Archive for Superman Week

25th Anniversary Review of John Byrne’s Man of Steel Part II

Posted in 80s, comic books, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , on July 7, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

John Byrne’s historic six issue mini series, The Man of Steel, just turned 25 years old.  The series would (re)introduce Superman after the Crisis on Infinite Earths mega event which finished up early Summer 1986.  I am reviewing the series for it’s 25th anniversary. On Wednesday, I reviewed issues #1 – 3. Today, I’m going to review issues #4-6.  For more information about Crisis on Infinite Earths, see my article on Strange Kid’s Club here.

MOS 4
Issue 4 gives us a full introduction to the new Lex Luthor. Instead of the bald mad scientist we all know, Lex has been re-imagined into more of a business mogul, a la Donald Trump. And I think it works much better. In the beginning of this issue, Clark and Lois are going to a party thrown by Lex, so Lois shows up at Clark’s apartment to pick him up. We see several awesome panels of Clark shaving with his heat vision and Lois discovering Clark’s barbells which he keeps to explain why he is in such great shape. But Lois comments they are too light for Clark to keep such a great figure and Clark has to mentally remind himself to get heavier weights (he can’t judge very well because he has super strength). Clark and Lois then head to the event on Luthor’s yacht and it is besieged by terrorists during the party. Superman saves the day, takes down the terrorists, and then Luthor tries to hire him into his payroll all while explaining that he knew the terrorists were going to hijack the boat but he did nothing so he could see Superman in action. The mayor was in attendance and justifiably angry that Lex put all of his party goers in danger, so he has Superman arrest Luthor.  Luthor’s lawyers have him out in less than two hours but afterwards he confronts Superman and literally threatens to kill him in front of everyone in the city in the near future.  And boasts that he’ll never be arrested for it.  It’s intense.

MOS 5
In issue 5, Byrne starts things off with a clever inside joke.  There is a great shot of Superman holding up Luthor’s green battle armor from the Kenner Super Powers toy line.  A sly little reference that illustrates why I love Byrne’s writing.  Anyway, this issue introduces Bizarro although he’s never really called that within the story.  In the beginning, we see Superman holding the aforementioned green armor in front of Luthor accusing him of a bunch of things having to do with that armor.  Luthor, of course, feigns ignorance and lists out all the reasons why Superman can’t prove Luthor had anything to with the armor.  Realizing he has no proof, Superman leaves while proclaiming that he will someday make Luthor pay for all of his crimes.  While he was in the office, Luthor scanned Superman’s cellular structure with the intent of creating a super duplicate. The results are immediately fed into a cloning tank (instead of waiting to properly analyze the data) that seemingly successfully creates a duplicate of Superman. However, the duplication process was built on the assumption Superman was a mutated human being and the discrepancy caused the duplicate to fail and collapse (which, as I said, could have been avoided by properly analyzing the data first). Luthor, now armed with the knowledge that Superman is an alien, orders the duplicate destroyed.  Next, we meet Lois’ blind sister Lucy. She is so distraught by her recent loss of sight that she attempts to jump off the balcony of her sister’s apartment. Bizarro saves her (we have to assume he escaped because we aren’t told), but she’s blind so she thinks it’s Superman. Superman runs into Bizarro, who has disguised himself as a Bizarro-Clark, and immediately gets into a fistfight with him (sort of a hallmark of Byrne’s Superman). They battle each other for the rest of the issue throughout downtown Metropolis. Finally, Bizarro and Superman collide in a spectacular mid-air collision that reduces Bizarro to a fine dust that falls over Lucy Lane and cures her blindness.  We are led to believe that the creature somehow knew its sacrifice would cure Lucy’s blindness.

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25th Anniversary Review of John Byrne’s Man of Steel Part I

Posted in 80s, Batman, comic books, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

John Byrne’s historic six issue mini series, The Man of Steel, just turned 25 years old.  It was released during the Summer of 1986 to “clean up” the ever increasing super powers and ever more complicated back story of DC’s flagship super hero. For years, this series was the official origin of the post-Crisis Superman.  What’s “post-Crisis”?  Glad you asked.

Twenty six years ago (Apr 1985), DC released their multiverse changing event Crisis on Infinite Earths. I discussed the genesis of that historical mini-series over on Strange Kid’s Club in a very special installment of Forgotten Favorites. That megaseries changed the landscape of the DC Universe. It ushered in a time of change. Heroes died.  Heroes lived.  But after all was said and done, everyone had to pick up the pieces and move on.

Crisis #1

DC was using the event to update and modernize their heroes. After the event was over,  George Perez would relaunch the post-Crisis Wonder Woman.  Batman’s origin would be expanded and revamped in Frank Miller’s famous Batman: Year One. And it also was time for DC to give Superman a new start. In the years leading up to Crisis, Superman had become entirely too powerful. I talked about some of his more ridiculous “super powers” earlier this week. The time of Superman igniting suns with his heat vision and juggling planets had come to an end. Crisis writer Marv Wolfman pitched DC on a Superman reboot that would eliminate the super pets, the surprisingly large number of Kryptonian survivors and power down the Man of Steel to more “normal” levels. Wolfman even wanted to eliminate Superman’s adventures as Superboy. Surprisingly, Wolfman made a similar pitch to DC back in the 70s but they rejected it. Now DC was all ears.

Wolfman decided to hire popular writer/artist John Byrne (who had just left Marvel) to help him flesh out the details of the story. Wolfman and Byrne sequestered themselves away and came up with a multi-year plan for the new Man of Steel.  A month or so after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, John Byrne would kick off Superman’s triumphant return with a 6 issue mini-series (re)introducing the new post-Crisis Superman to comic readers.  At the end of that series, Byrne would take over writing and drawing Action Comics and the new Superman title and Marv Wolfman would take over writing Adventures of Superman with Jerry Ordway drawing.

Man of Steel 1b

Each issue of Byrne’s 6 issue series would re-introduce aspects of the Superman mythos back into the DC Universe.  I’ll take a quick look at the first 3 issues today, then I’ll look at the final three issues tomorrow.  I haven’t read this series since the mid ’90s, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s still any good or if it’s totally dated.

Let’s find out.

MOS 1a
Issue 1’s prologue begins on Krypton and we learn that this new Krypton is very similar to the Richard Donner version from the movies. It’s very scientific, the landscape is antiseptic and the people are detached from each other. However, despite being highly evolved, their planet is dying. Jor-El is making preparations to rocket his son to Earth. He explains to Lara that he chose Earth because the yellow sun would super charge his Kryptonian cells, making him a “super” man and superior to humans so he can one day rule the planet. The rocket takes off, we see the planet explode and then the prologue ends. We pick up with Clark in high school. He’s a football star. A jock. And kind of a douche. And he’s unaware that he’s an alien. Pa Kent shows him the crash site and explains how he was found in the fields after crashing to Earth. Clark must come to terms with not being human and learning to deal with his burgeoning powers. In the epilogue we see Clark, with help from Ma and Pa Kent, create his super suit and the disguise for Clark Kent. The suit is normal fabric. We learn that Clark emits a force field around his body that protects things close to him, like his clothes. Things outside the field, like his cape, can be torn up or destroyed.

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12 of Superman’s Most Absurd Pre-Crisis Super Powers

Posted in 80s, comic books, nostalgia, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , on July 4, 2011 by Paxton

Superman Week

Everyone knows the many standard powers of Superman; fly, super-strength, super-speed, super-breath, invulnerable, heat-vision, etc.  Not everyone knows, though, that he didn’t always have many of these abilities. Not only that, Superman has several other super powers that are less used, but still kept in his back pocket for just the right moment when he can whip it out and dazzle everyone.

As the years went on, and writers kept getting more…”creative”…Supes powers were quickly growing and getting more out of control. These little known powers had stacked up over the years until finally DC had to say, “Dammit, that’s enough” and launched the massive Crisis on Infinite Earths event to just level the playing field.

Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known, and therefore more humorous, of Superman’s Pre-Crisis abilities .  I’ll include panels of Superman using the ridiculous powers when I can.  If you have trouble reading the text, click the images to make them bigger.

Super Ventriloquism 1 Super Ventriloquism 2
Super-Ventriloquism and other voice “powers” – Not only Super-V, he had a whole bag full of voice powers that writers tended to wield at their hip like gunslingers. Superman could throw his voice over great distances and also possessed super-voice-mimicry, which means he could make his voice sound like anyone else. That power must come in handy at parties when you are stuck talking to the guy who won’t leave you alone and keeps asking you to come check out his “sweet van” out in the parking lot.  The one painted all white with no windows (aka RAPE van).  If you were Supes, you could throw your voice across the room as someone else calling your name and you can get the hell out of there. Nicely done, Superman.  Or, you could just punch a hole in the rapist’s face because you are, you know, SUPERMAN.

Super Mathematics
Super-MathematicsSuper Mathematics? That looks a lot like regular mathematics to me. By the way, Super Douche, isn’t 20 x 16 x 10 = 3,200?

Super Weaving
Super-Weaving – Yes, that actually happened.  Super weaving.  Not weaving at super speed.  Super-weaving.

Super Hypnosis
Super-Hypnosis – Apparently this is why no one recognizes Clark Kent is Superman.  And it apparently works even when he isn’t concentrating on using it (I guess that’s what makes it super hypnosis?).  However, I prefer to ignore this power and assume that everyone in Metropolis is just that dumb to notice they are the same person.  Or they really just don’t care.

Super Telepathic Will Control
Super-Telepathic Will Control – In an early issue of Superman where he’s kidnapped by aliens, he whips out telepathic will control, which allows him to override someone’s mind and make their body do whatever Superman wants.  If he can do this, then why would he ever need Super Hypnosis?

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Review of Superman Returns

Posted in movies, reviews, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , on June 30, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

Well, I finally made it. Day 5 of Superman Week. I think I may take a small break next week to recover.

Well, in case you missed a day and want to go back, here are links to the last 4 days of Superman Week:

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Day 2 – Scary Superman Merchandise
Day 3 – Review of Christopher Reeve Superman Movies
Day 4 – Stupid Superman Powers

That’s enough looking back, let’s move forward with Day 5.

Superman Returns

I’m going to keep this review simple because you really need to go into this knowing as little as possible. But know this, for me, this is the perfect followup to Superman I and Superman II. Brandon Routh IS Superman. Kevin Spacey IS Lex Luthor. The story is phenomenal, the effects are gorgeous, the dialogue is crisp. I loved every minute of it. Bryan Singer has taken great pains to make this movie “fit” into the universe started by Richard Donner back in 1978. The Fortress of Solitude, the opening credits, Superman’s ship crashing on Earth. All of it has the appearance it did back in Donner’s footage of Superman and Superman II. Even Marlon Brando returns as Superman’s Father. It all just fits together so well.

As for performances. Brandon Routh is wonderful as Superman. He plays the separate roles of Superman/Clark Kent superbly. Kevin Spacey is particularly menacing with a tinge of insanity as Lex Luthor. I even enjoyed Lois’ boyfriend and little kid. As far as Kate Bosworth, I’m still not COMPLETELY sold on her, but I thought she did a good job as Lois. This is not necessarily a minus for me, as in the original Superman, I didn’t like Margot Kidder, but I thought she did an okay job. So that’s just one more thing to help it “feel” like the orignal movies.

So, I’m not going to say anymore. The special effects were awesome, the acting was great and the story was phenomenal. Go see it. You will NOT be disappointed.

A few final tidbits…..


Bryan Singer used all the main Superman themes from John William’s score of the original movie. It was great to hear it. It made me dig out my old CD of Superman – The Movie. The one that was released by Rhino in 2000. It is all released and unreleased musical cues from the original Superman: The Movie. It’s awesome to listen to as I enjoy listening to instrumental movie scores when I work on the computer (Back to the Future, Star Wars, Superman, etc.) I might even get the Superman Returns soundtrack.


I actually bought the Superman Returns movie novelization by Marv Wolfman a month or so ago when it was released. I’ve been sitting on it until I saw the movie. You can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be reading this as soon as I finish the 2 books I’m reading right now.

Superman Which Way
My friend Marlene actually gave me this book. It brought back a lot of elementary school memories. Everyone remember Which Way? books? They were awesome. Just thought this was a neat little gift. Thanks, Mar. In case you were wondering here are the other books in this particular series.

Well, that concludes Superman week. Hope you enjoyed it because I may take a break for a week or so. Hope everyone has a good one and I’ll see you when I update again.

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The many ridiculous powers of Superman

Posted in comic books, humor, pop culture, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , on June 29, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

Day 4, my friends. Hope you are enjoying the daily updates as it’s about to kill me. I’m trying to work in these articles in the middle of working on stuff at the office. It’s fun but I don’t think I could go daily for any longer a length of time. Yikes. Anywho, today’s topic discusses the plethora of super-powers that Superman has been imbued with over the years. It is shocking how much power Superman has been given since his first appearance in Action Comics #1. I want to thank SuperDickery.com for the comic panels I’m about to use. They have a great site with lots of funny stuff about Superman. Check them out.

Everyone knows the many standard powers of Superman. He can fly, super-strength, super-speed, super-breath, invulnerable, heat-vision, etc, etc. Not everyone knows that he didn’t always have many of these abilities. Not only that, Superman has several other super powers that are less used, but still kept in his back pocket for just the right moment when he can whip it out and dazzle everyone. Today I’ll discuss the lesser known powers given to Superman by writers that needed a way out of a stupid story. Regardless of the reason, writers kept tacking on new powers for Superman each year. Supes was becoming so powerful that writers were having to come up with crazier situations to make it interesting, then they needed a new power to get out of that situation. It’s a never-ending cycle. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known, and therefore more humorous, of Superman’s abilities.

One of the more popular (by writers) powers Supes possesed was super-ventriloquism. Not only Super-V, he had a whole bag full of voice powers that writers tended to wield at their hip like gunslingers. Superman could throw his voice over great distances and also possesed super-voice-mimicry, which means he could make his voice sound like anyone else. That power must come in handy at parties when you are stuck talking to the dud who won’t leave you alone. You know the guy, he keeps talking about World of Warcraft and how his level 45 demon owns that level 40 gryphon from Akron, OH. If you were Supes, you could throw your voice across the room as someone else calling your name and you can get the hell out of there. Nicely done, Superman.

Next up on the “wha-huh?!” list of super powers is Super-Mathematics. What is Super-Mathematics? Check this out for a demonstration. That looks like regular mathematics to me, Superman. I guess Super-Mathematics is really just regular mathematics, but faster and more super. And isn’t 20 x 16 x 10 = 3,200?

And if you thought it was Superman’s muscles or good-looks that made Lois fall in love with him…OH NO. Apparently, Superman also possessed Super-Kisses. Yes, you read that correctly, Super-Kisses. I heard someone in the back call shenanigans on that one, but you can see for yourself.

For all of you quilters and knitters out there, you were undoubtably drawn to reading Superman comics when you found out he had Super-Weaving powers. Now, to answer the question “Isn’t that just Superman weaving at super-speed?” before it’s even asked, I say no, only because it was much cooler and more impressive to say that he had a super-weaving power. Or is that just me?

You know the age-old question, how come NO ONE can see Clark Kent is Superman? The answer is Super-Hypnosis. But I prefer the explanation that everyone is just that DUMB. So Superman is now the Amazing Kreskin? “Someone needs saving. Someone whose name starts with B. Is there someone whose name starts with B, here? Anyone? How about a C?” Wait, that was mind-reading, not hypnosis, wasn’t it? Moving on…

Speaking of dumb, welcome to the wonderful world of Super-Landscaping. Once again, you have to wonder if super-landscaping isn’t just a fancy name for “planting stuff at super speed”. But that’s just me. Maybe I should try that, running around my yard as fast as I can throwing plants at the ground. Think it would work?

Okay, this is ridiculous. At this point, the writers are WAY out of control. Superman now has Super-Hunches?! I think they are just taking verbs and sticking the word Super in front of it. “I was Super-Walking across the street and a cop gave me a ticket for Super-Jaywalking. I had to Super-Call my lawyer to Super-Bail me out of jail. How Super-Embarrassing is that?” It’s Super-Stupid. Ditto for Super-Friction. Welding together bars with Super-Friction? With all of his other powers did Superman somehow get Super-Alzheimer’s and not remember that he has HEAT VISION which would also work?

Today’s final power I am going to discuss pretty much assumes you have no one but participants in the Special Olympics reading your comic. Writers labeled it Super-Makeup, but I call it “putting on a disguise”. The hell? If this is a super power then I could be a super hero. I get super-dressed in the morning then I get clean in a super-shower. Where’s my comic book?

Well, I hope you enjoyed this rundown of some of Superman’s crazier abilities that you may not have been aware of. Tonight Steph and I are going to see Superman Returns so I, myself, will return tomorrow for the final day of Superman Week and my review of Superman Returns.

Peace Out!

Check out the other days of Superman Week here:

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Day 2 – Scary Superman Merchandise
Day 3 – Review of Christopher Reeve Superman Movies
Day 5 – Review of Superman Returns

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