Tuesday, August 5, 2014

THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #497 - December 1992

 

Under Fire
Credits:   Jerry Ordway (writer), Tom Grummett (penciler), Doug Hazelwood  (inker), Albert de Guzman (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)

Summary:   Superman plows Doomsday into the bottom of a lake, then returns and  rescues Mitch’s family, with the aid of Bloodwynd.  Doomsday leaps out  of the water and attacks a nearby helicopter.  Superman returns to fight  Doomsday and their battle takes them to rural Kirby County.  Maxima  arrives to help, but inadvertently causes an explosion when she pulls up  a light pole.  Superman regains consciousness as Guardian arrives on a  motorcycle.  Meanwhile, as Luthor and Supergirl watch the news coverage,  Jimmy Olsen is given orders to accompany Lois Lane on the Doomsday story.

Irrelevant Continuity:  Bloodwynd refuses to be treated by paramedics and instead teleports away, arousing Superman’s suspicions. 

Total N00B
  • There’s no explanation of who Guardian is, although in fairness, he only appears on the final page.
  • Jimmy Olsen is apparently working part-time as a kids’ TV character called Turtle Boy (an homage to an old Silver Age story).
  • Lex  Luthor is…a redheaded Australian?  And he’s dating Supergirl?  Luthor  warns her not to get involved like she did in “that Satanus business” (a  footnote points to Action Comics #680) and to stay in Metropolis with him.

Review:   Superman cursing himself for continuing the fight against Doomsday  while a family is trapped in a burning building is the greatest moment  of angst the story has seen so far…and then the rest of the issue  reverts back to mindless violence.  Superman also gets off easy, as he’s  able to bury Doomsday in the lake’s silt just long enough to go back  into the town and effortlessly save the family.  Actually letting the  young single mother and her baby die would’ve surely been too dark, but I  think more time could’ve been spent dealing with the repercussions of  Superman’s decision.  Every second Superman spends rescuing people left  in Doomsday’s wake is a second that isn’t spent actually stopping the  monster from hurting anyone else.  It’s like the flight attendant’s  instruction to secure your own oxygen mask before helping someone else.   It might seem cruel, but it’s for the best.  Yet, how could Superman  live with himself if he knowingly let someone die, regardless of the  reason? 

Ordway  rushes past the dilemma and gets back to the action as soon as  possible.  So, Superman and warrior-woman Maxima fight and fight and fight while some subplot pages touch base with the rest of cast, doing  very little to explain whatever the current status quo of the Superman  titles is supposed to be.  The saving grace for much of this issue is  Tom Grummett’s art, which is very loyal to the look established during  the John Byrne years while also managing to work in a Russ Heath  influence.  Grummett’s great with fight scenes, and he’s so skilled with  panel layouts that it’s almost impossible to notice that every page  this issue has four panels.  This begins the countdown to the final  installment, as each chapter has one fewer panel each page, culminating  in the all-splash page Superman  #75.  A remit of four panels per page could’ve easily produced a staid,  repetitive pace throughout the issue, but Grummett’s pages are  genuinely exciting from beginning to end.

2 comments:

m!ke said...

this was actually the chapter after superman #75 that i enjoyed the most. there isn't much storywise you can do with a seven part slugfest, but at least ordway and grummett attempted to put a little more into this issue.

David page said...

Ah the era where lex luthor cloned himself and pretended to be his own illegitimate son from austrailia....

good times