Superman (vol.2) #70 (1992)

Superman (vol.2) #70 (August, 1992)
“Raising the Stakes”
Story & Art – Dan Jurgens
Finished Art – Brett Breeding
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor – Dan Thorsland
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $1.25

Man, all these vampires wanna dig their fangs into the Man of Steel…

We open with Superman and Robin discussing the best way to take care of a vampire.  Robin stands firm that the only way is a stake through the heart, while Superman would rather that be an absolute last-ditch approach.  He considers the vampires to still be “people”, despite Robin’s thoughts to the contrary.  He cites Batman as having told him that “extreme problems require extreme solutions”.

They decide to pop in on a convalescing Jimmy Olsen.  This is apparently the second part of a two-part story… I’ll have to try and dig out part one… he’s currently got himself a busted wing, however, he’d much rather be out looking for his girlfriend Lucy Lane (who has recently suffered a vampire bite) than laying in hospital.  He asks Superman to find and help her.

Superman agrees and flies off, leaving the boys behind.  Once he’s out of earshot, Robin and Jimmy (who Tim calls “Red” for most of this issue) decide to take matters into their own hands… yeah, that sounds like a good idea, right?

Meanwhile… in Hell, Little Burp is reporting to Blaze that while reconciling their soul count, they’ve come up a bit short.  Blaze demands to know what’s going on, and he reveals that the problem appears to be bound to Metropolis.  Blaze says “he” must be interfering… that he, if I’m not mistaken (and I very well might be), is her brother Satanus.

Blaze takes a look into Metropolis to see what’s what, and witnesses Sam Foswell, formerly of the Daily Planet, about to commit suicide via leaping off a bridge.  She decides to take the form of an angel to convince him to allow her to “save his soul”.  She leaves him floating for a moment, before he starts to fall again.

Just in time for Superman to nyoink him outta the sky…

We shift scenes to Lucy Lane’s apartment where the vampiric Baron Ruthven climbs into her window.  He informs her that it is dark… and safe.  She then leans her head back, allowing him to plunge his fangs into her throat.

We get a brief bit with Red (and) Robin, where they use a fancy modem to tap into Lucy’s alarm system.  They discover that somebody broke in just moments earlier, and realize it’s time to make their move.  Meanwhile, Superman arrives to the Lane apartment only to find it… empty.  Well, not completely empty, there is a (very thick and viscous) puddle of blood.

So where’s Lucy?  Well, that’s easy… She, Ruthven, and a group of other vamps have convened at… a graveyard.  C’mon, Baron… what’s with the cliches?  Anyhoo, Jimmy and Robin come driving up the way.  Robin asks Red if he’s willing to make a pretty big sacrifice to improve their odds… and so, they put the pedal to the metal… and bail out just before Jimmy’s ride goes careening into a tree by the clan o’ vamps.

Baron Ruthven nabs the boys by their collars acting like he’s an undead Mr. Belding, but as luck would have it… and according to plan, Superman was alerted by Jimmy’s car going boom… and he’s here to pull their fat out of the fire.

A battle rages… Superman is powerless against Ruthven’s magic-based powers, Robin is jumping about while wielding an oaken stake and we even get a brief look at Jimmy Olsen “Man of Action” as he serves up some chin music for his undead girlfriend.

After the tussle, Ruthven holds down a struggling Superman and invites Lucy to come “take a bite”.  With her back turned, Robin pounces with designs on plunging that stake through her… man, Tim… you just really wanna stab a vampire, don’tcha?  Anyhoo, Robin ain’t all that successful, as Jimmy jumps him before he makes contact.  Robin’s all “good job, jackass… now we’ve got an undead Superman!”

Well, no… of course we don’t.  As soon as Lucy’s fangs break Clark’s skin, there is a burst of hell-fire light with the intensity of the Sun.  I thought for a moment this was the whole “Superman is a solar battery” thing, but alas… it’s all Satanus’ doing.

All of the vamps in training are cured, and Baron Ruthven winds up impaling himself on a World War I statue’s bayonet.

The issue wraps up with Sam Foswell returning home and running into Mr. Thornton from NewsTime who has a job offer for him.  He takes this as a sign that his guardian angel is really looking out for him.  The pair go for a stroll, and we see that one of Ruthven’s vampire gals is watching in the distance.

I don’t think this is an unpopular opinion, but I always dig Superman and Robin team-ups.  There’s just such a different dynamic that that between Batman and Robin.  You get the feeling that Superman is like the cool uncle, or older brother who went away to college while Robin was still quite young.  Just a lot of fun seeing them interact.

Speaking of interacting… Jimmy and Robin… how many times was Tim gonna call poor Olsen “Red”… I lost count halfway through.  Not too big a deal, just got a bit grating there.  I mean, Jimmy’s been through so much… undead girlfriend, broken arm… last thing he needs is a cute name from Tim.

Considering I wouldn’t start following the Superman books until… oh, ya know… a few months after this, the Blaze/Satanus thing was a story I’d totally missed out on, so I’m not totally clear on what it’s all about.  From the bits included here, I think I probably ought to get around to reading it sometime soon… but I’m saying that a lot lately.

Overall, this was a fun issue.  It’s not often enough that Robin hangs out with Superman… and it was a blast seeing Jimmy in action as well.

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