Monday, August 4, 2014

SUPERMAN #74 - December 1992

Countdown to Doomsday!
Credits:  Dan Jurgens (story and art), Brett Breeding (finishes), John Costanza (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)

Summary:   Ice convinces Maxima to take Blue Beetle to the hospital instead of  chasing after Doomsday.  Superman and Booster Gold confront Doomsday  shortly after he enters the home of a single mother and her two  children.  The rest of the Justice League arrives to fight, but eventually only Superman remains standing.  He flies after the fleeing  Doomsday, as the family’s home erupts in fire.  He hears the oldest child Mitch’s cry for help, but continues in his pursuit of Doomsday.

Irrelevant Continuity:   Superman quotes Booster Gold and refers to Doomsday by name for the  first time this issue.  This is also the first time the readers are  given a glimpse of Doomsday’s face, as his jumpsuit begins to tear away.  

I Love the ‘90s:   Mitch sarcastically tells his mother it’s “Axl and the band” when she  asks who’s at the door when he returns home from school.  Booster Gold  also comments that without his suit’s power-supply, “I’m about as  powerful as Pee Wee Herman!”

Total N00B:   Maxima, a femme warrior that seems exaggerated even by Chris Claremont standards, is apparently from the planet (or dimension?) Almerac.

Review:   The true star of this issue is Mitch, the longhaired teenage brat  who’s introduced to the reader through a series of thought balloons detailing how much he hates his mother, whose greatest sins appear to be  asking Mitch how his day was and not making it to the store because she  was taking care of his sickly infant sister.  Do not stand in the way of Mitch and his Crystal Pepsi.  Kid gets mad.  After making his timid mother cry, when he reminds her that the divorce was her fault, Mitch is off to Aaron’s house, where they’re probably going to get high and watch Aaron’s VHS copy of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.   Mitch’s great plans are interrupted when Doomsday crashes into his front yard, and even when Superman soon shows up to fight the horrid  beast, Mitch can’t muster up too much enthusiasm.  He remains a  sarcastic jerk throughout the issue, until the final few pages when he realizes that his mother and sister are trapped inside a house fire and he can’t do anything to help.  Oh, now Mitch has feelings. 

The  cliffhanger ending, which has Superman reluctantly chasing after Doomsday instead of saving an innocent family, is one of the moments of  this storyline that stuck with me as a kid.  The angst isn’t really  developed until the next chapter, but this remains a strong way to close out the issue and create some drama for the next installment.  The rest of the issue, aside from introducing us to the majesty of Mitch, is  more of the predictably one-sided JLA vs. Doomsday fight.  The great plot advancement this issue is that the JLA’s attack has only served to  free Doomsday’s right arm from its manacles.  Nice going, guys.  I  suppose the joke that Doomsday’s doing all of this “with one arm behind his back” has run its course by now, anyway.  I wouldn’t say the  excessive fight scenes have gotten tedious at this point, but the  pattern this storyline is going to follow is already pretty obvious.


m!ke said...

the seven part fight scene does get tedious rather quickly. that was one of the things that roger stern greatly improved on when he wrote the death and life of superman.

Adam Farrar said...

I like Mitch. We'll see him again in Funeral For a Friend. I think he and his family work as a good representation everyone caught up in this and all preceding Superman stories.

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