A Look Back at Adventures of Superman #500 (1993)

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 revisit a comic book that literally served as a bridge between the Funeral for a Friend storyline and the eventual Reign of the Superman storyline. I am talking about the 500th issue of the Adventures of Superman monthly series.

To put things in perspective, the Funeral for a Friend storyline dramatized the immediate aftermath of Superman’s sudden death which paved the way for comic book creators to develop not only DC superheroes (affiliated with Superman specifically) but also the supporting characters linked with the Man of Steel in new and creative ways. Not only that, there was even a months-long hiatus on all Superman-related comics before Adventures of Superman #500 was released. Back in the old days when Internet connection and online news were not yet common, I heard lots of buzz about DC resurrecting Superman from the dead which added to the anticipation of the 500th issue of Adventures of Superman.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Adventures of Superman #500, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Tom Grummett.

The cover of the premium version of this comic book.

Early story

The story begins inside a Kansas hospital where medical professionals are trying to revive Jonathan Kent who lost consciousness. Martha Kent is present witnessing the efforts happen. As his physical body is being worked on, Jonathan Kent finds himself in a dream-like realm and to his shock, he meets his dead son Clark who finds himself being pulled into the bright light in the distance. Refusing to let go, Jonathan Kent accidentally tears off Clark’s clothes which reveal him as Superman in his iconic outfit. Superman tells his adoptive father to rejoin the living.

Suddenly two wraiths appeared and escorted Superman into the light. Still defiant, Jonathan then flies himself into the light to follow his son.

Back in the real world, Martha carefully monitors her husband’s health reading. After being assured by the medical staff that they won’t give up on her husband, Martha is surprised to see Lois Lane who arrived all the way from Metropolis…

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Lois Lane with Martha Kent and the recovering Jonathan Kent.

Let me get straight to the point about this Superman story…this is a very dramatized approach on bringing back Superman from the dead without necessarily going all-out. As we comic book geeks know by now, the Reign of the Superman events launched with this comic book serving as a launch pad and that meant that people had to go through many comic books before finally getting to see Superman himself in resurrected form.

More on the story itself, the main feature here is Jonathan Kent’s struggle to follow Superman in the dream-like realm (note: DC’s version of the afterlife which is clearly not spiritual) as he was motivated by his love for him as well as his belief that the world still needs the Man of Steel as their beacon of hope. To be very clear, Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummet nicely executed their presentation of Jonathan Kent and his uncompromising effort to get his son back. The creative team’s imagination really was set into high gear which resulted in Jonathan revisiting a familiar place from his old days as a soldier, getting himself into a lair of demons, flying deep into space and visiting the realm’s own version of Krypton. Very truly, this comic book’s protagonist is Jonathan Kent and the iconic Superman was more of a supporting figure.    

While the Jonathan Kent tale is good to read, Superman’s return from the dead here ended up more as a teaser of things to come (note: the Reign of the Supermen). Considering the big promise that came with this comic book, it is indeed a disappointing pay-off towards all the build-up. Not only that, the side stories are a mixed back. The respective scenes of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen added weight to the narrative while the scenes of Gangbuster were pointless and looked more like hollow script filler. As for Cat Grant’s scene, it was designed to make readers feel sorry for her.

As for the scenes – each done by different creative teams – showing the new Superboy, the Eradicator, the black Man of Steel and the Cyborg Superman, these revelations really did not work to recover from the disappointing conclusion of the main story. They were more like creative distractions designed to promote what was coming in the other Superman monthly series of the time.

Conclusion

In the dreamy realm, Jonathan Kent pursues his adopted son Superman who gets treated like a living idol. The father-and-son dynamic is the most entertaining part of this tale.

Even back in the old days, Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) was a disappointing read and it was a highly dramatized effort by DC Comics cautiously expressing that Superman’s death was nothing more than a highly deceptive publicity stunt with Dollar signs in mind.

Within the context of this comic book, the resurrection of Superman was essentially a half-step and his eventual full return in comics did not happen until months later (note: after many Reign of the Supermen stories were published). More on the resurrection aspect of this comic book, I can clearly say that Superman – no matter how iconic he is and no matter what comic book creators tried – will never ever become a beacon of hope nor a true savior for people in real life. It really does not matter that many people bought copies of Superman #75 (the death) believing truly that they would witness the end of the American icon and witness a Superman-less future. What mattered here were the deception and the irresponsible use of a pop culture icon committed by DC Comics. Superman #75 (1993) was the gigantic deception that sold millions while Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) was the big follow-up deception.

The resurrection of Superman in this story does NOT make him a more significant DC Comics icon at all. I know that there are die-hard fans out there who love to compare the Man of Steel with Jesus Christ but such comparisons and forced attempts to link them together are pathetic and worthless. Superman is not real and even if he was, he could never overcome death nor could he save people. The resurrection of Lord Jesus can never be matched and only He saved people and led them to salvation in the presence of His Father, the Lord God.

By today’s standard, this comic book is much more disappointing and even worth less as a piece of American comic book history. While the work done by the Ordway-Grummett team here was not really terrible, it was the dishonesty and deception of DC Comics that led to this. In fairness to the creators, bringing back Superman after all the hype and belief invested related to his death was indeed a major obstacle for them. You could feel sorry for Ordway-Grummett.

Overall, Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) should be avoided. If you really want to read it, try borrowing a copy. Just don’t spend anything on it.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

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…  

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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.

Conclusion

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!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman #74 (1992)

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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

To be more specific, this retro review goes into one of the chapters of the Death of Superman storyline showing more of Doomsday’s rampage but before the climax of the battle with Superman. I’m talking about the 74th issue of the Superman monthly series of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #74, published in 1992 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Ice and Maxima in the presence of a suffering Blue Beetle who just got hurt badly by Doomsday. While Ice expresses concern for Blue Beetle, Maxima could only care less about him stating that he shall perish as a warrior fallen in battle and that there is no greater honor one can attain. After Ice pleaded her to help Blue Beetle and realize the need to help others who have fallen, Maxima then uses her power to help Blue Beetle to safety. Ice then proceeds to another direction to stop Doomsday.

Meanwhile, a young guy named Mitch arrives home feeling bad about his situation. His mother is taking care of his infant sibling. After a tense talk between them, Ice suddenly crashes into their home. Mitch and his mother look outside and see Doomsday (still covered in a space suit with only his left arm unrestrained as seen in Superman: The Man of Steel #18) carrying a damaged car with his left arm.  

Suddenly Doomsday notices something – the arrival of Booster Gold and Superman…

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Superman struck really hard by Doomsday!

Apart from being a build-up chapter of the Death of Superman storyline, this comic book is notable for two things: It has the first-ever encounter between Superman and Doomsday in comic book history. Second is the reveal of Doomsday’s face and other physical features as a result of his space suit and restraints getting torn.

The first-ever Superman-Doomsday encounter here is symbolic as it happened just minutes after the Justice League America (JLA) got overwhelmed by the unstoppable creature from outer space. While Superman had his TV interview, his JLA teammates failed miserably during their encounter with Doomsday (as told in Justice League America #69). By the time the Man of Steel and the creature meet, the stage was set for readers to find out once and for all who is more powerful between them.

Superman’s leadership is also emphasized in this story. The JLA in this issue does not have DC’s most famous superheroes as members but Ice, Maxima, Fire, Booster Gold, Bloodwynd and Guy Gardner functioned well and added nicely to the build-up of this storyline.

There is a lot of superhero spectacle to enjoy here but the most noticeable visual features are the scenes of destruction which strongly symbolize Doomsday’s immense strength, violent nature and complete disregard of both life and logic. The showing of an American family coming close to death in the presence of Doomsday remains disturbing to see.

Lastly, I should state the big reveal of Doomsday’s face and other physical features is excellent and even timeless. There is this undeniable combination of fright and intimidation that Dan Jurgens visualized here. In fact, the big reveal (which happened after Superman and the JLA combined their attacks on the creature) alone is a solid reason to read this comic book.  

Conclusion

Doomsday the unstoppable force that completely disregards life and cannot be reasoned with.

Even as a build-up issue of the Death of Superman storyline, Superman #74 (1992) is still a great read on its own. Not only did it mark the first-ever encounter between Superman and Doomsday in the history of comics, it also emphasized how vulnerable and inferior the superheroes here really are. There is also the symbolism of Doomsday as the unstoppable being that completely disregards life (and can never be reasoned with) and still Dan Jurgens managed to spare some room to symbolize how the superheroes struggled in trying to stop the creature and take care of the helpless whenever they can.

Overall, Superman #74 (1992) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman #76 (1993)

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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

Previously, I reviewed Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) and Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) which were chapters of the Funeral for a Friend storyline. In Superman: MOS #20, a large funeral took place which involved several special guests as well as other DC superheroes who paid tribute to Superman. The entire city of Metropolis is struggling to move forward as the sudden of Superman really impacted all the people, especially on Lois Lane.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #76, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens. This comic book marked the fourth chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Shazam (AKA Captain Marvel) arriving at the rooftop of the Daily Planet where the Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Maxima and others are present. The whole city is experiencing a very somber Christmas season as the death and burial of Superman remains very strong on the people.

On the streets of Metropolis, a long-haired guy named Mitch walks down in the rain feeling troubled not only because Superman died but also due to the fact that their home got smashed during the encounter with the unstoppable Doomsday. Mitch then arrives at a gathering of people outside of a building’s front door. There are several reporters covering a lady speaking to them with a microphone. She tells them that she is Mrs. Superman…

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Wonder Woman reads a letter.

Being the 4th chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline, Dan Jurgens crafted a story that not only dramatized the post-disaster situation of Metropolis but also had notable twists and developments that proved to be worth reading.

For one thing, this comic book has Lois Lane reunited at last with Clark Kent’s earthly parents Jonathan and Martha which was not only really dramatic but also had very rich dialogue written. By this point in this particular storyline, Lois Lane has gone through waves of deep emotions and pain, while getting stressed with journalistic work. As such, there is this dramatic pay-off that happened during the reunion with the elderly Kent couple.

What is most notable here is the scene in which Superman’s super-powered allies visit a local post office that literally got flooded with lots of mail from around the world addressed to the Man of Steel. On face value, such a scenario looked silly but the way Dan Jurgens crafted the dialogue and the images, the post office scene became believable and sensible to read. This shows that superheroes like Aquaman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and others do have hearts to be caring and sensible to the people.

The scene of the ordinary guy Mitch is significant as well. Clearly the character symbolizes the poor and struggling American who remembers how a complete stranger like Superman came along, stood up to fight for Mitch’s family and died in the process (while Mitch’s father was absent).

This comic book is also a Christmas tale. How Christmas was dramatized here has to be seen and you readers should get a copy of this comic book to find out why. It should be noted that there are themes of reconciliation and the nuclear family that made the Christmas tale meaningful.

Conclusion

Lana Lang, Lois Lane and the elderly Kent couple.

Even without the presence of the Man of Steel and no good-versus-evil conflict, Superman #76 (1993) is a great read as it pushed forward the Funeral for a Friend storyline while successfully telling a meaningful Christmas tale of its own complete with a very unique portrayal of the Justice League and Superman’s allies. How people deal with emotions and stress over Superman’s death was portrayed as highly believable and Dan Jurgen’s writing here was done with really high quality.

Overall, Superman #76 (1993) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (1992)

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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book – the first full appearance of Doomsday!

To those of you who read my retro review of Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) – which was the opening chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline – you might be wondering why I decided to revisit the Death of Superman storyline so suddenly. It all comes down to context related to Superman’s eventual death and what killed him. Not only did Doomsday become a very important part of DC Comics’ gallery of super villains having achieved the killing of the Man of Steel, the oversized monster became part of DC’s further comic book universe reboots as well as part of multimedia adaptations of DC Comics stories specifically in the Smallville TV series as well as in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Indeed, Doomsday’s place in American pop culture is sealed and that shows how much of an impact was made by the unstoppable super villain co-created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern. Doomsday was conceived way back in 1991 during the brainstorming session of the Superman comics writers and editors of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman: The Man of Steel #18, published in 1992 by DC Comics with a story written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove. This comic book marked the beginning of the Death of Superman saga.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins deep underground as the left fist of a covered, large being keeps punching the metallic wall to get out of containment. As the punches keep on pounding the wall, the glove gets torn revealing a fist with gray skin and sharp bones protruding through the knuckles. After making its way out of containment, the earth shakes and the animals got disturbed as the creature – mostly covered with an alien body suit  with only the left arm freed – makes its way from deep underground.

Miles away within the city of Metropolis, a young black boy buys a spray paint container (which has a fluorescent yellow paint that glows in the dark) inside a hardware store. In response to the curiosity of the store owner, the boy denies that he would use the glow-in-the-dark pain on a subway wall. The boy has a very tough task ahead of him as he will be going after monsters.

At a power station, a group of intelligent creatures make their way to steal electricity for their war machines…

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Even with only his left arm free, Doomsday still caused massive destruction causing injuries and deaths to others.

To make things clear, this comic book tells two stories that moved in parallel together. The first story involving Superman, Lois Lane and the affairs that involved the mentioned young black boy is the typical good-versus-evil superhero tale. What made that story standout was Lois Lane’s involvement as she got into trouble facing the opposition before Superman came in to save the day. As before, seeing Lois Lane talk to Superman in the presence of others while keeping his identity secret remains engaging to read. This tale was good enough to read.

The other story that follows the sudden appearance and the early rampage of Doomsday is the more engaging one to read. This was clearly a build-up for the Death of Superman concept but it was highly effective, well-paced and clearly defined by the creative team. Not only will you see Doomsday’s unstoppable power of destruction, you will witness his complete disregard of life – animals and humans – which strongly hints the an immense danger that Superman, the Justice League America (JLA) and the people of Metropolis are not prepared for. Like the Terminator, Doomsday cannot be reasoned with as massive destruction and death are his core elements. Within the pages of this comic book, it can be viewed that Doomsday was designed for endless waves of destroying life and anything that gets in the way.

Lastly, I should state that Simonson and Bogdanove presented Doomsday not only to be destructive but also as a frightening force that people in real life would not want to see realized.

Conclusion

The other tale that involved Lois Lane and the young black boy.

Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (1992) remains a very powerful read. Yes, it is a build-up of Doomsday and the Death of Superman saga but it remains highly significant as it kicked-off the creative change of direction of DC’s Superman creative teams going towards tragedies that Superman and his allies cannot easily stop. This one marked start of Doomsday’s eventual high rise not only in comics but also in pop culture in general. That being said, this comic book is a must-have in your collection.  

Overall, Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (1992) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993)

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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

Previously, I reviewed Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) which marked the first chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline and dramatized the impact left behind by the death of Superman. That particular comic book had strong writing and succeeded in dramatizing how Superman’s friends, associates and other characters coped with his death with the future looking uncertain to them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman: The Man of Steel #20, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove. This comic book marked the third chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with people in Metropolis struggling to move forward not only because their hero Superman died but also because of the tremendous damage left behind by Doomsday. In his headquarters, Lex Luthor is talking with the telephone surrounded by several people with Supergirl watching. The matter being discussed was the burial of Superman at Centennial Park particularly in a structure Luthor himself donated. While he has to live on with the fact that he failed to kill Superman, Luthor tells himself he can still bury him.

At the Kent farm far away from Metropolis, Jonathan and Martha Kent are agonizing not only because of the death of their beloved son but also because they realized they cannot even get near him at his funeral as it will be organized as a major event with only the important people allowed to attend…

Quality

It seems like destiny to have the super villain Lex Luthor in the presence of a fictionalized Bill Clinton and Hillar Clinton during the funeral of Superman. By today’s standards, the Clintons made it normal for America to bow to terrorists and make deals with them. That being said, their inclusion in this comic book is just wrong.

To go straight to the point, like Adventures of Superman #498 (1993), this comic book continues to dramatize the impact of Superman’s death on Metropolis and its people in a very engaging manner. It shows that DC’s creative teams in charge of Superman comic book at the time were really organized and coordinated with each other on crafting the Funeral for a Friend storyline. What makes this comic book stand out is the funeral itself which was organized as a public event (with the burial itself done in the presence of important people – including a very evil couple from the Democrats who love abortion and terrorism) and this includes the presence of many other DC Comics superheroes like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Maxima, Shazam (AKA Captain Marvel) and others. The burial had its own share of intriguing and dramatic moments emphasizing the people’s struggle to adjust themselves knowing they don’t have Superman anymore to help them.

Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Robin help out as the huge crowd became rowdy.

More on the post-death dramatization, the creative team managed to keep Superman’s associates Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and the other Daily Planet people feeling uneasy over the Man of Steel’s death which makes their work covering the funeral professionally a challenge. Unsurprisingly, Lois Lane gets her own fine share of the spotlight agonizing over the fact that she lost her beloved Clark (Superman to the public) whom she was supposed to get married with. The emotional struggle within her intensified as she experiences difficulty of informing the elderly Kent couple about what happened. This is rich writing prepared by the creators.

Not only that, the creative team also went all-out with dramatizing the impact of Superman’s good deeds on the people. You will see several people from Metropolis’ general population talk about how Superman helped them or inspired them. There are certain lines of dialogue that are quite touching to read.

Conclusion

A pretty powerful portrayal of Lois Lane’s struggle on dealing with the new reality that she lost her beloved Superman.

Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) is another solid, post-death story emphasizing the new normal that Metropolis people and Superman’s friends are having difficulty adjusting to…a world without the Man of Steel. Based on the high quality of the storytelling and character development, it is easy to tell that the Superman titles’ creative teams planned ahead and prepared themselves for telling a post-death saga which was pretty risky given the iconic status of Superman and his decades-long legacy in comics and pop culture. This comic book really made Superman’s absence feel powerful and undeniable.

Overall, Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Action Comics #500 (1979)

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.

To publish a five hundredth issue of an extensive monthly comic book series is clearly a major milestone for any publisher. To do the math, it takes a whole year to publish 12 issues on a monthly schedule. To reach five hundred issues on a monthly pace will require forty-one years and eight months’ time to publish.

Way back in the late 1970s, DC Comics achieved the said milestone with their extensive monthly series titled Action Comics which is often identified with the world’s most famous superhero – Superman! Take note that DC Comics started in 1935 while Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) was published a few years later.

Going back to the 500th issue of Action Comics, it is easy to wonder what DC Comics’ talent came up with to celebrate the milestone. That being said, we can all find out more in this look back at Action Comics #500, published by DC Comics in 1979 with a story written by Martin Pasko and visualized by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman arriving at a pavilion named after him at the Metropolis World’s Fair. Countless people welcomed with lots of cheering as he lands near the mayor in the presence of the famous entrepreneur J. Robert Arngrim. Also present were Superman’s closest friends Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.

After the formal opening, Superman leads a large group of people as their tour guide. Together they arrived a wide hall containing the Krypton exhibit showcasing alien technology, architecture and life on Superman’s home planet. In response to a request by Arngrim, Superman reluctantly agrees to do a demonstration of the mind-prober ray, a machine Superman himself invented as a boy mainly to retrieve memories from his subconscious.

As the Man of Steel takes his seat on the machine in front of the tourists and Arngrim, an unidentified person located in a secret facility prepares to invade Superman’s mind…

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Teenage Clark Kent gradually becoming Superboy.

To make it clear, this 500th issue of the Action Comics monthly series is an extensive, no advertisements tribute to Superman and I can say that the comic book creators really went all out to present lots of stuff to please Superman fans.

As such, the story was written to help the newer fans of the time to be more familiar of the legacy of Superman (note: this was years before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened) by revisiting and dramatizing established events of the Man of Steel’s legacy such as Jor-El (Superman’s father) failing to convince the Kryptonian science council members that their world was doomed, Superman sent to Earth as a child in a rocket before Krypton’s destruction, getting raised by an American couple after arriving on Earth, becoming Superboy (note: another pre-Crisis element), getting a job at the Daily Planet, welcoming Supergirl on Earth, and so on.

Superman leading the tour.

Of course, Superman does not reveal key details of his personal life to the people during the tour and such recollections were presented to delight us readers. Still, there is richness in the writing and the art. Even though I am already familiar with DC’s icon and the Superman-related mythos, I still had a lot of fun reading the events of Superman’s past, particularly his early years as the adopted son of the Kent couple who in turn did their best to adjust to his super abilities while raising him with good values and discipline.

While the recollections from Superman’s past are engaging, the present-day tour at the Superman pavilion is itself quite fascinating. There were displays of supervillains such as Lex Luthor, Braniac and Parasite. There was even a collection of the different types of Kryptonite. What really nailed the present-day story was a nice twist that allowed for some new superhero spectacle and intrigue to take place.

Conclusion

The first stop of the tour – Krypton exhibit!

While this portrayal of Superman is already outdated given the time of its release, Action Comics #500 (1979) is still a lot of fun to read and it is indeed a great tribute to DC’s most famous superhero. If you are a Superman fan who has gotten sick and tired of the way DC Comics reshaped and modernized Superman since after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this comic book could be refreshing for you. It is also a lively piece of DC Comics’ history.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #500 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $210.

Overall, Action Comics #500 (1979) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Superman Annual #10 (1984)

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.

Before DC Comics ended their original superhero multiverse with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986) to restart all over again, there were a whole lot of stories about Superman ranging from the dramatic stuff, the epic tales and right down to the most outlandish tales.

As a kid, I was fortunate enough to buy myself a copy of a 1984 Superman comic book, the cover of which really intrigued and caught my interest. It was a Superman annual comic book with a $1.25 cover price which was somewhat high at the time. Its cover showed the Man of Steel himself carrying a sword pointed up.

That image made me wonder: Why would Superman have to use a sword when he is so powerful and capable without weapons? Where did that sword come from? Who made it in the first place? Is the sword so special to Superman?

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman Annual #10, published by DC Comics in 1984 with a story written by Elliot Maggin and drawn by classic Superman artist Curt Swan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a space where a group of diverse people composed of aliens and humans are gathered together watching a live video feed Superman on a large monitor above their heads. As it turns out, the Man of Steel is in space working to prevent meteoroids from entering the planet below him. He then speeds off into space heading back to Earth.

Along time ago deep in the galaxy, a big bang effect took place creating several new fragments in the vacuum of space and among them is a long, rough object that resembles a sword. As an unknown amount of time passed, the long object gradually turns into a smooth looking sword complete with a sharp blade and a letter “S” on one end that is the same as the one Superman carries. It is referred to as the sword of Superman!

In Metropolis, Clark Kent is passed by his officemate Jimmy Olsen who mentioned that he is rushing to interview the billionaire industrialist Oswald Mandias. Two days have passed and Jimmy Olsen remained missing. As his boss Perry White heads on to the office, Clark remains and changes into Superman when the coast got clear.

As the Man of Steel flies off into the city, a Galaxy Broadcasting live report on TV shows Lana Lang reporting from the Kennedy Space Center where the new space shuttle Magellan is about to make its first-ever commercial flight to launch a mysterious new communications satellite owned by Mandias Industries…

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Clark Kent/Superman being a complete stranger to others added a lot to the story.

Being an annual, I can say that the Sword of Superman story was well-written and nicely visualized by the creators which made it fun and engaging to read. It is a Superman story that further adds to his being an essential hero of the original DC Comics multiverse and a key factor here is the somewhat outlandish concept that the sword that he gained was an original material of the universe from the big bang and even had connections to the unseen omnipotent force.

This story is not a simple, straightforward tale about Superman gaining a weapon required to defeat the supervillain King Kosmos. In fact, the sword opens up events that made the Man of Steel reevaluate himself, his situation and the people around him. King Kosmos, who is a time-travelling villain from the future (first appearance in DC Comics Presents Annual #2), served not just merely as the opposition but also adds a good amount of complexity within the reality of the story. For one thing, it is very intriguing and also refreshing to see people of Metropolis (even Clark’s friend Jimmy Olsen) failing to recognize Superman. This is a one-of-a-kind story of Superman that must be read, even though it is not really an epic tale.

Conclusion

The return of King Kosmos!

I personally enjoyed reading Superman Annual #10 (1984) the first time back in 1984. The fact here is that after re-reading it recently, I do confirm that it is still an enjoyable comic book to read, and I am not even a Superman fan anymore. That is quite something! This is indeed a really good piece of Superman history from the pre-Crisis era. It also touches on themes about omnipotence and being whole with the entire universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman Annual #10 (1984), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $70.

Overall, Superman Annual #10 (1984) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Henry Cavill in talks to return as the cinematic Superman!

Shortly after the launch of this website, I published an article expressing what I’d like to see in a Man of Steel sequel. Among the key things I mentioned was that I wanted to see Henry Cavill play Superman as a more inspiring and optimistic superhero. That was back in January 2019.

superman1
Henry Cavill in 2013’s Man of Steel.

Today there is a lot of buzz online about the return of Cavill as Superman (note: he last played him in the Justice League movie which in turn will be presented in Zack Snyder’s own vision next year on HBO Max) got reported by Deadline.com and Variety.com

Both hot reports shared similar key details but I found Deadline’s content more helpful. Here’s an excerpt from Deadline.com in italicized blue text.

While there is not a Man of Steel sequel in the works, we’re hearing that Henry Cavill is in talks to reprise his role as Superman in the Warner Bros. DC Universe.

We hear Cavill could come back in a couple of different ways, not a standalone film, but there are plans to put him back in the big red cape again sources with knowledge tell us.

Warner Bros. is not developing a Man of Steel sequel, and Wonder Woman 1984, Suicide Squad are in the can, and Superman isn’t expected to make a cameo in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Other projects where Cavill could make a cameo are Shazam 2, Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam or Aquaman 2, which are the next productions to be prepped once COVID-19 safety restrictions lift.

Previously in a Men’s Health interview, the British actor stated he had not given up on the role even though the last time he played the DC Comics icon was in late-2017 in the Justice League movie. The Superman who appeared in the Shazam movie of 2019 was NOT played by Cavill.

In relation to the Warner Bros. superhero movies mentioned in the excerpt above, it seems that integrating Cavill’s Superman in the ongoing DC Comics cinematic universe will take a while and it is understandable that a standalone movie featuring Superman still has not been planned. It will take a few more years for a Superman movie project to be made to say the least and that includes financing, writing the best screenplay possible, hiring/rehiring actors and finding the right director (I hope they hire James Wan) who could get the most out of Cavill.

As such, the best that Warner Bros. could do with the cinematic Superman is have him in short appearances or cameos in future DC Comics movies about Shazam (the sequel), Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson’s vehicle) and Aquaman (the sequel).

Speaking of Shazam and Black Adam, it would be nice to see Cavill’s Superman in those characters’ respective films. I don’t mean Cavill sharing the spotlight with Zachary Levi and Dwayne Johnson, but having his cinematic Superman appear with Shazam and Black Adam with sufficient screen time to satisfy the fans. Considering the literary history Superman has with Shazam and Black Adam, cinematic cameo appearances would be insufficient in my view. Of course, the Shazam sequel and the Black Adam movie have their respective concepts by now and accommodating Superman will be limited at best.

As such, when it comes to making a true standalone Superman movie in the years to come, I would love to see Henry Cavill and Dwayne Johnson clash as Superman and Black Adam! That concept would be great for the much-delayed Man of Steel sequel! For such a project, I would insist that Warner Bros. hire James Wan to direct.

As for the cinematic Superman possibly appearing in the Aquaman sequel, that would be nice even if it will end up as a short appearance. I honestly believe that Cavill and Jason Momoa can work well together on the big screen with a more focused screenplay.

If there is a breakthrough regarding the talks between Henry Cavill and Warner Bros., I’ll update you readers. Right now, even though the world has been set back by the COVID-19 crisis, Warner Bros. is in a better position to be more competitive when it comes to superhero movies. Cavill’s return as Superman will add more punch once it has been finalized.

In ending this, here are a few Cavill Superman videos for your enjoyment.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Action Comics #454

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.

Long ago in the history of American comic book publishing, there was a time when superhero comic book storytelling were not told as dramatic serials but rather as standalone stories laced with outlandish ideas.

For this retro comic book review, we go back to the year 1977 as we focus on a Superman story that would not be told again in this day and age. To say the least, its cover art is, by today’s standard, over-the-top in terms of presentation. kapiHere is my look back at Action Comics #454 published by DC Comics with a story by Cary Bates and visuals by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell.

A454cover
The cover.

Early Story

The comic book opens with a preview of things to come showing a weak Superman urged by a few people to fly and chase the Toyman.

And then there was the question: What good are super-powers without the stamina and endurance it takes to use them?

The story begins with the Toyman escaping after pulling off a bank robbery. As he flies higher, he sees Superman coming towards him. After using a trick to delay Superman, Toyman uses a special trick to twirl Superman at high speed and literally throws him away to an unknown destination. The villain escaped and, some time later, Clark Kent/Superman finds himself too tired and drained. Because of this, he becomes desperate to consume food and beverages just to keep going. This problem affects both his career and social life.

A454p1
When was the last time you saw Clark Kent so exhausted?

Quality

Action Comics #454 explores what would happen if Superman lacks energy and requires a lot of rest and many meals to stay active. To see him eat as many as sixty hamburgers per minute is quite funny to see.

Being weak puts Superman at a disadvantage when it comes to stopping the criminal Toyman. As the Man of Steel flies at high speed to chase the bad guy flying in a personal aircraft, the chase drains him a lot.

When it comes to storytelling, this one is pretty short lasting only thirteen pages. What I find impressive is that the creators managed to tell a standalone story of good-versus-evil as well as answering the question as to what caused Superman to be so weak in the first place.

A454P2

Superman flying tired.

Conclusion

To put it clearly, Action Comics #454 is definitely a very short literary escapade that still manages to be fun to read. It sure is outlandish and I strongly doubt DC Comics will want to put Superman through heavy eating in today’s age of comics. Is this comic book a classic? Not exactly but it sure is a satisfying, fun read from an era when outlandish superhero storytelling in comic books was the norm. If you are seeking this as a collector’s item, be aware that a near-mint copy of Action Comics #454 is worth $23 at MileHighComics.com as of this writing.

Overall, Action Comics #454 is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com