The Kryptonian Cybernet Issue 21 • Neperos (2024)

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The Kryptonian Cybernet Issue 21 • Neperos (1)

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Kryptonian Cybernet

·5 Jul 2024

_____________________________________________________________ 

T H E K R Y P T O N I A N C Y B E R N E T

Issue #21 -- January 1996

_____________________________________________________________

CONTENTS
--------
Section 1: Superscripts: Notes from the Editor
News and Notes
And Then There Was One
As promised, DC Vs Marvel leaves only one universe
standing -- but it's probably not who you think!
The Fleischer Cartoons
Neil Ottenstein wraps up this series with an
overview of the entire run.

Section 2: Just the FAQs
"Who is Supergirl?", Part 1: Kara Zor-El
by David T. Chappell
And Who Disguised As...
Of Mice and Supermen: What if Superman Were a Real Guy?
by J.D. Rummel
Contest!
How much do you know about Pre-Crisis Krypton?

Section 3: Reviews
The "Triangle" Titles
Action Comics #718, by William J. Nixon
Superman: The Man of Steel #53, by Arthur LaMarche
Superman #109, by Ken McKee
Adventures of Superman #532, by Anatole Wilson

Section 4: Reviews
Other Super-Titles
Superboy #24, by Victor Chan
Steel #24, by Dick Sidbury
Showcase '96 #2, by Rene' Gobeyn
The New Titans #130, by Rene' Gobeyn
Specials
Green Lantern/Silver Surfer: Unholy Alliances
by Rene' Gobeyn
DC Vs Marvel #1, by Rene' Gobeyn

Section 5: After-Byrne
Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite
Part 2a: Starman #28, and Part 3: Action Comics #659
by Mark Lamutt
Manuscripts of Steel
Superman: The Earth Stealers
by Denes House
The Phantom Zone
Super Friends
Batman and Lois Lane team up in BRAVE AND THE BOLD #175
by Joe Crowe

Section 6: TELEscopic VISION: Superman on the Small Screen
A Promise Made and a Promise Kept
by Zoomway
Episode Review
#3-11: "Home Is Where The Hurt Is", by Patrick Stout
The Mailbag

Section 7: Super Merchandise
Coming Attractions

EDITORIAL STAFF:
---------------
Jeffery D. Sykes, Editor-in-Chief
Arthur E. LaMarche, Executive Editor of Reviews

LEGAL DISCLAIMERS:
-----------------
Superman and all related characters, locations, and events are
copyright and trademark DC Comics. Use of the aforementioned is not
intended to challenge said ownership. We strongly suggest that each
reader look to the media sources mentioned within for further infor-
mation.
Opinions presented within this issue belong to the authors of
the articles which contain them. They should in no way be construed
as those of any other particular member of the editorial or contributing
staff, unless otherwise indicated.
This magazine should be distributed freely via e-mail. Should
you desire to share this publication with other on-line services, please
contact me at sykes@ms.uky.edu for permission. Feel free to advertise
subscription information on other on-line services which have internet
mail availability.
THE KRYPTONIAN CYBERNET is available by e-mail -- to subscribe, send
the commands

subscribe kc <address>
end

in the body of an e-mail message to "majordomo@novia.net" (without
the quotation marks). Replace the <address> field with your INTERNET
e-mail address. The program ignores the subject line of the message.
Back issues are available via ftp at acm-ftp.creighton.edu and at
ftp.hiof.no. Archives are also reachable via the Kryptonian Cybernet
Homepage (http://www.ms.uky.edu/~sykes/kc).

_____________________________________________________________

SUPERSCRIPTS: Notes from the Editor
------------------------------------

NEWS AND NOTES:

JANUARY: KRYPTONIAN CYBER-NOT

Been a while, no? There are times when I wonder if all of the
technological achievements we see in the computer world aren't happening
a bit too fast... Since the previous issue of KC, I've had to deal with
hardware and software difficulties on *every* link in the chain of
computers which are responsible for bringing out the Cybernet each month.
Since I get frustrated just thinking about it, we'll leave it at that.

Anyway, partially because of the above problems, and partially because
the response was greater than I had expected, I've not been able to
finish tallying the Kaycees voting. So I'm going to hold of on the
results. I'll try and finish them this weekend, and if I do, then I
will distribute them in a separate mailing. If not, then I'll just
wait and make them part of the February issue.

NOVIA!

The mailing list, and soon the archive site, has moved to a new server!
Bob Fulkerson, who initially set up our site at Creighton, graduated from
that school and moved on to a new job. Since we no longer had any direct
link to the site maintainers at Creighton, we'd been having problems
getting the same kind of attention -- for example, when the mailing list
and archives were moved from "phoenix" to "icarus", the site operators
never informed me!

Anyway, Bob is now an active partner in Novia, an internet service based
in Omaha, Nebraska. He has graciously helped us relocate our service to
Novia! This will result in a few changes in mailing addresses. First,
all commands to the mailing list (index, subscribe, unsubscribe, etc)
should now be sent to "majordomo@novia.net" (without the quotes). This
is the primary address you need to know. Submissions to the magazine may
be sent through the mailing list via "kc-submit@novia.net" at any time.
Any comments about specific issues or KC in general (such as reader mail)
may be sent to the mailing list via "kc-comments@novia.net". In addition,
the ftp archives will soon be located at Novia:

ftp://oasis.novia.net/pub/zines/kc

will take you to the proper directory (when the archive is ready,
that is).

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS!

It's actually the same news, but whether it's good or bad depends on your
(or my) point of view. My advisor and I have decided that even immersing
myself in my research alone will probably not be enough for me to be ready
to attempt my qualifier in mid-February. This is obviously not the best
news for me (since I *really* wanted to switch to residence credit...),
but it *is* good news for each of you. This means that I *will* be able
to work on the February issue, though probably still in a limited manner
for both February and March, and we will not be cancelling the issue.

ON A SAD NOTE

On Monday, January 29, Superman creator Jerry Siegel passed away.
Needless to say, his and Joe Shuster's introduction of the Man of Steel
brought about the dawn of the super-hero and set the standard against
which all heroes are judged. The heavens are one star brighter tonight.

SUPERMAN IN THE COMICS SCENE

The January issue of COMICS SCENE has several articles relating to the
Man of Steel. First, as indicated by the beautiful Teri Hatcher cover,
the magazine features an in-depth interview with TV's current Lois Lane.
CS also drops in to chat with Bruce Timm and Paul Dini in a revealing
peek at their forthcoming Superman animated series. As does almost every
other comic publication, CS has a brief spotlight on the DC/Marvel
crossover. And finally, there is a fascinating article about Mort
Weisinger, long-time editor of the Golden and Silver Age incarnations of
the Man of Steel. COMICS SCENE is published bi-monthly, so you should
probably still be able to find a copy!

SUDDENLY, SUPERGIRL!

George Perez indicated on CompuServe that he has recently finished inking
an eight-page backup story for this summer's SUPERGIRL ANNUAL. The backup
story is written by Karl and Barbara Kesel, with pencils by Dick Giordano.
I have no information on the main feature.

In addition, DC has announced an upcoming Supergirl *ongoing* series!
Fan favorite Peter David (HULK, AQUAMAN, SPIDER-MAN 2099) will be the
writer. More information as it becomes available.

IT'S IN THE CARDS

SkyBox has announced plans for two additional sets of Superman trading
cards to be released this year. The first is a Superman Ultra set. The
second set will be based on the forthcoming Superman animated series, and
will be released in conjunction with the fall premiere. Speaking of
which...

S:TAS PREMIERE

Warner Brothers has ordered 65 half-hour episodes, the first three of
which will be aired as a 90-minute prime time special. The show's initial
regular time slot will be on Saturday mornings, but it will probably move
to weekday afternoons in reruns.

Some casting is complete, as ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY is reporting that Tim
Daly (WINGS) will voice Clark Kent/Superman, and Dana Delany (CHINA
BEACH) will provide the voice of Lois Lane. No word yet on any of the
villains or supporting characters -- but with the B:TAS team on the job,
we can expect some great voice casting!

SUPERBOY'S LOSIN' EM

At the conclusion of the current six-part "Losin' It" story, the current
team of Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett, and Doug Hazlewood will be leaving
SUPERBOY. Taking over with issue #31 are Ron Marz, Paul Pelletier, and
Dan Davis (this team according to CSN). Marz is probably best known for
his work on the past twenty-something issues of GREEN LANTERN, while
Superman fans may remember Pelletier from his recent fill-in on SUPERMAN:
THE MAN OF STEEL #49 (the Skyhook story).

For those of you who find that ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN isn't enough of
a Kesel fix each month and fear losing his work on SUPERBOY, don't worry!
Kesel will be, with Steve Mattsson, co-writing a companion book, SUPERBOY
AND THE RAVERS, set to appear later this year! More information on that
title as it becomes available!

Try to stay warm this winter, and enjoy the new issue!

Jeff Sykes
Editor, The Kryptonian Cybernet

_____________________________________________________________

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
----------------------------

Culled from PREVIEWS and MARVEL VISION
Compiled by Jeff Sykes

What began as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream -- an all out, full-scale,
total blowout meeting of the DC and Marvel Universes -- becomes the catalyst
for the unprecedented, unbelievable *fusion* of the most popular and
best-selling comic book heroes in the world. Universes don't just collide in
DC VERSUS MARVEL/MARVEL VERSUS DC, *they combine*! As promised from the
beginning, only one reality survives the cataclysmic events of MARVEL VERSUS
DC #3:

THE AMALGAM UNIVERSE!!

For one week, beginning February 28, the Marvel and DC Universes -- and all
titles taking place therein -- *cease to exist*, replaced by the single fusion
label, AMALGAM COMICS! Some of the top talent in comics today has been
recruited to create the twelve history-making one-shots that embody the
essence of Amalgam; six published by DC, six published by Marvel, *all
carrying the same bold Amalgam Comics logo*!

Heroes and villains familiar yet startlingly different are the stars of the
Amalgam Universe. They carry names like Dark Claw, Spider-Boy, Catsai, Dr.
Doomsday, Speed Demon, Sinistron, Nightcreeper, and Doctor Strangefate.
Countless other beings of power populate this reborn reality... and one young
new hero, known only as Access, holds the key to what once was, what now is,
and what yet may be.

In addition to the twelve 32-page, Miraweb Format comics, each with a $1.95 US
cover price, Marvel offers an oversized retail poster of the Amalgam heroes,
set to ship with the books. Additionally, SkyBox/Fleer's previously announced
second DC Vs Marvel trading card set is, in actuality, an Amalgam trading card
set! See our Merchandise section for more information on these cards.

And the action doesn't end there, as one week later, everything comes to a
head in DC VERSUS MARVEL #4, as the world-warping conclusion of this ultimate
crossover story unfolds! And remember -- this final issue is purported to
have lasting effects on all universes involved!!!!!

Published by DC Comics:
----------------------
AMAZON #1
Written by John Byrne
Art and Cover by Byrne and Terry Austin
Reared on the hidden island of Themyscira, weather-wielding mutant Ororo
Monroe ascended to become warrior-champion of the Amazon civilization...
and one of the most powerful forces for good the Amalgam Universe has ever
known. Master of storms, clad in the emblems of the greatest of the
Amazons, Ororo battles the very gods of legend she has been taught to
worship.

ASSASSINS #1
Written by D.G. Chichester
Art and Cover by Scott McDaniel and Derek Fisher
Dare and Catsai -- fierce enemies and two of the deadliest *femmes
fatales* in the Amalgam Universe -- forge an uneasy alliance against an
elite gang of killers. Someone's hired all the assassins of the Amalgam
Universe to eliminate the mayor of New Gotham. But Hizzoner's mansion
is built on the remains of Arkham Tower, a place filled with one insane
deathtrap after another. Only by working together can Dare and Catsai
navigate the lethal hazards. But reaching their goal may cost this
deadly duo dearly...as one pays for success with her very life!

DOCTOR STRANGEFATE #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art and Cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan
The universe's Supreme Lord of Order, Dr. Strangefate, a mysterious
helmeted mage who may well be the most powerful being on Earth. He alone
knows that this universe is an amalgam of two separate and distinct
realities...and he wants to preserve this new continuum at any cost. He
also knows that one being could prove to be the key to unraveling the
Amalgam Universe -- the new hero known as Access -- and the only way to
save the universe is to *destroy* Access!

JLX #1
Written by Mark Waid and Gerard Jones
Art and Cover by Howard Porter and John Dell
Mr. X, Apollo, Firebird, Nightcreeper, Wraith, Runaway, Mercury, Mariner.
Together they're the JLX, outlaw metahuman heroes hated by the world
they've sworn to protect...and hounded by the avenging heroes of the JLA!
But even if they survive the awesome assault of Super-Soldier, Dark Claw,
Captain Marvel, Angelhawk and the others, the JLX must still face a
secret menace that wants to destroy it utterly...and overcome the
discovery that one member of the team is not at all who he appears to be.

LEGENDS OF THE DARK CLAW #1
Written by Larry Hama
Art and Cover by Jim Balent and Ray McCarthy
Adamantium claws, a ferocity driven by old wounds, and a dark batlike
countenance to make his enemies' blood run cold -- these are the elements
that make a man the Dark Claw, nocturnal protector of Gotham City.
Alongside his unwanted ally the Huntress, and his spunky young protege
Jubilee, Dark Claw wages an ongoing war against the feral, psychotic,
maniacal Hyena.

SUPER-SOLDIER #1
Written by Mark Waid
Art and Cover by Dave Gibbons
Transformed by an experimental infusion of alien DNA, ordinary human
Clark Kent became America's greatest super-powered hero of World War II.
Revived in modern times after a freak accident of suspended animation,
Super-Soldier battles the undying menaces of Ultra-Metallo, the Green
Skull, and the subversive terrorist organization Hydra. Faster than a
speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, this Sentinel of
Liberty fights a never-ending battle for the American way as the world's
greatest human fighting machine!

Published by Marvel Comics:
--------------------------
BULLETS AND BRACELETS #1
Written by John Ostrander
Art and Cover by Gary Frank and Cam Smith
Years ago, an unlikely romantic interlude between a master of mayhem
named Trevor Castle and a rogue princess named Diana of Themyscira
resulted in the birth of a child. Now this punishing man and this
wonderful woman must unite once more to face the menace of Monarch Jim
Rhodes and to rescue their kidnapped son from the star-smashing might
of Thanoseid!

BRUCE WAYNE: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art and Cover by Cary Nord
Driven by the murder of his parents, a grim multibillionaire uses his
wealth to build a political power base and take command of the Amalgam
Universe's premiere espionage force, launching first-strikes against
super-villains and terrorists across the globe! Now, when the Green
Skull reveals his terrorizing planetsmasher, the world's last hope is
Wayne and his agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

MAGNETO AND THE METAL MEN #1
Written by Mark Waid and Gerard Jones
Art and Cover by Jeff Matsuda and Art Thibert
Erik Magnus watched in horror as his comrades, The Brotherhood of Evil
Mutants, were slaughtered. Using the technology that his mutant-hating
brother, Will Magnus, used to create the Sentinels, Magneto constructs
five robots, each formed from a different metal, and instills them with
the essences of his murdered comrades. Now, Magneto and his Magnetic Men
meet their greatest challenge in battle against Will Magnus' ultimate
creation, Sinistron!

SPEED DEMON #1
Written by Howard Mackie and James Felder
Art and Cover by Salvador Larroca and Al Milgrom
When Blaze Allen chants "Gone, Gone, o form of man..." he transforms into
Etrigan, the leather-clad monster with a devil's flaming face. Now, with
his nephew Wally West, this Speed Demon must enter an infernal race
against time to snatch the soul of the Green Goblin. And if he fails,
the Night Spectre wins the keys to the Nether Realm!

SPIDER-BOY #1
Written by Karl Kesel
Art and Cover by Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel
He's cool. He's smooth. He plays by his own rules. And, he has a
*serious* attitude problem! He's everyone's favorite web-slinging
celebrity, he can stick to walls, and his crash pad is in the Baxter
Building -- not bad for a teenaged punk! But now a giant sized monkey
wrench is thrown in the mouthy maverick's path, as the amazing Arach-Kid
is caught between the rampage of Bizzarnage and the terror of the
gigantic King Lizard! Plus: appearances by the Challengers of the
Fantastic, the Guardian Angel, Insect Queen, and more!

X-PATROL #1
Written by Karl and Barbara Kesel
Art by Roger Cruz and Jon Holdredge
Cover by Roger Cruz and Terry Austin
The first adventure of Amalgam's most uncanny mutant team! Ferro-Man!
Elasti-Girl! Dial H.U.S.K.! Shatterfire! Beastling! Red-bearded
cyborg Niles Cable unites these strangers for the very first time as
they face the threat of Amalgam's most malevolent despot, the dreaded
Dr. Doomsday! Will they succeed, or will one of them pay the ultimate
price!?

_____________________________________________________________

THE FLEISCHER CARTOONS:
----------------------
by Neil A. Ottenstein <otten@gluon.umd.edu>

I have now written about all 17 of the Superman cartoon by Max and Dave
Fleischer. I also wrote about a few cartoons which parodied these cartoons or
just the character of Superman. Below is a list of the 17 cartoons. I also
have some final comments and observations about the series.

Episode Release Date Running Time (minutes)

1: "Superman (Pilot)" 9-26-41 10:22

2: "The Mechanical Monsters" 11-28-41 10:14

3: "Billion Dollar Limited" 1-9-42 8:35

4: "The Arctic Giant" 2-27-42 8:35

5: "The Bulleteers" 3-27-42 8:02

6: "The Magnetic Telescope" 4-24-42 7:38

7: "Electric Earthquake" 5-15-42 8:42

8: "Volcano" 7-10-42 7:56

9: "Terror on the Midway" 8-28-42 8:03

10: "Japoteurs" 9-18-42 9:05

11: "Showdown" 10-16-42 8:14

12: "Eleventh Hour" 11-20-42 7:58

13: "Destruction, Inc." 12-25-42 8:32

14: "The Mummy Strikes" 2-19-43 7:46

15: "Jungle Drums" 3-26-43 8:00

16: "The Underground World" 6-18-43 8:13

17: "Secret Agent" 7-30-43 7:39

The first seven episodes used the famous phrases that we have heard time
and again:

Faster than a speeding bullet
More powerful than a locomotive
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound

This was changed for episodes 8 through 10 for the following:

Faster than a speeding bullet
More powerful than a locomotive
Able to soar higher than any plane

For the final seven episodes eleven through seventeen it was changed a
final time to the following:

Faster than a streak of lightning
More powerful than the pounding surf
Mightier than a roaring hurricane

Lois Lane played a major part in all but the final episode. She was portrayed
as quite an investigative reporter, doing what she had to do to get the story.
She often went out of her way to get the scoop ahead of Clark. This placed
her in danger many times and Superman rescued her. She was quite daring and
competent in most cases. There was a female secret agent in the final episode
whom Superman saves. She also had a positive portrayal.

The animation overall in the series is quite stunning, and there are many
devices used to help the story. The Daily Planet headlines were used many
times to convey information, and a photo in the paper was often used to help
segue from a scene to another. The use of shadows is very impressive. The
transition from Clark Kent to Superman is most often seen in their shadows.
The title of the episode often had a little animation effect enhancing it.

These short cartoons contained quite a lot of story in them. A few of them
reflected the war time atmosphere. There is a lot of humor in the series,
especially in the banter between Lois and Clark at the beginning or end of an
episode. Overall, the stories were very strong and the animation beautiful.
You will do yourself a service in watching these cartoons.

The two Fleischer Superman cartoon volumes are available directly from Bosko
Video or from anyone who carries high quality animation.

A catalog is available from Bosko Video
3802 East Cudahy Ave.
Cudahy WI 53110-1234

_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 1

_____________________________________________________________

JUST THE FAQs
More Details about
Frequently-Asked Questions about the Man of Steel

by David T. Chappell

After several months of delays, I've finally found time to answer a question
I promised to tackle last year. Thus, I proudly present the first of a
three part-article,

"WHO IS SUPERGIRL?"
Part I: Kara Zor-El

INTRODUCTION

Although she has always taken a back seat to the Man of Steel, the Maid of
Might has been an important part of the Superman mythos for almost four
decades. Over the years, Supergirl has appeared in various incarnations,
and I am dividing this three-part series along logical lines. If you follow
along for the entire ride, you'll find that there have been no fewer than
EIGHT versions of the Girl of Steel in the comic books.

THE SUPERGIRL BEFORE THERE WAS SUPERGIRL

Based on the success of their Superman, DC trademarked the name "Supergirl"
back in 1944, but years passed before they ever developed a character to go
with the name. In 1949, SUPERBOY #4 featured a prototype super-heroine in
the story of "Superboy meets Supergirl." In SUPERMAN #123 (Aug 1958),
"Supergirl" was created by a magic spell, but this was not the same girl who
would be so popular later.

YOUNG KARA

After the success of the 1958 "trial" Supergirl story, a "real" Girl of
Steel finally made her debut in ACTION COMICS #252 (May 1959). In a story
written by Otto Binder and edited by Mort Weisinger, "The Supergirl from
Krypton" arrived on Earth. This first story provided Supergirl's origin
story--a story which has changed very little over the years. For a complete
summary of the issue, see Jenny Stosser's review in "The Phantom Zone"
column of THE KRYPTONIAN CYBERNET #20 (December 1995).

When Superman's home planet Krypton exploded, a large section of the surface
remained intact "by sheer luck." The citizens of Argo City had built a
large dome over their city before the explosion, and they thus survived.
Although the survivors had their own food supplies, the planet's nuclear
explosion turned their chunk of earth into deadly kryptonite. To block the
poisonous radiation of the anti-kryptonite, a scientist suggested covering
the ground with lead. This scientist was Zor-El, uncle of Kal-El, and he
eventually married and started a family on the floating island. His child,
Kara Zor-El, was born while Argo City was adrift in space. Though the
Kryptonians thought themselves safe, a meteor shower smashed their lead
shield and exposed the citizens to the fatal kryptonite. Before the end
came, however, Zor-El and his wife Alura In-Ze arranged to send their
teenaged daughter Kara off to safety. Their telescopes revealed Superman's
exploits on Earth, and they decided to send Kara to live with another
Kryptonian.

When Kara's rocket landed on Earth, Superman heard it and arrived in time to
find a super-powered girl wearing a costume similar to his. Superman helped
his cousin arrange for a secret identity: she wore a black wig to cover her
blonde hair and pretended to be an orphaned teenager. Kara chose the human
name of Linda Lee and thus continued the L.L. tradition in Superman comics.
Superman escorted Linda to Midvale Orphanage, where she lived during her
first years on Earth.

If elements of this origin story seem oddly familiar to some of today's
younger readers, it should. In Part III of this series I'll cover the post-
Crisis version of Kara.

THE GROWING YEARS

Supergirl immediately became quite popular among young readers, and she had
semi-regular stories in ACTION with occasional appearances in SUPERMAN as
well. Though intricately connected to Superman, the new Supergirl
definitely had an identity of her own. In these early stories, she was
clearly a teenager, though it was the super-heroine and not the secret
identity who dominated the action.

From the outset, Superman decided that Supergirl's existence should remain
secret while she was young. Thus, she never appeared in public and acted as
her cousin's "secret weapon" in several cases. During these early years,
Supergirl remained out of sight by being active at night and moving at
super-speed. She had secret-identity troubles similar to Superman's (but
without a pesky Lois Lane on her back), and she sometimes used robot doubles
to take her place as Linda while Supergirl was in action.

Over the years, Kara gained companions such as Streaky, the Super-Cat, and
Comet, the Super-Horse, though neither had its super-origins from Krypton.
She fought Superman's arch-foes as well as her own, and she often simply
needed to use her powers to fight off more mundane disasters such as we'd
see in the real world.

Kara was eventually visited by teenaged super-heroes from the future--the
same heroes who had visited her super cousin when he was a teenager.
Supergirl joined and later visited the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th
century.

Even in her secret identity, Supergirl underwent changes. She slowly grew
older and wiser. Eventually, Fred and Edna Danvers adopted our heroine, and
she became Linda Lee Danvers. Although the novelty of the Supergirl had
worn off, her stories continued to be more than mere adaptations of Superman's
adventures.

INTRODUCING . . . SUPERGIRL

After years of acting in secret, Superman finally introduced Supergirl to
the world in 1962. ACTION COMICS #285 was the landmark issue when Kara
began her public career. She could then stop hiding her existence, but that
only removed half of her secret since she still tried to maintain her
identity as a normal teenager.

As the years passed, Linda eventually graduated from Midvale High. She then
moved on to Stanhope University, where she had appropriately-staged college
adventures. Linda held several jobs after graduation from Stanhope, and she
eventually returned to Lakeshore University in Chicago. Finally, Kara
settled in Chicago as her adopted home.

As Kara grew older and graduated from school, her stories lost the flair of
having a teenaged star, and they became stories about an adult super-
heroine. At times, she seemed to struggle to maintain her own unique
identity, but her background was rich enough that she was always a character
all her own. Supergirl occasionally fought "generic" villains as well as
foes of Superman, but she also got her own super-nemeses. Kara changed
costumes several times over the years, slowly growing further away from
Superman's outfit. The only elements of her costume that remained constant
were the presence of a cape, skirt, and the "S" emblem.

Eventually, Kara learned that her biological parents actually survived the
disaster at Argo City by placing themselves in the "Survival Zone," which
was an alternate dimension essentially identical to the pre-Crisis
Kryptonian Phantom Zone. After they were rescued, Zor-El and Alura moved in
with the other Kryptonians who inhabited the bottled city of Kandor. When
Kandor was restored on a dimension-shifting planet, Kara's parents went with
them, and Supergirl thus remained able to occasionally visit her family on
New Krypton.

Meanwhile, Supergirl continued to travel to the 30th century as Superboy did
before her. Through occasional visits and semi-regular appearances, she
left her mark on the Legion. Eventually, the logical and otherwise-
emotionless Brainiac 5 fell in love with the Kryptonian maid, but no real
romance ever developed between the two.

In addition to guest-starring in some of her super-cousin's stories,
Supergirl had her own adventures published in ACTION COMICS and ADVENTURES
COMICS. Kara also made various appearances with the Justice League of
America and the Legion of Super-Heroes in their titles. Eventually, though,
she earned her own series. Starting in November 1972, SUPERGIRL appeared.
A decade later, THE DARING ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL appeared cover-dated
November 1982. Both series lasted less than two years, however.

THE DEATH OF SUPERGIRL: "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN"

After her many years of fighting crime and saving the universe, the most
memorable of all of Kara's adventures is probably her death. In 1985, DC
Comics celebrated their 50th anniversary with the 12-part CRISIS ON INFINITE
EARTHS limited series. Besides remaking the DC Universe into a single
Earth, the series impacted comics in many other ways. The series was
planned to include a number of shocking major events, including the deaths
of Barry Allen (the Flash) and many lesser characters. Plans for the post-
Crisis revamp of Superman included removing extra characters to leave Kal-El
once again as the sole survivor of Krypton. The net result of these plans
was the noble sacrifice of Kara Zor-El.

Supergirl had played an ongoing role in the fight against the Anti-Monitor
and his evil forces in the CRISIS, but her impact on the epic story
culminated in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #7 (Oct 1985), which bears perhaps
the most-imitated comic cover in history. Even before opening the pages of
the double-length comic, fans could look at the cover to sense the sorrow of
the Superman who stood crying with his cousin's body in his arms, and the
reader could see the mourning of the hundreds of heroes standing in the
distance behind them.

The story within CRISIS #7 reached its climax when a group of super-heroes
assaulted the great fortress of the Anti-Monitor within the anti-matter
universe. The stonework of his evil citadel came to life and proved a
challenge for most of the heroes, but Superman eventually located the enemy
and his machine of destruction. When the Anti-Monitor began bashing the Man
of Steel, Kara heard his screams of agony and rushed to aid her cousin.
Fighting to stop the murderer, battling to save Kal-El, and struggling to
save humanity, Supergirl destroyed the Anti-Monitor's body with little
regard to her own safety. While the other heroes escaped, Kara stopped the
Anti-Monitor and his destructive machines but at the noble sacrifice of her
own life. When the heroes returned to Earth, the world mourned the loss of
the great hero. In her eulogy, Batgirl spoke appropriately though
ironically: "Kara is a hero. She will not be forgotten."

AFTERMATH AND FINALITY

Even after her death, however, the story of Supergirl was not over. In
SUPERMAN #414 (Dec 1985), Superman delivered Kara's body to New Krypton
where he shared the grief with her parents. A month later, SUPERMAN #415
revealed that Kara had once developed kryptonite-induced amnesia and married
an alien on the planet Makkor. When Kara's memories had returned, she
returned to Earth, but her husband found Superman in time to jointly watch a
holo-vid that Supergirl had recorded for viewing upon her eventual death.

NONEXISTENCE & TRIBUTES

Then the red skies came, and everything changed . . .

In the post-Crisis world, Kara Zor-El does not exist. Through the biggest
retcon of them all, Supergirl did not die in the Crisis, but instead she
never existed. Although no one in the DC Universe knew of her, the real-
world readers and writers of comic books still remember her, and homages
have since appeared.

The most famous tribute to Supergirl and her only arguable post-Crisis
appearance in the remade universe was a strange blonde ghost in CHRISTMAS
WITH THE SUPER-HEROES #2 (1989). Therein, Deadman met a friendly woman
named Kara who admitted to a distaste for magic. While Deadman bemoaned his
state of death and lack of recognition for his good deeds, Kara insisted
that heroes do good deeds because they need to be done: "we do it even if
no one knows what we've done. Even if no one knows we exist. Even if no
one remembers we ever existed."

More recently, memories of Kara nearly surfaced in the events leading up to
1994's ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME. While "End of an Era" did not show
Supergirl, a few subtle allusions to the Maid of Might appeared within the
final story of the Legion of Super-Heroes before the Chronal Crisis reworked
their continuity.

While Kara Zor-El no longer exists in the DC Universe, to many fans she is
the only real Supergirl. The characters who were once her friends and
confidants can not even mourn her death, but those of us in the real world
still remember.

_____________________________________________________________

AND WHO DISGUISED AS...
----------------------------------
A Column of Opinion by J.D. Rummel (jrummel@vulture.creighton.edu)

Of Mice and Supermen: What if Superman Were a Real Guy?

There is an amusing moment in the movie, _Stand by Me_ where two of the
principals have the following exchange (paraphrased):

Kid 1: Who would win if Superman fought Mighty Mouse?
Kid 2: That's stupid!
Kid 1: Why?
Kid 2: 'Cause Mighty Mouse is just a cartoon, Superman's like a
real guy.

The point is amusing to most folks, because obviously, both characters are
fictional, but one is much more so. I mean, a flying, bulletproof man, sure,
but a flying, bulletproof, operatic mouse? Ya gotta draw a line. While to
many it probably echoes conversations from youth, to comics folks young and
old alike, it might echo a conversation from last Tuesday. Not that long ago
I worked at a comic book shop where I had lots of discussions with folks. In
one, the young man I was speaking with was expounding quite proudly on a
character he had created that was "ten thousand times stronger than the Hulk."
The silliness of the whole concept was not lost on me. It was like a child
saying he has eleventy million dollars. There is no ceiling, no point of
reference. But, I digress.

When I was a kid, I prayed a lot. In one prayer I suggested to God that he
needed a Super-being down here. Not coincidently I volunteered for the part.
I thought I was the best young man for the job (in case you are wondering, God
did not hire me, and when I read the paper, I can see he didn't hire anyone
else, either). Anyway, back then, I would make up stories using established
characters and making up my own. I enjoyed thinking of new powers for the new
ones. I thought of some good ones, some that have since made it to the pages
of comics (not because of me, others just thought along the same lines), but
one day it hit me that a lot of powers were pretty silly if you take them
outside of a comic book reality: Cyclops' force beam vision is utterly
impractical unless there are evil mutants to blast, and being able to cling to
walls isn't much more than a neat party trick, really. If you flashed forward
to the Legion of Super Heroes, you got some really pointless abilities:
Matter-Eater Lad, Bouncing Boy, remember them? The first could eat anything,
the second could inflate and...bounce. Most super powers are not that
applicable to solving problems in the world in which we live. Hmmm, I'm not
on the point yet, am I?

The point is, Superman would be a great figure to actually exist as a hero. If
God chose to make me a superhero long ago, wouldn't he have just made me
Superman?

What if Superman _were_ a real guy? Physics, and woman of Kleenex science
aside, if the Superman legend suddenly happened, what might be the result?

1. He might not have a secret identity. Originally I thought: _what's the
point? Why pretend to be something you are not? Would Einstein pretend to be
a janitor at a University in order to be close to academics? No. Clark Kent
would be his name, but not a place to be normal. He isn't normal. He is like
no one else on Earth, and that would take a toll on him. Which led me to
believe he might need a place to hide. But he would pick a better disguise
than glasses.

2. He'd spend a lot of time in court. The government would want him to come
clean on who he is. He would be sued. If not for "malpractice," by insurance
companies (failure to rescue the children _and_ the burning house) then by
lots of opportunists looking to make a buck with any frivolous suit that came
to mind.

3. He might well charge for his services. At the least he would probably
accept rewards. There is no money in being a hero. Cops get paid. Firemen
get paid. He might even incorporate, or agree to work for the highest bidder.
Some government or mega-corp would love to have him on the payroll. The
merchandising potential would be staggering.

4. There would be bidding wars for him. Just as there is competition for
industries to locate in certain cities, whoever had Superman would be much
better off than cities that didn't.

5. Corporations would rush to "duplicate" him. There would be huge profit in
creating one's own Superman. He might start a trend.

6. If he revealed he were an alien, he would cause widespread panic, of the
"we are not alone" variety. At the very least, Anti-Superman skinhead groups
would arise.

7. He would be worshipped. Anyone who could do the things he can do would
have more than fans, he'd have folks who devoted their lives to his every
action.

8. We'd better hope that rocket crashes in Kansas and gets found by the Kents.
If a less healthy couple finds him, the world is in for a lot of grief. If
you consider that bad parents can raise a twisty like Michael Jackson, then
watch out when Clark Kent gets dangerous.

9. He probably wouldn't wear a costume. At least not the same one all the
time.

10. He might have a great demoralizing effect on gifted humans. The late Jack
Kirby once had a character rage about living in a world with Superman. He
sets a standard that no one else could hope to achieve.

11. He might "spoil" us. Denny O'Neil and others have written stories about
the world depending too much on Superman.

So if any of you were wondering why God didn't make Superman real...

By the way, folks, I will be running your ideas for the Superman movie in an
upcoming column, but there's still time to mail em to me. Again, I won't make
fun, or not give credit to you. I just want to see what you're thinking out
there. Send your thoughts to: jrummel@vulture.creighton.edu

Away.

_____________________________________________________________

CONTEST!
--------

Okay readers, dust off your pre-Crisis thinking caps!
Jeff Epstein has provided us with a list of trivia questions pertaining
to pre-Crisis Krypton. See what you can handle!

Send your answers to KCContest@aol.com, and be certain to include your name
and e-mail address in your entry. Why? Because it's prize time again! The
person answering the most questions correctly will win a complete set of
DC VS MARVEL trading cards, plus a 5"x7" oversized card of Superman vs The
Hulk, painted by Glen Orbik! These cards were only available to those who
purchased a complete box of the cards. In the case of a tie, the winner will
be selected at random from all of those involved in the tie.

As with the Kaycees, I will also set up a form on the KC Homepage, so that you
may send in your entries from there.

I will reprint this quiz in February's issue, as well, and the entry mailbox
will remain open until March 1. However, you needn't wait until you've found
all of the answers. I will (in a way) accept multiple entries. If you submit
your entry and later discover another answer, you may resubmit -- at the expense
of your previous submission! I will not provide you with access to your prior
answers, so if you plan to follow-up, make certain you keep your current answers
handy!

Well, then, what are you waiting for? Dig out your collections and get to work!

1. What was the oldest city on Krypton ?
2. What was the highest peak on Krypton ?
3. What was the most precious metal on Krypton ?
4. What was the strongest metal on Krypton ?
5. What was the most commonly spoken language on Krypton ?
6. What metal, common on Krypton, was erupted by a volcano of the same name ?
7. What Kryptonian jungle's name had a hue to it ?
8. How many moons did Krypton originally have ?
9. What was the capital city of Krypton before Kryptonopolis ?
10. What was the independent island of thieves on Krypton ?
11. What was the main defense center on Krypton ?
12. What was the "ghost city" of Krypton ?
13. What city was Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) born in ?
14. Name two Kryptonian oceans.
15. Name two seas on Krypton.

_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 2

_____________________________________________________________

REVIEWS
-------

Ratings Panelists:

AL: Arthur LaMarche JS: Jeff Sykes RG: Rene' Gobeyn
AW: Anatole Wilson KM: Ken McKee VC: Victor Chan
DS: Dick Sidbury MC: Matt Combes WN: William J Nixon

As always, the first rating given after the average is that of the reviewer.

The average rating given for each book may correspond to a larger sample
of ratings than what is printed following the average.

THE "TRIANGLE" TITLES:
---------------------
Uniform Credits:
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Separator: Digital Chameleon
Assistant Editors: Mike McAvennie
Editors: KC Carlson

5. ACTION COMICS #718, "By Darker Reason"
Writer: David Michelinie
Artists: Kieron Dwyer & Denis Rodier
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Cover: Dwyer, Rodier, Suzanne Bourdages, & Android Images
$1.95/$2.75

RATINGS:

Average: 2.7/5.0 Shields

WN: 2.5 Shields - Vigilante yarn with a focus on victims
MC: 2.9 Shields - I saw no point in Demolitia. She's there, she kills, she's
gone.... whoopee.
AL: 3.0 Shields - I am glad to see the reference to the "victims." I think
the world of the super-powered would be very interesting as
seen through the eyes of the common folk -- like Joe's
insurance does not cover the damage to his car after a
villain threw it at Superman.
DS: 3.0 Shields - Nice Lois and Clark interaction. Let's hope Demolitia
never shows up again. Here is a hero(?) who's time should
never come.
JS: 2.0 Shields - The idea behind this character and the idea behind the
story were good -- I just don't think it was pulled off.

Post-Trial and a return to a single issue tale. This one is about a female
vigilante, arms dealings, and victims. Demolitia is a new (trademarked)
vigilante in town. In the opening scenes, she takes out three would-be
rapists with necessary force and Bloodsport-like technology.

Clark is back at the Planet, and Lois bemoans the injustice of an arms dealer,
Richie Corday, getting off on a technicality in export laws. Corday supplied
arms to both sides in a European conflict.

Demolitia has Corday in her sights and goes to his office to bring him down.
He has hired some ex-Team Luthor muscle to protect him and they move in on
her. Topically quoting Lennon, she pulls a gun and blasts one of the guards
out of the building. Supes joins the fray and talks to her about how
vigilantism isn't the answer (while learning about her origin). Unfortunately,
he also serves as a new target for the ex-Luthor goons and the fighting
resumes. Demolitia is true to her name until she comes face to face with a
workman armed only with a wrench and years of toil and responsibilities. She
recognizes them as victims and acknowledges that there must be a better way.
She teleports herself away to fight another time. The damage is done, though,
as Corday decides to shut the plant down. Clark watches the despondent and
now unemployed workers shuffle away. When asked what's on his mind he can
only say "Victims".

I don't know about being intimidated by a woman with muscles, but Dwyer and
Rodier's art made Demolitia a striking and powerful figure. Her background
and how 'certain alliances' came to be made will, I'm sure, feature later this
year. For now she's a name.

While there was a lot of fighting going on this issue, there was also some
time for relationships. Clark reaffirmed his feelings for Lois, telling her
that her being there "makes it a world I want to come home to." Ron gets some
scenes too, showing his ethical fiber and having coffee with Lucy. I wouldn't
like him to come between her and Jimmy, but maybe 1996 will be his year?

As usual, there is a lot going on in this single-issue story and it all pulls
itself together and pushes the Superman Mythos along. Re-reading them for
these reviews has really made me appreciate these books so much more (and the
teams who put them all together).

Happy new year.

William J Nixon (W.J.Nixon@lib.gla.ac.uk)

=========================================================

6. SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #53, "The Game"
Story: Louise Simonson
Penciller: Jon Bogdanove
Inkers: Denis Rodier & Dick Giordano
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Cover: Bogdanove, Rodier, & Color Works
$1.95 US/$2.75 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 4.1/5.0 Shields

AL: 5.0 Shields
MC: 3.5 Shields
WN: 4.75 Shields - Wonderful cartoony art in an excellent multi-layered
storyline. Lots of great dialogue and fantastic layouts,
loved the father and daughter in Bibbo's, and Elvis!?
DS: 3.0 Shields - Brawl is another lame, mindless villain stuck in a book
to drag out the story to a full 22 pages. The Contessa vs.
Lex and Bibbo, on the other hand, are well worth the
space they take.
JS: 4.0 Shields - While the Superman fight was boring, the interplay between
Lex and the Contessa was excellent, and I love that
Bibbo's getting a bit of a storyline.

This issue opens with the meeting of old friends. In Monte Carlo, Lex meets
the Contessa, who was engaged in a game of baccarat. In Metropolis, Lois and
Clark meet Annie, who is recently engaged. Clark hears some cries for help,
excuses himself, and changes into SUPERMAN!, where he confronts a creature
reminiscent of Doomsday. The two go toe to toe and Superman does his best to
subdue the creature while maintaining the integrity of the neighborhood.
Brawl, as the creature becomes known, provides only one surprise. He is a
robot created by Lex Luthor, who watches the fight as it is projected upon the
lens of his sunglasses, and as he flirts with the Contessa, *and* as he cheats
at roulette. Superman takes Brawl down just as the SCU and a camera-toting
Lois arrive on the scene. The creature is brought to STAR labs as Lex
remembers that Doomsday was not built in a day.

In addition to the Brawl with Brawl, there is another brawl in the Ace of
Clubs. It is started when some of the lowlifes present in the bar start to
cheer for Brawl instead of Superman during Jimmy Olsen's live news coverage.
The brawl quickly envelops almost everyone in the bar. Bibbo bounces them all
out as Bibbo's ex-boxing manager and his daughter look on. Superman's
super-hearing picks up the brawl and he rushes to the Ace of Clubs just in
time to have Bibbo take a poke at him. Superman uses his super-speed to avoid
the blow and some acting to fly into the wall rubbing his chin. Bibbo is
shocked and tells everyone in the bar that Superman took a dive, but Superman
hams it up. Impressed, the promoter gives Bibbo a shot at the boxing title.

Also that night, Centurion does some good for the city and makes up his mind
to stay in the area because he feels that Metropolis is too big for just one
hero. But a homeless man ruins his evening by starting a fire on the Pax
Romana. The heartless Centurion gives the man a shock of electricity and then
parks his craft above the Daily Planet building.

The next day, we find that Lois is late for work and sounded very grouchy when
calling in. Perry reads her copy and proclaims "great shades of Elvis." As he
does this, Elvis strolls through the room unseen by Perry.

We have a one shot that does what the Superteams do better than most. We have
a story that to some is just a fight with a new lack luster villain. But it
is so much more. We have Lex Luthor and his flirtatious interaction with the
Contessa. He cheats. He watches the battle unfold. Good stuff. I am glad
to see the "powering up" of Lex. I want him back as a threat. At the Ace of
Clubs, we get to see how Bibbo is doing. It is also hinted that we will see
more of him in the future. I like Bibbo a lot. Here was a guy with no
superpowers who put himself at great risk trying to resuscitate Superman in
the opening of "Funeral for a Friend". What a guy! I just hope he has not
bitten off more than he can chew if he returns to the ring. We are also
"treated" to the beginning of the friction between Lois and Clark. I am not
excited about this. I would prefer that it never happened, but I am sure the
Superteam will handle something this important very well and it should prove
interesting. Just like an onion, this story has many layers and they all
work.

The art of the issue is very nice as always. The dynamic action poses jump
right off the page. I also enjoyed Bog's slight exaggeration of faces to draw
(pun intended) out just that extra bit of emotion. For a combination of the
two on one page, check out page 19. The images and action extend beyond the
panel borders and overlap other panels or the edge of the page. Bog Knows
Layouts! Then, we have the shock of Bibbo when he realizes what he has done.
The sudden glee of Niki, and the contemplation of Mick Cardoni. Even when
action is not the emphasis, things look great. Lex is looking debonair in his
tux and shades. What a lady killer. And the Superman of the splash page is
beautiful. I always love the detail in the hands. We are also treated to
many tributes throughout the book. I will mention just one. It is one I am
very proud of. Check out page six and the ad for KC Malt Liquor in the window
of the Ace of Clubs. Hey, is malt a play on arT LAMarche? THANKS GUYS!

Arthur LaMarche (DrArt95@aol.com)

=========================================================

7. SUPERMAN #109, "The Kill Fee!"
Story: Dan Jurgens
Art: Ron Frenz & Joe Rubinstein
Letters: John Costanza
Cover: Frenz, Rubinstein, Whitmore, & Android Images
$1.95 US/$2.75 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 3.4/5.0 Shields
KM: 4.0 Shields
MC: 4.0 Shields - A semi-touching story. But c'mon, give me a break with
the "I just happened to work in a place with extra
Kryptonite!" stuff.......
WN: 3.5 Shields - It wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to the Post Office.
Great art in a strong human story with a stunning parting
shot of Lori Lemaris.
DS: 2.5 Shields - All of the rating is for the magnificent cover! The
traditional Metropolis Mailbag Christmas issue is too much
fighting and not enough sentimentality to suit me.
JS: 3.0 Shields - Nice artwork, and a gorgeous cover by Frenz and company.
The story wasn't bad, but the Super-team has already done
it much better.

A lone figure, encased in glimmering armor, stands atop a roof overlooking the
Metropolis Post Office. He is waiting...patiently. He knows that every
Christmas, Superman performs his yearly ritual of reading the thousands of
letters from desperate people asking, pleading, for his help. The blizzard
does not deter the disgruntled former employee of Lexcorp from his
mission...to kill Superman!

Right on schedule, Superman and Lois swoop down and begin opening the
envelopes. Some requests are frivolous and even insulting; others are sincere
and heartbreaking. He can't answer them all. He learned years ago that it is
impossible to help all who are in need. With Lois' help he chooses one. It
comes from an abused wife begging Superman to find her husband before he
endangers his life. Without hesitation he accepts the assignment.

Through the marvel of flashback technology, we learn something about LexCorp's
Security Chief, Chuck Graham. To make a long story short, Graham has been out
of a job since the disappearance of Luthor. And because of his reputation as
a hired killer and mercenary, no one wants to hire him. Not even the new head
of Lexcorp, the Contessa Del Portenza. His frustration and anger eventually
get the best of him and he strikes out at his wife.

He tries to write a book about his experiences with Lexcorp, but the
manuscript is turned down for being too tame. As a last resort, he decides to
end it with one final chapter. He manages to obtain a sample of Kryptonite
which has been locked away in a radioactive vault. He knows what he must do,
and nothing will stop him.

Back to the present. After eavesdropping on the conversation between Superman
and Lois, Chuck knows that the Man of Steel is on his way to help his battered
wife. He follows Superman to the women's shelter where his wife is staying.
The confrontation begins.

Without warning, Graham opens the canister on his chest and aims the deadly
Kryptonite directly at Superman, who cringes in pain in the eerie green glow.
Graham explains that he will earn millions in royalties as the man who killed
Superman.

At the last possible moment, Graham's wife rushes out of the door of the
shelter and talks her husband into stopping the dastardly deed. Graham
realizes what a big mistake he is making and cries out to Suzanne for help.
After containing the poisonous mineral, Superman also offers to help, rather
than locking him up, realizing that Lex is mostly to blame for Graham's
condition. He flies off and everybody lives happily ever after... almost.

The last page shows a knockout babe crawling out of the frozen water onto a
dock, covered only by her long brunette hair. Next issue...the return of Lori
Lemaris.

Okay, so this issue was a little hokey. But, after all, it is Christmas and a
time for miracles. Yes, it was a little too coincidental that Superman just
HAPPENED to pick the letter from Graham's wife. And Suzanne just HAPPENED to
be the one who stopped her husband from killing Superman. But, after the long
and tediously drawn out "Trial of Superman", I was ready for something simple.
Besides, I can hear Superman whispering under his breath, "All in a day's
work."

Ken McKee (stdkrm01@shsu.edu)

=========================================================

8. ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #532, "Troubled Waters"
Writer: Karl Kesel
Penciller: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Jose Marzan Jr
Letterer: Albert De Guzman
Cover: Immonen, Marzan Jr, & Color Works
$1.95 US/$2.75 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 3.4/5.0 Shields

AW: 3.5 Shields - Not sure Lois' jealousy rings true, but the impending
breakup isn't being handled carelessly, and Immonen's
art continues to shine.
MC: 4.6 Shields - This is one of the *best* Superman comics I have seen in
a long time. I don't like the fact that Lori is
interfering with Lois and Clark's relationship, but I do
think this will be a very good story line.
AL: 3.0 Shields - Beautiful, but I find some of the characterizations
perplexing.
DS: 3.0 Shields - Actually better than I had hoped. But I've been preparing
for a really bad story line.
JS: 3.0 Shields - More nice artwork, but there's a lot of out-of-character
behavior going on here. I'm dreading the next few months'
story.

The rumors say that Lois and Clark may soon split up, leaving Clark to take
solace in that old cliche, "there's plenty more fish in the sea." Or, with
the return of Lori Lemaris, at least there's plenty of mermaids.

For the uninitiated, Lori made her first Byrne-era appearance in SUPERMAN #12
(her very first appearance was actually back in SUPERMAN #129, May 1959). One
of Superman's first loves. They were separated when Lori was severely
injured, and only a physician from Tritonis (sister city to Atlantis) could
save her. Lori and the physician, Ronal, fell in love and were married (as
we're

told this issue). 

However, Ronal owed much of his healing ability to the magics of a mysterious
black staff that slowly corrupted his mind. He used his staff to genetically
mutate sea creatures and, in a fit of rage, Lori, who now occasionally has
legs. Though Ronal was subdued, the staff disappeared and Lori has come back
to Metropolis to ask Superman to help her find it.

A newspaper headline leads them right to an aquatic museum where they confront
Ronal, and Superman uses the diamond in Lois' engagement ring to shatter the
gemstone within the staff, which turns Ronal to stone. [I hope this is
foreshadowing by Kesel. The diamond is thrown, but quickly found and returned
-- Art.]

The issue ends as we see romantic twists and turns for several members of the
Superman cast. Clark has hardly been able to take his eyes off Lori. Lois,
who has been uncharacteristically jealous since Lori's return, finally agrees
to an interview-date with Alpha Centurion. Jimmy Olsen, whose girlfriend Lucy
is out with somebody else, takes up with his makeup person, a knockout named
Dana. And when Cat chides Jimmy with "sometimes a friend is just a friend,"
Clark mysteriously replies "um, well..."

So, what are we to make of all this romantic turnabout? I'm not sure yet. I
don't have a problem with Clark having some old feelings revived when he sees
Lori again. Their former relationship ended abruptly, and it's natural for
him to have some unresolved feelings about her. (And I should add, I've never
seen her rendered as beautifully as Immonen has drawn her.) I would think,
though, that the propriety of being engaged (as well as his powerful love for
Lois) would make him think twice about doting over her unabashedly, as he
seems to be doing.

But Lois' jealousy seems completely out of character. She and Clark have
always had a solid relationship built on mutual trust and made stronger by the
many adversities they've faced. Yet Lori is on the scene for less than five
minutes and Lois is immediately threatened. I could see that, in many
relationships, the introduction of an old flame, who knows many of the secrets
it took Lois years to learn, would be a threat, and jealousy would be a
natural reaction. But Lois has always been a strong, self-confident woman;
her immediate insecurity just doesn't feel right.

I'm going to try to withhold my own judgment on this, however, until the
creative teams have a chance to develop it further.

One judgment I can't hold back on, though, is some slightly sloppy character
development of Lori. She lived on land for a while before she returned to
Tritonis -- she never figured out it's rude to constantly finish other
people's sentences? Okay, maybe it is an unconscious maneuver on her part to
irritate Lois, her rival for Clark's affection. But how about that
expression, "I'll be out in two shakes of a whale's tail"? Not only was that
a silly thing to say, it was much too cheerful for a woman who has just been
genetically altered and whose deranged husband is on the loose. Shouldn't she
have been at least a little preoccupied or downbeat?

Now, despite my criticisms above (and I spent a lot of time with them since
they will be impacting the future of this comic for quite a while), I actually
liked the issue. To their credit, the writers are taking the breakup slowly
and are obviously planning to develop the conflicts further, and to make it
believable. The battle with Ronal wasn't too thrilling, but Superman's
concern for hurting the innocent giant octopus and offhand exchange to a
frustrated commuter, as well as the ironic touch of using Lois' ring to end
the menace, made it enjoyable nonetheless. And I can never stop appreciating
Stuart Immonen's beautiful artwork.

Anatole Wilson (awilson@vnet.ibm.com)

_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 3

_____________________________________________________________

OTHER SUPER-TITLES:
------------------

SUPERBOY #24, "Like Damocles' Sword"
Writer: Karl Kesel
Penciller: Tom Grummett
Inker: Doug Hazlewood
Colorist: Tom McCraw
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Assistant Editor: Chris Duffy
Editor: Frank Pittarese
Cover: Grummett & Kesel
$1.95 US/$2.75 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 3.25/5.0 Shields

VC: 3.5 Shields
AL: 3.0 Shields
DS: 3.0 Shields - Superboy in school being kept for detention is more
interesting than the slugfest between him and Knockout
vs. Silversword.
JS: 3.5 Shields - This was better than the past few months' issues have been,
but I still expect more. The arrival of the Furies shows
promise.

Superboy's powers are for naught in his current predicament. He's been stuck
in detention, supervised by none other than the diabolical truant officer,
Mack Harlin. Finally released from his academic prison, the Kid has to deal
with the bickering between Tana Moon and Knockout. Tana insists on Superboy's
studies, while Knockout extols the virtues of super-powers training.
Subsequently, Superboy has to compromise by alternating activities on
different days.

In the meantime, Doctor Kaua, the curator that was infected with the Animetal
(SUPERBOY #4), visits his ex-assistant in order to recuperate and hide from
the military. Seeing Knockout on a news broadcast, he becomes incensed and is
determined to capture her. Re-assuming the guise of Silversword, he finds her
still with Tana at Superboy's school.

When Silversword tries to apprehend Knockout, she retaliates, and the ensuing
battle causes massive damage to a car dealership. Superboy is on hand to aid
Knockout, but when a Navy chopper flies in, complete with an NCO, to retrieve
Silversword, he plants an idea with Knockout to send Silversword to freedom.

Not long afterwards, Doctor Kaua phones the compound, asking Rex to thank
Superboy and Knockout for him and to inform them that he won't be making any
public appearances anytime soon. A little puzzled, Rex is more taken aback
when Roxy slyly informs him that she's going to be going to the police
academy.

After the heated exchange between her and Knockout, Tana decides to go to the
Boom Boom Room to uncover some details about Knockout. Soon after arriving,
all the patrons are knocked unconscious by the blast of a boom tube. The
arrivals are the Female Furies from Apokolips looking for their erstwhile
cadet--Knockout!

At the risk of sounding cliche, this issue can be described simply as "back in
the saddle!" Grummett and Hazlewood are back doing their regular chores.
Nothing can make me happier about this issue except...a nice setup storyline
by Kesel. The fight with Silversword, I admit, was simply filler material.
However, the most important part of the story comes at the end with the
appearance of the Furies. Needless to say, I'll be expecting Superboy to be
facing off with a few para-demons sometime soon. His upcoming holiday, er,
trip to the Blasted Realm should prove very interesting and, for all of the
Kid's brashfulness, very character-building.

However, for all the void that popped up in the story, there is the promise of
a great story. It will be very interesting to see how Superboy will act
without the benefit of peers or other heroes. Furthermore, it's good to see
more being developed with the supporting characters (Knockout) and more
interaction amongst them, even though it can be quarrelsome at times.

Without further ado...

3.5/5 Shields

Victor Chan (vichan@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca)

=========================================================

STEEL #24, "Countdown to Destiny"
Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciller: Lee Sullivan
Inkers: Prentis Rollins, Drew Geraci, & Rich Faber
Colorist: Dave Grafe
Letterer: Pat Brosseau & Gaspar Saladion
Asst. Editor: Chris Duffy
Editor: Frank Pittarese
Cover: Phil Gosier & Rich Faber
$1.95 US/$2.75 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 2.5/5.0 Shields

DS: 2.5 Shields - Sort of disappointing considering the importance of the
story. I can't figure out why he did it.
AL: 2.5 Shields - I am not warm to the idea of steel being a metahuman, but,
since he lost his secret ID, he will need the Metagene more
than ever.
JS: 2.5 Shields - John Henry plays right into Hazard's hands, and I can't
believe he exposed his identity!

End of a two-part story.

In the previous issue of STEEL, Hardwire had just broken into the Irons'
residence and shot everyone in the house except Tyke -- even John Henry, whose
armor would ordinarily show up whenever he was in danger.

Hardwire brings John Henry's body to the government agents who had promised to
let him (Hardwire) die if he succeeded. They renege on the offer, and
Hardwire threatens to kill them all, including John Henry -- who is not quite
dead.

Meanwhile, at Washington General Hospital, the rest of the Irons family also
survived although Butter (grandpa) is still in critical condition and may not
make it. Tyke realizes the enormity of his revelation to the government
officials and wallows in self pity for a few panels. [I hope the Judas
archetype is not continued -- Art.]

Hazard, who created Hardwire, and Shellshock are following the interaction
between Hardwire and the government agents via remote video. Hardwire uses
the rocket launcher built into his arm to level the top off of the Washington
Monument. This wakes up John Henry, whose armor finally comes back, and a
slugfest ensues.

Unfortunately Hardwire clamps devices onto Steel's body armor and onto the
chests of the government agents and sets the timers on them for 120. These
devices apparently cause individuals to burn up from the inside. Steel thwaps
Hardwire with his sledgehammer and knocks him down. When one of the agents
attempts to remove the device, it goes off and kills him. All this is
revealed to be a test of Steel instigated by Hazard to test his limits. If
Steel succeeds, then Hazard will know about the limits of Steel's power, and
if he fails, Hazard will be rid of Steel for good.

Steel and Hardwire slug it out for a few pages as Steel tries to find out who
is behind Hardwire. Hardwire refuses to talk, and just before the countdown
deadline, Steel's armor disappears, along with the detonator. Only Hardwire
dies. Hazard gets his data and now knows more about Steel and his armor.

The police finally show up, along with a helicopter of news reporters. The
cops try to arrest Steel for defacing the monument. He defends himself by
explaining the situation and the story ends with Steel revealing to the
television cameras that he is in reality John Henry Irons.

It's not quite clear why John Henry revealed his identity. I would have
thought that his armor would just come back to him and he could fly off
leaving the police and TV news reporters standing there. I suppose sales have
been low and DC felt that the book needed to be shaken up.

This issue is guest(?)-pencilled by Lee Sullivan. I'm not familiar with
his(?) work but I don't care for it at all. All his faces look alike and
everyone seems to have the same intense expression on their faces. I don't
consider myself to be a politically correct individual, but I must comment on
the drawings of the female form, particularly of Shellshock. I've never seen
a woman who's breasts were each bigger around than her waist. No wonder she
has such a scowl on her face all the time. The panel layouts continued to
follow the usual style that Phil Gosier has used -- splashes and other large
pictures overlaid with smaller panels. The colors were vivid, and I noticed
that there were different pallets for different scenes, the scene in the
hospital was infused with light greens and yellows, Hazard's lair was brown
and tan with green monitors, and the area with Steel and Hardwire was gray and
dark pink with a lot of purple (the shade of the Joker's suit).

I was somewhat disappointed by this issue. A step as big as the revelation to
the world of a secret identity should merit something more than a story as
mundane as this to go with it. It wasn't clear why the revelation was made,
and the whole story line basically was a secret test of Steel by Hazard and
was not nearly as substantial as his fight with Metallo a few issues ago.

Dick Sidbury (sidbury@cs.uofs.edu)

=========================================================

SHOWCASE '96 #2, "Good Guy, Bad Guy, and the Other Guys"
Featuring Steel and Guy Gardner: Warrior
Story: Beau Smith
Pencils: Sergio Cariello
Inks: Rob Leigh
Colors: Dave Grafe
Letters: Ken Bruzenak
Asst. Editor: Chris Duffy
Editor: Frank Pittarese
Cover: Howard Porter & Chip Wallace,
with Gloria Vasquez & Android Images
$2.95 US/$4.25 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 1.9/5.0 Shields

RG: Story: 0.5 Shields - One long fight, nothing more.
Art: 2.0 Shields - Needed detail, poor perspectives.
AL: 2.5 Shields - I think Metallo's tumor was an interesting twist.
JS: 2.0 Shields - Gives new meaning to "mindless violence" -- though the
Metallo tale plants some interesting future seeds.

Guy and Steel beat up Sledge and the Enforcer. Satisfied? Well, neither was
I. I'm still trying to figure out why this was a two-part story. A few years
ago, this whole story (both parts) wouldn't have justified 8 pages. If you
like fight scenes, fine, I don't care for them that much. There isn't enough
of a story here to comment on.

"Flesh and Bone"
Starring Circe
Script: Priest
Penciller: J. Alex Morrissey
Inker: Chip Wallace
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt

RG: Story: 3.0 Shields - Short, sweet, and complete.
Art: 3.0 Shields - Nice, but still a bit rough.

We get to find out what Circe has been up to since she was last seen in WONDER
WOMAN #100. It was a bit of a surprise, considering her history. We also get
to see her outsmart Ares, God of War. Not hard, but it gave a nice twist to
the plot.

"Bad Head Day"
Starring Metallo
Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciller: William Rosado
Inker: Prentis Rollins
Letterer: Gaspar
Colorist: Gene D'Angelo
Editor: Chris Duffy

RG: Story: 3.0 Shields - Above average, good ending.
Art: 3.5 Shields - Some nice details and shading.

This was the best story in the book. It follows what happens after Steel
played polo with Metallo's head (see STEEL #22 - UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED). The
artwork is very clean and well-detailed, but I've come to expect this from
Rosado. The junk-yard look for Metallo is well done, and the details really
show up.

Steel managed to put a dent in Metallo's head effectively giving him a severe
concussion. He goes to a hospital and takes a doctor hostage to get her to
fix him up. The doctor manages to pop the dent out, but it seems that
Metallo's problems are just beginning. As with all the other changes brought
about by Neron, there was a hidden catch that we learn of in the very last
panel.

Rene' Gobeyn (gobeyn@kodak.com)

=========================================================

THE NEW TITANS #130, "Where Nightmares End!" (Meltdown #0)
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciller: William Rosado
Inker: Will Blyberg
Colorist: Chris Matthys
Letterer: Albert De Guzman
Editor: Dan Thorsland
Cover: George Perez
$2.25 US/$3.25 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 3.1/5.0 Shields

RG: Story: 5.0 Shields - A good solid ending.
Art: 4.5 Shields - Beautiful, a little too dark in places.
JS: 1.5 Shields - Bring on Dan Jurgens! Seriously, I tried to like the
finale to this story and title, but it just did nothing for
me.

It's tough to review a book when you know it's truly the end.

This title has had its ups and downs over the 16 years it has been out. For
the most part it has always been (imho) one of the best books on the stands.
I'm really going to miss it. I can only hope that the successor title due out
later this year will be even half as good. I've heard that Dan Jurgens will
be writing it to start. That is good news. [FYI, Dan Jurgens will write and
pencil, and George Perez will ink. -- Jeff]

As there is absolutely no reference to Supergirl in these pages I'll keep this
review short.

To make a long story short, all of the sub-plots that have been building
(almost since issue 1) all come together and are as resolved as a super-hero
plot can be. Raven and Changeling are finally freed of the demon seeds that
they have been carrying for several years. Starfire (Koriand'r) is freed from
the seed and reunited with her husband, General Phy'zzon. Vic Stone
(Cyborg/Cyberion) and Changeling are finally reunited with both of them more
or less whole. Trigon (Raven's demon father) is finally defeated once and for
all. Not a bad wrap-up.

We briefly see Impulse, Damage, Terra, and Mirage (with her new baby) in
cameo. Even Dick (Nightwing) makes a brief appearance and finally says
good-bye to the team that he helped create while he was still Robin.

All-in-all, I couldn't have asked for a better end to what has been my
favorite title. Thanks Marv, it's been a great run.

Rene' Gobeyn (gobeyn@kodak.com)

_____________________________________________________________

SPECIALS/OTHER APPEARANCES:
--------------------------

GREEN LANTERN/SILVER SURFER: UNHOLY ALLIANCES
Writer: Ron Marz
Penciller: Darryl Banks
Inker: Terry Austin
Colors: International House of Colors
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Kevin Dooley, with Marvel consults by Mark Gruenwald
Cover: Banks, Austin, & Gloria Vasquez
$4.95 US/$6.95 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 4.4/5.0 Shields

RG: Story: 4.0 Shields - Pulling everything together, well told.
Art: 4.5 Shields - Beautiful backgrounds, superb detailing.
AL: 5.0 Shields - I hope this is a vehicle to bring the Cyborg back, and I
thought the story worked really well.
JS: 4.0 Shields - Nice work by Marz and company! Proof that Marz does
write well on occasion, and beautiful artwork by Banks
and Austin.

You might have trouble finding a copy of this one if you haven't got it
already. It sold out at my store within two hours of opening. This book
serves as a prequel to the upcoming DC vs. Marvel Comics inter-company
cross-over that starts this month. While it isn't the first time that
characters from one company have crossed over with the other, it will be the
first time that the stories will be truly happening in the continuity of both
companies. In other words, what happens during the cross over will have
effects in both universes after the event is over.

This story presents characters from both universes fighting side by side and
against each other. The team-ups that first occur are not the ones that you
expect. The stories are well written and give the reader enough information
on each of the main characters. People unfamiliar with one or another of the
characters should have no real problem figuring out what is going on. Not an
easy task when you are dealing with characters with many years of background.

The art in the book is absolutely beautiful and worth the cover price by
itself. The use of colors, shading and detail provide a wide variety of
visual effects that enhance the basic story.

The Silver Surfer (Marvel hero) comes across a planet that has been torn
apart. Seeking the cause, he comes across the Cyborg Superman (now we know
where he wound up after going through that black hole).

Naturally, they fight, but they are interrupted by Parallax (Hal Jordan) who
has followed the Cyborg to this universe (Marvel) for revenge. While the
Surfer is distracted, the Cyborg gets away, and that's the last we see of him
in this book. Making a long story short, Hal manages to convince the Surfer
to give him the power to recreate the destroyed planet.

Meanwhile back on (DC) Earth, Kyle Rayner (current Green Lantern) is battling
Terrax (Marvel villain) until they are interrupted by Thanos (Marvel villain),
who easily defeats Terrax. Thanos then convinces Kyle to help him defeat Hal
Jordan in Thanos' universe. All Kyle has to do is travel back to Thanos's
universe with him and power Thanos's weapon with his power ring.

Naturally Thanos is lying and intends to destroy both universes for his Lady
Death. As Thanos fires up his weapon, both Hal and the Surfer feel the fabric
of the universe weaken. When they seek to investigate, they of course have to
fight it out with Thanos and Kyle.

Hal takes on Thanos (life vs. death / creation vs. destruction -- not a bad
metaphor for a comic book), and the Surfer takes on Kyle. Eventually, the
good guys figure out what is going on, and Kyle uses his ring to drain the
energy that Hal and Thanos stole to try to make their plans work. Kyle can't
control all the energy, so the Surfer joins him, and together they bring
things back under control.

After the battle, a rift between the universes opens and Thanos and the Surfer
go through to their side, leaving Kyle and Hal in theirs. All is over except
that as Kyle gets back to New York, a mysterious glowing box is giving off
beams of light. (See review of DC VERSUS MARVEL #1)

Rene' Gobeyn (gobeyn@kodak.com)

=========================================================

DC VERSUS MARVEL/MARVEL VERSUS DC #1 (of 4)
Written by: Ron Marz (with thanks to Peter David)
Pencilled by: Dan Jurgens & Claudio Castellini
Inked by: Josef Rubinstein & Paul Neary
Lettered by: Bill Oakley
Colored by: Gregory Wright
Separated by: Digital Chameleon
Assistant Edited by: Chris Duffy & Joe Andreani
Edited by: Mike Carlin & Mark Gruenwald
Cover by: Jurgens & Rubinstein
$3.95 US/$5.50 CAN

RATINGS:

Average: 3.6/5.0 Shields

RG: Story: 3.0 Shields - A lot happens, but no real development.
Art: 5.0 Shields - Gorgeous layouts, highly detailed, great
use of color.
MC: 5.0 Shields - Was there any doubt that this would be the best comic that
went out in December? Great issue! Castellini's art was
wonderful, as was Jurgens', and Marz did a wonderful job
writing the issue. I can't wait for the rest of them!
AL: 2.5 Shields - Great art, but I felt it was just a sting of cameos.
JS: 3.0 Shields - Lovely artwork, but I feel they didn't plan enough room
for the magnitude of this series. I think they could have
done a bang-up job with a 12-issue biweekly series.

I'll admit that I've been waiting for this story line for so long (over thirty
five years) that I had given up hope. I can remember arguments on the school
bus about which comics universe had the best heroes. I can't remember there
being any real conclusions except that as fans we weren't likely to ever find
out for sure.

I can also remember reading the first Superman vs. Spider-man and thinking
that while it was a good story (even if it was in a *really* stupid format),
it didn't resolve anything. I guess we were wrong, because this time both
Marvel and DC have promised actual definitive results to the contests, and
that whatever happens will actually be in the continuity of *both* universes
at the end of the cross-over. I'm just happy that I'm still involved with
both of the comic universes enough to enjoy and understand the cross-over to
come.

I wish I could rate this book higher, but what I look for in a story (even a
continued one) just wasn't in this one. This book is mostly concerned with
setting up the story that will follow in the next three books. Unfortunately,
there is so much happening that there is no real story development. The story
(and the comic universe) is very confused right now. Many of the sub-plots
and the stories that are no doubt happening behind the scenes (as evidenced by
the photographs in Clark's hand later in the book) will probably never be
fully told or explained. Even the bouts that are being advertised by both
companies don't show up in this book, though all the players are finally
together by the end. I'm glad that this cross-over isn't being handled as
some kind of highly forced situation (yet). How the editors and creators
expect to put all of these heroes together and work in a decent story that
ties everything together in just four books is beyond me. I just know that
whatever I get, it will just barely whet my appetite.

The art in this book is about the best that I have ever seen. The art crew is
a mixture of the best that both companies have to offer. It's a real treat to
see some of the (slightly) different takes on some of the most popular
characters of both universes. I just wish that there was going to be more.

As this story opens, Spider-Man is swinging through the streets of New York on
a clear evening, when he is struck by a ray of light and disappears. A
(homeless?) man tries to convince some kid (the man seems to recognize him) to
help him hold some kind of energy in what appears to be a large cardboard box.
The kid takes off.

Spider-Man wakes up on a Gotham rooftop in the rain with the Joker (who
remembers him from the Batman / Spider-Man book). The only trouble is that
this Spider-Man is not the same one who he faced back then. This doesn't seem
to bother the Joker very much, though Superman doesn't seem to recognize Peter
Parker, even though both he and Lois met Parker before in the Superman /
Spider-Man). [I think the official word from on high is that only the very
recent crossovers (Batman/Spider-Man, Green Lantern/Silver Surfer) happened.
However, I'm not certain on specifics. -- Jeff]

Gambit, Storm, and Wolverine are in a fight with the Juggernaut when
Juggernaut is hit by a flash of light and disappears in mid-punch. He
materializes in Metropolis outside of the Daily Planet, where Superman takes a
dim view of him putting a hole in the building.

The homeless man seems to have gotten a handle on his problem and seems to be
very much afraid what will happen if "those two" get together, when it
suddenly gets worse. Beams of light seem to erupt from the box, and where
they strike people vanish.

Captain America is battling Hydra on Liberty Island when he disappears. Wonder
Woman is helping out with a collapsing bridge in Gateway City when she
disappears. The same thing is happening all around the DC and Marvel
Universes. Hulk, Superboy, Lobo, Gambit, Wolverine, Storm, Green Lantern,
Electra, Flash, Thor, Aquaman, Silver Surfer, Captain Marvel, Namor,
Quicksilver, Catwoman.

Not just the heroes are affected either. Bullseye appears in the Batcave.
Robin disappears and reappears in Jubilee's bedroom at the academy.

We finally get a small break in the action to see a most unusual sight.
Superman is flying towards the Daily Planet. That's not very unusual, but the
fact that Four Freedom Plaza (home of the Fantastic Four), and what looks like
LexCorp behind that is.

Clark and Lois are talking to their new editor, J. Jonah Jameson, about the
new story Clark is working on. Clark is examining photographs that show Steel
and the Absorbing-Man in battle. This is followed by pages showing DC and
Marvel heroes and villains in many combinations of fighting, teamwork, and
friendship. [Green Lantern vs. The Green Goblin, Captain America vs. Bane,
Daredevil vs. the Riddler, Batman vs. Venom, Captain Marvel vs. Dr. Doom,
Deathstroke vs. the Punisher, Ghost Rider vs. the Demon, Martian Manhunter vs.
Thing, the Human Torch vs. Firestorm, Dr. Strange and Starman, Hawkman and the
Angle, Supergirl and She-hulk, Superman vs. Annihilus, and Spider-man vs.
Man-Bat.] I would love to see some of the stories behind these scenes, but it
doesn't look like it will happen.

This is when they meet their new photographer, Ben Reilly, who uses the name
Peter Parker as his professional name (for those of you who don't read Marvel
Comics, Ben/Peter is the secret identity of Spider-Man). The book closes with
The Spectre and the Living Tribunal both stating that the universe is somehow
out of balance in a way that these near omnipotent beings cannot correct.

Rene' Gobeyn (gobeyn@kodak.com)

_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 4

_____________________________________________________________

AFTER-BYRNE: Reviews of the post-Crisis Man of Steel
----------------------------------------------------

KRISIS OF THE KRIMSON KRYPTONITE
--------------------------------
by Mark Lamutt (markdl@netcom.com / mdlamut0@wcc.com)

Title: STARMAN #28 Title: ACTION COMICS #659
Written by: Roger Stern Written By: Roger Stern
Pencilled by: Dave Hoover Pencilled by: Bob McLeod
Inked by: Scott Hanna Inked by: Brett Breeding
Cover Date: November 1990 Cover Date: November 1990
Cover Price (US): $1.00 Cover Price (US): $0.75
Cover Price (CAN): $1.25 Cover Price (CAN): $0.95
Cover Price (UK): 50p Cover Price (UK): 50p

"Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite, Part Two/A"

After the events of part two, where Superman, now merely a mortal human being,
nearly lost his life, the time has come to call in some help. Flying over
Metropolis, and confusing the natives - who at this point in time are used to
seeing only one costumed superhero patrolling the skies - Starman arrives in
the "Big Apricot" from his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. Following the
directions Superman gave him, Starman arrives at the residence/lab of
Professor Emil Hamilton, who has been attempting to derive the nature of
Superman's ailment.

Superman quickly explains his problem. He had been flying a prisoner over the
bay to Stryker's Island, when all of a sudden he lost his powers. The next
thing he knew, he was in Lex Luthor's office, dripping wet. Lex exposed him
to a glowing red rock, which he claimed to be "Red Kryptonite." After this,
Lex had his security forces throw him out of the building.

Superman called on Starman's assistance because of a power he calls a "sun
bath." Hopefully, this will transfer enough energy back to the Man of Steel
so that he can regain his powers. The Professor gets the two heroes set up,
and the transference begins. Eighteen minutes and full power later, Superman
falls to the floor, no stronger than before, and significantly more sunburned.

As a contingency plan, Professor Hamilton has been constructing an armored
suit for Superman to wear as an interim solution. In the meantime, as the
newspapers speculate about Superman's apparent injuries, local crime runs
rampant. Two small-time hoods are caught by Superman and dropped at the feet
of some of Metropolis' finest. But as Superman flies away, one spectator
notices that there is something different about the Man of Steel - namely his
eyes appear to be glazed over with a silver film. Superman arrives back at
the professor's lab - and proceeds to morph back into Starman. Starman
explains that he can control the plasticity of his skin, enabling him to take
on any form he desires.

The next step of the plan involves Starman, once again masquerading as
Superman, making an appearance at Lex Luthor's office, and making the standard
entrance of melting through the glass window. This of course causes Luthor to
panic, thinking that Mr. Mxyzptlk double-crossed him. Luthor reaches into his
safe and pulls the "Red Kryptonite" out to expose our hero once again.
"Superman" plucks the rock out of the air and returns it to the professor's
lab, leaving Lex speechless on the floor.

As Professor Hamilton begins tests on the rock, Superman asks Starman to lend
him a hand for a little while in Metropolis.

"Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite, Part Three"

After putting the finishing touches on the armor, Superman begins field
testing. Crashing through a brick wall, the Man of Steel falls to the ground,
losing his balance. As Professor Hamilton makes adjustments to the suit,
Superman turns down Starman's offer to stay in Metropolis for an extended
period of time, looking after things. And, just as Lex Luthor's lab tests had
gone, Professor Hamilton also finds absolutely nothing special about the rock.
Yawning, Superman takes his leave for some much needed rest, as Starman
starts his patrol of the city's streets.

Meanwhile, at the Stryker's Island prison, the criminal Killgrave escapes his
captors and takes control of the island - with very special preparations in
store for Superman.

As Starman flies by Lex Luthor's office, Mr. Mxyzptlk, in the guise of a dust
devil, tells Lex to calm down, and that he's being tormented by a
Super-Impostor - i.e. that's not Superman flying by the window. Lex breaks
out laughing.

The next morning, as Clark enters the Daily Planet building, he hears about
Killgrave's takeover of Stryker's Island. Meanwhile, Starman, posing as
Superman, meets with the Metropolis SCU to discuss the situation. Dan Turpin
and Maggie Sawyer explain what has transpired, and even though Starman has no
idea who this Killgrave is, he feels he has the responsibility to live up to
the face he's wearing. Landing in the prison yard, "Superman" is immediately
enclosed in a plastic dome appearing out of the ground, experiences severe
electrical shock, and passes out from lack of air. Watching from his vantage
point, Killgrave tells Superman to rest in peace.

Arriving at the docks, the real Superman meets up with Professor Hamilton, and
Gangbuster. Donning the suit of armor, Superman prepares to face Killgrave.
Riding in the Whiz Wagon with Gangbuster and the Guardian, Superman arrives on
the island. Not believing his eyes, Killgrave orders his henchmen to shoot
at Superman, while he makes his way deep into the bowels of the prison.

Going after Killgrave, Superman sees Starman give him the high sign that he is
fine - "good thing I don't need air to breathe." Gangbuster and the Guardian
quickly deal with Killgrave's henchmen, while Superman follows their leader.
Toom, Toom, Toom, Superman clomps his way down the halls, the metal of his
boots echoing through the corridors. Killgrave, at the end of the hallway
holding a rocket launcher, begins to sweat. Superman is not even trying to
hide his movements. Turning the corner, Superman takes the full force of the
rocket explosion in his chest. As the smoke clears, he is still standing
there, much to the astonishment of Killgrave. The explosive bolts on the
armor are all that saves our hero from the blast. Killgrave makes his escape
in a rocket, and Superman blames himself for not being able to stop him.

The fact that Roger Stern wrote both of these stories really helped the
continuity and the flow. The action and the pace were both very fast and
furious, and there is a real sense of tension presented throughout. Superman
is beginning to realize that he may not be able to continue in his role as the
Man of Steel. It is becoming more and more dangerous for him every time out
without his powers. He feels responsible for Metropolis, but unable to meet
that responsibility. This sets the story up for a powerful conclusion, next
month.

As for the artwork, what really needs to be said? It is excellent as usual -
even in the STARMAN issue. There are times when artists attempt to take over
a character that others have done so well, and they fail horribly, but Dave
Hoover did an excellent job handling the duties of drawing Superman along with
his own cast of characters. And the last panel in ACTION COMICS is one of the
most powerful that I have ever seen, aside from the panel at the end of
SUPERMAN #75. The pain is very evident in the Man of Steel's eyes, as his
friends and companions are gathered round. Very well done indeed.

All in all, STARMAN gets 3.5 shields out of 5, and ACTION COMICS gets 4 out of
5. Be here next month for the conclusion in SUPERMAN # 50 - with the
assistance of a special guest contributor to this column. Stay tuned, and
don't let all those old comics keep collecting dust - pull them out once in a
while and read them - that's what they are there for.

_____________________________________________________________

=================== MANUSCRIPTS OF STEEL ===================
Reviews of After-Byrne Superman special stories
--------------------------------------------------------------
by Denes House (dhouse@itsmail1.hamilton.edu)
==============================================================

SUPERMAN: THE EARTH-STEALERS

Year: 1988
Writer: John Byrne
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Bill Wray
Cover: painted by Jerry Ordway
Format: Prestige
Cover Price: $3.95 US/$4.95 CAN

To set this review into context, in 1988, Lois and Clark were still rivals.
Lois had almost discovered that Clark and Superman were the same person, but
was diverted at the last minute by Ma and Pa Kent's admission that they had
raised both Superman and Clark as their own sons. Lex Luthor was alive, fat,
and bald.

And I had just come aboard the powerful locomotive that is the Superman mythos
in 1987. My first Superman comic was SUPERMAN #11, the first post-Byrne
appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk. I bought it primarily because Lois Lane had great
legs on the cover, and I think that issue marks the transition from my
childhood comics reading to my adult phase. I was 14 years old. I was
entranced by the artwork within. I had never heard of John Byrne (he had
never done G.I. JOE or THE TRANSFORMERS), but I fell in love with his stuff
immediately. Superman looked powerful, graceful, and cool, and Lois had great
legs (did I mention that already?). I was hooked on Superman.

Shortly thereafter, I saw a "house ad" for SUPERMAN: THE EARTH-STEALERS. The
ad showed Superman facing off against Gunge, the eleven-foot-tall alien
Superman battles briefly in the book. The ad was drawn by Curt Swan and Jerry
Ordway, the artists on the book. I had seen Swan's work in Superman digests
I'd borrowed from the library, and I wasn't impressed. I decided to pass on
EARTH-STEALERS.

It's a good thing I did. I would not have appreciated it at the time at all.

The earth has perhaps never been in as dire peril as it is in this book, the
first post-Byrne Prestige format one-shot. The story opens on Moonbase One,
where the scientific team is checking out hyperwave transmissions from the
"Deep Three" space probe, three billion miles from Earth. The transmissions
show a "rip" in space, approaching Earth. The transmissions stop.

Cut to Terra Firma, where Superman has just prevented a major environmental
disaster and is heading back to the Daily Planet newsroom. We are quickly
introduced to the Planet, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane, as Superman changes to
Clark Kent.

In space, an ominous space ship generates a giant "scoop" that looks to grab
the Earth.

On Earth, WLEX carries the story sent in by Moonbase One of this massive
space-borne object entering the Solar System. Perry White grumbles about the
"blow-dried, pancake-faced pretty-boys" on TV who somehow get the big stories
before the "REAL newsmen." While Lois and Perry discuss this, Clark is
distracted by his telescopic vision, which shows the scoop headed for Earth.
When the sky lights up, Clark changes to Superman and heads space-ward to
investigate.

Lois notices that Clark is gone, and starts to comment on how Superman and
Clark are never around at the same time.

In space, Superman discovers that the ship exists to feed planetary systems to
a huge disintegrator, to be smashed into atoms to provide resources for its
builders. Superman must stop their schemes by whatever means necessary
against an immensely powerful alien race.

This is a smartly-written story, crisp and packed to the gills with plot.
John Byrne takes an outlandish premise and crafts a story that touches on
responsibility and on what gives life meaning. He advances the Lois/Superman
relationship, and scripts some very clever dialogue.

The thing that has always struck me about Byrne's tenure on Superman is that
his Superman is a thinker. Superman reasons out many of the problems that
confront him in this story, and he is intelligent enough to know just what he
does and does not need to know in order to triumph. He relies on insight into
characters' personalities, his super-powers, and the skills of his friends to
save the Earth from destruction. The book is an enjoyable read.

When I was 14, though, I never would have appreciated all this. I would have
focused on the artwork.

Curt Swan is well-remembered as one of the definitive Superman artists of all
time. It is his Superman, inked by Murphy Anderson, that simply *is* the
Silver Age Superman. He is a master craftsman, who tells a story
exceptionally well. It is largely because of his mastery and use of
perspective and detailing that such an outlandish storyline seems to be at
least possible. His people seem to be real people, inhabiting a real world,
even in the alien spacecraft. The scene of the planet-cracking station with
whole worlds being demolished in its maw is quite impressive. There are some
great scenes.

But I've never liked Swan's *style*. My problem with Curt Swan's work (and
you Silver Age fans will likely kill me for this) is that it lacks much of the
dynamism of today's artists. He tells the story well, which is the primary
job of the comic book artist, but his figures seem static and at rest, even in
combat. He makes choices on poses and angles that show the action, but make
it seem pedestrian. The same down-to-earth quality that makes his work
believable also makes it seem tame.

I have grown into an enormous Jerry Ordway fan over the years. His inking is
magnificent over Swan's pencils. Jerry Ordway always leaves his mark on the
work he inks. You can spot his hand from a mile away, and it is primarily his
influence, I feel, that creates whatever artistic dynamism this book has. His
inks crackle and dance, and he is able to make some of Swan's flaccid poses
seem more dynamic. He also enhances the realism and depth of Swan's awesome
use of perspective and detail.

Capsule review:

Story: Crisp and entertaining, with great dialogue that enhances an outlandish
plot. 4 Shields out of 5.

Art: I respect Swan, though I don't enjoy his style. Ordway shines as always,
but the book lacks the visual dynamism I have come to expect from the
post-Crisis Superman. 3 Shields out of 5.

Overall: A recommended read if you are a story-hound who is willing to suspend
some disbelief. Try to find it for the cover price or less for a good reading
value. 3.5 Shields out of 5.

_____________________________________________________________

THE PHANTOM ZONE: Reviews of the pre-Crisis Man of Steel
--------------------------------------------------------

SUPER FRIENDS
-------------
by Joe Crowe (j.crowe4@genie.com)

Well, look-ee here. Team-up month in the S-books. The big daddy of the
team-ups, Marvel vs. DC. And here I've been reviewing Superman team-ups since
the summer. Looks like everybody finally caught up with me. :)

So in this month's review, Superman never appears.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD # 175
June 1981
Batman and Lois Lane
"Heart of the Monster"
Written by: Paul Kupperberg
Art by: Jim Aparo
Cover Price: 0.50

Rating: 3 shields

Night in Gotham City, and Batman happens upon a visitor to his city, atop the
local STAR Labs franchise. It's Metallo, the robot with a human head.
Naturally enough, fisticuffs ensue. Batman is apparently a wrestling fan,
because in the end he gives Metallo a nasty flying head scissors. Batman
moves to apprehend him, but Metallo tells him no dice, not while Metallo has
his...green Kryptonite beam?

Batman says "That fall must have addled your brain! Kryptonite is harmless to
non-Kryptonians!" But Batman is wrong! He feels incredible pain from the
blast, and Metallo bolts and flies off in a jet-scooter. As soon as Metallo
leaves, the pain goes away, and Batman is left with nothing but questions.

Next morning, Lois Lane shows up at the Wayne Foundation offices looking for
Bruce Wayne. Lois tells Bruce that she's on the trail of a big scoop, and
needs to speak to Batman. Wayne insists she tell him the reason, despite
Lois' reluctance to let the story get out.

Lois received an anonymous tip that a faction of a criminal organization
called Skull is active in Gotham. Metallo escaped from prison with a small
supply of uranium, and needed more to power his robot body. That's why he was
at STAR Labs. His other option was Kryptonite. Wayne tells Lane that he
obviously found some. "It may already be too late, then," says Lois. She had
been contacted by Skull's Metropolis faction leader, John Cranshaw, who told
her that Metallo was trying to kill him, and he wanted to turn himself in to
her. So she wants Batman to be around in case Metallo shows up.

Batman pops into Lois' hotel room while she's on the phone with Perry White.
They make plans. Later, Lois waits at her prearranged meeting place with the
Skull leader. He shows up and tells her that Metallo wants to kill all the
Skull members responsible for turning him into a cyborg. Metallo shows up. A
radiation leak in his uranium heart is eating away at his human brain. The
robot moves in on Cranshaw, but Batman appears. Another fight, and this time
Metallo pops Batman a good one and zaps Cranshaw with Kryptonite. Metallo
reveals that he was the one who gave Lois the anonymous phone call in the
first place, so she could inadvertently help him find Cranshaw.

Lois throws a garbage can at Metallo, but he escapes with Batman and Cranshaw.
Lois heads to STAR Labs, and Metallo tells all to the captured Batman. He has
Cranshaw working feverishly to fix his heart. Kryptonite, he says, gives off
super-radiation (appropriately enough) which passes through normal matter,
unless that matter has super-density, like you-know-who. So Metallo just
slowed down the particle emission rate so that the Kryptonite beam affects
humans. But Metallo couldn't find enough green K to power his body, so he had
to use uranium, and that's what's killing him. Metallo then leaves Batman
alone, sans utility belt. Like that makes a difference.

Meanwhile, Lois tries to track them with a gadget from STAR, but no such luck.
Then she heads back to STAR -- and the gadget goes off. Turns out Metallo has
been there the whole time! While Cranshaw operates on Metallo, Batman makes
his way there. Lois sneaks into STAR and watches Cranshaw operate through a
ventilation shaft.

Batman bursts in, and Metallo hops off the operating table and zaps him with
green K. Batman falls to the floor in pain. Lois climbs out of the shaft and
gives Metallo a kick in the back of the head. She tries to revive Batman, as
Metallo readies another blast. Then Metallo's power source explodes!

Dr. Cranshaw rigged the operation, removing the shielding from Metallo's
heart. Now that Metallo's kaput, Cranshaw decides not to turn himself in and
turns a gun on Batman and Lois. About 1.5 seconds later, Cranshaw is
captured. Batman tells Lois "I owe you my life! If there's anything I can
do--" Lois asks that he find her telephone, so Perry doesn't chew her out for
missing the deadline.

This was an odd little tale. Lois rarely, if ever, got involved with
super-villains without Superman showing up to save the day. Her job is to get
in trouble, and his job is to save her. That's the way it works. Not this
time. Not only does Superman not show up -- he's mentioned only in passing.
By Metallo! Lois never thinks "if only Superman were here" or "Superman
taught me to do this." She never mentions Clark, we don't see him at the
Planet when she calls Perry. We don't even get a single reason for him not to
be there. He's just not. I found that quite odd.

But it's also a great change of pace. This story features a smart, determined
Lois. This was one story wherein you can find Lois as a true character in her
own right, not in a supporting role. She held her own, like we all knew she
could anyway. Somehow that Lois found her way into this little throwaway
team-up story.

Lois certainly has depth, and she's a great character, but maybe too many
writers think she's great within her predefined limits of "Superman's
girlfriend" or "Metropolis' ace newslady." You might say that, outside of
those roles, she's just another tough girl. Well, this story showed that she
isn't. I think she should get out more.

More Superman team-ups next time, and I take requests. Send them on to me at
j.crowe4@genie.geis.com. Thanks for reading me.

_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 5

_____________________________________________________________

TELEscopic VISION:
------------------
Superman on the Small Screen

Only one episode review this month, as the holidays and winter weather
seemed to "outrank" L&C reviews. :) But we should be back next month
with looks at the January episodes!

Here are the writing and directing credits for the three January episodes:

12. "Never On Sunday" (1/7)
Written by: Grant Rosenberg
Directed by: Michael Lange

13. "The Dad Who Came In From The Cold" (1/14)
Written by: David Simkins
Directed by: Alan J. Levi

14. "Tempus, Anyone?" (1/21)
Written by: John McNamara
Directed by: Winriche Kolbe

And boy are February sweeps going to be interesting! The wedding takes
place on February 5... or does it? The three February episodes form a long
story arc, whic is purported to feature the return of Lex Luthor and his
cloning technology (a la "Vatman"). But his cloning target isn't the Man
of Steel this time!

At this time, the schedule for the remaining episodes seems to be a bit
uneven. Three more episodes are scheduled for March (#18-20), including
the one penned by Teri Hatcher! But then, as happened in the first season,
there are no new episodes at all planned for April, with the final two
third season episodes set for the first two Sundays in May.

And on one final note, ABC has *already* announced that L&C has been renewed
for a fourth season! And why not? It's consistently beating its regular
competition! Most importantly, we're not going to be spending all spring
wondering fretting over whether or not L&C will be returning!

Jeff Sykes

_____________________________________________________________

A PROMISE MADE AND A PROMISE KEPT
---------------------------------
By Zoomway (Zoomway@aol.com)

Way back in the first season, LOIS AND CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN,
as advertised in its promos, was a love triangle built just for two. This was
the show's identity, but it also helped hamstring the show in respect to how
far it could move within that restrictive definition. As long as the scripts
stayed within this narrow parameter, plots needed only to be premises and
little more. That is, if you wanted Lois to suddenly throw herself
passionately at Clark, you simply invented a love potion type of perfume to
accomplish that 'premise'. If you wanted Clark to be the hero instead of
Superman, you set up a situation where Superman would be too conspicuous, and
voila, you have "Witness". If you would like to see Lois as the fish out of
water and Clark on his home turf, you introduce Kryptonite as a lure for the
villain to intrude on Smallville. This premise led to "Green, Green Glow of
Home", but this premise also led to a promise.

"Green, Green Glow of Home" is remembered as a favorite episode by many fans,
but especially to those who were watching the show right from the beginning.
When looking back and trying to analyze exactly what made it popular, fans
might say it was the combination of a good villain, and a good plot, and that
Superman only made a brief appearance in the teaser of the episode. This is
all true, but all of this misses the mark as to why it was so popular. There
were other episodes that fit the criteria of a good villain, good plot, and
only the briefest appearance by Superman, such as "Fly Hard", and yet "Fly
Hard" is not often mentioned in a top 10 list of favorite episodes. So, did
setting "Green, Green Glow of Home" in Smallville make such a big difference?
Partly.

Having Clark in Smallville, and having Kryptonite rob him of his powers
created a scenario wherein the 'promise' began. With Clark being home, his
parents could help cover for him, and when the Kryptonite made him 'normal',
he could completely be himself with Lois, and never worry about making a slip
in front of her. Clark was given the luxury of relaxing and not always being
on his guard. Setting the story in Smallville also made Lois a bit more
vulnerable because she was out of her familiar surroundings and more dependent
on Clark to navigate this strange new world. When the usual barriers that
protected both Lois and Clark were knocked down by circ*mstance, they began to
reach out to each other, and they began to interact in a whole new way.

Lois begins to loosen up almost as a direct reflection to Clark loosening up.
This is also the first episode where Lois shows genuine concern and tenderness
for Clark, and makes no attempt to create some bluster filled excuse to
justify her display of affection. The difference in Lois Lane's attitude to
Clark Kent in this episode compared to all previous episodes can almost be
encapsulated by the hugs she bestows upon him. When Clark wins the carnival
game, Lois spontaneously hugs him out of the thrill of the victory (not unlike
the hug she gave him in the pilot after the thrill of victory from their
investigation). She then chooses the teddy bear over the Superman doll for
her prize. The most telling hug, however, is the one she gives Clark after he
is nearly killed by the villain. Lois hugs Clark as if he were the most
precious thing in her life. Compare that hug to the one she bestowed upon
Clark in "Strange Visitor". Lois hugs Clark and shouts, "Hey, everybody!
Clark's alive!" She then adds, "And if Clark's alive, that means Superman is
alive!" Clark represented proof to Lois that Superman was still alive, and
nothing more.

I remember that as I watched this episode for the first time two seasons ago,
I felt that I was being promised something. I felt the episode was telling me
that if Lois and Clark ever permanently dropped the barriers protecting them,
and reached out for something deeper, then everything "Green, Green Glow of
Home" hinted was possible would come true. That is, if Clark told Lois the
truth about his secret identity, then he could once again be completely
himself with her, and not always be on his guard. Lois could cover for Clark
just as his parents did. The promise made so long ago is now a promise being
kept and explored in third season. I'll use "Ordinary People" from this
season as an illustration of the promise finally being realized.

In "Ordinary People", Clark says, "I feel safe in a way I've never known." He
can be 'safe' with Lois now, because he can be his whole self around her.
Lois tries to cover for Clark in "Ordinary People" despite his best efforts to
thwart her. "I'm Superman." "No he's not!" "Lois.." "I think you should
know this man's insane." The promise is kept here, but without sacrificing
their 'quirks', like Clark's compulsive behavior, or at least what Lois feels
is compulsive behavior. In "Green, Green Glow of Home", Lois says, "You sound
like you're one of those people who has to have his whole life worked out
ahead of time before he can live it." And in "Ordinary People", Lois asks,
"Do you have rules for everything?" and goes on to rant about his compulsive
behavior. Also, until "Green, Green Glow of Home", Lois had a tendency to vent
her spleen at Clark, whether he deserved it or not, but in this episode, she
directs her sarcasm at the villain instead. This too has become a part of
season three. This is not to say they don't tease each other this season,
because they do, but now it is with affection, and not a mean-spirited sarcasm
(they could get pretty ugly in the first season, and often hit below the
belt). Let's face it, these two have come a long way if 'Lunkhead' can be
seen as a term of endearment.

The promise has been kept, and keeps deepening. The plots, on the whole, have
become more complex, but there are still premise scripts as well, and there
will always be a need for them. Now however, the old parameter of 'a triangle
built only for two' has been replaced by 'a menage a trois built for two' and
that gives a much wider range of possibilities for exploring the promise, but
most of all, for keeping it.

======================================================

EPISODE REVIEW:
---------------

Episode #3-11: "Home Is Where the Hurt Is"
------------------------------------------
by Patrick M. Stout <mfpms@uxa.ecn.bgu.edu>

US Airdate: December 17, 1995
Guest Starring: Robert Carradine, Beverly Garland, Harve Presnell,
and Jessica Collins as "Mindy Church"

Teleplay by: Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner
Story by: William M. Akers
Directed by: Geoffrey Nottage

The story: Lois and Clark are discussing holiday work shifts and Christmas
plans. Lois indicates no desire to spend the holidays with family. "There's
always fighting," she says. "Not that it won't look perfect. My family
always looks perfect."

Clark notes that his folks will be coming to Metropolis to join him for the
holidays. On the television set in the Planet newsroom, an interview is being
broadcast with Mindy Church--widow of Intergang boss Bill Church. She tells
the reporter she wants no part of the Church criminal empire. but that she
will be working to promote her cosmetics company.

Later, in the privacy of her corporate conference room, Mindy meets with all
of the city's crime bosses. She announces the intended revival of Intergang.
Those who spurn her offer are cut down by poison gas as they try to leave the
room.

Amid the dead bodies of the mob bosses, Lois and Clark wonder aloud if this is
a sign that Intergang is back in the city. Their conversation is interrupted
as Clark notes Dr. Sam Lane's appearance in a television commercial. He's
promoting his formula "Abs in a Bottle" for tighter buns and other body
enhancements. Lois sighs and remarks how far her father has fallen from the
distinguished medical career he once enjoyed. She blames his slide on the
fascination he developed for creating robots.

Lois interviews Mindy Church, who denies having any knowledge of a revived
Intergang. Meanwhile, a street clown launches a bomb-carrying balloon which
floats above the two. Superman intercepts it, and he wonders--was it meant
for Lois or for

Mindy? 

Mindy visits Joey Bermuda, explosives expert. She offers to hire him away
from his mob bosses to kill Superman. They brainstorm how that might be done:
"What if Superman gets the flu?" asks Joey. "There's got to be a virus from
Krypton that he wasn't exposed to." Mindy reveals that she has purchased the
rocket that brought the baby from Krypton. "It's crawling with bugs," she
remarks.

Lois arrives at her apartment to find the Kents there. She forgot that she
had invited them to dinner. Then the Lanes arrive unexpectedly. Her wish for
Christmas alone has been doubly unfulfilled.

Helen Lane and ex-husband Sam trade barbs, and then he introduces his new
companion--Baby Gunderson, a cyborg he invented. As the Lanes continue to
argue, Lois confides to Clark that it might be better to elope than to have
this family at their wedding.

Joey Bermuda has isolated a Kryptonian virus. "Superman's as good as gone,"
he tells Mindy.

Clark gives Lois pills for her family-generated headache. Later, Helen urges
her daughter to get to know Clark better before getting married.

Sam buys an artificial Christmas tree, though no one had asked him to. Then,
to spare Helen's feelings, he orders Baby Gunderson to spend the rest of their
visit in Lois' closet. As Lois and Clark head out the door to meet with an
informant, the Kents arrive with a natural Christmas tree.

Helen has insisted on accompanying Lois to meet her source, a prostitute known
as Long-legged Lulu. They find Lulu's body in an alley. Lois' mom is then
mistaken for a streetwalker by a local tough, who orders her off the corner.

Responding to a cry for help, Superman finds Mindy atop a billboard for nasal
spray, threatening to jump off. Joey has mixed his super-virus into the nasal
spray effect, and Superman inhales it. Hidden away from our hero, Joey
mutters, "Your flying days will soon be over."

Back in the apartment, Clark asks Lois how she thinks her broken home has
affected her. She talks about yearning for a family commitment, rather than
selfish behavior. Clark sneezes. She looks at him quizzically.

"You don't sneeze," Lois states. "Not usually," Clark replies, sneezing
again.

Walking downtown, Helen and Martha discuss the pros and cons of a large
wedding for Lois or an elopement. Suddenly, a gunman snatches their purses.
He is later stopped by the same local tough guy who encountered Helen the
night before.

The local tough guy is one of Mindy's henchmen. He tells her that Intergang
has now reestablished its hold on Metropolis. Mindy then orders Joey to kill
Lois and Clark because they've written articles about the possible return of
Intergang. When he offers to rig Lois' microwave to explode their brains,
Mindy kisses him impulsively. Joey demurs, vowing faithfulness to his wife.
Mindy simmers with rejection.

Helen gives Clark the license number of the van that picked up the purse
thief. Lois gets a call that the van has been traced to Mindy's cosmetics
company. Clark develops a fever and his parents urge him to go home and go to
bed.

But first, Superman is scheduled to celebrate Christmas with city orphans.
While he's there, Mindy arrives with gifts for the children. Superman takes
advantage of her entrance to leave the area, and collapses with fever once he
turns the corner.

With Lois, Clark's parents watch over Superman. "My boy is sick for the first
time in his life," Martha says.

The Lanes arrive at Clark's apartment, and Lois asks Sam to examine Clark's
"friend", Superman. "I haven't practiced in 15 years," her father replies.
"For me...be the brilliant doctor (that you once were)," Lois pleads.

Joey has rigged Lois' microwave, but Baby Gunderson has overheard him in the
apartment. Planet headlines scream about a new crime wave in Metropolis,
while Superman lies helpless in Clark's apartment.

Sam concludes that the virus has overwhelmed Superman's system, and that he
can only survive if his body can be brought to near-death in an attempt to
starve the virus. Superman calls Star Labs to ask that a piece of kryptonite
be delivered to him.

As the killing kryptonite rays do their work, Lois calls upon Superman to draw
on the strength of their love to help him survive. "I love you," he whispers.
They kiss, and he lapses into a coma.

Sam orders Lois back to her apartment, and the Kents agree to go along. Though
separated by the distance between the two apartments, Lois senses that
Superman is beginning to regain consciousness. Sam calls the Kents to tell
them that Superman's fever has broken.

Lois' booby-trapped microwave begins to send out deadly sound waves. Superman
senses the distant danger and flies to the apartment to tear away the deadly
machinery. Baby Gunderson replays her memory tape, and Superman recognizes
the voice of a criminal he once knew as "Joey the Handyman".

Lois and Clark show up in Joey's office, finding incriminating wiring notes
and machinery. A call comes in from Mindy, in which she refers to Joey as the
boss of Intergang and expresses her reluctance to join him in his criminal
career. He has been set up, and is arrested to ensure both anonymity and
revenge for Mindy.

Later, back in Lois' apartment, the Lanes and Kents try decorating the
Christmas tree--Baby Gunderson uses her internal batteries to power on the
lights.

Slipping out onto the balcony, Clark tells Lois that he hopes they'll be in
their own house for Christmas the next year. Snow begins to fall as they
kiss. Lois tells Clark that it would be wrong to elope and not share the
wedding with her parents.

Review: Working on "Lois & Clark" has got to be a character actor's dream!
Even for a big-name star, it has got to be a great opportunity to cut loose
with some broad and comic (or serio-comic) portrayals.

It was wonderful to see two former superstars like Harve Presnell (Broadway)
and Beverly Garland (Nick-era TV) strut their stuff as the Lanes. One might
even characterize L&C, along with "Murder She Wrote", as a kind of "Love Boat"
for the '90s in terms of the opportunities it offers for older actors.

Kudos to the writers and whoever else may have been responsible for the clever
bits of characterization supplied to Sam and Helen Lane. As one who gave up a
successful medical career for his obsession with artificial life forms, it's
only logical that Sam would create his own robotic girlfriend--and it makes
perfect sense that he would favor an artificial Christmas tree. Helen dons a
trenchcoat and walks the mean streets similar to the ones Beverly Garland
walked when she starred in the 1950s police drama, "Decoy".

Accommodating the guest stars resulted in precious little on-screen time this
outing for K Callan and Eddie Jones as the Kents. But their presence was
necessary to bring home the "family impact" of Clark/Superman's first illness
and brush with death.

Lois' advice to the dying Superman to anchor his survival on their (undying)
love made for a spine-tingling, heart-pumping moment. A nice visual touch
were the intercuts which made the viewer aware that they were constantly
conscious of each other--a rapport brought home in the two scenes where (1)
Lois knows Superman has recovered before her father calls with the news, and
(2) Superman knows immediately about the deadly microwave and rushes to save
Lois.

This was a very satisfying episode in many ways, with neat characters, a
deadly danger to our hero, and a high level of romantic interaction.

_____________________________________________________________

THE MAILBAG
-----------

From: David Thomas Chappell <dtc@acpub.duke.edu>

Letter to KC: "The Krimson Kryptonite Kid"

In his interview in the last (#20) issue of the KC, Roger Stern indicated that
he had forgotten how a fan's suggestion led to the "Krisis of the Krimson
Kryptonite." Since I suspect other fans have forgotten as well, I'd like to
share the details herein. I was so struck by a fan directly leading to a
story that I still recall reading about it.

From the second letters page of SUPERMAN #50 (Dec 90): "This month, we're
presenting a special Baldy . . . to a letter that was written to us several
months ago by Charles D. Brown of Brentwood, NY. In his letter, Charles
offered an extremely clever suggestion about how to resurrect Red Kryptonite.
We liked his idea so much that it became the basis for our recent 'Krisis of
the Krimson Kryptonite' epic."

For more information on the red Kryptonite story, see the "After-Byrne" column
in this issue of the KC for Mark Lamutt's review.

======================================================

Keep your letters and comments coming! We always welcome your feedback
about how we can improve KC!

-- Jeff Sykes
_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 6

_____________________________________________________________

SUPER MERCHANDISE
-----------------
Information on Forthcoming Superman Merchandise
Assembled by Jeffery D. Sykes

The information which follows is reprinted without permission from Diamond's
PREVIEWS and is in no way meant to serve as a replacement for that magazine.
For further information on (and in many cases, pictures of) the below
merchandise, see recent issues of PREVIEWS!

Diamond's STAR SYSTEM is a service through which fans can order in-stock trade
paperbacks, trading cards, and graphic novels. Contact your local retailer
for prices not listed below, a complete listing of merchandise available
through the STAR SYSTEM, or information about ordering.

ABBREVIATIONS:
-------------
FC: Full color
HC: Hardcover
PB: Paperback
PI: Inquire about price
SC: Softcover

If no manufacturer/maker is listed, the product is from DC Comics.

Also keep in mind that dates listed are when Diamond will be able to
distribute the product in question. For some merchandise (books and toys
especially), you may be able to find the item at a retailer earlier
than this given date.

For a full listing of Superman-related merchandise, visit the
Kryptonian Cybernet Homepage!

_____________________________________________________________

FEBRUARY:
--------
DC/Marvel: Amalgam Cards
Fleer/Skybox
Universes have collided...and fused! The unthinkable is now reality, as
the DC and Marvel universes combine into one universe -- the Amalgam
Universe! This 90-card series features the first appearances of the
Amalgam characters such as Dark Claw and Spider-Boy, with art by Jim
Balent, Stuart Immonen, Sal LaRocca, Jeff Matsuda, Scott McDaniel, Roger
Cruz, Gary Frank, and more! Chase cards include: "Crisis of the Infinity
Hour," 9 canvas cards in the form of one painted 9-up by Dave Dorman;
"Classic Covers," 9 Power Blast cards which will adapt classic DC and
Marvel covers (such as AMAZING FANTASY #15 and DETECTIVE COMICS #27) to
the Amalgam universe; and "Pixel Holograms," 6 holograms featuring
Spider-Boy, Dark Claw, Super-Patriot, Amazon, Magneto, and Speed Demon.
Scheduled to arrive February 28
7 cards per pack; 24 packs per box
PI
_____________________________________________________________

MARCH:
-----
Superman/Batman: Alternate Histories Trade Paperback
Written and illustrated by various
Cover by Dave DeVries
Collecting four feature-length stories from the 1994 ELSEWORLDS Annuals,
this trade paperback reprints DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #7 by Chuck Dixon
and Alcatena; ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #6 by John Byrne; STEEL ANNUAL #1, by
Jon Bogdanove and Judith Kurtzer Bogdanove, Humberto Ramos, Ron Boyd, Dan
Davis, Wayne Faucher, Dennis Janke, Andrew Lanning, Rob Leigh, and Ande
Parks; and BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT ANNUAL #7, by Mark Waid,
Brian Augustyn, Joe Staton and Horacio Ottolini.
Scheduled to arrive on March 27
SC, 7x10, 224 pgs, FC
$14.95

DC Vs. Marvel T-Shirt
Graphitti Designs
It's the biggest crossover in the history of comics, and you can prove
you were there with this cool black t-shirt, faeturing DC's stellar
lineup of characters! [Art appears to be by Dan Jurgens]
XL, $17.95

Superman 1996 Updated Figures
Kenner
In addition to the original line of Superman figures, you can now choose
from several new figures as well! Choose from: Power Flight Superman,
Laser Superman (with laser cannon), Steel, Conduit (with spinning
Kryptonite cables), Superboy (with claw and taser missiles), and the
following additions to the line: Solar Suit Superman, Exoskeleton
Superman, Trenchcoat Superman, and Lex Luthor.
PI

Superman/Batman 2-Pack Platinum Edition
Kenner/Hasbro
A PREVIEWS Exclusive! Superman and Batman are the "world's finest"
super-team, and Kenner/Hasbro and PREVIEWS have teamed up to bring
collectors this special, limited edition two-pack available only through
PREVIEWS! Limited to only 25,000 pieces, this two-pack (similar in
design and contents to the mass market version) comes with two all-new
Superman and Batman action figures -- and a special 16-page Platinum
Edition Elseworlds comic book by Christopher Priest, Eduardo Barreto,
Dick Giordano, and Mike DeCarlo, and featuring an all-new cover
illustration by John Byrne!
PI

DC Pen Toppers Set
Company not indicated
These cool pen toppers feature the best characters in the DC Comics
lineup, as well as a functioning pen to record their adventures! Set
includes: Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Batman, and Steel.
Set; PI

_____________________________________________________________

MAY:
---
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman #2: Exile
Harper Collins
by M.J. Friedman
Thrill to the new adventures of the Man of Steel, in this new series of
paperback adventures based on the hit ABC-TV series! Includes an
eight-page photo insert. Photo cover.
PB, 128 pgs
$4.99

_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________

COMING ATTRACTIONS
------------------
A List of Upcoming Comics Featuring The Superman Family of Characters
Assembled by Jeffery D. Sykes

This monthly section is dedicated to giving you official information
concerning which comics you should watch for in the near future in order
to keep up with Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, and all the rest of the
Superman family of characters.

The information which follows is reprinted without permission from Diamond
Previews and is in no way meant to serve as a replacement for that magazine.
I strongly recommend that each reader find his or her own copy for additional
detailed information on the entire DC Universe! Note that Diamond is now
the exclusive distributor of DC Comics!

NOTES
---------------

We've finally got the information about AMALGAM COMICS! Below
you will find information about the AMALGAM titles which involve
variations on the Super-family, as well as information on the
conclusion of the mega-crossover. For complete details on the
joint project, see this month's feature article!

I've also learned that DC *will* be adjusting its cover dates,
so once March rolls around, we should be back on track. In the
meantime, please be patient with us as we work around things.

A minor guest appearance in GREEN ARROW #108 -- the new Green
Arrow visits Metropolis, resulting in a meeting with Thorn. And
we couldn't let a month go by without a new trade paperback! :)
SUPERMAN/BATMAN: ALTERNATE HISTORIES reprints four of the 1994
Elseworlds annuals, including DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #7, ACTION
COMICS ANNUAL #6 (by John Byrne), STEEL ANNUAL #1 (by Jon
Bogdanove and a host of others), and LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT
ANNUAL #7. The trade paperback, priced at $14.95, is expected to
arrive in stores on March 27.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LIST OF TITLES BY EXPECTED ARRIVAL DATE
---------------------------------------------

Arrival Date: Comic title and information:
------------ ---------------------------
January 3: Adventures of Superman #532
K. Kesel, Immonen, & Marzan Jr.
$1.95
League of Justice #2 (of 2)
Ed Hannigan & Dick Giordano
Prestige Format, 48 pgs, $5.95
Steel #24
L. Simonson, Gosier, & Faber
$1.95

January 10: Action Comics #719
(W) Michelinie, (P) Dwyer, (I) Rodier
$1.95

January 17: Marvel vs. DC #2 (of 4)
(W) David, (P) Jurgens/Castellini, (I) Rubinstein/Neary
48 pgs, $3.95
Superboy #25
(W) K. Kesel, (P) Grummett, (I) Hazlewood
LOSIN' IT: Part 1 (of 6)
48 pgs, $2.95
Superman: The Man of Steel #54
(W) L. Simonson, (P) Cowan, (I) Janke
$1.95

January 24: Showcase '96 #3 (of 12)
Black Canary, Oracle, and Lois Lane
(W) Gorfinkel, (P) Graves, (I) Burchett
Cover by Gary Frank
48 pgs, $2.95
Superman #110
(W) Jurgens, (P) Frenz, (I) Rubinstein
$1.95
January 31: Adventures of Superman #533
(W) K. Kesel, (P) Immonen, (I) Marzan Jr.
$1.95
Steel #25
(W) L. Simonson, (P) Gosier, (I) Faber
$1.95

February 7: Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #4
(W) Stern, (P) Grummett, (I) Breeding
$1.95

February 14: Action Comics #720
Written by David Michelinie
Art and Cover by Kieron Dwyer and Denis Rodier
$1.95

February 21: Marvel Versus DC #3 (of 4)
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Claudio Castellini and Paul Neary
and by Dan Jurgens and Josef Rubinstein
48 pgs, $3.95
Superboy #26
Written by Karl Kesel
Art by Staz Johnson and Doug Hazlewood
Cover by Grummett and Kesel
LOSIN' IT: Part 2 (of 6)
$1.95
Superman: The Man of Steel #55
Written by Louise Simonson
Art and Cover by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke
$1.95

February 28: Spider-Boy #1 (AMALGAM)
Written by Karl Kesel
Art and Cover by Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel
$1.95
Super Soldier #1 (AMALGAM)
Written by Mark Waid
Art and Cover by Dave Gibbons
$1.95

March 6: DC Versus Marvel #4 (of 4)
Written by Peter David
Art by Dan Jurgens, Claudio Castellini, Josef Rubinstein,
and Paul Neary
Cover by Jurgens and Rubinstein
48 pgs, $3.95
Showcase '96 #4
Firebrand and Guardian
Written by Brian Augustyn
Art by Scot Eaton
Cover by Lee Weeks
48 pgs, $2.95
Superman #111
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art and Cover by Ron Frenz and Josef Rubinstein
$1.95

March 13: Adventures of Superman #534
Written by Stuart Immonen and Karl Kesel
Art and Cover by Immonen and Jose Marzan Jr
$1.95
Steel #26
Written by Louise Simonson
Art and Cover by Phil Gosier and Rich Faber
$1.95

March 20: Action Comics #721
Written by David Michelinie
Art and Cover by Kieron Dwyer and Denis Rodier
$1.95

March 27: Superboy #27
Written by Karl Kesel
Art by Staz Johnson and Doug Hazlewood
Cover by Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel
LOSIN' IT: Part 3 (of 6)
$1.95
Superman: The Man of Steel #56
Written by Louise Simonson
Art and Cover by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke
$1.95

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPOILERS
------------------

February 28:
-----------
Spider-Boy #1 (Amalgam Comics)
HERE COMES THE AMAZING ARACH-KID! Everyone's favorite web-slinging teen
celebrity is caught between the rampage of Bizzarnage and the terror that
is King Lizard! Plus: appearances by the Challengers of the Fantastic,
the Guardian Angel, and more! Karl (SUPERBOY) Kesel and Mike (ROBIN)
Wieringo combine two of the most popular characters in comics and unleash
a wall-crawling maverick with a major attitude problem!

Super Soldier #1 (Amalgam Comics)
Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, America's
greatest super-powered hero of World War II is revived in modern times to
battle the undying menaces of Ultra-Metallo, the Green Skull, and the
subversive terrorist organization Hydra!

March 6:
-------
DC Versus Marvel #4
If you think the big battles are over, THINK AGAIN! The cosmic beings who
started a war between the greatest heroes of two universes aren't finished!
One way or another, the final outcome of their eternal rivalry -- and the
fate of the Amalgam Universe -- will be determined. And the key to
everything is the reluctant new hero known only as Access.

March 13:
--------
Adventures of Superman #534
Lord Satanus returns as the DMN-drug problem in Metropolis intensifies,
leaving the city at the mercy of rampaging, narcotic-addled monsters.
And while Superman tries to avert disaster, his relationship with Lois
continues to deteriorate. Plus, "good luck" continues to spread throughout
the city for everyone -- except Lois and Clark!

Steel #26
After his secret identity is revealed to the world, Steel's niece, Natasha,
gains superpowers and is forced to confront her uncle when he decides to
avenge the Irons family by killing Hazard.

March 20:
--------
Action Comics #721
Metropolis goes wild with "lottery fever" as the big jackpot grows to $25
million! And with the city in turmoil, Superman tries to discover who or
what is behind the mysterious explosion of "good luck".

March 27:
--------
Superboy #27
LOSIN' IT: Part 3 (of 6) - A fierce battle ensues when Superboy tries to
defend Knockout, who's being arrested by the Hawaii Special Crimes unit!
The adventurers' only solution: to become fugitives from the law!

Superman: The Man of Steel #56
The "good luck" in Metropolis comes seemingly to an end when Superman
discovers who has been manipulating his life and those of the Metropolitans.
Plus, Bibbo gets his shot at the Heavyweight Boxing Championship.

_____________________________________________________________
*************************************************************
End of Section 7/Issue #21

The Kryptonian Cybernet Issue 21 • Neperos (2024)
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