"The Super Menace of Metropolis"
writer/pencils: John Byrne
inks: Karl Kesel
colors: Tom Ziuko
letters: John Costanza
editor: Michael Carlin
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
So is Andy Helfer gone or not? Perhaps he'd only gotten half the issues done for this month before walking out or being shown the door?
Anyway, Luthor's Project Overload proves to be a disappointment this issue. Whereas all the mysteries created at the end of the last issue seemed to be tied to this initiative, none of them were. Lana Lang's abduction appears to be tied to the upcoming Millenium crossover (as indicated in the letter column), and though Luthor should have been the last person in possession of Ma Kent's scrapbook, he's apparently not the one who sent it to Clark. Maybe it was Amanda, the assistant who determined that Clark Kent was Superman in Superman #2 and was then dismissed by Luthor for coming up with such a ludicrous idea.
So instead, this is an issue in which Superman's powers overload, he's perceived as a public enemy (too easy and contrived a concept that isn't handled particularly well), and Luthor never really bothers to plan this thing out that well, getting caught quite easily and being dragged to police headquarters a second time (which he swore in MoS #4 would never happen). Again, Byrne just doesn't use him well.
I should also point out that part of this plan required Luthor putting a new satellite into space 4 weeks earlier. Further suggestion that Superman keeping a laboratory containing all of his secrets in orbit of the Earth does not place it out of reach for Luthor. But, again, Byrne seems to have forgotten all about this even though it happened in his premiere issue.
- Though implied in Byrne's pencils on previous issues, it's now stated that Superman's heat ray vision is invisible unless turned to maximum power. Makes sense, though it also makes for less dramatic imagery.
- Alice, the Daily Planet assistant, makes a return cameo in this issue and is disregarded by Clark once again. I can't decide if Byrne is planning to go somewhere with this or if it's just a silly inside joke, teasing someone at the DC offices.
- First mention of Captain Sawyer's divorce, her ex-husband, Jim, and her nine year old daughter, Jamie.
- Ben Friendly, of the FBI, is mentioned by Captain Sawyer in this issue as if that's someone we should know. Is it?
- First appearance of Klaash, though, like virtually every antagonist introduced by Byrne this far, established or new, he blows through it in one issue and doesn't leave us any reason to believe it will ever come back.
- We knew it was coming, but did Byrne REALLY have to remind us that Clark's X-Ray vision gives him the ability to see everyone naked?
- Cat's son, Adam, briefly appears in this issue, creating a nice tie-in with what Wolfman is doing over at Adventures of Superman. This is the first time Byrne has ever acknowledged that continuity in any way.
- However, on a somewhat problematic note, he also dates Superman #7 as having happened 9 days earlier. That means 11 subsequent Superman stories occurred over the course of 9 days. I suppose we can discount Adventures #432 and Action #592 since they are both part ones of multi-part story lines that have yet to conclude, so that would mean each other Superman story published over the past two months occurred once per day over the course of nine days. Possible, I suppose. Wolfman, himself, suggested in an earlier issue of Adventures that Superman fights a major menace about once per day. Kind of hard to believe that much goes wrong that often, though. How did Metropolis survive before Clark showed up with that kind of a schedule??
- What's with the plug for Swamp Thing on page 7?
- This is now the second time a villain equipped by Luthor has made use of teleportation technology. I'm impressed to see Byrne remaining consistent here.
Plot synopsis in one long sentence:
Superman's powers keep overloading without warning (as was previously hinted at in Superman #8), he tries to fly away from Metropolis to protect innocents when Klaash, a new armored nemesis appears and attempts to draw him back to the city, Superman is perceived as a hostile threat to the city and can't figure out why, Luthor is controlling Klaash by remote, Superman figures out that no one can see Klaash but him, he realizes Luthor is controlling Klaash, he drags Luthor to Captain Sawyers, but Luthor's lawyer shows up and makes it impossible to convict him, and Luthor makes plans to crush Captain Sawyer (this will presumably involve her nine year old daughter, first mentioned in this issue).
Wolfman/Kane on ACTION COMICS
Maggin/Swan/Williamson on SUPERMAN
The Newell/Morrow LOIS LANE miniseries mentioned earlier in this thread.
The Gerber/Colan PHANTOM ZONE miniseries.
All kinds of cool stuff in DC COMICS PRESENTS.
Giffen/Fleming's AMBUSH BUG
Moore/Gibbons SUPERMAN ANNUAL "For the Man Who Has Everything"
I will agree that Bates' time on FLASH didn't end well, but he had a great run through most of the 1970s.
...though not affectionately.The Newell/Morrow LOIS LANE miniseries mentioned earlier in this thread.
wh...wh...whaaaaaat?! I want it, I want it, I want it!The Gerber/Colan PHANTOM ZONE miniseries.
I still feel this story is severely overrated, but it's not worth dredging that debate up again.Moore/Gibbons SUPERMAN ANNUAL "For the Man Who Has Everything"
You totally do. Phantom Zone is one of my favorite Superman stories of all time.wh...wh...whaaaaaat?! I want it, I want it, I want it!
You'll also want the semi-sequel in DC Comics Presents #97.
Adventures of Superman #433
"Gangwar, Part Two"
writer: Marv Wolfman
pencils: Jerry Ordway
inks: Bob Smith (come back, P. Craig Russell!)
letters: Albert DeGuzman
colors: Anthony Tollin
editor: Mike Carlin (Helfer appears to be gone, after all)
Much like part one of this storyline, this issue is crafted with strong writing, deep moral idealism while also offering ethical questions, and also rests heavily upon Jerry White, who, fortunately, isn't annoying me quite as much as usual, though I certainly don't have any love for the character at this point.
It's odd, though, that Wolfman begins this issue by promising "a tragedy in five acts," and yet having the issue (divided into five acts) end with no tragedy of any kind. In the fourth act, I was ready to expect DelGado would die, especially after seeming to take a bullet to the back that later proves to be lodged in a shoulder instead (to be clear, a panel on page 17 right after the shot shows absolutely no injury to the shoulder in question). Seems as though he's destined to become "Gangbuster" next issue instead (as that new hero's first appearance next issue is solicited in this one). Perhaps Wolfman changed his mind partway through?
Can't say this issue was particularly memorable, but the quality remains consistently high, and I can't get enough of Wolfman writing Luthor.
- Elinore Lane (Lois' mother) is out of the hospital, though we were recently reminded she is still seriously ill. Perhaps it happens in bouts?
- Sam Lane (Lois' father) appears to like Clark, asking him to stay and continue their discussion when Lois runs off.
- Mayor Walters appears visually to be the same mayor we saw in Man of Steel #4 (two years ago in Superman's time) whose only given name in that issue was "Frank." At that time, he was the one who ordered Superman to arrest Luthor, but now he is clearly and willingly in Luthor's palm. I assume it was a conscious decision to make this the same mayor rather than a new one who had come in by this point. Luthor has made some headway since that time, apparently.
- Luthor does not appear to have any particular interest in, nor familiarity with, Jerry White beyond his situation within the context of this storyline. This will be important to note once we get to the World of Metropolis mini series, if I know what I'm talking about.
- Jerry White is 18 years old (thus born in 1969)
- Jimmy Olsen, unsure of what to do, takes on a band of armed muggers by himself and then, only after facing a moral dilemma in regard to whether he should turn in Jerry White, finally uses his SIGNAL WATCH to summon Superman, even though, when Superman arrives, he doesn't even tell him about Jerry. Is Wolfman trying to show how confused Jimmy is here, or is Wolfman the one who is confused?
- I like how Luthor asks to be reminded which project they're discussing (even though it's the very project Wolfman had him immersed in last issue) because he has so many he's been keeping track of. It's a loving nod to our own struggle as readers to keep up with the fact that he and Byrne are using Luthor for two entirely different purposes in their comics right now.
plot synopsis in one sentence:
Jimmy Olsen stops a hold-up and discovers that one of the gunmen is Jerry White, he debates about whether to turn Jerry in but tells Lucy Lane, who tells Lois, who decides to print the info and get Jerry arrested, an organized attempt is made on Jerry's life in prison out of fear that he will talk about Luthor's recruiting of teens, Superman attempts to protect Jerry but doesn't always succeed in preventing the beatings and threats, Jerry finally decides he will talk, DelGado attempts to expose Luthor at a publicity event, Luthor's thugs try to kill him, Superman intervenes and captures the thugs, believing they will talk, and Luthor reviews the results of his secret experiment, which we learn was attempting to give the teens he was recruiting the powers of Superman, though it killed most of the trial participants and only affected Jerry White's antisocial behavior, and Luthor decides not implement it on a full scale unless/until it has a higher success rate.
With the experimentation aspect of the storyline now ended, I assume the rest of the storyline will focus on Jerry attempting to testify against Luthor. Intriguing...
Last edited by shaxper; 02-04-2013 at 06:25 PM.
I really like the reviews you're giving to Byrne's Superman and laughing at how much you hate the stories themselves, I don't know for me I guess I was reading them via rose tinted glasses that I overlooked some of the changes since I wasn't that invested in Pre-Crisis Superman.
And I only got into Byrne's Superman after reading some of his reprinted 80's Hulk stuff reprinted in the 90's under Marvel Superhero Megazine that I instantly became a JB fan which led me to his X-Men work but not so much the Fantastic Four since I just hate the FF.
Keep up the reviews shaxper, it's only just recently that I've been buying tons of back issues of Superman from the late 80's early 90's I'd like to see what you thought of the Superman titles after Byrne left.
Last edited by shaxper; 02-05-2013 at 06:36 PM.