Posts tagged ‘John Byrne’

Action 591 – Superman vs Superboy


Keith Williams joins John Byrne on Action 591 (Aug. 87), the third part of a four-part story that clarifies the relationship between the Superboy from Legion of Super-Heroes, and Superman.


The story picks up from the previous issue of Superman, as Superboy freezes Blok, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid and Sun Boy, taking them to the Time Trapper, but leaving Superman free.


We have the story of Superboy and the Legion explained a different way, by the Time Trapper.  The Trapper took a small slice of the newly-formed universe, and molded it to his own liking.  When the Legion believed they were travelling back in time to meet Superboy, they were really travelling into the Time Trapper’s pocket universe, and meeting the Superboy he had created.


Superman winds up in the pocket universe, and is discovered by Pete Ross.  He thinks this is Superboy under the influence of red kryptonite, and brings him back to the Kent home, where Superman meets two people who are the Kents, but not his parents.


Superboy shows up, and a fight breaks out, with Krypto getting into the fray. Superman notes how much more powerful Superboy is, with the plus of an invulnerable cape.


Krypto sacrifices his powers and intelligence to retrieve some gold kryptonite, in a failed attempt to save his master from the evil Superman.


Pa Kent tries every kryptonite there is against Superman, but they are powerless on his physiology, being from a different universe.  Superboy admits that he wanted Superman to beat him, hoping that together they could defeat the Time Trapper.


But in the end, the Legionnaires convince Superman not to come along with them for their final battle with the Time Trapper.

This sets the new relationship between Superman and the Legion, which will exist, with some minor modifications, until Zero Hour.


Action 590 – Superman revives Chemo


Byrne and Giordano bring back the Metal Men’s most deadly enemy, as the team gets their first post-Crisis appearance in Action 590 (July 1987).


While touring a chemical factory, on a story with Lois Lane, Clark falls into a pit of waste fluids.  Although not toxic, he notices a tingling sensation.  The waste is the remains of Chemo, destroyed by Negative Woman during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, his mass had collected itself, but was unable to re-form.  Until it got a taste of super-cells.


The Metal Men are re-introduced as Dr. Will Magnus acts all strange about a secret room in his lab.  Platinum is too busy flirting to care.  Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury and Tin are all playing around with their usual banter, to Doc’s chagrin.


That all stops when Super-Chemo comes busting in.


Chemo has a number of Superman’s powers, thanks to the cell tissues that help make up his new form.  The Metal Men also take new, combined forms, which was not so often seen in the past.


But even merged into a giant entity, they are no match for Super-Chemo.  Superman sees the battle, and advises them to cut off the bring from sunlight, which charges his cells.


Without light, the super-cells lose their charge, and Superman uses his heat vision to boil Chemo away into steam.  He does return eventually.


Tin gets destroyed in the fight, but the Metal men expect Doc Magnus to rebuild him, as he always does.  Magnus refuses this time, to their shock.

This plotline continues when the Metal Men return in the book next year.

Action 589 – the Green Lantern Corps rescue Superman


Byrne and Giordano catch up with Superman in space in Action 589 (June 1987).


He is found, unconscious and just sort of floating there, by Arisia, who brings him back to the base the Green Lanterns are using at the moment.


Superman wakes up, still immersed in the plot of the previous issue, and it takes him a while to clue in that he is in a completely different story now.  The Green Lantern Corps who appear in this story are the line-up from the current, ongoing series. Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Katma Tui, Arisia, Kilowog, Salaak and Ch’p are the only Green Lanterns left, with the central power battery in ruins, at this point in their history.


They are trying to find a new home for a species of intelligent worms, the last survivors of their planet.


They find a potential mass of unused dirt in space, the same dirt left by Superman a few issues earlier.  It is still sort of “infected,” and causes some problems.


Superman adds his will power to that of the Lanterns, and together they transform the mass into a new home for the worms.  Yay!

Action 588 – Superman helps Hawkman and Hawkwoman against the Thanagarian fleet


Byrne and Giordano bring Superman into the climax of the Shadow War storyline that had been the mainstay of Hawkman through specials, a miniseries, and his own book’s first year, in Action 588 (May 1987).


The story takes place between issues 10 and 11 of Hawkman, and sees Superman and the Hawks on their spaceship, surrounded by the Thanagarian fleet.  Two of their adversaries are captive, Ved and Byth.


It is very much a middle chapter, but Byrne infuses it with plenty of action to keep it going.


Byth gets free, and uses his shape-changing powers to impersonate Hawkman, but Hawkwoman knows Katar would never attack her this way.  She defeats and re-imprisons Byth.


Superman and Hawkman scatter the Thanagarian fleet through hyperspace, but Superman gets lost as well.

While the Hawks continue in their own book, Superman’s plot thread is picked up in the next issue of Action.

Action 587 – Superman vs the Demon


Byrne and Giordano explore the supernatural weaknesses of Superman in Action 587 (April 1987), as he faces off against Etrigan, the Demon.


The story begins as Jason Bard goes to an antiques shop with Glenda Mark, Herry Matthews and Randu Singh.  Glenda finds an interesting box, but opening it causes no end of problems, as it emits spikes that transform humans into parts of a giant structure.


Superman thinks the growing building is the threat, and tries to break it up.  The Demon attacks him, and Superman is weakened and wounded by the magical enemy.  But the Demon has simply been trying to get Superman to stop injuring the innocents who make it up.


To get to the root of the problem, the Demon sends Superman back in time, to the era of Camelot.  Superman meets Jason Blood in that era as well, but does not realize he is the same man.


Morgan le Fay is the one behind the cursed box, and she uses her magic to form a stone chamber around Superman and Etrigan.  But the stone itself is not magical, and Superman has no problems bursting through it, and ending Morgan’s spell.


I particularly like the way the story ends, repeating the first page, but with nothing being inside the box.  And Superman flies by, having no contact with them at all.

Matt Wagner’s Demon miniseries follows this issue.

Action 586 – Superman – son of Darkseid


Action 586 (March 1987) is chapter 19 of Legends, and the third part of a Superman book story arc within Legends, which sees Superman brought to Apokolips, and made to believe he is the son of Darkseid.


Byrne and Giordano have Superman training under the tender touch of Granny Goodness.  The mental blocks needed to make him believe he is Darkseid’s son prevent him from using his full powers.


Orion and Lightray come to Apokolips, and while Amazing Grace tries, and fails, to seduce Lightray, Orion takes on Superman.  Orion really is the son of Darkseid, and is amused when Superman calls himself that.  He manages to break Darkseid’s programming of the hero.


Superman attempts to confront Darkseid, enraged at what he had been made to do, but Darkseid uses his omega beams to return Superman to Earth, in time for the final issue of Legends.

Action 585 – Superman and the Phantom Stranger vs mud


A month before the Legends crossover series begins, the Phantom Stranger, who will play a major role in that, gets a re-introduction of sorts in his team-up with Superman in Action 585 (Feb.87), by Byrne and Giordano.


You gotta love the Stranger standing in a graveyard and expounding eternal truths to open the story.


Superman defeats a mystical villain, whose power resided in the gemstone of a staff.  He takes away the villain, but neglects the stone, which lands in a graveyard, and somewhat re-animates the dead.


The Phantom Stranger alerts Superman to the situation, and leaves him to deal with the physical manifestation of the problem, a huge living mound of dirt.


The Stranger enters the “soul” of the monster, and finds the angry and bitter dead have taken control of the being, fed by the gemstone.  The Phantom Stranger evokes the spirits of those at peace, and releases the others from the gem’s control.


The big mound of earth gets left in space, where it will be used again in a story a few months down the road.

Action 584 – Superman vs the New Teen Titans


After a three month break, during which the reboot of Superman was introduced in the Man of Steel miniseries, Action Comics returns as a Superman team-up book, launching with John Byrne and Dick Giordano pitting Superman against some of the New Teen Titans.


Superman appears to be on a crazy rampage when Cyborg gets involved.  He calls in the other Titans, but only Wonder Girl, Changeling and Jericho are part of this story.


Jericho inhabits Superman’s body and takes control, but we discover he is not the only one who has taken it over that day.  A brilliant, but crippled, scientist lured Superman into a trap, pretending it was an experiment.  They get him to switch things back.


A pretty simple story, almost disappointingly so.  Lex Luthor appears on the last page, setting up the story in the next issue of Superman.  For the first few years, the Superman books would often run with tight continuity between them.

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