Who is the Hero True?
Credits: Roger Stern (writer), Jackson Guice & Denis Rodier (art), Bill Oakley (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)
Summary: Superboy and Supergirl unite to rescue the citizens on Hobsneck Bridge, but Lex is furious to discover that Superboy has signed a deal with Rex Leech. Meanwhile, in the Fortress of Solitude, Superman awakens from his regeneration matrix. After the Fortress’ robots show him news reports of the four new Supermen, he declares that he’s going to Metropolis as soon as possible. In Metropolis, Steel and Eradicator get into a brawl after Steel accuses Eradicator of manslaughter. Eradicator flies Steel into orbit, forcing him to leap off and rely on his boot-jets to reach Earth. Before he lands, Eradicator dive-bombs him. In deeper space, Mongul approaches Earth.
- The Kents are irritated by news coverage of the new Supermen, and for Supergirl for siding with Lex Luthor. According to the footnotes, they took in Supergirl in Superman #22, and she “ran off” in Action #644.
- When Superman emerges from his regeneration matrix, he does not have long hair.
Review: Wait a minute…this is how Superman returns? In a docile subplot scene tucked into the middle of a seemingly random issue? No giant splash page, no lengthy buildup, no breathless purple prose…he just wakes up inside his pod and decides it’s time to come back? That’s insane. I’m tempted to believe that there’s a chapter missing in the reprint collection, yet these Superman trades have been pretty good about reprinting almost all of the material, and it’s hard to imagine why a scene building up to this one would’ve been skipped. It’s amazing to think that the “Reign of Supermen” era was so short (it’s painfully obvious by now that none of these “heroes” is truly Superman); my memory as a kid was that the four Supermen gimmick lasted for several months. It’s a shock to realize that it barely lasted for two full months, and that the mystery was dismissed so casually.
Ignoring Superman’s totally blasé resurrection, what else is going on this issue? The cliffhanger from Adventures is resolved, a few subplots are touched upon, Eradicator and Steel get into a pointless fight, and there’s a cliffhanger set up for the next chapter in Man of Steel. In a way, it feels like a busy issue, even though most of these threads aren't particularly exciting. There’s a cute bit that has Eradicator and Steel getting served by a process server because Rex Leech has already copyrighted the Superman emblem, but the rest of the issue is fairly dull. The Return of Superman should’ve livened things up, but the bizarre execution of that scene is shocking in how utterly non-dramatic it is. It’s truly a strange issue; I wonder what was going on behind the scenes at this point.