Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Superman: Post-Crisis Punch-up #4

So here we are safely out the other side of our three-issue crossover and back to our regularly scheduled program. We're in month four of our Post-Crisis Superman coverage, that takes us up to April 1987. So let's get down to business and see who was on top of the pile:

Action Comics #587: In what is a shocking reversal of fortunes Action Comics drops from top dog to runt of the little for it's April '87 offering. What makes it even more surprising is that this issue takes us back to the Action Comics as Superman Team-Up format that we've been loving since the reboot. This time Big Blue is teamed-up with one of my favorite DC characters of all time Etrigan the Demon! The art was also top notch and included a beautifully rendered Kryptonian/Demon throw-down. Sadly it was a lackluster story that let the side down in this one when Jason Blood's occult dabbling pals accidentally turn themselves into giant magical...um...skyscrapers?? It's not really clear but we do know when Supes, trying as usual to solve the world's every problem with a knuckle sandwich, punches them - they bleed. With a quick smidgen of time travel, a dash of busting into a poor old peasant's home and a sprinkle of smashing up Morgan Le Fay's magical doohickey  - Poof! Everything's back to good, Marty McFly style. Plus Etrigan didn't rhyme - it's always more fun when Etrigan rhymes.

Adventures of Superman #427: With Action Comics faltering this month Ordway and Wolfman see their chance and hit us with the most interesting issue of Adventures of Superman so far. This issue sees Superman attacking the Middle Eastern terrorist nation Qurac under the mental manipulation of a burka wearing, sewer-dwelling, telepathic, anthropomorphic cat! We're treated to Big Blue storming the palace and pounding on the evil genocidal Quraqui president until the telepathic cat's assault sends him spiraling into a series of discombobulating visions. Visions of his biological, asshat parents, of his revenge hungry villains, of Lois, Cat Grant and Lana Lang having a slut-off for his attention and, for some reason, Godzilla? Any way the strain of the mental assaults leaves Supes confused and restless, his cat-faced adversary dead and the cat-man's skull-faced wife and her burka-clad associates (a mysterious group known as the  Circle) hot for some Super-blood. Mystery, Intrigue...we like it...well we like more than we like giant robot caterpillars anyway.

Superman v2 #4: It's got a great cover, a beefy, teched-out, gun-toting villain straight out of the 90s - but in the 80s and a wonderfully clunky emotional pay-off. This is 80s comics as I remember them best. So a big masked goofball calling himself Bloodsport is shooting up Metropolis because people don't appreciate their hard-won freedom enough! Supes is unable to simply swoop in and stop him because dude's got teleport tech and Kryptonite bullets. It's all as ludicrous and wonderful as it sounds - including a short moment of Jimmy Olsen 'Action Hero'! It all builds to a final confrontation where Supes, having negated Bloodsport weapons teleporter, by using his brain for a change, forces the big galoot to play his trump card - his big atomic trump card. But before he can blow Metropolis to kingdom come Jimmy shows up wtih Bloodsport's war veteran, paraplegic brother in tow.
Dammit Lil Bro, What've I Told You About Borrowing My Bazooka Without Asking?

 Turns out Bloodsport dodged enlistment and his brother took his place and got himself blown to kibbles and bits. His guilt over his brother getting injured in his place is what drove him to all this hot lead tomfoolery. So Bloodsport's kill-frenzy ends with him weeping and hugging his brother for all he's worth. Go Jimmy. Nothing earth-shattering here, no paradigm shifting revelations, there were even some clunky moments - but an enjoyable Superman story told with heart. Nice job Mr Byrne.
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