Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin - Superman #404

Well, it's the Month of Superman in more ways than one. Since Man of Steel is coming out this month, I decided move this themed month to June this year. September will be used for another theme: ... You'll know when I know. Anyway, I decided to look at eight different stories that involve Superman going through something whether it's facing weird old men, being born in other countries, or "doing the Sam Beckett (or is it 'Becket?')." I've tried to pick one from each decade starting at the 60's. Since I couldn't make up my mind on which stories to do, you'll be getting two from both the 70's and the 80's. Today's story is from the 80's.

I wanted to find something from this decade and I saw this issue for a cheap price. The thing that really got me about this book is the cover. It sets up a nice premise, but does the issue tell the story well? Find out below.

Superman #404
Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Artist: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Bob Oksner

The issue starts out by stating that this story is an imaginary story... I'll talk about that later. Superman's trying to stop some sort of spacecraft from hitting Earth. It all seems to go well when... Clark wakes up in bed alongside Lana who looks kinda nice in that gown. It turns out that Clark lost his powers as Superboy when he was sixteen. He was also in coma for ten years. When he woke up, he married Lana, had a child, and made his father's grocery store into a national chain. He somehow did all of that in three years... Nice. His Earth parents are also still living. Clark takes a plane to California to open up another chain of the store. He meets up with Pete Ross (who looking like a reject from a 70's movie) and they attend the ceremony. Afterwords, they relax and a special report comes on the TV about Superboy's disappearance.

Clark, I think you chose wisely. Kudos.

While seeing the report upsets Clark, Lex Luthor is having a blast watching the report since he was the one who faced Superboy last. We flashback to their last battle where Lex is using some sort of exoskeleton to fight Superboy. When Lex grabs onto Superboy in a somewhat uncompromising way, Lex's suit malfunctions and blows up, knocking Superboy away somewhere. The flashback ends as Lex puts together another evil invention. One would think he'd do something good with his smarts but "Nooooooooo..." This is why Lex telling Superman that he'd be helping the world if it wasn't for him is pretty much BS.

Okay... How does Lex exactly survive his suit blowing up???

Back in Smallville, Clark walks around with Lana and his son (who gets no name by the way) in town. Clark sees a promotion about a book that talks about Superboy. As he heads into the store, Lana and the kid go get some ice cream. It's also here where we see the battle from Lana's point of view. It was she and Pete (who knew Superboy's identity) that got him home that day. Back in the present day, Clark looks around the bookstore and buys the book which was written by Lois Lane.
Wow... I bet Hideo Kojima saw this and thought it was cool.

Three weeks later, Lex attacks Metropolis in one of the most ridiculous contraptions I've ever seen. Nothing is able to stop him... until Superman (?!?) shows up. Superman is able to destroy the ugly-looking machine, then he and Lex go at it hand-to-hand. Lex notices that Superman isn't as powerful as he used to be. It turns out that Clark decided to find a way to get his powers back by using a small device that reverses Kryptonite's effect on him. Lex launches some missiles at him. Somehow (by miracle of science or God), Superman is able to dodge the missiles, leap up, and defeat Lex by destroying his armor. The issue weirdly ends with Superman realizing that he stopped Lex without his powered belt because it fell off some time back.


Well, that was an interesting read. Was it good? It's okay, but it's not that good. The story as least interesting and simple even if it is an imaginary story. For those who don't know this, Imaginary Stories were kind of a thing for Superman back in the day. The writers would basically do something tremendous to Superman that didn't take place in actual continuity. A big example includes a story Superman split into two Supermen and each of them married Lois and Lana. Anyway, it was nice to see what could have happened to Clark if he lost his powers as Superboy. I also think the cover to this issue is really well done though the art in the issue itself is okay. The art isn't noteworthy but it isn't horrible either.

My main gripes are really with some aspects to the story. While there is so much put into the story, I see some things that don't make sense. How did Clark actually lose his powers? How did he exactly beat Lex at the end without his device? What's the son's name? Jason? Also, I kinda wish there was more to the story than what we got. Some emphasis was put on Lana and it would have been nice to see how she (and the rest of his family/friends for that matter) would have reacted to Clark's decisions in the last few pages of the book. All in all, it's an okay issue.

Well, that's one story down. Next time will be a 70's romp where Superman will be going up against another awesome fighter.


1 comment:

  1. I didn't start reading until the Byrne era so missed this, I was always annoyed with imaginary stories but some are ok