Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Adventures of Superman #467 (1990)


Adventures of Superman #467 (June, 1990)
"Dark Knight over Metropolis, Part Two: Taken to the Grave"
Writer/Artist - Dan Jurgens
Ink Artist - Art Thibert
Letterer - Albert DeGuzman
Colorist - Glenn Whitmore
Associate Editor - Jonathan Peterson
Editor - Mike Carlin
Cover Price: (Still only) $0.75

Welcome back for part two of Dark Knight over Metropolis, where... I do believe our crossover heroes actually share some panels!

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We open with Superman flying over the streets of Metropolis.  It seems he's a bit off his game... perhaps preoccupied, because... he is in his city.  We flashback to Clark Kent returning to his apartment after his date with Lois only to find his patio door open.  He initially feared he'd been the victim of a robbery, until he saw a note from the Batman.  How adorable is it that Batman signs his correspondence with the bat logo?


He shift scenes over to Batman as he performs some detective work at the morgue.  He'd found some intel regarding a recent homicide victim who had traces of radioactivity on her person... we heard all about that in the first chapter, remember?  It's really pretty neat that Batman's captions during this bit are designed to look like they are pieces of print-outs from a dot-matrix printer.


While he procures a set of prints from the cadaver in question, he is approached by a security officer with his gun drawn and pointed.  Batman refuses to answer any of his questions, and leaves in spite of threats to sound the alarm.


As luck would have it, Superman hears the alarm and decides it would be in his best interest to head in its direction.  Along the way, he believes he sees Batman running across a rooftop.  Upon closer inspection, the roof dweller is our old friend, Gangbuster!  Gotta wonder how Superman thought a dude with a round helmet and no cape might be Batman.  I mean, I get that it's nighttime, but still... c'mon.  The two briefly chat, and we learn that Jose is staked out on the roof to keep an eye on Intergang-target, Cat Grant.  Moments later, Batman does join them... and pulls Superman away so that they might speak in private.


After the World's Finest leave, Jose is joined on the roof by... Cat Grant!  He insists she return home, as it's far too dangerous for her to remain.  At that very moment, the roof gives way, and Gangbuster falls to the floor below... where he gets kayoed by Mannheim freelancer, Shockwave.  It is here we learn that the Cat Grant on the roof was just a shape-shifted Chiller.  The baddies chat, with Chiller then taking the form of Jose Delgado himself!


Shortly the heroes arrive at a car that Alfred has fitted with computer equipment.  They scan the photo Batman took of the corpse at the morgue so it might be reconstructed to give them a better lead.  When the corrected-photo pops out, Superman immediately recognizes the face of the woman who had recently approached him with not only his secret identity... but a Kryptonite ring!


Superman spills all the details of the event and Batman remains tight-lipped about his being in possession of the ring.  Superman posits that the ring is likely somehow connected to Luthor, and so the pair decide to head to LexCorp to begin their investigation.  Once they arrive, Superman shorts out the surveillance equipment... which, one would imagine would be a big help.  Unfortunately, the security detail can still track them by body heat.  Anyhoo, they head deep into "Sector Lex" and come across the podium which held the ring.  Batman taps into the computer to check on their Jane Doe... and is able to deduce that the body belongs to an Amanda Marie McCoy.  They escape before security arrives.


We shift scenes to Cat Grant's apartment.  She is getting ready to attend the big Zenith Awards Banquet... and her "scrumptious" date/bodyguard Jose Delgado has just arrived.


We then jump ahead to that very same banquet.  It's certainly a who's who of Metropolis, with a focus on the journalism elite.  Lois and Clark attend as a couple, and before they can get too comfortable they are approached by... Bruce Wayne!  It appears as though this scene is the first (post-Crisis) meeting between Lois and Bruce, though I might be mistaken.


Moments later we observe another important first (post-Crisis) meeting.  This time it's Bruce Wayne meeting Lex Luthor!  Lex is particularly jovial on this night... which Clark immediately attributes to Lex knowing that he and Superman are one in the same... because, ya know... Amanda McCoy knew, so why not her boss?  Turns out, however, Lex might just be in a good mood... and happy to see the fella (Clark) who saved his life a little while back.


Moments later a platoon of Intergang baddies descend from the sky above.  Johnny-on-the-Spot Steve Lombard decides to capture the entire event on camera... much to (television viewer) Morgan Edge's aggravation.  Gotta say, it's funny to see Edge eating a can of beans for dinner!


Clark heads off to change into his "work clothes" when a beam is fired at him.  Luthor dives on Clark to save him from the blast.  Not only did Lex "save Clark's life" he illustrated to Clark that he hasn't the foggiest clue that he's really Superman.


Lex and Clark share a "now we're even" moment before Clark brings Lois to safety.  He then uses his heat vision to heat up the water in a nearby pool to create a wall of steam, in which he can change clothes.  Batman is holding his own against the ground forces, and so Superman flies up to the craft that brought them in... well, he flies through it, actually.  No worries though, he first used his x-ray vision to ensure there would be no casualties.


After the fracas, Superman notices that Cat Grant is missing.  We then shift to Shockwave... who has Gangbuster hung up on a wall.  B-b-but, if Gangbuster's there... how could Jose Delgado be with Cat?!  Well, I'm glad you asked... because we now learn that Cat's on a date with a shape-shifted Chiller... and she is just ripe for an abduction.


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Now it feels like we're getting somewhere!

I enjoyed this chapter a whole lot more than the previous.  Not to say that was a bad issue, because it wasn't... it was just so heavy with sub-plots.  This installment truly felt like it was part of this story, where part one felt like a bridge between a previous story and this one.  Can't fault it, it's just the way the system was designed.

Anyhoo... yeah, thought this was pretty great.  I'm a sucker for important moments, and (if I'm not mistaken) this issue had a couple.  We got Bruce Wayne meeting Lois Lane and Lex Luthor.  Both introductions felt completely organic... and not at all forced.  It would stand to reason that Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor would eventually meet, being as though they are both big in business.  I'm actually surprised there was no mention of them having met before this.  I guess this issue had the benefit of happening before "the 90's" fully set in, and everybody had to have a nebulous and unspoken connection with everyone else.

I dug seeing Batman use some detective skill here.  Scenes like the one in the morgue truly illustrate why Batman is always a step or two ahead of everyone else.  From what we see here, he is a research machine, and follows up on his findings and hunches.  This is the kind of Batman I love... it's not an arrogant "smartest guy in the room" type of thing like we get so often, instead it's an obsessed "need to solve this" kinda thing.  That fits my view of what Batman is (and should be).  Makes me sad that we never got a long Dan Jurgens run on the Dark Knight.  I think he would have done a phenomenal job with the character.

I've long said that one of the things that kept me away from DC Comics as a kid was that I thought the villains were, by and large, pretty lame.  Outside of some of the biggies, I thought they were really lacking when compared to what Marvel was offering.  When I saw Chiller and Shockwave in the earlier chapter, those feelings flooded my head.  Lame villains.  Here, however, Jurgens was able to make them work... and work amazingly well!

The scene with Chiller and Cat... is truly horrifying.  When I read this the first time, I'd somehow forgotten about the scene where Jose gets kayoed.  So, when he arrived to escort Cat to the banquet a few pages later, I thought nothing of it.  Reading it back, however... that's a (no pun intended) chilling scene!

Overall, a great issue... and one that I'd definitely recommend.  Like we discussed yesterday, it's available digitally, and for your convenience, has been collected in trade paperback.

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