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  1. #1
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Default Superman in the post-Crisis era (reviews by shaxper)



    Why?

    It's a fair question. Certainly, Superman had far more famous and well-regarded runs than the stint from 1987 to 1993 that I intend to cover, and yet this run had several special things about it that have kept it on my radar for a long time now:

    1. I grew up on the later Jurgens and Ordway stories in this run and remember them warmly, even if the early Byrne stuff is going to be a tad harder to wade through.

    2. As the lead feature in the post-Crisis DC reboot, this might be the most meticulous continuity ever charted for a Big 2 superhero, and I think that's worth exploring. It also helps that so few creative teams were in the kitchen, stirring the pot, for the first six years of this reboot. I've stopped at 1993 because my own personal recollection suggests that continuity and creative control began to fall apart after that, but perhaps I am mistaken. Still, seven years of dense continuity across three to four titles per month (sometimes more, depending upon mini series and bi-weekly publication schedules) is darn impressive, especially considering the continuity nightmare that the post-Crisis Batman franchise became in contrast.

    3. Along a similar vein, the post-Crisis Superman continuity is a guide-post to the entire post-Crisis DCU. Most characters weave through at some point or another. Having grown up on the post-Crisis DCU, I'd like a greater understanding of where it all came from; how characters were introduced and first intermingled, etc.

    4. Even more than that, I think I'm looking for the energy and enthusiasm of the early post-Crisis DCU that pervaded the pages of the Superman titles -- a whole comic book universe was being consciously created for the FIRST time in comics (even the Marvel Universe of the 1960s was an afterthought in the wake of the FF and Spider-man, and it was on a much smaller scale). And, while many comic book universes have been created and recreated since, few had the non-cynical enthusiasm of DC at the time -- truly believing they were creating a universe of iconic heroes that would last until the end of time, not just until readership numbers began to dip again.

    5. This is really the last hurrah for Superman on some levels. In two more years, he'd become eclipsed by the success of the 1989 Batman film and the endless momentum of affection for the character that continued after, no longer the #1 Superhero in comic books. These were Supe's last years in the central spotlight, and DC really rolled out the red carpet for him in a way that the character will probably never see again.

    Agree or disagree with any of those points (and I reserve the right to completely reverse my own opinions after reading these), but that's what's drawing me to this series.


    Articles of interest in this thread:
    -Highlights from the run
    -A list of Superman's Post-Crisis powers/abilities
    -The Post-Crisis Superman timeline
    -An explanation of how much of the Crisis on Infinite Earths is still in continuity in The Post-Crisis Era
    -John Byrne -- The Life Flight that Failed (an opinion/speculation)
    Last edited by shaxper; 11-24-2013 at 08:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Highlights Thus Far:

    -Man of Steel #2: Quirky story that establishes the whimsical sides of both Lois and Superman's personas.
    -Man of Steel #4: Establishes the post-Crisis sexually charged and competitive Clark and Lois relationship; 1st full post-Crisis appearance of Lex Luthor
    -Adventures of Superman #425: 1st appearance of the endearing but misguided Professor Emil Hamilton. Additionally, Superman becomes disturbed by the moral dilemmas surrounding terrorism.
    -Superman #4: Our first real quality time with the post-Crisis Jimmy Olsen, a surprisingly brutal portrayal of mass killings, and a touching message about healing in the wake of the Vietnam War.
    -Superman #9: The lead story is a disaster, but the backup, in which Lex Luthor torments a small town woman by making her an indecent proposal, is well remembered by many.
    -Adventures of Superman Annual #1: A solid sci-fi story by Jim Starlin with a surprisingly bitter ending for The Man of Steel.
    -Adventures of Superman #432-434: Wolfman's "Gang War" storyline starts very strong but ends on a weak note. First appearance of Gangbuster.
    - Adventures of Superman #437: A clever experiment in parallel perspective storytelling, as well as an important Jose DelGado/Gangbuster story.
    - World of Krypton (1987): Not a consistently well done series, but Byrne's take on the history of Krypton is unique and occasionally exciting (especially in the second issue), and the Mike Mignola artwork (though often poorly inked) is worthwhile.
    - Superman: The Earth Stealers: Highly uneven work, but it features the first post-Crisis kiss between Superman and Lois, and it also features the post-Crisis return of Curt Swan on pencils.
    - World of Smallville #1-2: The touching and reasonably compelling story of how Jonathan Kent and Martha Clark got together.
    - Superman Annual #2 -- resurrects the Newsboy Legion and several other classic Simon/Kirby properties into the Post-Crisis DCU in a compelling and enjoyable double-sized adventure.
    - Adventures of Superman #444/Superman #22 -- Origin of the Post Crisis Supergirl (from the Pocket Universe) is revealed, and Superman makes a shocking decision at the close of the storyline.
    - Adventures of Superman #445 -- Superman wrestles with guilt in the wake of Superman #22, Cat Grant begins to self-destruct in the most touching of ways. Really powerful character-driven stuff, as well as some dense plotting, and an early appearance from the Post-Crisis Brainiac.


    Post-Crisis Superman's Powers/Abilities:

    - significantly less powerful than Pre-Crisis counterpart (stated in Superman #8, and implied elsewhere)
    - powers surfaced in adolescence (implied in Man of Steel #1 and elsewhere, stated in Adventures of Superman #436).
    - super strength (Man of Steel #1)
    - near invulnerability (Man of Steel #1)
    - flight (Man of Steel #1)
    - X-Ray Vision (Man of Steel #1), which is actually a combination of telescopic and microscopic vision, allowing Superman to see through the atomic structure of objects (Amazing Heroes #98) though it cannot see through lead (Superman #1). He cannot fine tune his X-Ray vision to the extent that he can see a face under a mask (World of Smallville #3)
    - super speed (implied in a limited capacity in Man of Steel #1, fully apparent in Man of Steel #2)
    - heat vision (Man of Steel #2), is a manifestation of the solar radiation Superman absorbs (Amazing Heroes #98), can be used to ionize the air in order to prevent electronic transmissions (Superman #4), is invisible (Superman #10)
    - super hearing (Man of Steel #3), range extends to at least the full length of Smallville (Superman #8)
    - microscopic vision (Man of Steel #5)
    - telescopic vision (Adventures of Superman #431)
    - infrared vision (Superman #4)
    - super sense of smell (Action Comics #593)
    - super fast thought processes (Man of Steel #6)
    - super intelligence/understanding of advanced technology (implied in Adventures of Superman #429)
    - implied to have a photographic memory (Superman #1)
    - "Aura of invulnerability". Any clothes held tightly against him do not tear or get dirty (Man of Steel #1). Face cannot even get dirty (Superman #3). Aura is electro-chemical in nature (Action Comics Annual #1)
    - anything he lifts while flying gains his ability to defy gravity (Superman #1)
    - can fly/survive outside of Earth's atmosphere, but still needs to breathe occasionally (Man of Steel #3)
    - Can hold breath for about an hour, even when engaging in intense physical activity (Action Comics #588). Later revised: he can hold his breath "for several hours" in Superman: The Earth Stealers. Also explained there that this is a result of his super metabolism.
    - cells function as "living solar batteries" when absorbing the radiation of a yellow star (Man of Steel #1)
    - Super dense molecular structure (Man of Steel #2)
    - does not appear to be able to get sick (Superman #2)
    - Processes 100% of the food he eats so that he never gains excess weight (Action #590)
    - Doesn't get hungry (Superman #8)
    - Can be weakened and killed by Kryptonite (Superman #1)
    - Is vulnerable to magic (Action Comics #584)
    - Is vulnerable to electricity (Adventures of Superman #425)
    - Brainwaves are vulnerable to "zeta waves". Powers can be neutralized in this way (Adventures of Superman #436).
    - Cannot receive human donor blood (Superman #4)
    - Is vulnerable to Kryptonite because it replaces the solar radiation that gives him powers with Kryptonian radiation and then affects him as radioactive materials would affect a human (Amazing Heroes #98)

    Superman's rebooted powers, as explained by editor Andy Helfer:

    "One of the things we've decided to pay attention to with our handling of the Man of Steel is just that -- a sort of scientific approach to the character. Granted, we're still talking about a man who can fly, but given that, you won't be seeing any stories where Superman flies faster than the speed of light, or hears faster than the speed of sound. We've stated from the outset that Superman is just that -- a man who is better at practically everything than anyone else: he's stronger, faster, and can see better than a normal man, because his abilities are enhanced versions of human abilities. Just think of anything you can do. magnify it to the Nth degree -- and that's how well Superman does it. But the powers flow FROM Superman -- the world around him, and the laws of Physics that are a part of it, aren't themselves altered."
    Last edited by shaxper; 12-03-2013 at 05:52 PM.

  3. #3
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    The Post-Crisis Superman Timeline

    (note: years are based upon the assumption that Superman #1 takes place in 1987. Comic writers generally avoid providing dates so that the present day remains timeless, but Wolfman outright dates Luthor's career as having begun to peak in the Late 1970s, and Byrne has Jonathan Kent fight in World War II and Perry White fight in Vietnam, so I'm accepting their invitations to apply real world dates/history to this continuity)

    Approximately 99000 BC: The great war, fought over the ethics of cloning, begins on Krypton, the major factions being the Kryptonian government and the Black Zero terrorist organization. The capital city of Kandor is destroyed, and most of Kryptonian civilization is subsequently destroyed as the war continues for approximately a thousand years after (World of Krypton #1-4; this given date is based on World of Smallville #2's assertion that Kal-El arrived on Earth roughly 30 years after Krypton exploded).

    Approximately 98000 BC: The final confrontation occurs between the Kryptonian authorities (led by Van-L, great ancestor to Superman) and the Black Zero terrorist organization (led by Kan-Ze). Black Zero is defeated, but not before Kan-Ze sets in motion events that will cause the destruction of Krypton approximately one hundred thousand years later (World of Krypton #2-4).

    Approximately the 1780s: The Pocket Universe Supergirl arrives on Earth in stasis, only to be uncovered 200 years later.

    Approximately 1922: Jonathan Kent and Martha Clark are born. This assumes they are approximately the same age (they were childhood friends, according to World of Smallville #1), that Jonathan was 18 when the draft began in 1940 and returned home from WWII in his early 20s (World of Smallville #1, he was away for 5 years, the war appears to be recently concluded), that they were in their late 30s in 1959 when, resolved that they would never be able to have their own children, they were still able to convince people that Clark was Martha's biological baby (Man of Steel #1), and in their mid 60s in 1987 (they now have gray/white hair and appear elderly but still self-sufficient in running their farm).

    1920s and 1930s Jonathan Kent and Martha Clark grow up together in Smallville as close friends and are expected by most to one day marry (World of Smallville #1).

    1930 or 1931: Krypton explodes. Superman, son of Jor-El and Lara, is sent to Earth as an infant (MoS #1). Superman's Kryptonian name is "Kal-El" (Action Comics #597). The journey takes approximately 28 to 30 years, using warp drive engines travelling through hyperspace (World of Smallville #2)

    Approximately 1933: Perry White born (working math from World of Metropolis #1 and Adventures of Superman #433)

    Presumably 1940 to 1945: Jonathan Kent is drafted, serves in the Pacific Theater during WWII from 1941 to 1944, is captured for the final year of the war, kept in a Japanese POW camp, considered missing in action, and ultimately returned after 5 years away (World of Smallville #1 and #2. We know the length of time he was gone and the length of time for which he was missing in action as a POW, but not when he went to war nor when he returned. We know the American draft started in 1940 and American soldiers joined the fighting in 1941, and it seems likely that Jonathan would have been returned by the Japanese government soon after the conclusion of the war in 1945).

    Approximately 1943: Perry White begins working at the Daily Planet as a copy boy at the age of ten (World of Metropolis #1)

    September 30, 1944: Martha Clark marries Daniel Fordman, presuming Jonathan Kent is dead.

    Late 1945 or early 1946: The events of World of Smallville #1 and #2. Dan Fordman dies.

    1946 or (more likely) 1947: Martha Clark remarries to Jonathan Kent (World of Smallville #2 indicates they married 12 months after the events of that issue)

    1959: The Manhunters attempt to abduct the infant Superman on his way to Earth but are thwarted by members of the Green Lantern Corps (Adventures of Superman #436)

    1959: Superman arrives on Earth as an infant. Jonathan and Martha Kent are presumably in their late 30s at the time (working from their appearance in World of Smallville #1 [the mid to late 1940s] and Man Of Steel #1 [1959] and #6 [1987]), discover him, and pass him off as their own with the help of a five month blizzard during which no one sees Martha (MoS #1). The blizzard was created by The Manhunters in an attempt to keep humans from interfering with Clark while they pursued him, but once the Kents find him, the Manhunters give up, perceiving him as now tainted by human love and emotion (Adventures of Superman #436)

    1959: The Manhunters enact a B plan, replacing Smallville's Dr. Whitney with an android double who puts implants in all newborns delivered between 1959 and 1987 in order to make them sleeper agents for the Manhunters (Adventures of Superman #436).

    1959 to 1977: Clark Kent grows up in Smallville, is best friends with Lana Lang, and becomes a high school football star, exhibiting limited enhanced speed, X-Ray vision, and possibly other early facets of his abilities (MoS #1, #6).

    1967: Clark develops invulnerability at age 8 (Amazing Heroes #98)

    Prior to 1966: Perry White is the star reporter at The Daily Planet and adored by Metropolis (World of Metropolis #1)

    1966 to 1968: Perry White fights in Vietnam from ages 33 to 35 (World of Metropolis #1, using some math from Adventures of Superman #433)

    1968 or 1969: Perry White returns to Metropolis, discovers Lex Luthor has been sleeping with his wife (thus terminating their friendship) and assembles a team to buy the Daily Planet as a means of avoiding its shut-down. Part of the deal entails that he become Editor-in-Chief (World of Metropolis #1)

    1969: Jerry White is born (Adventures of Superman #433)

    1972: Clark develops X-Ray vision around the age of 13 (Amazing Heroes #98)

    Sometime between 1972 and 1978: Lex Luthor unveils the majority of his scientific breakthroughs, upon which he ultimately builds his own company and amasses tremendous wealth and power (Adventures of Superman #425: Luthor's "discoveries in the mid-seventies were astounding.") The Lex Wing aircraft design is the invention that "founded" Luthor's financial empire (Superman #13).

    1976: Lois Lane gets her first serious job at the Daily Planet at the age of fifteen (World of Metropolis #2, previously indicated to be sixteen in Action Comics #594 and Adventures of Superman #1), (World of Metropolis established this occurred five years prior to Clark arriving in Metropolis, which is established to have occurred in 1981, working from the Man of Steel #1-2 timeline).

    1977: Clark learns he can fly at age 18 (Amazing Heroes #98)

    1977: Clark Kent learns he is an alien from another planet and decides to leave Smallville to use his powers for good; unknowingly breaks Lana Lang's heart in the process (MoS #1, #6).

    From 1977 to 1984: Clark secretly uses his powers to prevent disasters and presumably discovers the full extent of his abilities (MoS #1).

    1981: Clark moves to Metropolis, continues to secretly use his powers to prevent disasters (MoS #1). He enrolls in Metropolis University (Superman #2) as a journalism major in order to become a journalist and "keep tabs on world events -- to have immediate knowledge of trouble that might need my special help." (all from Superman #12).

    After 1981 and prior to Action Comics #597 -- Lois publishes at least one book (Action #597, World of Metropolis #3)

    1983: Clark's senior year at Metropolis University (1983-1984 school year?), falls in love for the first time with Lori Lemaris, proposes to her, and is rejected because they are from different worlds (Superman #12). World of Metropolis #3 will later undo the idea of Lori being his first love, having it be a waitress named Ruby two years prior to Clark's meeting Lori.

    Sometime prior to 1984: Lois Lane rises to be a top reporter in her field (presumed from the events of MoS #1 and #2, as well as the fact that she always appears to be Perry White's #1 reporter in all stories after). Gets to know Lex Luthor quite well at this time (MoS #2 -- she is calling in favors from his helicopter pilot and knows the pilot by name).

    Sometime prior to 1984: Clark publishes one book, and it becomes a best seller (Adventures of Superman #1, Amazing Heroes #98).


    (continued in next post...)
    Last edited by shaxper; 11-21-2013 at 08:10 AM.

  4. #4
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    (...continued from previous post)


    1984: Clark is outed while forced to publicly use his powers to rescue an experimental spacecraft with Lois Lane onboard. First meeting with Lois Lane. She coins the name "Superman." Clark creates a costume and identity, publicly becoming Superman. Clark starts to don the glasses in order to avoid recognition and gets a job at the Daily Planet by scooping Lois on the story of Superman (MoS #1, #2). Superman is either the first or one of the first superheroes since WWII, and Batman, the Hal Jordan Green Lantern, the Wally West Flash, and Hawkman soon follow (Action Comics #597, conflicted with Batman's post-Crisis timeline which indicated he'd been active for ten years as of 1988).

    Later in 1984: Superman meets Aquaman for the first time and is briefly reunited with Lori Lemaris shortly after (Superman #12).

    1985: Superman's first meeting with Lex Luthor. Arrests Luthor by order of the mayor. Luthor swears revenge (MoS #4).

    1985: The Crisis on Infinite Earths occurs. Even though this event actually occurred in a differently configured "Pre-Crisis" timeline and its aftermath was responsible for the creation of this timeline, characters including Superman recall at least some aspects of the Crisis (Action Comics #591). Lorie Lemaris, though reconfigured into the Post-Crisis timeline along with everyone else, still died during this event (Superman #12).

    1985: Lucy Lane and Jimmy Olsen begin dating (Superman #4).

    1986, but at least 3 months prior to Superman #1 -- Superman fights the first Bizarro (secretly created by Luthor), Luthor loses his remaining hair sometime after (MoS #5, Superman #1, and Amazing Heroes #96)

    Three months prior to Superman #1 -- Superman learns about his Kryptonian heritage (MoS #6)

    Unspecified, prior to Superman #1 -- Superman meets Hawkman and Green Lantern (probably during or prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985) and battles several supervillains (Superman #1), meets the Teen Titans on several occasions (Action Comics #584), and battles Booster Gold (Booster Gold #7 -- a pre-Crisis story, but Superman acknowledges it in Action #594)

    1987: Superman #1. Post-Crisis "current day" begins. According to my calculations, Superman is 28 years old. Lois Lane is 26, Perry White is 54, Lex Luthor is likely the same age as Perry, and Ma and Pa Kent are 65.


    Note: there are several glitches in the continuity Byrne constructs, most notably Lois's comment in Man of Steel #5 that she has been dreaming of being kissed by Superman for five years. This event HAD to occur less than two years prior to current day, and Clark first became Superman 3 years prior to current day based upon the timeline offered in Man of Steel #1 and #6 (left Smallville ten years prior to current day, became Superman seven years later). An interview with Wolfman, Helfer, and Byrne in Amazing Heroes #98 backs up this timeline.

    A more minor problem is posed in Adventures of Superman #430, which indicates that Jonathan and Martha Kent had been married for 48 years in 1987. World of Smallville later clearly indicates that they had not yet married as of the mid 1940s, instead suggesting they married in 1946 or 1947.



    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________
    (and now the reviews:)


    The Man of Steel #1

    writer/pencils: John Byrne
    inks: Dick Giordano
    colors: Tom Ziuko
    letters: John Costanza
    editor: Andy Helfer

    grade: C

    I find this maiden voyage for the Post-Crisis Superman...disappointing. The explanations aren't all that much more clever, the characterizations are generally poor, the changes made to the mythos feel merely adequate, and there are little nagging logic gaps as well. Really, the only thing about this issue I actually enjoyed was Byrne's usage of momentum to frame the story (first panel and last panel). Of course, I've always felt Byrne was more successful as an artist than a writer.

    So -- What's new:

    1. Krypton. Its destruction is made a tad bit more believable this time, with environmental chain reactions (most notably "The Green Death'") as the first signs of the larger problem that only Kal-El sees. Krypton is a highly repressed and prissy race, as embodied by Lara, who is startled by virtually everything to the point that it becomes quite obnoxious. Even physical contact is implied to be taboo, and Kal-El appears to be taking a tremendous risk when he dares to touch Kara's face and hold her hand at the very end. Byrne also adds a new visual look to Krypton, with no straight lines in any of the architecture, a particularly impressive alien fashion for Jor-El, and an unfortunate headdress for Lara. Worth noting, Superman is never referred to as Kal-El by his birth parents; he is merely "my son," and "my child."

    2. Smallville. Clark grows up unhindered as a football star who carries the entire team (much to the other players' resentment). He doesn't wear the glasses until right before moving to Metropolis. How in the world is someone not going to look at the star football player's yearbook photo in a year's time and NOT see Superman? Actually, Byrne does later attempt to explain that Superman vibrates his head quickly at all times in order to prevent being photographed, but that's just plain stupid. I'm sorry. Anyway, Martha and Jonathan are now a bit younger when they find Clark (late 30s perhaps?) to the point that they convince others that he is theirs (and a five month blizzard keeping them away from home helps to explain this). Oddly though, only 18 years later, Martha and Jonathan look to be in their late sixties. I simply do not get this.

    3. Metropolis. Clark attempts to begin his career anonymously, without others suspecting anyone did anything to save them. He ultimately has to make a very public rescue with Lois present, and there is an instant connection between them. He and Martha and Jonathan then decide to create two identities for him so that he can be a figurehead and a person at the same time, and they create his costume. Note that the outlandish costume design is entirely of their own invention and not based on any Kryptonian artifact found in the pod Superman came from. Also worth noting is that, while this retelling gives Superman a more humanizing backstory, it also further emphasizes the idea that Clark Kent is a false identity and not someone that Superman grew up as.

    Superman's powers: his cells function as "living solar batteries" when absorbing the radiation of a yellow star. And how does this make him fly and see through walls? Also, any clothes held tightly against him do not tear or get dirty. Because, of course, that makes total sense. No mention of any other abilities yet.

    What I liked: Superman's initial reaction to stardom. "They were all over me! Like wild animals. Like maggots. Clawing. Pulling. Screaming at me. And it was all demands! Everybody had something they wanted me to do, to say, to sell! It was as if my first public appearance had unleashed the worst, the greediest, the most covetous part of everyone." I also enjoyed Jor-El and Kara's final moment, though I could have done without everything else up to that point.

    What I didn't like: Pretty much everything else, especially watching a character more like Superman grow up in Smallville instead of a familiar Clark Kent, the weird uncertainty regarding the age of the Kents, and how Superman's Kryptonian Legacy is more of an embarrassment than a destiny, especially in the ridiculous depiction of his mother.


    Plot synopsis: Noted details aside, this is the same familiar origin story, just told through a different lens. Krypton blows up, baby Superman is rocketed to Smallville, Martha and Jonathan Kent raise Superman as their own, Jonathan explains where he came from when he's 18, he decides to go out into the world (Metropolis) to do something with his powers, and after rescuing a space jet with Lois Lane aboard, he gets outed and has to create a dual identity for himself. Note: Jonathan Kent is still alive.
    Last edited by shaxper; 11-21-2013 at 08:08 AM.

  5. #5
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Man of Steel #2

    writer/pencils: John Byrne
    inks: Dick Giordano
    letters: John Costanza
    colors: Ton Ziuko
    editor: Andrew Helfer

    grade: A+

    Well well, Mr. Byrne. You have it in you after all.

    This is a darn good story, full of important continuity, dense characterization, and the kind of momentum only one artist/writer tightly controlling the marriage of words, plotting, and visuals can bring to a book. I am impressed.

    This is really the tale of Lois Lane who, in a sense, spends the entire issue attempting to make up for the first panel, where Superman whizzes by without her seeing him. It becomes a very personal quest to get the story of Superman, with no real concern for personal attraction at this point, and it manages to make two adorable homages to past Superman continuity in the process (the interview she ultimately gets proceeds much like the 1978 film, and Clark scooping her at the end was straight out of the old 1940s dailies).

    Beyond that though, there's tons of continuity to explore here:

    1. Time has ceased to skip forward in this issue, and this now appears to be the modern day Metropolis/DCU, meaning Superman has just arrived in Metropolis in the present day. Batman has already been active for upwards of ten years at this point (that info kept changing in Batman continuity), and we're not clear yet on whether there are any other super-powered heroes out there, or if Superman is the first.

    2. This is the first post-Crisis appearance of Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor (in cameo), Guthrie (Lex's driver/assistant), Chuck (a helicoptor pilot for Lexcorp), and Captain Reagan of the Special Weapons and Tactics Squad.

    3. This is clearly a different Lois Lane who is perhaps more gutsy than ever (jumps out of a helicopter to get a story), competent (only a damsel in distress as a means of purposefully attracting Superman's behavior), connected (she knows how to get a helicopter on the fly), independent (Luthor wants her, but she doesn't want him), and extremely fashionable (hair and clothing change constantly and noticeably) -- A true icon of the 1980s feminist ideal.

    4. Lex Luthor is now a business tycoon and desires Lois Lane. The idea of Superman's greatest villain being a capitalist is still probably the most brilliant contribution made to the franchise as, in the 1980s and beyond, uninhibited big business became a more palpable evil in the world than uninhibited scientific progress.

    5. Lois coined the name "Superman," though he clearly chose to own that name by putting two giant "S"s on his costume last issue.

    6. Superman has super speed and heat ray vision, in addition to all that we saw last issue.

    7. Jimmy Olsen and Perry White are briefly introduced.

    8. Clark Kent gets a job at the daily planet by scooping Lois on the exclusive Superman story.


    What's working: Both Superman and Lois are extremely charming -- Lois in her persistence and frustrations, Superman in his Christopher Reeve boy-scout approach to the character.

    What's not: Really just two things: Superman's confrontation with the armed criminals is pretty illogical and should have gotten the hostages killed, and we aren't given a motivation for Clark becoming a reporter. Is it to keep up on the news so that he can save the world, is it to get closer to Lois, or is it to control his own PR? We don't know, nor are we given any indication that he has ANY background in journalism nor writing of any kind. Is this former football star and farmboy going to get by on poorly written exclusives with Superman?

    minor detail: WHY doesn't Superman drink wine? Surely, he'd be immune to the effects and could just enjoy the taste. I suspect it's entirely out of homage to the Christopher Reeves depiction, which was highly conscious of children viewing the 1978 film.


    All in all, though, this was a GREAT Superman story, encapsulating all the best of the character while raising Lois Lane and Lex Luthor (even in cameo) to new levels of excellence.


    plot synopsis: Lois keeps trying to get an interview with Superman but keeps missing him at the scene of the crime (he arrives and flies off before she can get there), she spurns Luthor's advances in pursuit of Superman, Superman takes down a mugger and criminals holding hostages, Lois decides to drive her car into the the river to get Superman's attention, she gets an interview, and Clark Kent arrives at the Daily Planet, scooping her and getting a job on the staff.
    Last edited by shaxper; 12-31-2012 at 07:09 AM.

  6. #6
    Elder Member zryson's Avatar
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    I have a lot of good memories when it comes to the post-Crisis Superman. And I was surprised too because I really liked the pre-Crisis Superman. But I can see why DC wanted to re-invigorate the DC Universe. So many of their superheroes had muddled pasts. And sometimes origin stories too. Superman pre-Crisis was often teamed with Batman who was his best pal. And the usual Lana/Lois (as well as the other numerous love-interests) grew thin and boring after awhile. What I liked about Man of Steel was that it screamed buy-me! I loved the artwork, I liked that it introduced the basics, sometimes in new surprising ways and have a lot of good memories of the Byrne era.

  7. #7

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    You have to remember what a big star John Byrne was at this time. DC was lucky to have him and if he wanted to be a writer, they were willing to let him do that. Putting Byrne on two Superman books was putting the biggest gun in the industry on two Superman books. And they hoped to reap the reward from doing so.

  8. #8
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaxper View Post
    Here's what I don't understand: Superman's post-Crisis relaunch was a very big deal to DC, intended to be the foundation of relaunching an entire universe, and yet they didn't throw their big guns at the project. Marv Wolfman, one of DC's top writers at the time, and the guy who'd been entrusted to write the actual Crisis on Infinite Earths, picks up one Superman title and doesn't stay with it very long. Otherwise, they throw the project to editor Andy Helfer (who, from what I can tell, was still pretty new to comics), and John Byrne, who (I don't think) had successfully written anything on his own at this point (and people still debate how much of the success of the X-men was attributable to him). It seems like DC was gambling on untested young talent rather than putting their top people on their top character .
    Ummm...I'm going to guess you're not a Marvel fan at all. John Byrne, beyond having been the artist and co-plotter of X-Men, which became the best selling superhero comic during his run, was coming off his run as writer/artist on Fantastic Four. That run revitalized a comic that had been in the doldrums for a decade and is very frequently considered second only to the Lee/Kirby run. There probably wasn't a bigger single creator in 1986 than Byrne.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MDG's Avatar
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    True, and after Byrne left the x-men, it pretty much became unreadable. Also, he was always a huge superman fan--there was fanzine published while he was on the x-men that printed some of his pre-pro samples, and there was plenty of superman.
    "It's just lines on paper, folks!"

  10. #10

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    The story is Byrne was often talking about how he would do Superman if he had a chance. I remembering reading some of this in one of the fanzines. Finally the DC execs said okay go ahead and show us what you got. There were others who had proposals, but I think if Byrne hadn't campaigned so hard for changing Superman we wouldn't have gotten this reboot.

  11. #11
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    I remember Dick Girodano doing an appearance at out local shop around the time Legends was coming out and Byrne was still in the early stages of his run on Superman. He mentioned the only reason they got Byrne to leave Marvel and come to DC was that he wanted a chance to do Superman. It was his dream gig. As others have said, he was the #1 superstar artist and writer/artist in comics at the time in terms of fan popularity. He eclipsed all the other talent you mentioned that you would have gone with instead in terms of fan popularity and sales, and bringing him to DC was a coup. He brought a lot of Marvel zombies with him to the party as well, guaranteeing bigger sales than DC had been getting as Marvel dominated the market at the time. DC wanted Byrne, Byrne wanted Superman, the rest is history.

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  12. #12

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    I am curious to see what you think of Byrne's Superman. For me, I don't think I liked anything Byrne did after he started Superman. I had been a fan of his Fantastic Four, but everything just seemed to go downhill for him as a creator once he jumped to DC. I haven't enjoyed anything he has done since (with the exception of the Batman/Captain America graphic novel).
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  13. #13
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the illuminating responses. I was not aware of Byrne's FF run at all, nor of his superstar status at the time, having first started on comics two years after this and knowing diddly squat about the industry at the ripe old age of 9. I'm, of course, aware of Byrne's work on the X-Men, though (as indicated earlier), I think it's too easy to attribute the success of the title to him based solely on the direction it took after he left. The New Teen Titans took a similar (and, I think, far worse) plummet after Perez left, but that didn't make us question what Wolfman brought to that series. Paul McCartney's solo career will never outshine his work with John Lennon, but no one questions his importance to the Beatles. Does anyone really think the creative genius behind Simon & Garfunkel was Garfunkel just because Paul Simon's solo work isn't on par?

    Anyway, I digress. Thanks for the info.

  14. #14
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    I am curious to see what you think of Byrne's Superman. For me, I don't think I liked anything Byrne did after he started Superman. I had been a fan of his Fantastic Four, but everything just seemed to go downhill for him as a creator once he jumped to DC. I haven't enjoyed anything he has done since (with the exception of the Batman/Captain America graphic novel).
    Byrne era was the only time since Siegel & Shuster that I thought Superman was almost readable.

    Almost.

  15. #15
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Three additional thoughts I had about Man of Steel upon further reflection this evening:

    1. Just how old is Superman supposed to be? He's 18 when he decides to leave Smallville and use his powers to help others, and then an unspecified amount of time passes before he is exposed and takes on the identity of Superman. Meanwhile, Lois is at the top of her career in the field of journalism: a top reporter at a high profile paper, as made evident when her article about Superman is widely read and coins the "Superman" name for the media. One does not achieve this level of success in their late teens or early twenties. At youngest, I figure Lois is in her late 20s. So is Superman that much younger than her, or did ten whole years pass before anyone saw him using his powers to help others??? When you add in the fact that he was using his powers to their full extent to win football games without arousing suspicion in MoS #1, yet can move at super speed in MoS #2, it further supports the concept that Clark spent a long time working anonymously before being exposed and forced to take on the Superman persona. This might also help to explain why Martha and Jonathan look so old at the end of MoS #1. If they were in their late 30s when they found Clark, and in their mid 50s when he left for Metropolis (18 years later), add ten more years of his working anonymously before being discovered, and they're in their mid 60s by the end of MoS #1.

    2. What the heck was Clark doing for money prior to joining the Daily Planet? He'd already been living in Metropolis for some time by this point.

    3. Interesting that Man of Steel is written from outside points of view, almost like an early template for Marvels. Considering how quickly and artificially Clark arrived at the conclusion that he should use his powers to help others in MoS #1 (wasn't he still processing the whole "you're an alien" bit?), I wonder if Byrne is all that interested in exploring Clark's inner workings, instead more interested in the story of what such an icon means to others -- to Kal-El and Lara, Martha and Jonathan Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor.
    Last edited by shaxper; 11-10-2012 at 06:36 PM.

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