Superman Retrospective ’86 – ’99 pt. 7
You can check out the previous installments of this rather lengthy series here.
Adventures of Superman #430
Clark Kent goes through a bunch of personal problems in this issue, the first one as a result of missing a bunch of Daily Planet assignments because he was too busy flying around in his underwear and punching stuff. On top of that, he was also busy organizing his parents’ anniversary in Smallville but missed out on the party itself because he was too busy losing a fight against the C-list supervillain group the Fearsome Five.
The Fearsome Five is worth noting – they are enemies of the Teen Titans, but they ended up losing so much to the teenagers that they decided to pack up and go – all three of them. Did I mention that there are only three of them left but they kept the “Five” in their name? Maybe thinking of a new name is hard. Or maybe they’ve already created a website and paid for a domain name in advance and they don’t want that to go to waste.
So, anyway, The Fearsome Five, the geniuses that they are – decide that they have had enough of getting their asses kicked by the Teen Titans so they moved to Metropolis, which is home to a superhero who’s ten times more powerful than all the members of Teen Titans combined and it surprisingly worked well enough in their favor: because Superman is powered by rainbows, and when he’s sad there is nothing in the sky but rain.
A depressed Superman shows up at his parents’ home after everyone left the party and announces his decision to give up his Clark Kent identity. Pa Kent gives him a pep talk and convinces him Clark is just as important as Superman. The next day, a renewed Superman goes after the Fearsome Five and kicks all of the asses. He even makes some money from the fight by writing a headline article about it as Clark Kent, so everyone wins. (Except the Fearsome Five, and the editor being scammed by the reporter who secretly writes about himself.)
Action Comics #590
For the second time in one month, there’s an accident in a place Lois Lane is visiting. OK, now I’m sure she’s part of some sort of insurance scam. This time, Lois and Clark Kent are in a chemical plant when the railing breaks and Clark falls into a vat full of chemicals. Clark emerges with white skin and a smile frozen on his fa… nah, he’s all right. However, what no one knows is that this pool of chemicals is actually a supervillain named Chemo, who ended up here after getting defeated in another comic. After having Superman inside him, Chemo is able to replicate his Kryptonian powers and becomes a giant green version of the Man of Steel, naturally.
Super-Chemo flies to the headquarters of his old enemies the Metal Men and kidnaps the only Metal Woman, Platinum, for reasons that are unclear (I mean, neither of them has genitals). The Metal Men, by the way, are each named and have the properties of a different metal: Iron is a strongman, Mercury is irascible, Gold wears a monocle and calls everyone “chap,” and so on.
Superman and the Metal Men eventually defeat Chemo by shielding him from the sun’s rays, which is where he gets his mock-Superman powers. Superman then throws him to space, because that old strategy has never ended up causing any problems.
Superman is resting in Smallville after his fight with Rampage when some troublesome time-traveling teenagers called the Legion of Super-Heroes show up, claiming they knew him back when he was Superboy. Problem is, Superman never called himself Superboy when he was a kid, because that’s ridiculous. After a brief fight, Superman manages to convince the others that there’s no Superboy. Then Superboy shows up and freezes everyone with a stasis ray. What the Byrne is going on?
Adventures of Superman #431
A dude named Doctor Stratos woke up one day thinking that he’s a Greek god, and since this was in 1987 and Youtube hasn’t been invented yet, he decides to stroke his ego by picking a fight with the governments of the world using a weather-controlling machine. He has to use the machine because Doctor Stratos doesn’t really have any powers.
The number 1 protector of Earth and its governments, Superman, decides to save the day by going around the planet punching the freaky weather into shape, until he realized that it’s easier to just punch the guy controlling the weather. As proof that Superman isn’t the only non-genius in this issue, Stratos tries to bring Superman down with a lightning strike while he’s near enough to also get hit. Naturally, Superman shrugged off the lightning while Stratos’ stupid flaming corpse falls into the sea.
Then, on the last page and after Superman has left, Stratos emerges from the sea transformed into a massive, muscly pink giant. Turns out he WAS a god after all! The issue ends with this powerful creature the size of a mountain standing in the middle of the sea and vowing to kill Superman.
Unfortunately, the dude never appeared again. I guess he couldn’t swim.
That would be it for now. Stay tuned for the 8th part next week. I literally have a truckload of these comics so we can keep this going for a LONG time. In the meantime, you can add me on Twitter: @mrmxy or read the stuff I wrote for Cracked at http://www.cracked.com/members/Mxy