Adventures of Superman #516

September 1994

Cover art by: Barry Kitson, & Ray McCarthy

Story: The Hero of Metropolis

Writer: Karl Kesel

Pencils: Peter Krause

Inks: Jackson Guice

This is the Adventures of Superman series' Zero Hour crossover. It has the mulleted Superman and a pony-tailed Clark. Both are terrible looks for a comic book icon.

Well, Kal finds himself in an alternate timeline, but is relieved when he sees Metropolis is still around, and the Daily Planet as well. He quickly changes into his Clark outfit, and walks in on Lois Lane in the newsroom. He spins her around and plants a big old kiss on her. Now this is something that wouldn't have even registered with me a few years ago, but now. Well this is an alternate timeline if he even exists here (which he doesn't) there is no guarantee she knows who he is (she certainly doesn't). No matter what he thinks this is not “his” Lois, so it is really creepy that he would walk up to her and kiss her. She feels the same and slaps or pushes him away. Perry comes charging out of his office, and offers to call the cops on Clark. Mr. Kent sheepishly leaves the scene, as his superhearing has picked up a bank alarm.

Here he meets this time's hero of Metropolis, Alpha-Centurion. He is in hot pursuit of his old foe Bloody Mary. It is obvious they have a history together. Centurion recognizes Superman and appreciates his help in catching Mary and her minions. During the scuffle Mary greatly injures Centurion, and Superman is the one that captures her.

Centurion and Superman fly to the Centurion's base (Lex's tower in Kal's timeline), and Centurion jumps into his aquavitae pool to heal himself. Centurion then gives the Man of Steel his history. He was a native of Rome back around back 1 AD or so. Aliens had come to Earth to exchange ideas and representatives. A contest is held and Marcus Aelius (Marcus Aurelius??) wins the contest and is taken away and taught by the aliens. Which begs the question, what happened to the alien representative who was left behind? Anyway, when Marcus returns to Earth nearly 2000 years have passed, and he is distraught to see that Rome is no longer the global hot spot it once was. Metropolis is, and that is where he goes. He makes a save, and and the newspaper gives him his new name.

That reporter is Lois, of course, and they are now a couple. The Centurion deduces what is going on with Superman about Lois. Superman decides he has to leave to sort this whole time business out. Alpha-Centurion offers to help, even with the knowledge that in the end, he might cease to exist.

To be continued in Zero Hour #2! Even though Centurion mentions they saw each other, but never talked, and editors note tells us that was issue #2, so something is wrong there. Another thing that is wrong. How was Kal able to change into Clark at the Daily Planet if there was no him to leave clothes in the broom closet or wherever?

To be honest, not a terrible comic for this kind of filler of a big crossover. A few quibbles I mention above, but outside of that it is a decent read. I'm not real familiar with Peter Krause's work, but he and Butch Guice on art are a real terrific combo.

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Krause & Guice may have been a last minute fill-in.  On the cover it says Kitson and McCarthy.  

Karl Kesel is best known as an inker, I think, but I feel he's underrated as a writer.  He did good work on this title, as well as an FF annual from the late 90s that is one of my all time favorite FF stories.

I didn't think I had this comic, but about halfway thru your review, it started to sound familiar.  Not a great comic, true, but it's practically The Catcher in The Rye compared to the series in tied into, the infamous Zero Hour.

Agreed about Kesel's writing. He usually turns in pretty solid work. Heck he made a leather jacketed Superboy readable.

I miss leather-jacketed Superboy. He was fun to read. And he hasn't been nearly as much fun to read since.

Agreed. I think Geoff Johns's Teen Titans series really robbed its main characters -- particularly Superboy, Impulse, and Wonder Girl -- of what made them special. 

ClarkKent_DC said:

I miss leather-jacketed Superboy. He was fun to read. And he hasn't been nearly as much fun to read since.

As far as I'm concerned, the T-shirt & jeans Superboy was a completely different character than the leather jacket & tights one: different DNA, different powers, different body  type, different personality.  If not for the New 52, we might have seen someone find the real "Clone of Steel" stored in a tube somewhere by now.

Travis Herrick said:

How was Kal able to change into Clark at the Daily Planet if there was no him to leave clothes in the broom closet or wherever?

Maybe he found the clothes of a Planet employee in this timeline who was in the habit of removing his clothes when arriving at work? (Well, I tried)

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