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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.
Sep 13 '14
Starman #28 (November 1990)
What? Why is there a Starman comic in this blog? Because this is Part 2 ½ of KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE, the storyline that will change Superman forever! (Also because I’ve been super busy this week and haven’t even had time to read any Superman, but I did read this thing.)
In this issue: Superman, having lost his powers (Superman #49) and subsequently realized he sucks without powers (Adventures #472), asks Starman to come over to Metropolis and use his solar abilities to replentish Superman’s batteries. All this plan accomplishes, however, is giving Superman a nice tan (and, apparently, the douchey attitude that comes with one).

Meanwhile, word is getting around Metropolis that Superman may be sick, which means criminals are suddenly getting ballsier. Luckily, one of Starman’s vaguely defined powers is identity theft, so he disguises himself as Superman and flies around the city for a while to prevent panic from spreading. Fake Superman even fools Lex Luthor, who angrily attacks him with the red kryptonite that took away Real Superman’s powers — Superstarman just grabs the rock and flies away with Luthor’s private property, leaving poor Lex utterly baffled.


Wait, did he… make fun of Luthor’s cancer? Is that another power Starman has? Finding out if someone is terminally ill and mocking them from it? Wikipedia doesn’t mention anything like that.
Anyway, Professor Hamilton examines the red K to see if he can revert its effects… but nope, all his intruments say it’s just a regular red rock that glows. And since Superman doesn’t want to rely on Starman forever (can you imagine a Superman with a mullet?!), it’s time for the next crazy plan: ROBOT ARMORS. Continued!
Plotline-Watch:
The robot armor is something Professor Hamilton apparently just threw together in a day, based on that other armor he and Gangbuster once stole from LexCorp (Adventures #451). We’ll see it in action in the next Action.
The reason they thought Superman could get his powers back just by standing near Starman is that that technique did work the last time they met (Starman #14 and Action #645), after Superman’s powers got briefly hijacked by the Parasite. So the plan wasn’t that stupid.
SIX-FIFTY: At one point we see a pair of tourists coming out of a cab in Metropolis and spotting Starman in the sky. The cab fare is… $10.60. Tourists always get ripped off.
This comic is a must-have for any serious Superman collector, because it contains a rare appearance of one of Superman’s most obscure villains: Professor Killgrave (the midget with the Moe haircut last seen in Superman #19), who is shown planning a breakout in his cell at Stryker’s Island. I’ve read this storyline a bunch of times and I seriously forgot that guy was in it.
WTF-Watch:
Speaking of guys called Professor who are insane, I like how Professor Hamilton immediately volunteers his whole life story, including the unsavory parts, to Starman, a guy he’s never met before.

Jesus, all he said “How do you do?” — ask Professor Hamilton for the time and he’ll tell you about his erectile dysfunction problem.

Starman #28 (November 1990)

What? Why is there a Starman comic in this blog? Because this is Part 2 ½ of KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE, the storyline that will change Superman forever! (Also because I’ve been super busy this week and haven’t even had time to read any Superman, but I did read this thing.)

In this issue: Superman, having lost his powers (Superman #49) and subsequently realized he sucks without powers (Adventures #472), asks Starman to come over to Metropolis and use his solar abilities to replentish Superman’s batteries. All this plan accomplishes, however, is giving Superman a nice tan (and, apparently, the douchey attitude that comes with one).

Meanwhile, word is getting around Metropolis that Superman may be sick, which means criminals are suddenly getting ballsier. Luckily, one of Starman’s vaguely defined powers is identity theft, so he disguises himself as Superman and flies around the city for a while to prevent panic from spreading. Fake Superman even fools Lex Luthor, who angrily attacks him with the red kryptonite that took away Real Superman’s powers — Superstarman just grabs the rock and flies away with Luthor’s private property, leaving poor Lex utterly baffled.

Wait, did he… make fun of Luthor’s cancer? Is that another power Starman has? Finding out if someone is terminally ill and mocking them from it? Wikipedia doesn’t mention anything like that.

Anyway, Professor Hamilton examines the red K to see if he can revert its effects… but nope, all his intruments say it’s just a regular red rock that glows. And since Superman doesn’t want to rely on Starman forever (can you imagine a Superman with a mullet?!), it’s time for the next crazy plan: ROBOT ARMORS. Continued!

Plotline-Watch:

  • The robot armor is something Professor Hamilton apparently just threw together in a day, based on that other armor he and Gangbuster once stole from LexCorp (Adventures #451). We’ll see it in action in the next Action.
  • The reason they thought Superman could get his powers back just by standing near Starman is that that technique did work the last time they met (Starman #14 and Action #645), after Superman’s powers got briefly hijacked by the Parasite. So the plan wasn’t that stupid.
  • SIX-FIFTY: At one point we see a pair of tourists coming out of a cab in Metropolis and spotting Starman in the sky. The cab fare is… $10.60. Tourists always get ripped off.
  • This comic is a must-have for any serious Superman collector, because it contains a rare appearance of one of Superman’s most obscure villains: Professor Killgrave (the midget with the Moe haircut last seen in Superman #19), who is shown planning a breakout in his cell at Stryker’s Island. I’ve read this storyline a bunch of times and I seriously forgot that guy was in it.

WTF-Watch:

Speaking of guys called Professor who are insane, I like how Professor Hamilton immediately volunteers his whole life story, including the unsavory parts, to Starman, a guy he’s never met before.

Jesus, all he said “How do you do?” — ask Professor Hamilton for the time and he’ll tell you about his erectile dysfunction problem.

Sep 7 '14
Adventures of Superman #472 (November 1990)
More like Adventures of MAN #472 (November 1990), because Superman just lost all of his super back in part one of KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE. Undeterred, The Man of Regular-Human-Flesh tries to continue his superheroing career by replacing his powers with a rope, some gloves, a bulletproof vest and a faulty force field belt (all borrowed from Professor Hamilton). Considering that the issue starts with not-Superman hanging upside down and about to get a tractor thrown at his face, that plan isn’t going too well.

The big guy (in case he didn’t mention his name enough times) is Mammoth of the Fearsome Five — who, by the way, already defeated Superman once when he had his powers (Adventures #430), so this situation isn’t looking good. Before Mammoth can kill Superman, though, Maggie Sawyer and the Special Crimes Unit almost do that themselves by unloading their full arsenal on his general direction, thinking he can take it. Superman manages to hide from the explosions by crawling into a sewer, and then convinces Mammoth to turn himself in using the real power that was inside him all along: the power of smack talk.


Unfortunately, not all villains are as dumb as Mammoth, so going around talking criminals into submission probably isn’t gonna be a sustainable crimefighting technique (it works for Batman, but that dude is crazy). So, Superman comes up with an idea to get his powers back: getting a bath of solar radiation. Luckily, he knows a guy who practically poops solar radiation and happens to owe him a favor, so Superman calls him on the phone and…
TO BE CONTINUED! IN STARMAN #28!
Plotline-Watch:
Clark Kent visits Lois Lane’s mom at the hospital as she continues getting worse, because he’s a supportive boyfriend and all. Then he flips out on Lois when she casually mentions that Lex Luthor has been paying for her mom’s meds for years — meds that don’t work anymore, but Lois says she’ll do anything to keep her mom alive. Anything. Including bald people, presumably.
Because I know you were wondering: Clark’s cab ride to the hospital is $6.50.
The force field belt Professor Hamilton lends Superman is, of course, the same one the good professor used in Adventures #425 to try to kill Superman and also a random hooker, as I’ll never, ever get tired of reminding people. On a related note, Hamilton mentions that he heard about Mammoth’s legendary stupidity while he was in prison. You know, I’d read a miniseries about Hamilton’s time in jail and how he managed to keep himself alive/unmolested through wacky improvised inventions.
The sister that Mammoth wanted to get a birthday present for (by robbing a jewelry store) is Shimmer, also of the Fearsome Five. I think at one point DC killed her off, and then for some reason Mammoth turned super-smart.
WTF-Watch:
I think pretty much everyone is bizarrely out of character during that aforementioned hospital scene:
Let’s start with Clark. Is it me or does he come off as an insensitive jackass towards Lois, considering the whole “her mom is dying” thing? It doesn’t help that the art kinda makes it look like he’s shaking her by the shoulders.

Then there’s Lois herself, though this is more of continuity nitpick: she says she’s been “getting closer” with Luthor since he saved her mom’s life (after secretly making her sick himself), but that was three years ago, and she seemed repulsed by Lex as recently as the “Dark Knight Over Metropolis” storyline. She even says she’ll “never forget what he did to her mom” when they run into him at the Baldy Awards gala. So, when exactly did she get “close” with Lex? I would not read a miniseries about that.
Lois’ dad, who has historically been a macho asshole, notices Clark’s face is bruised and rather than commending him for getting into a fight, he calls him irresponsible. But, his wife is dying so I guess he gets a pass.
And finally, Lucy Lane’s personality isn’t really off, but she barely has a personality to start with so it doesn’t count.

Adventures of Superman #472 (November 1990)

More like Adventures of MAN #472 (November 1990), because Superman just lost all of his super back in part one of KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE. Undeterred, The Man of Regular-Human-Flesh tries to continue his superheroing career by replacing his powers with a rope, some gloves, a bulletproof vest and a faulty force field belt (all borrowed from Professor Hamilton). Considering that the issue starts with not-Superman hanging upside down and about to get a tractor thrown at his face, that plan isn’t going too well.

The big guy (in case he didn’t mention his name enough times) is Mammoth of the Fearsome Five — who, by the way, already defeated Superman once when he had his powers (Adventures #430), so this situation isn’t looking good. Before Mammoth can kill Superman, though, Maggie Sawyer and the Special Crimes Unit almost do that themselves by unloading their full arsenal on his general direction, thinking he can take it. Superman manages to hide from the explosions by crawling into a sewer, and then convinces Mammoth to turn himself in using the real power that was inside him all along: the power of smack talk.

Unfortunately, not all villains are as dumb as Mammoth, so going around talking criminals into submission probably isn’t gonna be a sustainable crimefighting technique (it works for Batman, but that dude is crazy). So, Superman comes up with an idea to get his powers back: getting a bath of solar radiation. Luckily, he knows a guy who practically poops solar radiation and happens to owe him a favor, so Superman calls him on the phone and…

TO BE CONTINUED! IN STARMAN #28!

Plotline-Watch:

  • Clark Kent visits Lois Lane’s mom at the hospital as she continues getting worse, because he’s a supportive boyfriend and all. Then he flips out on Lois when she casually mentions that Lex Luthor has been paying for her mom’s meds for years — meds that don’t work anymore, but Lois says she’ll do anything to keep her mom alive. Anything. Including bald people, presumably.
  • Because I know you were wondering: Clark’s cab ride to the hospital is $6.50.
  • The force field belt Professor Hamilton lends Superman is, of course, the same one the good professor used in Adventures #425 to try to kill Superman and also a random hooker, as I’ll never, ever get tired of reminding people. On a related note, Hamilton mentions that he heard about Mammoth’s legendary stupidity while he was in prison. You know, I’d read a miniseries about Hamilton’s time in jail and how he managed to keep himself alive/unmolested through wacky improvised inventions.
  • The sister that Mammoth wanted to get a birthday present for (by robbing a jewelry store) is Shimmer, also of the Fearsome Five. I think at one point DC killed her off, and then for some reason Mammoth turned super-smart.

WTF-Watch:

I think pretty much everyone is bizarrely out of character during that aforementioned hospital scene:

  • Let’s start with Clark. Is it me or does he come off as an insensitive jackass towards Lois, considering the whole “her mom is dying” thing? It doesn’t help that the art kinda makes it look like he’s shaking her by the shoulders.

  • Then there’s Lois herself, though this is more of continuity nitpick: she says she’s been “getting closer” with Luthor since he saved her mom’s life (after secretly making her sick himself), but that was three years ago, and she seemed repulsed by Lex as recently as the “Dark Knight Over Metropolis” storyline. She even says she’ll “never forget what he did to her mom” when they run into him at the Baldy Awards gala. So, when exactly did she get “close” with Lex? I would not read a miniseries about that.
  • Lois’ dad, who has historically been a macho asshole, notices Clark’s face is bruised and rather than commending him for getting into a fight, he calls him irresponsible. But, his wife is dying so I guess he gets a pass.
  • And finally, Lucy Lane’s personality isn’t really off, but she barely has a personality to start with so it doesn’t count.
Sep 4 '14
Superman #49 (November 1990)
It’s here: KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE! Despite the silly name, which sounds kinda offensive when you strip it down to just the initials (KOKK), this is one of the most important Superman storylines ever. For starters, the scene on the cover actually appears in the comic: Lex Luthor really does beat the crap out of Superman in a fist fight. Or, uh, a fist/lump fight.

This historic moment is possible thanks to a chunk of red kryptonite that Lex gets as a gift from Mr. Mxyzptlk, who is busy in another dimension at the moment but still doesn’t want to miss his quarterly appointment to bust Superman’s balls. According to Myxzptlk, the red K will magically turn Lex into Superman’s physical equal — the only rule (because there’s always a rule) is that Superman can never know that Mxy is involved. After Lex has analyzedthe rock to make sure that this type of kryptonite won’t make another part of his body fall off, he follows Mxyzptlk’s instructions and activates it… only to find out the kryptonite won’t give him Superman-like powers, it just gives Superman the powers of an overweight, balding businessman. So, no powers, and possibly asthma.
A fight ensues at Lex’s office and the now powerless Superman loses, partly because he doesn’t know what the hell is going on, and partly because he probably isn’t accostumed to feeling pain in his knuckles when he punches someone. Rather than killing Superman, though, Lex just has him kicked out of his office to make him suffer the indignity of being escorted out of a building by security, which is worse than death.

A crowd surrounds Superman and overwhelms him, but this time he can’t just fly away from their filthy hands. Luckily, a cabbie that Superman once saved (as told in Action $6.50) rescues him from the crowd and gives him a free ride to Clark Kent’s apartment. Does that mean the cabbie now knows that Kent is Superman? Nope, because there is no Superman anymore. THE END.
I mean, TO BE CONTINUED.
Plotline-Watch:
This whole storyline is about Superman suddenly becoming mortal, so appropriately, mortality is a big theme in this issue:
It opens with Lex Luthor stalking Perry White as he visits the grave of his (Lex’s) recently deceased son Jerry. Perry and Alice White’s marriage is going through a rocky moment right now, on account of everything I just said.
Luthor himself, of course, also learned recently that he only has months to live thanks to green kryptonite poisoning, so this is like his last big chance to defeat Superman forever.
Lois Lane tells Clark that she just found out her mom is dying. Remember Luthor secretly made Lois’ mom sick way back in Adventures #424 only to give her the cure, all part of a plan to score with Lois. I guess that now that she’s officially dating Clark, Lex finally gave up on that prospect and stopped giving her free meds.
Non-death related plots:
Lex isn’t the only amputee Superman fights in this issue: there’s also Barrage, the stock villain with an arm cannon who put “Terrible” Turpin in the hospital a while ago. Superman happens to be flying Barrage to Stryker’s Island when he loses his powers and they both end up underwater… at which point Barrage is fished out by Turpin himself. Theirs is truly a rivalry for the ages.
Lotto fever hits Metropolis! The store Barrage hits up is selling tickets for a $20 million jackpot. One of our supporting characters will win that money, and the DC Universe will never be the same again.

Pete Ross apparently traveled all the way from Smallville to Metropolis just to ask Clark if he could start courting Lana Lang… even though Pete already started doing that. Pretty dishonest, Pete. No wonder he becomes a successful politician, folks!
And finally, Mxyzptlk first offered Lex the red kryptonite back during the Superman/Flash race (as thanks for teaching him how to lie), but Luthor thought it was a joke and ignored him. To be fair, red kryptonite was a joke in the old continuity, where it turned Superman into wacky things.
BJ-Watch:
Moving on to more important matters, donsparrow got back to me about the BJ panel in the World’s Finest miniseries: turns out it’s on issue #1, page 35. I see the amorous couple now, Don! I just figured they were innocently making out in the park with their shirts off, since the guy’s pants appear to be fully up (at least in my copy).
Incidentally, this issue also has a BJ panel — as in, a “Byrne, John” one (which is almost as perverted).

Superman #49 (November 1990)

It’s here: KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE! Despite the silly name, which sounds kinda offensive when you strip it down to just the initials (KOKK), this is one of the most important Superman storylines ever. For starters, the scene on the cover actually appears in the comic: Lex Luthor really does beat the crap out of Superman in a fist fight. Or, uh, a fist/lump fight.

This historic moment is possible thanks to a chunk of red kryptonite that Lex gets as a gift from Mr. Mxyzptlk, who is busy in another dimension at the moment but still doesn’t want to miss his quarterly appointment to bust Superman’s balls. According to Myxzptlk, the red K will magically turn Lex into Superman’s physical equal — the only rule (because there’s always a rule) is that Superman can never know that Mxy is involved. After Lex has analyzedthe rock to make sure that this type of kryptonite won’t make another part of his body fall off, he follows Mxyzptlk’s instructions and activates it… only to find out the kryptonite won’t give him Superman-like powers, it just gives Superman the powers of an overweight, balding businessman. So, no powers, and possibly asthma.

A fight ensues at Lex’s office and the now powerless Superman loses, partly because he doesn’t know what the hell is going on, and partly because he probably isn’t accostumed to feeling pain in his knuckles when he punches someone. Rather than killing Superman, though, Lex just has him kicked out of his office to make him suffer the indignity of being escorted out of a building by security, which is worse than death.

A crowd surrounds Superman and overwhelms him, but this time he can’t just fly away from their filthy hands. Luckily, a cabbie that Superman once saved (as told in Action $6.50) rescues him from the crowd and gives him a free ride to Clark Kent’s apartment. Does that mean the cabbie now knows that Kent is Superman? Nope, because there is no Superman anymore. THE END.

I mean, TO BE CONTINUED.

Plotline-Watch:

This whole storyline is about Superman suddenly becoming mortal, so appropriately, mortality is a big theme in this issue:

  • It opens with Lex Luthor stalking Perry White as he visits the grave of his (Lex’s) recently deceased son Jerry. Perry and Alice White’s marriage is going through a rocky moment right now, on account of everything I just said.
  • Luthor himself, of course, also learned recently that he only has months to live thanks to green kryptonite poisoning, so this is like his last big chance to defeat Superman forever.
  • Lois Lane tells Clark that she just found out her mom is dying. Remember Luthor secretly made Lois’ mom sick way back in Adventures #424 only to give her the cure, all part of a plan to score with Lois. I guess that now that she’s officially dating Clark, Lex finally gave up on that prospect and stopped giving her free meds.

Non-death related plots:

  • Lex isn’t the only amputee Superman fights in this issue: there’s also Barrage, the stock villain with an arm cannon who put “Terrible” Turpin in the hospital a while ago. Superman happens to be flying Barrage to Stryker’s Island when he loses his powers and they both end up underwater… at which point Barrage is fished out by Turpin himself. Theirs is truly a rivalry for the ages.
  • Lotto fever hits Metropolis! The store Barrage hits up is selling tickets for a $20 million jackpot. One of our supporting characters will win that money, and the DC Universe will never be the same again.

  • Pete Ross apparently traveled all the way from Smallville to Metropolis just to ask Clark if he could start courting Lana Lang… even though Pete already started doing that. Pretty dishonest, Pete. No wonder he becomes a successful politician, folks!
  • And finally, Mxyzptlk first offered Lex the red kryptonite back during the Superman/Flash race (as thanks for teaching him how to lie), but Luthor thought it was a joke and ignored him. To be fair, red kryptonite was a joke in the old continuity, where it turned Superman into wacky things.

BJ-Watch:

Moving on to more important matters, donsparrow got back to me about the BJ panel in the World’s Finest miniseries: turns out it’s on issue #1, page 35. I see the amorous couple now, Don! I just figured they were innocently making out in the park with their shirts off, since the guy’s pants appear to be fully up (at least in my copy).

Incidentally, this issue also has a BJ panel — as in, a “Byrne, John” one (which is almost as perverted).

Aug 29 '14
Adventures of Superman Annual #2 (1990)
SUPERMAN VS. BRAINIAC… Junior. Brainiac’s son. Or Vril Dox II, as he calls himself. Vril inherited his father’s charming personality (he’s an asshole), but he’s actually a good guy, more or less: he’s the leader of L.E.G.I.O.N., an inter-planetary police force tasked with keeping the peace in the universe. And now he’s come to Earth to murder his dad.
Vril and another L.E.G.I.O.N. member, Lar Gand (from planet Daxam, kind of like distant cousins of the Kryptonians), crash into Earth in their spaceship and conveniently end up going through the ocean floor, thus coming across the secret subterranean base of Project Cadmus — a place Brainiac Sr. visited telepathically a while back. As a result, Cadmus’ resident telepath, Dubbilex, recognizes Vril’s thought patterns and thinks Brainiac is invading Cadmus again. Meanwhile, Superman comes across other L.E.G.I.O.N. members coming to Earth… including his old pal Lobo, who was so shitfaced the last time he fought Superman that he doesn’t even remember meeting him. After a fierce battle on Cadmus, Superman takes out L.E.G.I.O.N.’s two most powerful members (Lobo and Lar) by borrowing a move from Moe of the Three Stooges.


Now that the battle’s gone on for enough pages, the heroes clear up the confusion and Superman realizes Vril isn’t Brainiac. Just then, the real Brainiac (who was escaping Earth in his giant skull ship the last time we saw him) remotely takes over Dubbilex’s mind from space and makes him try to kill everyone on Cadmus, first by nearly causing a nuclear explosion and then by releasing the deformed Underworld mutants who live in the sewers around the Project. Once Superman and the L.E.G.I.O.N. have taken care of both threats, Brainiac taunts them (through Dubbilex) into coming to fight him in person at his and Vril’s home planet, Colu.
The story continues in L.E.G.I.O.N. ‘90 Annual #1, where Superman follows Vril and his pals to Colu just to make sure he doesn’t kill Brainiac, because of the sanctity of life and all that. Turns out Brainy had conquered the whole planet, but L.E.G.I.O.N. manages to overthrow him. Vril is about to publicly execute his dad when his own teammates stop him — as everyone argues, Brainiac once again sneaks away in his skull ship, and Superman doesn’t have time to stop him because Lobo decides this would be a great time for a rematch. So, a clusterfuck all around, then.
Character-Watch:
Vril is sort of like a middle point between his supervillain dad and his heroic 30th century descendant, Brainiac 5, whom Superman met a while ago. Vril first appeared during the Invasion! crossover: it’s explained that when Brainiac lived in Colu and worked for the machine overlords who ruled the planet, he cloned an adult son for himself but only so he could force him to work as his lab assistant. Then the machine overlords got bored of Brainiac and disintegrated his body (but not his mind, which traveled to Earth and took over a circus magician), and sent his “son” away to an alien prison. That’s where Vril hooked up with other prisoners from various space races and organized a break out, then stayed together as a team of unlikely space heroes who will guard the gala… hey, wait a fraggin’ minute.

Huh.
Plotline-Watch:
First appearence of the Underworlders! They are the result of Dabney Donovan’s deranged genetic experiments before he resigned from Cadmus (via faking his death). They barely spoke in this issue, but they’ll become more important later: you might even remember those ugly freaks from the first level of the Death and Return of Superman SNES game (which is the only level I saw, because I sucked at that game).
It’s mentioned in this issue that Superman had previously fought other people from planet Daxam, including Lar Gand’s dad, during the Invasion! series — the Daxamites later realized they were being jerks by helping invade the Earth, and Lar’s dad sacrificed himself to save the planet. Also, in the old continuity Lar was called Mon-El because Superboy once mistook him for his older brother. Then Lar/Mon got lead poisoning and Superboy trapped him in the Phantom Zone for a thousand years to cure him. The old continuity was silly.
There’s a short scene with Lois Lane at the Planet which seems specifically designed to let us know that this story is chronologically set before the “Dark Knight Over Metropolis” storyline: she has her old hairdo, the relationship with Clark appears less advanced, and she even mentions she’s covering Morgan Edge’s trial. The only problem is that Jimmy Olsen also shows up and seems friendly with Clark: weren’t they on non-speaking terms at that point? Dammit, Jimmy. You always have to ruin everything.
Creator-Watch:
This issue is a historical rarity, since it includes the only collaboration between the best known Superman artists of three eras: it’s written by Dan Jurgens (’90s) and one of the three chapters is drawn by Curt Swan (’50s-’60s) and inked by John Byrne (’80s). The result isn’t all that impressive to my taste, but still, historic!
WTF-Watch:
Here’s Lobo drinking alone in his room and reciting a poem he wrote for his dolphins.

You’re welcome.

Adventures of Superman Annual #2 (1990)

SUPERMAN VS. BRAINIAC… Junior. Brainiac’s son. Or Vril Dox II, as he calls himself. Vril inherited his father’s charming personality (he’s an asshole), but he’s actually a good guy, more or less: he’s the leader of L.E.G.I.O.N., an inter-planetary police force tasked with keeping the peace in the universe. And now he’s come to Earth to murder his dad.

Vril and another L.E.G.I.O.N. member, Lar Gand (from planet Daxam, kind of like distant cousins of the Kryptonians), crash into Earth in their spaceship and conveniently end up going through the ocean floor, thus coming across the secret subterranean base of Project Cadmus — a place Brainiac Sr. visited telepathically a while back. As a result, Cadmus’ resident telepath, Dubbilex, recognizes Vril’s thought patterns and thinks Brainiac is invading Cadmus again. Meanwhile, Superman comes across other L.E.G.I.O.N. members coming to Earth… including his old pal Lobo, who was so shitfaced the last time he fought Superman that he doesn’t even remember meeting him. After a fierce battle on Cadmus, Superman takes out L.E.G.I.O.N.’s two most powerful members (Lobo and Lar) by borrowing a move from Moe of the Three Stooges.

Now that the battle’s gone on for enough pages, the heroes clear up the confusion and Superman realizes Vril isn’t Brainiac. Just then, the real Brainiac (who was escaping Earth in his giant skull ship the last time we saw him) remotely takes over Dubbilex’s mind from space and makes him try to kill everyone on Cadmus, first by nearly causing a nuclear explosion and then by releasing the deformed Underworld mutants who live in the sewers around the Project. Once Superman and the L.E.G.I.O.N. have taken care of both threats, Brainiac taunts them (through Dubbilex) into coming to fight him in person at his and Vril’s home planet, Colu.

The story continues in L.E.G.I.O.N. ‘90 Annual #1, where Superman follows Vril and his pals to Colu just to make sure he doesn’t kill Brainiac, because of the sanctity of life and all that. Turns out Brainy had conquered the whole planet, but L.E.G.I.O.N. manages to overthrow him. Vril is about to publicly execute his dad when his own teammates stop him — as everyone argues, Brainiac once again sneaks away in his skull ship, and Superman doesn’t have time to stop him because Lobo decides this would be a great time for a rematch. So, a clusterfuck all around, then.

Character-Watch:

Vril is sort of like a middle point between his supervillain dad and his heroic 30th century descendant, Brainiac 5, whom Superman met a while ago. Vril first appeared during the Invasion! crossover: it’s explained that when Brainiac lived in Colu and worked for the machine overlords who ruled the planet, he cloned an adult son for himself but only so he could force him to work as his lab assistant. Then the machine overlords got bored of Brainiac and disintegrated his body (but not his mind, which traveled to Earth and took over a circus magician), and sent his “son” away to an alien prison. That’s where Vril hooked up with other prisoners from various space races and organized a break out, then stayed together as a team of unlikely space heroes who will guard the gala… hey, wait a fraggin’ minute.

Huh.

Plotline-Watch:

  • First appearence of the Underworlders! They are the result of Dabney Donovan’s deranged genetic experiments before he resigned from Cadmus (via faking his death). They barely spoke in this issue, but they’ll become more important later: you might even remember those ugly freaks from the first level of the Death and Return of Superman SNES game (which is the only level I saw, because I sucked at that game).
  • It’s mentioned in this issue that Superman had previously fought other people from planet Daxam, including Lar Gand’s dad, during the Invasion! series — the Daxamites later realized they were being jerks by helping invade the Earth, and Lar’s dad sacrificed himself to save the planet. Also, in the old continuity Lar was called Mon-El because Superboy once mistook him for his older brother. Then Lar/Mon got lead poisoning and Superboy trapped him in the Phantom Zone for a thousand years to cure him. The old continuity was silly.
  • There’s a short scene with Lois Lane at the Planet which seems specifically designed to let us know that this story is chronologically set before the “Dark Knight Over Metropolis” storyline: she has her old hairdo, the relationship with Clark appears less advanced, and she even mentions she’s covering Morgan Edge’s trial. The only problem is that Jimmy Olsen also shows up and seems friendly with Clark: weren’t they on non-speaking terms at that point? Dammit, Jimmy. You always have to ruin everything.

Creator-Watch:

This issue is a historical rarity, since it includes the only collaboration between the best known Superman artists of three eras: it’s written by Dan Jurgens (’90s) and one of the three chapters is drawn by Curt Swan (’50s-’60s) and inked by John Byrne (’80s). The result isn’t all that impressive to my taste, but still, historic!

WTF-Watch:

Here’s Lobo drinking alone in his room and reciting a poem he wrote for his dolphins.

You’re welcome.

Aug 29 '14

Metropolis Mailbag

donsparrow said, regarding the World’s Finest miniseries:

"Did you catch that dude getting a BJ in the panel with the New Years Eve explosion? Wonder how that made it past the editors!"

Ha! I did not! I just checked that page again and I still don’t see it. Are you sure they didn’t censor it for the collection? (I have the big hardcover edition.)

Please update us on this, Don.

Aug 23 '14
World’s Finest #1-3 (August-October 1990)
Or Lex Luthor v. the Joker: Dawn of JERKstice. Superman and Batman teaming up is old hat by now, but this is the first time Luthor and the Joker join forces, although they spend most of the story at each other’s throats. By the way, this is also the first time I read this story, since I just never bothered to get it before. Here’s what I’ve been missing:


I’m struggling to think of a better looking Superman story — artist Steve “The Dude” Rude even scored some character models from the Fleischer animated shorts of the ’40s to give Superman that authentic classic look. And since the comic’s writer is an artist too (it’s Dave “The Dude Who Drew Watchmen" Gibbons), the whole thing is full of amazing visual sequences, like this one comparing/contrasting Superman and Batman’s origins.
The fact that they’re both orphans is actually a big part of the story: it’s about two orphanages in Metropolis and Gotham City that are closing down because an old guy died and left them a big mansion at the halfway point between both cities. Luthor wants to buy the abandoned Gotham orphanage so he can expand his business to the city, but it turns out it was recently acquired by the Joker. So, the two make a deal: the Joker will sell Luthor the orphanage at a discount if Luthor lets him crash in on his home turf for a while.
As a result, Luthor sets up shop on Gotham and the Joker goes on vacation in Metropolis, causing each city’s biggest heroes (Ragman and Booster Gold) (kidding, it’s Supes and Bats) to follow them. And what do you know, Clark Kent also gets a long assignment in Gotham while Bruce Wayne goes on an extended business trip to Metropolis, but no one thinks that’s too weird. However, relations between Luthor and the Joker deteriorate as they try to destroy each other’s criminal empires (there’s explosions and stuff). Superman and Batman mostly get along fine now, but there’s still a little tension, which leads to what has to be one of the greatest moments in comics:

"I’ve got a Betamax."
There’s also a plot about some shady dealings going on in the combined orphanages (hence the fact that they sold one of the buildings to the freaking Joker), but that’s all wrapped up by the end of the second issue and the rest is about the villains escalating their war until the heroes finally do a proper team up to stop them. In the end, Luthor charges the Joker for all the damages he caused and tells him he never wants to see his face again (until he invites him to join his Injustice Gang in a few years, that is).
Plotline-Watch:
This is a fancy prestige-format miniseries and these things usually think they’re too good to acknowledge the continuity of the regular comics. However, while there are a few weird parts (like Perry White being Superman’s most trusted confidant, when I think they’ve talked like twice), there are also some noteworthy things:
Lex Luthor is spot on. I thought we’d be lucky if he had his robot hand, but the story actually references the fact that he was Perry’s friend while growing up in Suicide Slum (World of Metropolis #1) and that he had his parents killed for the insurance money when he was a teen (Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography). In fact, one of the orphanage owners is another former Suicide Slum kid who knew Perry and Lex. Also, I could be wrong, but I think the (cool as hell) sequence below is the first time Luthor utters what will become his catchphrase: “Bah.”


The Lois Lane/Clark Kent romance isn’t acknowledged in any way, and Bruce Wayne even flirts with Lois… but he also did that the last time he saw her, when she’d already started getting serious with Clark, so that’s completely in character. The Kryptonite ring Superman recently gave Batman isn’t mentioned either, but their relationship in general is pretty consistent when what we’ve seen.
Jimmy Olsen’s piece of shit car makes a stellar appearance: Jimmy actually drives Batman around in the third issue since he left his Batmobile home. Also, Bats gets angry at Jimbo for stupidly warning a criminal of their presence with his camera’s flash — I’d love to show you those delicious panels of Jimmy getting manhandled by Batman, but I’ve probably filled this entry with enough images aleady.
And finally, there’s a Superman-loving black orphan kid from Suicide Slum named Zack who reminds me of Keith, the other Superman-loving black orphan kid from Suicide Slum that will be introduced next year or so, but maybe that’s just me being racist.

World’s Finest #1-3 (August-October 1990)

Or Lex Luthor v. the Joker: Dawn of JERKstice. Superman and Batman teaming up is old hat by now, but this is the first time Luthor and the Joker join forces, although they spend most of the story at each other’s throats. By the way, this is also the first time I read this story, since I just never bothered to get it before. Here’s what I’ve been missing:

I’m struggling to think of a better looking Superman story — artist Steve “The Dude” Rude even scored some character models from the Fleischer animated shorts of the ’40s to give Superman that authentic classic look. And since the comic’s writer is an artist too (it’s Dave “The Dude Who Drew Watchmen" Gibbons), the whole thing is full of amazing visual sequences, like this one comparing/contrasting Superman and Batman’s origins.

The fact that they’re both orphans is actually a big part of the story: it’s about two orphanages in Metropolis and Gotham City that are closing down because an old guy died and left them a big mansion at the halfway point between both cities. Luthor wants to buy the abandoned Gotham orphanage so he can expand his business to the city, but it turns out it was recently acquired by the Joker. So, the two make a deal: the Joker will sell Luthor the orphanage at a discount if Luthor lets him crash in on his home turf for a while.

As a result, Luthor sets up shop on Gotham and the Joker goes on vacation in Metropolis, causing each city’s biggest heroes (Ragman and Booster Gold) (kidding, it’s Supes and Bats) to follow them. And what do you know, Clark Kent also gets a long assignment in Gotham while Bruce Wayne goes on an extended business trip to Metropolis, but no one thinks that’s too weird. However, relations between Luthor and the Joker deteriorate as they try to destroy each other’s criminal empires (there’s explosions and stuff). Superman and Batman mostly get along fine now, but there’s still a little tension, which leads to what has to be one of the greatest moments in comics:

"I’ve got a Betamax."

There’s also a plot about some shady dealings going on in the combined orphanages (hence the fact that they sold one of the buildings to the freaking Joker), but that’s all wrapped up by the end of the second issue and the rest is about the villains escalating their war until the heroes finally do a proper team up to stop them. In the end, Luthor charges the Joker for all the damages he caused and tells him he never wants to see his face again (until he invites him to join his Injustice Gang in a few years, that is).

Plotline-Watch:

This is a fancy prestige-format miniseries and these things usually think they’re too good to acknowledge the continuity of the regular comics. However, while there are a few weird parts (like Perry White being Superman’s most trusted confidant, when I think they’ve talked like twice), there are also some noteworthy things:

  • Lex Luthor is spot on. I thought we’d be lucky if he had his robot hand, but the story actually references the fact that he was Perry’s friend while growing up in Suicide Slum (World of Metropolis #1) and that he had his parents killed for the insurance money when he was a teen (Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography). In fact, one of the orphanage owners is another former Suicide Slum kid who knew Perry and Lex. Also, I could be wrong, but I think the (cool as hell) sequence below is the first time Luthor utters what will become his catchphrase: “Bah.”

  • The Lois Lane/Clark Kent romance isn’t acknowledged in any way, and Bruce Wayne even flirts with Lois… but he also did that the last time he saw her, when she’d already started getting serious with Clark, so that’s completely in character. The Kryptonite ring Superman recently gave Batman isn’t mentioned either, but their relationship in general is pretty consistent when what we’ve seen.
  • Jimmy Olsen’s piece of shit car makes a stellar appearance: Jimmy actually drives Batman around in the third issue since he left his Batmobile home. Also, Bats gets angry at Jimbo for stupidly warning a criminal of their presence with his camera’s flash — I’d love to show you those delicious panels of Jimmy getting manhandled by Batman, but I’ve probably filled this entry with enough images aleady.
  • And finally, there’s a Superman-loving black orphan kid from Suicide Slum named Zack who reminds me of Keith, the other Superman-loving black orphan kid from Suicide Slum that will be introduced next year or so, but maybe that’s just me being racist.
Aug 22 '14
Action Comics #658 (October 1990)
The Sinbad Contract, Conclusion: Sinbad saves Metropolis! And Superman helps a little, too.
Sinbad, as seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this story, is a Muslim teenager named Davood Nassur who finds a metahuman-enhancing belt that makes him so powerful, he makes Superman look like a chump. A group of mysterious flying robot guys are after the belt, and in this issue we finally find out what’s up with them: they are an arms-dealing group called D.M.T. who stumbled upon some alien technology after last year’s alien invasion and used it to create crazy weapons, like the robots and the belt. Lex Luthor tried to steal the belt so he could use it against Superman, and that’s how it accidentally ended up on Davood’s hands. Waist. Whatever.
Now Lex and the D.M.T. guys have made a deal: he’ll help them recover the belt if they kill Superman with their giant UFO. It looks like that won’t be necessary, though, because (per last issue’s cliffhanger) Clark/Supes is about to be murdered by some pissed off Quraci immigrants, for no reason.

However, not all Quracis hate white people and Clark is “saved” by a random guy, who happens to be Davood’s uncle. In return, Clark later helps Davood’s family fight off some fake cops hired by Luthor to arrest them for terrorism, the evidence being that they’re brown. Luthor also paid some dudes in turbans to blow stuff up all over Metropolis so everyone will think Davood is evil — Davood actually stops the terror attacks, but he still gets shot at and tear gassed by cops (it’s unclear if these are fake cops too, or just assholes). Once again, Superman saves Davood’s sister from a certain death, and once again, Davood repays him like this:

Now that Superman is on the scene, though, Luthor forgets about Davood and brings out the UFO, which is rigged to explode over Metropolis. Superman takes it as far as he can, but ultimately it’s Davood who contains the blast of the explosion by pushing his powers to the limit… thus frying the belt and losing all his abilities.
The story ends with Luthor pinning all his crimes on his secretary, and commending Davood’s courage on TV. Meanwhile, we see that Davood is back to being a regular teen, albeit one who can levitate stuff with the power of his mind — the implication being that one day he’ll grow up to be a proper superhero!
Character-Watch:
Or not, because sadly, we only saw Davood/Sinbad one more time, in 1993. In 2011, Superman writer Chris Roberson actually planned to bring him back as an adult, but DC pulled the completed issue at the last moment and replaced it with Krypto story, presumably because flying dogs are less controversial than Muslim people.
That’s too bad: I thought the kid had a lot of potential, particularly because he came with a built-in supporting cast. It’s kind of refreshing that he told his whole family (and there’s like 20 of them) about his powers right away instead of doing the secret identity thing. Another missed opportunity: at the end of the issue Clark mentions that Davood’s sister Soraya is interviewing to become a secretary at the Daily Planet (she quit her LexCorp job after the CEO tried to murder her), which would have added some diversity to the Planet staff. She either didn’t get the job, or she met Keith the Office Racist and quit right away.
Plotline-Watch:
One of the TV reporters covering the standoff because Sinbad and the cops is Cat Grant, working for WGBS, even though she quit months ago after the CEO tried to murder her (a disturbingly common problem in Metropolis). I think this was probably a continuity screw-up, but the other writers will actually run with it.
And speaking of Keith the Office Racist, he appears again but Clark finally gets him to shut his fat mouth with this zinger, which is actually a testament to how much Superman’s relationship with Batman has improved recently:

"The message is from the Wayne Foundation. It just says OH SNAP."

Action Comics #658 (October 1990)

The Sinbad Contract, Conclusion: Sinbad saves Metropolis! And Superman helps a little, too.

Sinbad, as seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this story, is a Muslim teenager named Davood Nassur who finds a metahuman-enhancing belt that makes him so powerful, he makes Superman look like a chump. A group of mysterious flying robot guys are after the belt, and in this issue we finally find out what’s up with them: they are an arms-dealing group called D.M.T. who stumbled upon some alien technology after last year’s alien invasion and used it to create crazy weapons, like the robots and the belt. Lex Luthor tried to steal the belt so he could use it against Superman, and that’s how it accidentally ended up on Davood’s hands. Waist. Whatever.

Now Lex and the D.M.T. guys have made a deal: he’ll help them recover the belt if they kill Superman with their giant UFO. It looks like that won’t be necessary, though, because (per last issue’s cliffhanger) Clark/Supes is about to be murdered by some pissed off Quraci immigrants, for no reason.

However, not all Quracis hate white people and Clark is “saved” by a random guy, who happens to be Davood’s uncle. In return, Clark later helps Davood’s family fight off some fake cops hired by Luthor to arrest them for terrorism, the evidence being that they’re brown. Luthor also paid some dudes in turbans to blow stuff up all over Metropolis so everyone will think Davood is evil — Davood actually stops the terror attacks, but he still gets shot at and tear gassed by cops (it’s unclear if these are fake cops too, or just assholes). Once again, Superman saves Davood’s sister from a certain death, and once again, Davood repays him like this:

Now that Superman is on the scene, though, Luthor forgets about Davood and brings out the UFO, which is rigged to explode over Metropolis. Superman takes it as far as he can, but ultimately it’s Davood who contains the blast of the explosion by pushing his powers to the limit… thus frying the belt and losing all his abilities.

The story ends with Luthor pinning all his crimes on his secretary, and commending Davood’s courage on TV. Meanwhile, we see that Davood is back to being a regular teen, albeit one who can levitate stuff with the power of his mind — the implication being that one day he’ll grow up to be a proper superhero!

Character-Watch:

Or not, because sadly, we only saw Davood/Sinbad one more time, in 1993. In 2011, Superman writer Chris Roberson actually planned to bring him back as an adult, but DC pulled the completed issue at the last moment and replaced it with Krypto story, presumably because flying dogs are less controversial than Muslim people.

That’s too bad: I thought the kid had a lot of potential, particularly because he came with a built-in supporting cast. It’s kind of refreshing that he told his whole family (and there’s like 20 of them) about his powers right away instead of doing the secret identity thing. Another missed opportunity: at the end of the issue Clark mentions that Davood’s sister Soraya is interviewing to become a secretary at the Daily Planet (she quit her LexCorp job after the CEO tried to murder her), which would have added some diversity to the Planet staff. She either didn’t get the job, or she met Keith the Office Racist and quit right away.

Plotline-Watch:

  • One of the TV reporters covering the standoff because Sinbad and the cops is Cat Grant, working for WGBS, even though she quit months ago after the CEO tried to murder her (a disturbingly common problem in Metropolis). I think this was probably a continuity screw-up, but the other writers will actually run with it.
  • And speaking of Keith the Office Racist, he appears again but Clark finally gets him to shut his fat mouth with this zinger, which is actually a testament to how much Superman’s relationship with Batman has improved recently:

"The message is from the Wayne Foundation. It just says OH SNAP."

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: