A Look Back at Superman #2 (1987)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book. This time, however, we go back to the 1980s, specifically the time when the legendary John Byrne led the direction of developing and modernizing Superman.

After the critical and commercial success of the 1986 limited series The Man of Steel led by John Byrne, the stage was set on telling more stories of what was back then the modernized Superman. In 1987, the monthly series simply titled Superman launched and its first issue had the Man of Steel up against Metallo (also modernized by Byrne). Just before that particular story ended, Metallo was taken away.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #2, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by John Byrne.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility of the powerful business tycoon Lex Luthor who has been obsessed with Superman since their first encounter. In the presence of many female employees (wearing suits, short skirts and high heels), he watches many huge monitors showing the image of a certain lady standing among bystanders.

His employee Amanda tells him that based on their computer-enhanced analysis of all available news footage of Superman in action, the lady in the monitor appeared in public and she first appeared with the crowds weeks after the Man of Steel prevented a space plane from crashing. Luthor begins to speculate the lady could be connected to Superman and tells two other employees to find her, and he would not tolerate any delays.

Luthor then faces Amanda, holds up her left hand with his two hands and tells her she may join him for dinner that evening. When Amanda expressed that she has a prior commitment (gently rejecting Luthor), Luthor discreetly hurts her hand forcing her to accept his invitation.

Luthor then enters a laboratory with his employees there wearing protective suits. Near them is the restrained body of Metallo whose metallic chest is open with a huge piece of Kryptonite (installed as his power source) fully exposed…  


Superman and the tycoon Luthor.

Let me get straight to the point about this Superman story…this one has Lex Luthor as the main character with Superman having the supporting role. That is NOT a bad thing at all because John Byrne cleverly crafted the story showing how Luthor – who is no longer the criminal mad scientist of the previous multiverse of DC Comics – remains the most brilliant and powerful opposition that Superman cannot simply defeat. Being a billionaire, Luthor has vast financial, scientific and technological resources that enable him to overwhelm Superman and even get to the individual people that the Man of Steel cares the most. Luthor also is aware of how laws work and he knows that Superman’s dedication of following the rule of law is a weakness.

About Superman, this comic book shows the more human and more vulnerable side of him. You will the Man of Steel with a wide emotional range moving from caring to getting outraged within a few pages. Along the way, the hero’s secret begins to break down which alone would make you wish to help him. This is a clever portrayal of DC’s icon.

More on the plot itself, this comic book highlights Clark/Superman’s personal connection with small town sweetheart Lana Lang who ends up getting abducted and tortured by Luthor’s forces. Along the way, the breaking down of Superman’s secret identity was very well dramatized and the pacing was excellent. I should state that the ending is a must-see and surely it will make you realize the dynamics of absolute power.


The post-Crisis Lex Luthor is not only a brilliant super villain, he also has his own approach on socializing and getting results.

Superman #2 (1987) is undoubtedly very brilliant and great to read! From start to finish, John Byrne crafted a story that carefully balanced fantasy with realism while also emphasizing Luthor as the greatest enemy of Superman, as well as dramatizing the hero’s relationships with the Smallvile people of his past. Considering how powerful he really is, Superman here was portrayed to be at a major disadvantage against Lex Luthor in more ways than one. Luthor here is not just one very powerful tycoon, he is also one totally absolute danger towards others and he even has his own style of charisma. This is clearly a great way of modernizing the Superman-Luthor rivalry in the post-Crisis era and 1980s America in general. This is classic superhero literature that should be read!

Overall, Superman #2 (1987) is highly recommended!


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