Action Comics #643 (July 1989)
Superman is back on Earth! In fact, he’s so happy to be back home after his long exile in space, that the he could hug Jimmy Olsen. So that’s exactly the first thing he does:
The second thing he does is try to kill Jimmy, apparently. That panel of Superman hugging Jimmy will have far-reaching consequences. I’m not even kidding.
Anyway, Superman only has time for a quick shower in Clark Kent’s apartment before he has to go save Lois Lane again — as seen in Adventures #456, Lois was attacked by big robot called Turmoil sent by Intergang. Gangbuster tried to save her, only to end up trapped under some rubble. By now Turmoil has sort of forgotten about his “murder Lois” directive and is just causing random property damage all over Metropolis. Superman shows up to punch Turmoil until it explodes and then goes after Intergang’s leader, Morgan Edge, who is having quite a stressful day. Edge surrenders right away and is about to tell Superman that Intergang is actually funded by Darkseid, who played Edge for a chump by sending him that needlessly destructive robot, but poor Morgan has a heart attack before he can finish the sentence.
Cut to planet Apokolips: We find out that the guy Morgan Edge has been talking to since his first appearance (in Superman #16), the guy who organized Intergang and sent them all those fancy spaceman weapons, isn’t actually Darkseid but Darkseid’s lackey Desaad, posing as his boss behind his back, just for shits and giggles. In other words, poor Morgan was played for a double-chump.
- Matrix/Supergirl is still 1) posing as Clark Kent and 2) being a total dimwit. At the Planet offices they’ve have enough of “Clark” bumbling around and tell him/her to go home. Matrix does that, and upon entering Kent’s apartment, she finds the Eradicator (the Kryptonian artifact Superman found in space) sitting on a shelf, where Superman left it earlier. When she touches it there’s a huge explosion, and just at that moment the real Clark/Superman comes home to find a duplicate of himself laying unconscious on the floor. CLIFFHANGER!
- Lex Luthor actually admits that he’s happy Superman is back, because life is so boring without him. Awww.
- Cat Grant is having a pretty good moment: she gained Perry White’s trust after her role in the Intergang expose and he assigns her a front page, non-gossip story. Also, she somehow still has a job as an anchor on Morgan Edge’s GBS station, despite having just seduced and betrayed the owner, causing his subsequent heart attack and arrest. But, at the other end of life’s spectrum…
- The Misadventures of Jose Delgado: Let me get this straight. Jose Delgado becomes Gangbuster out of a selfless desire to help people, and on his second mission he gets crippled. He spends months in a wheelchair until he finds a miracle procedure to cure him. He becomes Gangbuster again… and on his first new mission, some rubble falls on him and he immediately ends up back in the hospital. For some reason I thought his spine would be shattered again but they say he’ll be fine, so maybe I was thinking of another time he gets crippled for life.
Action Comics returns to the Superman titles roster after Action Comics Weekly failed to last even a year (I wrote about Superman’s ACW stories here). This means there’s a big shuffle in the Superman creative teams:
- Action Comics is co-written by Roger Stern and George Perez and co-drawn by George Perez and Brett Breeding.
- Superman is written and drawn by Jerry Ordway… except for the next few issues, because Ordway was busy drawing the adaption of Tim Burton’s first Batman movie, so Kerry Gammill will be the guest artist.
- And Adventures of Superman is written by George Perez and drawn by Dan Jurgens, but this won’t last too long: apparently they were spreading Perez too thin (I get the impression they wanted him to be John Byrne, minus the weird sexual stuff), so he’ll leave this title sooner than the others and, left with no writer, DC apparently said to Jurgens “Eh, guess you can write it too.” And, of course, this accidentally gave the Superman titles their most iconic writer/artist of the ’90s.