The Baron Re-Reads the Whole Death and Re-Birth of Superman Storyline

Yeah, I know, another thing that isn't a "timeline" as such, although it will involve time travel of sorts, back to the wild and woolly days of 1992, when dinosaurs walked the Earth.  I hadn't read the Superman comics much for years when this story was announced, but I decided to follow it for fun.  I knew they weren't going to really kill him off, but I was interested to see what they would do.  I started offf with....

 

Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (December 1992): "Doomsday! Part One"

Written by Louise Simonson, with art by Jon Bogdnaove and Dennis Janke.

 

This story has two threads interspersed with one another:

  1. Lois and Superman get caught up fighting a race of sewer people who want to take over Metropolis. Supes handles them fairly easily - this is just another day at the office for him.
  2. Doomsday punches his way out of a box, them establishes his bad-arsehood by crushing a birdie, then disrupting traffic and smashing a truck. The story ends with Oberon overhearing a police report about it, and deciding that this is a job for the Justice League! I'm sur ethey'll be able to handle it no problem!

 

An interesting slow build. If I hadn't of known that this was going to be the critter that was going to "kill" Superman, I wouldn't of suspected it from this. I sometimes think that they do themselves a disservice by hyping these stories the way they do. Think of how much more of a mind-blower it would of been if the "death of Superman" had been a surprise.

 

I wasn't overwhelmed by the art on this - it's not bad, just not very good, either.  I tell you, I liked liked Doomsday's initial "containment suit" look better than his later Cranky Grandpa Zombie on Terrigen-Enhanced Steroids look.

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Jimmy was appearing in TV commercials for a pizza place (Titano's Pizza, I think) dressed as Giant Turtle Boy.  Since GTB was out of continuity at the time, I'm guessing there was some TMNT tribute involved as well, what with their taste for pizza.

The Baron said:

The Adventures of Superman #497 (December 1992): "Under Fire"

Written by Jerry Ordway, with art by Tom Grummett (Lovely pencils, Grummett!) and Doug Hazlewood.

 

Supes saves the family and sees the Leaguers taken care of. He and Maxima battle Doomsday until Maxima accidentally blows up a gas station. We end with the Guardian arriving to see what's going on. I'd forgotten how much of a presence Cadmus was in these books.  Also, Jimmy Olsen had a Turtle-Boy TV show?

 

Again, OK, but endless all-fight issues tire me out faster than they used to.



Dave Elyea said:

Jimmy was appearing in TV commercials for a pizza place (Titano's Pizza, I think) dressed as Giant Turtle Boy.  Since GTB was out of continuity at the time, I'm guessing there was some TMNT tribute involved as well, what with their taste for pizza.

The Baron said:

The Adventures of Superman #497 (December 1992): "Under Fire"

Written by Jerry Ordway, with art by Tom Grummett (Lovely pencils, Grummett!) and Doug Hazlewood.

 

Supes saves the family and sees the Leaguers taken care of. He and Maxima battle Doomsday until Maxima accidentally blows up a gas station. We end with the Guardian arriving to see what's going on. I'd forgotten how much of a presence Cadmus was in these books.  Also, Jimmy Olsen had a Turtle-Boy TV show?

 

Again, OK, but endless all-fight issues tire me out faster than they used to.

 

 

Ah, interesting, thanks.

RE: Bearded Luthor--IIRC (and with SPOLERS), Luthor was dying from Kryptonite poisoning, so he cloned a younger, hairier body and transplanted his brain into it. He then "died" and presented himself as Lex Luthor, Jr.

What I don't recall is how he became bald again and how the truth was revealed. 

Philip Portelli said:

RE: Bearded Luthor--IIRC (and with SPOLERS), Luthor was dying from Kryptonite poisoning, so he cloned a younger, hairier body and transplanted his brain into it. He then "died" and presented himself as Lex Luthor, Jr.

What I don't recall is how he became bald again and how the truth was revealed.

Unfortunately for Luthor, kryptonite in the post-Crisis era -- unlike the pre-Crisis variety -- is radioactive, albeit at a low level. It isn't typically harmful to humans, unless they had prolonged exposure to it ...

... like, say, the way Luthor did: He had a small piece of it polished like a gem and set into a ring, which he wore all the time, the better to keep Superman at bay. First Luthor wound up needing to have his hand amputated, but that wasn't enough, so he went the route described above.

I don't remember either how he became bald again and the truth revealed.

Superman: The Man of Steel #19 (January 1993): "Doomsday is Here!"

Written by Louise Simonson, with art by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke.

 

Superman battles Doomsday as the Kents watch it on TV. Supergirl tries to help, but Doomsday literally punches her face off, in a scene that manages to be comical and disturbing at the same time. Professor Hami;ton and Bibbo attack him with a ray gun. Turpin and Sawyer also join in the fight, as do some Cadmus types. We end with Superman determining to make his final stand in Metropolis.

 

On a completely unrelated note, why do the UFOs never try to shoot down SID, instead of just letting it sit there, tracking them all the time?  Also, Ed Straker isn't much of a "people person", is he?

 

Overall: Not a bad issue. It finally feels like we're getting some movement in this story.

Lex "Junior" caught a clone disease that was going around (as those things do), and lost his hair as part of the overall wasting effect.  He blew up much of Metropolis as he was dying, but it was restored when Zatanna tapped Superman's knowledge of the city's structure (all those x-ray vision searches), and Perry White's knowledge of its "heart".  Lex didn't die, but made a deal with Neron and was restored to perfect, if still bald, health.  I'm pretty sure that he managed to avoid the blame for the bombing by claiming that an evil clone had taken his place & conveniently died.  However, I was never clear if the post-Neron Lex was supposed to be the "original" post-Crisis Lex (the one who grew up with Perry White), who's "death" in that plane crash had been exaggerated, or if he was still supposed to be Lex Jr., having somehow lost his hair when the clone "replaced" him.  To me, the post-Neron Lex seemed younger than the latter, but no longer had the Australian roots of the former.

Philip Portelli said:

RE: Bearded Luthor--IIRC (and with SPOLERS), Luthor was dying from Kryptonite poisoning, so he cloned a younger, hairier body and transplanted his brain into it. He then "died" and presented himself as Lex Luthor, Jr.

What I don't recall is how he became bald again and how the truth was revealed. 


The Baron said:

 

On a completely unrelated note, why do the UFOs never try to shoot down SID, instead of just letting it sit there, tracking them all the time?  Also, Ed Straker isn't much of a "people person", is he?

 

 

It's one of those curious things of my life that I never really warmed to UFO when it initially aired back in the very early '70's.  I saw one episode then and just couldn't get into mood of things.

But then, a couple of years ago, while Wiki-surfing, I came across the show's entry in Wikipedia and became intrigued.  The show certainly has a grim mood, as if Straker and SHADO know from the start that they are fighting a losing battle.  Because of that, I wouldn't enjoy a steady diet of the show, but thanks to Wiki's episode guide and YouTube, I was able to sample some of the episodes that best took advantage of the onerous secrecy that surrounded the agency and the sense of an ever-present threat.

Which was my long-winded lead-in to your comment about Commander Staker not being a "people-person".  The episode I most enjoyed viewing was "Confetti Check A-OK" (originally aired on 10 July 1971).  This is a flashback episode to the creation of SHADO and Staker's part in establishing it, only to have leadership of it thrust upon him.

In the beginning, we actually see a warm, convivial Staker (with an ordinary, nice and tight haircut). He's a colonel in the United States Air Force, getting ready to retire and enjoy life with his new bride. Before he can put in his papers, though, General Henderson asks him to stay on active duty just long enough to get SHADO up and running.

As Straker becomes more aware of the threat of the aliens, he becomes more dedicated to making sure that SHADO is done right.  He handles all the procurements, construction, and government financing himself.  He hand-picks each member of the unit individually.  And, of course, because of the high security classification of the project, he cannot tell his wife why he spends twenty hours a day at a place he cannot tell her about or where it is.  

To make things worse, certain innocent coïncidences make his wife believe that he is having an affair. (Staker wouldn't have time to have an affair, even if he were of a mind to do so.)  The final blow comes when the representatives of the various governments involved insist that they will not continue to fund the project unless Staker is made the commander of SHADO.  The duty-bound Straker has no choice but to accept.

I have to give Ed Bishop points for his ability to effectively convey the gradual transition of a man under the intense pressure of duty.   Over the course of the hour, the viewer sees Straker subtly transform from an outwardly warm and full-of-life kind of guy to a man completely immersed in his terrible responsibility, growing a hard, flinty carapice to enable him to make the agonising decisions that comes with such a job.  A job that costs him his wife, his son, and any chance at personal happiness.

Seeing this episode also forces one to reëvaluate his impression of Straker's attitude and personality throughout the other episodes.

Ed Straker . . . when happiness was being simply an Air Force officer

It's funny you would say that - I never saw the show when I was a kid, but a buddy of mine burned me a copy of most of the  episodes, and "Confetti Check A-OK" is the next one on the disk for me to watch!  I look forward to seeing it even more now!

Dave Elyea said:

Lex "Junior" caught a clone disease that was going around (as those things do), and lost his hair as part of the overall wasting effect.  He blew up much of Metropolis as he was dying, but it was restored when Zatanna tapped Superman's knowledge of the city's structure (all those x-ray vision searches), and Perry White's knowledge of its "heart".  Lex didn't die, but made a deal with Neron and was restored to perfect, if still bald, health.  I'm pretty sure that he managed to avoid the blame for the bombing by claiming that an evil clone had taken his place & conveniently died.  However, I was never clear if the post-Neron Lex was supposed to be the "original" post-Crisis Lex (the one who grew up with Perry White), who's "death" in that plane crash had been exaggerated, or if he was still supposed to be Lex Jr., having somehow lost his hair when the clone "replaced" him.  To me, the post-Neron Lex seemed younger than the latter, but no longer had the Australian roots of the former.

Philip Portelli said:

RE: Bearded Luthor--IIRC (and with SPOLERS), Luthor was dying from Kryptonite poisoning, so he cloned a younger, hairier body and transplanted his brain into it. He then "died" and presented himself as Lex Luthor, Jr.

What I don't recall is how he became bald again and how the truth was revealed.

I think the post-Neron Lex was meant to be the "original" post-Crisis Lex (the one who grew up with Perry White), so "Lex Jr." could take the rap for blowing up most of Metropolis.

I say "I think" because it's been a long time since I read those stories, and the Baron is performing a great service in reading them so I don't have to.   photo bowdown-1.gif

I think  I may have to get ahold of the whole series and start a separate UFO thread at this rate!

 


Commander Benson said:

Ed Straker . . . when happiness was being simply an Air Force officer

 

 

As an explanation of this tangen, I had the show on in the background while I was reading last night's comic and it sort of bled over into my occasionally somewhat unfocused consciousness.

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