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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1987 and explore a chapter of the post-Crisis DC Comics universe through a Superman tale.
To put things in perspective, John Byrne became in charge of redefining the iconic Superman during the post-Crisis age and he sure had a lot of creative freedom to not only modernize the character but also make him relevant to the public while also pleasing long-time fans. To say the least, the post-Crisis era was a time of daring concepts with the established superheroes of DC Comics. For more insight on Byrne’s handling of the Man of Steel, read my other retro comic book review by clicking here.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #5, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by John Byrne.
The story begins with Clark Kent having an outrageous dream in which he and Wonder Woman fight powerful enemies together. Shortly after arriving at the Daily Planet for duty, Clark learns from his boss Perry White that his office rival Lois Lane is already in South America literally digging on a significant discovery there. After being sent there by his boss, Clark flies to the south as Superman.
Upon arrival, Superman does a super speed reconnoiter at the dig site in the middle of a forest before changing back into Clark Kent. He eventually finds Lois Lane who is very surprised to see him. Even though he explained things to her, Lois remains doubtful of Clark as she still sees him as a journalistic rival who could potentially ruin her hot scoop…
I can say that John Byrne’s brilliance is very evident in this comic book. Firstly, this is a story that sheds light on the journalistic rivalry between Lois and Clark that brings back memories about what happened with the Superman hot scoop in The Man of Steel limited series. Here, Lois remains doubtful about Clark and even shows some bitterness as she is on the verge of a major discovery in South America.
Secondly, this story is also an accidental adventure that creatively has a mix of Indiana Jones, UFOs and ancient horror all throughout. The build-up here is pretty strong as the tale focused strongly on the discovery aspect of the dig site which eventually led to a series of action-packed unfortunate events that really pushed Clark Kent both as civilian and as a superhero. Here, Clark has the tough task to fight an over-sized enemy (note: Byrne’s own take on the mummy) to keep Lois and the others safe while also making certain that he keeps his identity secret.
Along the way, Byrne inserted lots of in-depth details backed with observations (by the characters) which made this action-packed tale a cerebral read. This is a fine example of being creative with handling Superman while catering to readers who love spectacle as well as satisfying those who enjoy a smart presentation of the icon. In other words, there is nothing brainless or dumb to find here.
Superman #5 (1987) is a very good read and this is fine showcase of the brilliant handling of the Man of Steel done by John Byrne. Aesthetics aside, this comic book is a relic that highlights the time when Lois and Clark were rival writers and the idea of them getting romantically involved seemed very unlikely at the time of its publishing during the early stage of the post-Crisis era. It was in many ways a defiance of the status quo of the original DC multiverse that had Lois and Superman as lovers. As an adventure, this comic book is very entertaining and engaging and the thing here is that it is only the first part of its arc.
Overall, Superman #5 (1993) is highly recommended.
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