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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman #2

A lot of interesting stuff happened in the 1980’s. The Berlin Wall fell down, music videos became a thing, and Eddie Murphy had a singing career. We only wished he stopped at acting. It was a nice decade for Superman. He had two (technically three if you count Supergirl) movies, a television show (Superboy), and even an animated show on CBS. The final thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that his continuity got a big face-lift after Crisis On Infinite Earths. As we saw in the Man of Steel miniseries, a lot of stuff changed for the character.

One of the biggest things was changing Lex Luthor from a mad scientist to a corrupt businessman. It’s something that has stuck with the character from the 80’s even to now. This version has been everywhere from TV to the movies… wait, I take the movies part back. Singer definitely failed the character in Superman Returns. Anyway, today’s issue is Superman #2. The writer and penciller is John Byrne. Terry Austin inks the issue, John Costanza letters the issue, and Tom Ziuko colors it.

Superman #2
Writer and Penciller: John Byrne 
Inker: Terry Austin 
Letterer: John Constanza 
Colorist: Tom Ziuko 
Editor: Andrew Helfer 

The issue starts out with Lex Luthor overseeing his research team as they look for clues on Superman. They find out that Lana Lang (they don’t learn her name) has been basically around whenever Superman does his thing. Luthor orders his men to find her and also see how Clark Kent is connected to Superman. He then strong-arms Dr. Amanda McCoy (the head of the research team) into a date. He then heads to another department where Dr. Happerson is seeing how Metallo’s body works. They were the reason Metallo disappeared back in the previous issue. Since they know that Kryptonite can hurt Superman and powers Metallo, Lex does the “sensible” thing and rips the meteor out of the cyborg.
Lex Luthor: what a guy!

In Smallville, Luthor’s goons try their best to get info on Superman by breaking into the Kents’ house and knocking them out. They take a few things and are about to leave when Lana unexpectedly comes by. Since she’s seen their faces, they knock her out and take her with them back to Metropolis. Luthor is on his “date” with Amanda when he hears the news. A couple of days pass by and we finally find Superman flying around in the city. Suddenly, a mobile camera (controlled by Luthor’s people) follows him. He gets his hands on it, but it explodes. Befuddled, Clark heads back his apartment where he’s shocked to find a beaten Lana in the janitor’s closet.
Say, Jim! Woo! Thanks for finally showing up 10 pages in! Woo!!

She tells him that someone took her and possibly his parents. She also tells him of the warehouse where she escaped from. He flies to the warehouse where Luthor’s goons are. This all turns out to be a ruse as Luthor planned all this and blows up the warehouse via remote control. We then cut to Lexcorp where a PO-ed Superman knocks down Luthor’s office doors. He tries to confront Luthor, but he starts to feel weak. It turns out that Luthor has had a piece of Kryptonite molded into a ring. Since none of the stuff Luthor did can be proven, a weakened Superman is carted out.
This definitely bites Lex Luthor in the butt later on.

Later, Superman flies Lana back to Smallville. Believing he’s lost another set of parents, Clark finds the Kents alive but confused. They tell Clark that only his valuables like his yearbooks, scrapbooks and birth certificate were taken. We then cut to Lexcorp where Amanda is putting all of the information into the computer. The computer comes back with an answer: Clark Kent is Superman. Unfortunately (for Amanda), Luthor refuses to believe it since believes that Superman wouldn’t pretend to be just a man. The issue ends as Luthor fires Amanda.
Wow, either Lex is stupid or his ego is too massive to see the truth. I vote all of the above.

..............................................................................

This was a really good issue. The funny thing is that Superman’s not in it much. It’s all about Luthor this time. The writing is pretty good. While the dialogue has the old-school flair, it’s the good type of flair. Luthor is pretty bad in this and I mean that in a good way. He’s ruthless, doesn’t take no for an answer, and plans ahead. There’s a reason this version of Luthor has stuck around for so long. While the “Mad Scientist” side is fine, the corrupt businessman aspect adds more the character. Personally, I like it when writers use both aspects of the character.

Superman is in fine form but he does come up on the losing side again. He got trounced by Metallo last issue and he gets it again here too. At least Luthor's too ego-driven to figure out his secret. The stuff involving Lana and the Kents was nuts and showed that someone like Luthor can provide a credible threat. The ending is a little weird but cool. It does make sense that a guy like Luthor wouldn’t just get it. I have no complaints on the artwork. It’s all good. The action and quiet moments look really good.

Overall, this is a really good read. If you haven’t read it, then what are you doing? Go out there and find it! Well, it’s finally time to go back  a few months and look at the story that unofficially ended Superman’s Pre-Crisis era. Peace and God Bless.

NEXT TIME: "DARKNESSES! DARKNESSES!"

1 comment:

  1. I still remember the day I saw this in a rack at some store and just had to find out what was going on. From then I fell in love with John Byrne version of Superman and he became my favorite hero/comic book. This was back in the days when Superman was supposed to be less powerful, in fact in the next two issues he is wiped out by Darkseid and Bloodsport. I think they eventually realized they were making him to weak and that kind of went away after awhile.

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