
Plotline-Watch:
Speaking of The Beard, the following panels officially end the “Jimmy Olsen, Professional Turd” storyline that began over a year ago when Superman accidentally infected Jimmy with an alien virus and they became ex-pals. To recap, Jimmy turned into an elastic freak, lost his hair, got sent to another dimension, had his mom kidnapped by an ape person and literally went to Hell… but the ordeals are over now. For a while.

When Superman blows up Hell, there’s a sequence with various mystical character in the DC Universe (Dr. Fate, Raven from the New Teen Titans, the Black Racer again) feeling a disturbance on the Force. Always loved those scenes.
Completely unrelated to the main story: in Smallville, Lana Lang finally sells her family farm to symbolize that she’s moving on with her life after recently accepting she’ll never marry Clark Kent (Superman #45). That gives Pete Ross the opening he’s been waiting for since they were school and he asks her out on a pizza date.
We finally learn Lex Luthor’s only soft spot: children. Or, his children, at least. Specifically Jerry, the illegitimate son he never bothered to recognize and let his second biggest enemy raise. This is actually consistent with Lex’s character, though, since he’ll go completely gaga over his daughter Lena when she’s born some years from now. And more importantly, Jerry’s death will put Lex in kind of a dark place…

Creator-Watch:
So, yeah, I did go a little overboard with the art in this entry, but there are so many cool sequences. Not coincidentally, this is the first major storyline where the climactic chapter was entrusted to Dan Jurgens: before now, most of them happened in Roger Stern-written titles(“Dark Knight Over Metropolis”, “Day of the Krypton Man”, the Exile in Space… hell, all of “The Brainiac Trilogy” was written by Stern). I get the feeling they were just trying to shake things up for once, since the next big storyline is capped by Jerry Ordway, but leaving the climaxes to Jurgens will become kind of a tradition from now on as he gets more popular. This may seem unfair to the others, but I think it’s fair: big dramatic moments are Jurgens’ strength.

Adventures of Superman #470 (September 1990)

Soul Search (or “Superman in Hell”), Conclusion: Someone lives! Someone dies! Everyone else continues the way they were! And nothing will ever be the same again.

In Part 2 of this saga, Superman managed to rescue Jimmy Olsen’s soul from the sexy demonic entity known as Blaze, but there are just two problems: 1) they’re still in Hell, or something like it, and 2) Blaze still has Perry White’s troubled son, Jerry. Another thing Blaze has is this giant rock monster trying to punch Superman:

Unfortunately, since Blaze’s powers are magical and Kryptonians don’t get along too well with magic, the more time Superman spends in her domain the weaker he gets. To make matters even worse, Blaze has the hots for Supes and tries to kiss him — he pulls away, but her lips graze his cheek and some sort of satanic herpes starts covering Superman’s face, then his entire body. Literally, all of his body.

Very observant, Jimbo. While Superman is busy dealing with that nasty infection and the giant rock monster, Blaze starts getting romantic with Jimmy. It’s implied that if she kisses you on the lips, your soul is hers forever, and Blaze “feeds” on souls, but still… Jimmy Olsen, Blaze? How starved for affection are you?

(Can you tell I’m loving the art in this issue?)

Anyway, with all the distractions going on, Jerry manages to break himself free from Blaze’s control for a moment and thinks about ditching this place… but then reconsiders because he feels bad about leaving Jimmy. Since Jimmy took a bullet for Jerry recently (in Adventures #469, which started this whole mess), Jerry decides to take a kiss for him and volunteers to make out with Blaze. As a result, she literally sucks the life out of him. Back in the real world, Perry and Alice White are notified that their son has been pronounced dead.

Lois Lane, Jose Delgado and, for some reason, Professor Hamilton are there too and there’s a sad time all around.

Meanwhile, since Superman’s current strategy (punching everything) isn’t working very well, he decides to fight fire with fire: he shoots his heat vision at Blaze’s personal lava pool, and soon her entire domain starts overheating and crumbling down. Yes, Superman burns Hell to Hell. Blaze is squashed by her own giant rock monster (Wizard of Oz style) and Jimmy’s soul self fades away, as he returns to life in the real world. Then we see Superman flying out of a volcano, so I guess Blaze lived there all along, like a Bond villain.

So, yep, Jerry is dead… but then on the last page we see the Black Racer gathering Jerry’s soul from the morgue and escorting him to Heaven, since he’s been “deemed worthy”. (Or at least I think he’s going to Heaven. Maybe he means Apokolips, where Jerry will become one of Darkseid’s generals.) THE END.

"Oh, my cousin Tammy says hi.”

Beard-Watch:

As you can see above, it’s… it’s back! THE BEARD IS BACK! You know shit’s getting real in Superman comics when Superman suddenly sprouts a beard. How long was he fighting Blaze in that volcano, anyway?

Plotline-Watch:

  • Speaking of The Beard, the following panels officially end the “Jimmy Olsen, Professional Turd” storyline that began over a year ago when Superman accidentally infected Jimmy with an alien virus and they became ex-pals. To recap, Jimmy turned into an elastic freak, lost his hair, got sent to another dimension, had his mom kidnapped by an ape person and literally went to Hell… but the ordeals are over now. For a while.

  • When Superman blows up Hell, there’s a sequence with various mystical character in the DC Universe (Dr. Fate, Raven from the New Teen Titans, the Black Racer again) feeling a disturbance on the Force. Always loved those scenes.
  • Completely unrelated to the main story: in Smallville, Lana Lang finally sells her family farm to symbolize that she’s moving on with her life after recently accepting she’ll never marry Clark Kent (Superman #45). That gives Pete Ross the opening he’s been waiting for since they were school and he asks her out on a pizza date.
  • We finally learn Lex Luthor’s only soft spot: children. Or, his children, at least. Specifically Jerry, the illegitimate son he never bothered to recognize and let his second biggest enemy raise. This is actually consistent with Lex’s character, though, since he’ll go completely gaga over his daughter Lena when she’s born some years from now. And more importantly, Jerry’s death will put Lex in kind of a dark place…

Creator-Watch:

So, yeah, I did go a little overboard with the art in this entry, but there are so many cool sequences. Not coincidentally, this is the first major storyline where the climactic chapter was entrusted to Dan Jurgens: before now, most of them happened in Roger Stern-written titles(“Dark Knight Over Metropolis”, “Day of the Krypton Man”, the Exile in Space… hell, all of “The Brainiac Trilogy” was written by Stern). I get the feeling they were just trying to shake things up for once, since the next big storyline is capped by Jerry Ordway, but leaving the climaxes to Jurgens will become kind of a tradition from now on as he gets more popular. This may seem unfair to the others, but I think it’s fair: big dramatic moments are Jurgens’ strength.

Jul 31 '14
Superman #47 (September 1990)
Soul Search, Part 2! Superman is still in Hell, and he runs into a guy he sent there a while ago: Skyhook, the hideous flying child abductor. By the way, there was some confusion about my phrasing the last time Skyhook showed up: Is he a child abductor who is hideous and can fly, or an abductor of hideous flying children? Both, actually, since his power is giving gross-looking wings to the kids he steals away. Hope that clears things up.
Anyway, Superman is trying to save the souls of Jimmy Olsen and Jerry White from Blaze, a demonic entity/Metropolis nightclub owner. Blaze throws a bunch of demons at him, including our deceased pal Skyhook.


"I thought that was another satanic lady called Blaze.”
Skyhook turns Superman into a winged demon by re-opening a wound he’d made the last time they fought. Superman, however, de-demonizes himself through sheer force of will and rescues Jimmy (who takes this opportunity to admit he’s “been a butthead” towards Supes lately). However, Jerry is already too far gone and Blaze completely takes over his body for a last fight with Superman…
Character-Watch:
The last time we saw Skyhook was in Superman #34, when we found out that he was originally a doctor who accidentally made a deal with a satanic entity and turned into a monster. That entity was Blaze… which explains why she chose the desecrated church Hooky has been using since his first appearance (Superman #15) to open her club. It all comes together!
Plotline-Watch:
While Superman fights Blaze in “Hell,” Gangbuster does the same thing in the mortal plane. He finds the drug dealers who shot Jerry and Jimmy, who turn out to be working for Intergang (of course). The dealers try to set fire to Blaze’s as revenge for getting scammed, only to find themselves mystically trapped inside the club too. Gangbuster shows up and saves the clubgoers from the fire… but not before dealing Jerry’s shooters some Gangbuster-style justice (they both die).

The Black Racer, the ski-riding incarnation of death who is also the cousin of Jerry White’s ex girlfriend Tammy, appears again, and this time the Jerry connection is acknowledged: it’s while Gangbuster is visiting Tammy that the Black Racer shows up and helps him find the drug dealers. Family is more important than the cosmic balance, apparently.
Meanwhile, the always opportune Lex Luthor picks this sensitive time to let Perry White know that he’s Jerry’s father — Luthor even did a DNA test back when he was financing/running experiments on Jerry’s street gang and confirmed that he’s the real daddy. Perry always suspected that but didn’t know for sure until now. However, Perry says he still considers Jerry his son and deals Luthor a punch in the gut (one in the nuts would have been more appropriate).

Excuse-Watch:
At this point, I was supposed to cover the World’s Finest Superman/Batman miniseries by Dave Gibbons and Steve Rude but, uh, the copy I ordered online hasn’t arrived yet. Hopefully it gets here by the time we reach the end of the miniseries so I can cover all of it at once. Otherwise, in order to preserve the sanctity of the strictly chronological order of this blog, we’ll have to wait until we reach 1992 (the point when the tradepaperback collection was published).

Superman #47 (September 1990)

Soul Search, Part 2! Superman is still in Hell, and he runs into a guy he sent there a while ago: Skyhook, the hideous flying child abductor. By the way, there was some confusion about my phrasing the last time Skyhook showed up: Is he a child abductor who is hideous and can fly, or an abductor of hideous flying children? Both, actually, since his power is giving gross-looking wings to the kids he steals away. Hope that clears things up.

Anyway, Superman is trying to save the souls of Jimmy Olsen and Jerry White from Blaze, a demonic entity/Metropolis nightclub owner. Blaze throws a bunch of demons at him, including our deceased pal Skyhook.

"I thought that was another satanic lady called Blaze.”

Skyhook turns Superman into a winged demon by re-opening a wound he’d made the last time they fought. Superman, however, de-demonizes himself through sheer force of will and rescues Jimmy (who takes this opportunity to admit he’s “been a butthead” towards Supes lately). However, Jerry is already too far gone and Blaze completely takes over his body for a last fight with Superman…

Character-Watch:

The last time we saw Skyhook was in Superman #34, when we found out that he was originally a doctor who accidentally made a deal with a satanic entity and turned into a monster. That entity was Blaze… which explains why she chose the desecrated church Hooky has been using since his first appearance (Superman #15) to open her club. It all comes together!

Plotline-Watch:

  • While Superman fights Blaze in “Hell,” Gangbuster does the same thing in the mortal plane. He finds the drug dealers who shot Jerry and Jimmy, who turn out to be working for Intergang (of course). The dealers try to set fire to Blaze’s as revenge for getting scammed, only to find themselves mystically trapped inside the club too. Gangbuster shows up and saves the clubgoers from the fire… but not before dealing Jerry’s shooters some Gangbuster-style justice (they both die).

  • The Black Racer, the ski-riding incarnation of death who is also the cousin of Jerry White’s ex girlfriend Tammy, appears again, and this time the Jerry connection is acknowledged: it’s while Gangbuster is visiting Tammy that the Black Racer shows up and helps him find the drug dealers. Family is more important than the cosmic balance, apparently.
  • Meanwhile, the always opportune Lex Luthor picks this sensitive time to let Perry White know that he’s Jerry’s father — Luthor even did a DNA test back when he was financing/running experiments on Jerry’s street gang and confirmed that he’s the real daddy. Perry always suspected that but didn’t know for sure until now. However, Perry says he still considers Jerry his son and deals Luthor a punch in the gut (one in the nuts would have been more appropriate).

Excuse-Watch:

At this point, I was supposed to cover the World’s Finest Superman/Batman miniseries by Dave Gibbons and Steve Rude but, uh, the copy I ordered online hasn’t arrived yet. Hopefully it gets here by the time we reach the end of the miniseries so I can cover all of it at once. Otherwise, in order to preserve the sanctity of the strictly chronological order of this blog, we’ll have to wait until we reach 1992 (the point when the tradepaperback collection was published).

Jul 24 '14
Action Comics #656 (August 1990)
Soul Search, Part 1: SUPERMAN GOES TO HELL! Or, like, to a place with fire and demons and stuff, because they don’t specifically call it the H-word. But you get the idea.
On Adventures #469's cliffhanger, Jerry White and Jimmy Olsen got shot: Jerry for pissing off some drug dealers and Jimmy just for being there, being Jimmy. The doctors say the kids should be getting better since no major organs were damaged, but instead they're mysteriously getting worse. Clark Kent is consoling Perry White and his wife at the hospital when a black man in a knight armor and skis walks through the wall and talks to him.

"Shouldn’t have taken that mescaline before coming here."
That, of course, is none other than the Black Racer (last seen in Superman #35), who is also the cousin of Jerry’s ex-girlfriend, but that coincidence is irrelevant to the story and not mentioned here. Anyway, the Racer tells Superman that Jimmy and Jerry’s souls have been stolen and taken to another plane of existence (the non-Hell mentioned above) — Superman is transported there through the Black Racer’s black powers, but then the Black Racer has to go run some black errands or something, so Supes is on his own.
Once he’s in sorta-Hell, Superman saves a sexy woman from a big satanic dog… a favor she repays by betraying Superman and spitting lava on him, because it turns out she’s Blaze, the lady who runs this dimension. Superman emerges from a river of lava even more pissed off than he was before, swearing that he won’t leave this place until he has kicked Blaze’s butt and saved Jimmy and Jerry.

…well, one of them, anyway.
Character-Watch:
This is Blaze’s first appearance in her demonic form, but she appeared before as Angelica Blaze, Jerry’s boss and the one who caused him to get shot. However, that’s not exactly her first appearance either: not only will we find out that Blaze was responsible for another villain that goes back to the Byrne era, but we’ve also seen the human form of her brother in these pages recently.
Plotline-Watch:
This storyline has an interesting pedigree: Alan Moore was the one who originally suggested that Superman should visit Hell back in the mid-’80s (before he decided that all of DC should go there instead), and Neil Gaiman actually wrote a script about it in 1989, for the last issue of Action Comics Weekly, but it wasn’t published because of a continuity problem (it eventually came out in 2000 as Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame, when DC was desperate for more Gaiman material to print).
Also, isn’t it weird that a story about Superman and demons started on Action #656? I have a theory that they wanted to start it in #666, but they pushed it ahead because the events here will trigger an important plotline about Luthor, and they didn’t wanna wait for that. More plots:
Clark Kent only finds out Jimmy got shot after he arrives from his Smallville smooching trip with Lois, because they didn’t have Facebook back then (though I’m pretty sure Clark would have blocked Jimmy by now). I do like the slow process of how everyone finds out the bad news: it kinda reminds me of the better parts of “Funeral for a Friend.”
The Misadventures of Jose Delgado: Jose is taking this pretty badly, since he and Jerry have been pals since they both debuted on this comic in the same issue, back in 1987. Jose unhangs his old nunchakus and goes out as Gangbuster to find out who shot Jerry and punch his face in. As he investigates, he sees Angelica Blaze being interrogated by Detective Slam Bradley and gets a bad feeling about her.
Someone else who’s bummed out about Jerry: Lex Luthor? Lex is yelling at Dr. Kelley for giving him some bad news (we’ll find out soon what they are), when he hears about Jerry on TV and gets all sad. What could Luthor possibly have to do with the son of Perry White? You know, the guy whose wife he had an affair with right before Jerry was born? Pretty weird.

Meanwhile, no one cares about Jimmy. Just as it should be.

Action Comics #656 (August 1990)

Soul Search, Part 1: SUPERMAN GOES TO HELL! Or, like, to a place with fire and demons and stuff, because they don’t specifically call it the H-word. But you get the idea.

On Adventures #469's cliffhanger, Jerry White and Jimmy Olsen got shot: Jerry for pissing off some drug dealers and Jimmy just for being there, being Jimmy. The doctors say the kids should be getting better since no major organs were damaged, but instead they're mysteriously getting worse. Clark Kent is consoling Perry White and his wife at the hospital when a black man in a knight armor and skis walks through the wall and talks to him.

"Shouldn’t have taken that mescaline before coming here."

That, of course, is none other than the Black Racer (last seen in Superman #35), who is also the cousin of Jerry’s ex-girlfriend, but that coincidence is irrelevant to the story and not mentioned here. Anyway, the Racer tells Superman that Jimmy and Jerry’s souls have been stolen and taken to another plane of existence (the non-Hell mentioned above) — Superman is transported there through the Black Racer’s black powers, but then the Black Racer has to go run some black errands or something, so Supes is on his own.

Once he’s in sorta-Hell, Superman saves a sexy woman from a big satanic dog… a favor she repays by betraying Superman and spitting lava on him, because it turns out she’s Blaze, the lady who runs this dimension. Superman emerges from a river of lava even more pissed off than he was before, swearing that he won’t leave this place until he has kicked Blaze’s butt and saved Jimmy and Jerry.

…well, one of them, anyway.

Character-Watch:

This is Blaze’s first appearance in her demonic form, but she appeared before as Angelica Blaze, Jerry’s boss and the one who caused him to get shot. However, that’s not exactly her first appearance either: not only will we find out that Blaze was responsible for another villain that goes back to the Byrne era, but we’ve also seen the human form of her brother in these pages recently.

Plotline-Watch:

This storyline has an interesting pedigree: Alan Moore was the one who originally suggested that Superman should visit Hell back in the mid-’80s (before he decided that all of DC should go there instead), and Neil Gaiman actually wrote a script about it in 1989, for the last issue of Action Comics Weekly, but it wasn’t published because of a continuity problem (it eventually came out in 2000 as Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame, when DC was desperate for more Gaiman material to print).

Also, isn’t it weird that a story about Superman and demons started on Action #656? I have a theory that they wanted to start it in #666, but they pushed it ahead because the events here will trigger an important plotline about Luthor, and they didn’t wanna wait for that. More plots:

  • Clark Kent only finds out Jimmy got shot after he arrives from his Smallville smooching trip with Lois, because they didn’t have Facebook back then (though I’m pretty sure Clark would have blocked Jimmy by now). I do like the slow process of how everyone finds out the bad news: it kinda reminds me of the better parts of “Funeral for a Friend.”
  • The Misadventures of Jose Delgado: Jose is taking this pretty badly, since he and Jerry have been pals since they both debuted on this comic in the same issue, back in 1987. Jose unhangs his old nunchakus and goes out as Gangbuster to find out who shot Jerry and punch his face in. As he investigates, he sees Angelica Blaze being interrogated by Detective Slam Bradley and gets a bad feeling about her.
  • Someone else who’s bummed out about Jerry: Lex Luthor? Lex is yelling at Dr. Kelley for giving him some bad news (we’ll find out soon what they are), when he hears about Jerry on TV and gets all sad. What could Luthor possibly have to do with the son of Perry White? You know, the guy whose wife he had an affair with right before Jerry was born? Pretty weird.

  • Meanwhile, no one cares about Jimmy. Just as it should be.
Jul 21 '14
Adventures of Superman #469 (August 1990)
Superman takes a holiday, but it’s interrupted by two guys in buffalo masks. Also featuring the long-awaited return of two Superman villains! (That you’d probably forgotten by now.)
Superman #46 ended with Lois Lane and Clark Kent making out while watching fireworks in Smallville. Apparently those crazy kids were going at it for a full week, because this issue starts with the exact same scene:

The smooching action is interrupted by Clark’s old friends Pete Ross and Lana Lang, leading to a slightly awkward moment between the two LL ladies. Fortunately, before Lois and Lana can recreate the scene from this cover, a spaceship lands right in front of the crowd watching the fireworks and Clark has to disappear to deal with it. Out of the spaceship come the two buffalo dudes mentioned above who say they’re looking for some fugitives, but as usual, a misunderstanding causes Superman to fight them.
Once the buffalo bros. are defeated (turns out it was as easy as taking off their clothes, since there’s just energy underneath), we find out who they were looking for: Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught, those aliens who “stole” Superman’s powers back in Adventures #442! The pair try to attack Superman, but now that he knows that their power-stealing trick was completely psychological, they’re a lot easier to deal with.


Don’t mess with Superman’s vacation time.
In a bizarre plot twist, out of the big spaceship comes Dreadnaught’s wife, who looks exactly like him in a dress. The lady explains that these two goofs aren’t really scouts for an alien invasion like they claimed in their previous appearance: they just like going around the universe picking fights with other races. Superman leaves them on Mrs. Dreadnaught’s care on the promise that they won’t come back to Earth again.

However, in another bizarre plot twist, Mrs. Dreadnaught’s spaceship doesn’t go to another planet: it heads to a military base in Wyoming, where a big shot army type person calls Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught idiots for almost tipping off Superman about their “operation.” TO BE CONTINUED! In a few months. Because first, there’s another big storyline coming…
Plotline-Watch:
After all the goofy stuff in the main story, the last pages switch gears to show Jerry White doing a drug deal for his boss, only to find out the money he was given has been replaced with cockroaches. The drug dealers don’t appreciate the joke and shoot Jerry in the chest… and also Jimmy Olsen, who came in at the worst possible moment (as usual). The issue ends with the seemingly dead Jimmy and Jerry laying in an alley as Jerry’s boss, Angelica Blaze, comes in says this:

Yep, that got dark pretty quick.
Creator-Watch:
Between the Mxyzptlk issue (Adventures #463), the one with Lobo and Bibbo getting drunk in the Fortress of Solitude (#464) and this one, Dan Jurgens was giving Justice League International a good run for its money for the best humor comic starring people in tights. There are lots of great little gags all over the issue, from the rednecks who are unimpressed by the aliens because it’s all just “wires and special effects” (come to think of it, they weren’t far off from the truth) to this little gem of a panel:

I just love seeing Superman in uncomfortable situations he can’t punch his way out of. Ironically, when Jurgens does take over the JLI, he’s gonna turn it into a straight action comic, and in general the humor will become a lot less prominent in his work (thankfully we’ll have Karl Kesel by then).

Adventures of Superman #469 (August 1990)

Superman takes a holiday, but it’s interrupted by two guys in buffalo masks. Also featuring the long-awaited return of two Superman villains! (That you’d probably forgotten by now.)

Superman #46 ended with Lois Lane and Clark Kent making out while watching fireworks in Smallville. Apparently those crazy kids were going at it for a full week, because this issue starts with the exact same scene:

The smooching action is interrupted by Clark’s old friends Pete Ross and Lana Lang, leading to a slightly awkward moment between the two LL ladies. Fortunately, before Lois and Lana can recreate the scene from this cover, a spaceship lands right in front of the crowd watching the fireworks and Clark has to disappear to deal with it. Out of the spaceship come the two buffalo dudes mentioned above who say they’re looking for some fugitives, but as usual, a misunderstanding causes Superman to fight them.

Once the buffalo bros. are defeated (turns out it was as easy as taking off their clothes, since there’s just energy underneath), we find out who they were looking for: Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught, those aliens who “stole” Superman’s powers back in Adventures #442! The pair try to attack Superman, but now that he knows that their power-stealing trick was completely psychological, they’re a lot easier to deal with.

Don’t mess with Superman’s vacation time.

In a bizarre plot twist, out of the big spaceship comes Dreadnaught’s wife, who looks exactly like him in a dress. The lady explains that these two goofs aren’t really scouts for an alien invasion like they claimed in their previous appearance: they just like going around the universe picking fights with other races. Superman leaves them on Mrs. Dreadnaught’s care on the promise that they won’t come back to Earth again.

However, in another bizarre plot twist, Mrs. Dreadnaught’s spaceship doesn’t go to another planet: it heads to a military base in Wyoming, where a big shot army type person calls Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught idiots for almost tipping off Superman about their “operation.” TO BE CONTINUED! In a few months. Because first, there’s another big storyline coming…

Plotline-Watch:

After all the goofy stuff in the main story, the last pages switch gears to show Jerry White doing a drug deal for his boss, only to find out the money he was given has been replaced with cockroaches. The drug dealers don’t appreciate the joke and shoot Jerry in the chest… and also Jimmy Olsen, who came in at the worst possible moment (as usual). The issue ends with the seemingly dead Jimmy and Jerry laying in an alley as Jerry’s boss, Angelica Blaze, comes in says this:

Yep, that got dark pretty quick.

Creator-Watch:

Between the Mxyzptlk issue (Adventures #463), the one with Lobo and Bibbo getting drunk in the Fortress of Solitude (#464) and this one, Dan Jurgens was giving Justice League International a good run for its money for the best humor comic starring people in tights. There are lots of great little gags all over the issue, from the rednecks who are unimpressed by the aliens because it’s all just “wires and special effects” (come to think of it, they weren’t far off from the truth) to this little gem of a panel:

I just love seeing Superman in uncomfortable situations he can’t punch his way out of. Ironically, when Jurgens does take over the JLI, he’s gonna turn it into a straight action comic, and in general the humor will become a lot less prominent in his work (thankfully we’ll have Karl Kesel by then).

Jul 21 '14

Anonymous asked:

Wow. I know now, after reading your blog, that I practically know squat about Superman! But it is lots of fun reading you, so thanks! Can you help me out? I am trying to find the title of two Superman comic books. I am pretty sure they would be from early 80s. One of them had Brainiac creating a reversed image of Metropolis in the sky. The image would go down slowly and at some point, Superdude realizes that the image will destroy Metropolis as soon as it'd get in contact with it.

Whoops, hadn’t seen this before! That comic doesn’t ring a bell, so it’s probably from before 1986 (I have like five comics from that era). Has anyone else read it?

The other comic Anon needed helps identifying was “one where he was apparently married to a lady witch or sorcerer. They were doing some tourism on the moon with their son when a series of catastrophes start happening… and the son seems responsible for them.”

Anyone?

Jul 19 '14
Superman #46 (August 1990)
Superman vs. Terra-Man, the enviromentalist supervillain, and his robot cowboys. Also starring Jade and Obsidian, the brother and sister superhero team. Did I mention the robot cowboys? There are robot cowboys.
Lois Lane and Clark Kent are attending a media event by a rich guy who says he figured out how to solve all the problems with the enviroment: just get every rich person inside a big dome! A new villain called Terra-Man takes offense with this plan and stages a protest, and by protest I mean he has his gang of robot cowboys terrorize the place. Terra-Man also has various hi-tech gizmos and guns, but luckily Superman isn’t the only superhero in attendance: Jade and Obsidian were also at the event because, having fallen on hard times, they’re now working as an expensive projection system, basically.

I like that the only use for Obsidian’s amazing shadow-based powers is “holding up a photograph,” but he still felt the need to be in full superhero getup. Anyway, Jade and Obsidian deal with the robots while Superman has an old fashioned cowboy duel with Terra-Man (there was a western movie set right there, so they couldn’t pass up the opportunity).


(Of course, it’s a “laser gun vs. super breath” duel, so maybe “old fashioned” isn’t the right term.)
In the end the defeated Terra-Man escapes by summoning a tornado, but at least the rich guy’s project is completely ruined, and that’s what’s important here.
Character-Watch:
The classic version of Terra-Man was a cowboy-themed villain with a winged horse. This more interesting version is Tobias Manning, a former industrialist who was responsible for an enviromental catastrophe and saw the error of his greedy ways (he might have gone a little too far in the opposite direction, though). Unfortunately, he’ll only show up a handful of times in this era before getting killed off and turned into a zombie by future writers, which is the ultimate fate of like 80% of DC’s minor villains.
As for Jade and Obsidian, I’m pretty sure they only appear here because Jerry Ordway was their co-creator on the Infinity Inc. series, about a superhero team made out of the children of the original Justice Society of America. In their case, they are the son and daughter of the 1940’s Green Lantern — the implication being that they came out looking like that because their dad’s sperm was mutated by wearing that ring for so many years. They’re going through rough times right now, but I seem to recall Jade had her own reality show at some point in the ’90s.
Plotline-Watch:
Jimmy Olsen is now officially in his punk rocker/satanist/potential drug dealer phase, all because he’s hanging out with Jerry White. Lucy Lane tries to talk some sense into Jimmy, but he’s like “leave me alone, square.” Then Jerry asks for a ride in Jimmy’s piece of shit car because he has to deliver yet another one of those mysterious brown bags for his boss. Jimmy doesn’t think there’s anything suspicious there and says sure.
#MORGANSPIRACY update: The media event mentioned above takes place at Monarch Studios, owned by Cat Grant’s ex, media mogul Joe Morgan. One of the attendants is Vinnie Edge, father of Cat Grant’s other ex, media mogul (and incarcerated criminal) Morgan Edge. The two bond over their mutual hatred of Morgan, and then Vinnie offers Clark Kent a TV job for helping bring down his son. Unfortunately, he’d have to change his hairdo and wear contact lenses, so Clark declines.
After the Terra-Man thing, Lois and Clark finally travel to Smallville like they were supposed to in Adventures #468, and then the issue ends with her doing this…

…presumably just to avoid any more silly “she likes Superman better than Clark” subplots in the future. Thank you, Lois.

Superman #46 (August 1990)

Superman vs. Terra-Man, the enviromentalist supervillain, and his robot cowboys. Also starring Jade and Obsidian, the brother and sister superhero team. Did I mention the robot cowboys? There are robot cowboys.

Lois Lane and Clark Kent are attending a media event by a rich guy who says he figured out how to solve all the problems with the enviroment: just get every rich person inside a big dome! A new villain called Terra-Man takes offense with this plan and stages a protest, and by protest I mean he has his gang of robot cowboys terrorize the place. Terra-Man also has various hi-tech gizmos and guns, but luckily Superman isn’t the only superhero in attendance: Jade and Obsidian were also at the event because, having fallen on hard times, they’re now working as an expensive projection system, basically.

I like that the only use for Obsidian’s amazing shadow-based powers is “holding up a photograph,” but he still felt the need to be in full superhero getup. Anyway, Jade and Obsidian deal with the robots while Superman has an old fashioned cowboy duel with Terra-Man (there was a western movie set right there, so they couldn’t pass up the opportunity).

(Of course, it’s a “laser gun vs. super breath” duel, so maybe “old fashioned” isn’t the right term.)

In the end the defeated Terra-Man escapes by summoning a tornado, but at least the rich guy’s project is completely ruined, and that’s what’s important here.

Character-Watch:

The classic version of Terra-Man was a cowboy-themed villain with a winged horse. This more interesting version is Tobias Manning, a former industrialist who was responsible for an enviromental catastrophe and saw the error of his greedy ways (he might have gone a little too far in the opposite direction, though). Unfortunately, he’ll only show up a handful of times in this era before getting killed off and turned into a zombie by future writers, which is the ultimate fate of like 80% of DC’s minor villains.

As for Jade and Obsidian, I’m pretty sure they only appear here because Jerry Ordway was their co-creator on the Infinity Inc. series, about a superhero team made out of the children of the original Justice Society of America. In their case, they are the son and daughter of the 1940’s Green Lantern — the implication being that they came out looking like that because their dad’s sperm was mutated by wearing that ring for so many years. They’re going through rough times right now, but I seem to recall Jade had her own reality show at some point in the ’90s.

Plotline-Watch:

  • Jimmy Olsen is now officially in his punk rocker/satanist/potential drug dealer phase, all because he’s hanging out with Jerry White. Lucy Lane tries to talk some sense into Jimmy, but he’s like “leave me alone, square.” Then Jerry asks for a ride in Jimmy’s piece of shit car because he has to deliver yet another one of those mysterious brown bags for his boss. Jimmy doesn’t think there’s anything suspicious there and says sure.
  • #MORGANSPIRACY update: The media event mentioned above takes place at Monarch Studios, owned by Cat Grant’s ex, media mogul Joe Morgan. One of the attendants is Vinnie Edge, father of Cat Grant’s other ex, media mogul (and incarcerated criminal) Morgan Edge. The two bond over their mutual hatred of Morgan, and then Vinnie offers Clark Kent a TV job for helping bring down his son. Unfortunately, he’d have to change his hairdo and wear contact lenses, so Clark declines.
  • After the Terra-Man thing, Lois and Clark finally travel to Smallville like they were supposed to in Adventures #468, and then the issue ends with her doing this…

…presumably just to avoid any more silly “she likes Superman better than Clark” subplots in the future. Thank you, Lois.