Monday, September 29, 2014

SUPERMAN #76 - February 1993

Metropolis Mailbag II
Credits:  Dan Jurgens (story and art), Brett Breeding (finishes), John Costanza (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)

Summary:  Mitch arrives in Metropolis to apologize to Superman’s “wife” for his role in Superman’s death.  Jimmy Olsen informs Mitch that the woman is a fraud, then takes him out to lunch with Bibbo.  Jimmy and Bibbo assuage Mitch’s guilt and take him to visit Superman’s memorial statue.  Meanwhile, the JLA gather to read the mail addressed to Superman.  They perform good deeds, including the rebuilding of Mitch’s home.  Wonder Woman visits Mitch’s father, which leads to him reconciling with Mitch’s mother.  At Clark’s apartment, Lois meets with Lana Lang and the Kents.  Later, Cadmus agents drill into Superman’s tomb.

Irrelevant Continuity:  
  • Superman has a Christmas Eve tradition of reading mail addressed to him and helping those in need.  According to the JLA, Superman was buried a week before Christmas Eve, even though none of these stories seemed to be taking place in late fall/early winter.
  • Mitch blames himself for calling Superman back to save his family, which allowed Doomsday to escape to Metropolis, where Superman had to face him without the JLA.  Mitch also feels guilty for “jinxing” Superman by mocking him earlier that day.

Mom, Apple Pie, etc…:  It’s an entire issue dedicated to performing good deeds and helping others.  Wonder Woman even acts as an Amazonian marriage counselor.

Total N00B:  Lana has blonde hair this issue.  I have no idea if this is a coloring mistake or not, but I’ve always known her as a redhead.

Review:  Another sentimental issue, and although Jurgens’ dialogue is painfully clunky on a few occasions, the story is a decent examination of how Superman’s death is affecting the people he knew as a civilian and a hero.  The best scenes in the issue involve Lois returning to Clark’s apartment to clean it out -- since Clark isn’t a confirmed casualty, she can’t cry in public without arousing suspicion that he’s Superman, which only makes her mourning even harder to endure.  She’s met there by Clark’s parents and Lana Lang, who all agree to keep Clark’s secret even if it’s inevitable that someone will eventually discover the truth while investigating Superman.  (Three Superman books have already been published since his death, they claim.)  I like the way Jurgens is incorporating a real-life media circus into the issue, one that may or may not have been inspired by the actual response to this storyline.  A fake “Mrs. Superman” calling her own press conference, and the local media actually attending, is the type of thing that’s not so hard to imagine now.

Mitch, the delightful teenage punk from issue #74, returns with a new attitude.  After his actions in his previous appearance, Mitch is now consumed with guilt over Superman’s death.  Mitch seemed like a two-dimensional throwaway character when he debuted, there to verbalize the perception that Superman’s a tired goody two-shoes that no self-respecting Gen Xer could ever idolize.  He’s fleshed out a bit here, although I find him much more entertaining as a relentless brat.  The idea that he’s magically seen the light and is now going to respect his mother, while the JLA simultaneously reunites his parents and rebuilds his house, is also spreading it on a bit thick.  It’s a Christmas issue, though, and a story about applying Superman’s ideals to the real world.  A little cheese is okay, I suppose.


Jacob said...

It's weird I had the Mitch revelation at about the same time as he did.

I loathed Superman as a young teenager 'He's too powerful! He's too much of a goody-goody'

But looking back now after my conversion go fandom there's something so beautiful about the character. A pair of Kryptonian parents try to convince the government of their world that it is doomed. Seen as kooks they take, the only action they can - shoot their infant child off intro space in the hope he lands on a world where he can survive and be raised right. Miraculously he arrives into the arms of the Kents.

It's so sad and perfect at the same time. Saccharin yet brilliant.

Matt said...

Interesting, I never had that phase. Both as a kid and an adult, I've always liked Superman just because he's such a good guy. He was raised right and fights evil because he knows it's the right thing to do, and that's pretty much the end of the story. That sort of cut-and-dried decency really appeals to me.

wwk5d said...

I was never Supes biggest fan. I like him fine enough in team books like the JLA, but on his own? He's the beigest shade of vanilla.

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