Monday, December 22, 2014

SUPERMAN #77 - March 1993

The End
Credits:  Dan Jurgens (story and art), Brett Breeding (finishes), John Costanza (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)

Summary:  Lex Luthor spars with martial arts expert Sasha.  After she embarrasses him during a match, she later disappears.  Lois Lane informs Lex that Cadmus has stolen Superman’s corpse, information left out of her article.  Lex sends Supergirl with her to recover the body.  With the aid of the Outsiders, Lois and Supergirl invade Cadmus and retrieve Superman’s body.  Lex helps them return the body to its tomb, and when he’s alone, boasts to Superman's body that he killed Sasha.  Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen’s death of Superman photo is chosen for a magazine cover, as Jonathan Kent flat-lines in Smallville.

Irrelevant Continuity:  Lex figured out Cadmus had stolen Superman’s body back in Action Comics #686.  There’s no direct contradiction this issue, since Lex has no motivation to tell Lois he already knows, but it’s odd that he doesn’t hatch a plan until Lois brings it to his attention.

Review:  So, Lois makes her second trip to Cadmus in two issues and this time she succeeds in retrieving Superman’s body.  At first glance, the body-snatching arc might come across as rather pointless, but I believe the Superman DNA samples taken by Cadmus during these issues will later be used in the new Superboy’s origin, so there is a sense that the creators actually have a plan.  I much prefer the Cadmus action this issue to the previous chapter, if only because it’s handled by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding, artists who manage to make everything look clean and perfectly on-model.  Jurgens also dramatizes Jonathan Kent’s heart attack in a creative fashion, intercutting the medical procedures with memories of his past with Clark.  It’s touching without being hokey, and the choppy panel layouts are a nice contrast to the more straightforward action pages.  The only real disappointment this issue would be the Sasha subplot.  I get what Jurgens is going for, and that final moment when Lex boasts to Superman’s corpse that he’s killed someone and there’s nothing Superman can do about it now is a great scene, but Sasha’s death is a little too obvious.  (Aside from the fact that it's ridiculous that Lex can get away with murder after murder and not get caught.)  When she’s kidnapped by an off-panel hand midway through the issue, I just assumed that Lex Luthor was a red herring and that someone else would be revealed as the culprit.  Of course Lex wants to kill this woman for embarrassing him, but it’s such an obvious move it's hard to believe some kind of twist wasn't coming.

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