Superman (vol.2) #5 (May, 1987)
“The Mummy Strikes”
Writer/Penciller – John Byrne
Inker – Karl Kesel
Colorist – Tom Ziuko
Letterer – John Costanza
Editors – Andrew Helfer & Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $0.75
Well, he’s fought vampires and werewolves… why not throw in a mummy for good measure?
We open on a scene of Superman and Wonder Woman fighting off a pair of metallic dog-like robots. They each grab one by the tail and swing them into one another. Job well done, Wonder Woman begins to leave… only for Superman to take her by the hand. They come together and look into each other’s eyes… and they look to be about to kiss, when… Clark Kent wakes up. He sits up in bed, and recalls how ever since he’d met Wonder Woman (during Legends) he hasn’t been able to get her out of his head.
The next morning, Clark arrives to work at the Daily Planet… he’s wearing a bit of a five o’clock shadow, a fact nobody is going to let him forget… kinda makes me realize I wouldn’t do so good if I worked at the Planet. Anyhoo, after a bit of “shmoozing” with Cat Grant… if your definition of shmoozing is trying to politely decline another’s advances, that is… Perry calls Clark in to watch Lois’ latest Tele-Com message from South America. The video cuts off after a few moments, making the pair realize that something might be up.
Perry decides to send Clark south to make sure everything is cool, and so he Supes’ up and pulls some intergalactic trajectory to get down there with the quickness… he still hasn’t shaven though…
We now meet up with Lois Lane… who has a most heinous haircut at the moment. She is in Dr. Estevez’ tent, and they are attempting to reopen the avenues of tele-communication. Clark wanders in, and tells Lois that he “hitched a ride” with Superman in order to get here so quickly… which paints quite the funny picture if you think about it.
She thinks he’s only here to scoop her on yet another story. Clark, and this is something I didn’t remember, reminds her how much he “cares about” her. I didn’t realize this was out in the open… it kind of makes me feel bad for Clark. She finally gives in, and lets him talk to Dr. Estevez… who reveals a strange metal cylinder… which appears to be far more advanced than anything on the planet… while being over three-thousand years old.
He continues, taking Clark and Lois deep into the dig site… where they enter what may just be the center of the electromagnetic disruption field. It appears to be an ancient fortified compound, littered with stalagmites. Clark meets Estevez’ son Raoul who reveals that his team has been trying to drill through the wall they believe is the source of the disturbance.
Dr. Estevez takes Clark a bit deeper to something of a nerve center for the compound. There is a round hole in the console that the futuristic cylinder is a perfect fit for… and so, he inserts it. Suddenly, there’s a rumbling behind the wall… causing it to give way. Lois finds herself standing before a massive wrapped hand.
It’s a mummy!
Clark runs in to get Lois out of harm’s way. He needs to figure out a way to get the crew to safety so he may fight the mummy without risking his secret identity. He decides to use his heat vision to cause a bit of a collapse… pushing Lois out of the way of the falling stone.
With Lois and company safely outta sight, Clark is able to actually start fighting back. He does not change into his Superman costume, as he doesn’t want to have to explain why they both have the stubbles. The mummy and Clark go back and forth for a bit, and it appears to be a stalemate.
Clark thinks there’s a connection between the mummy and the cylinder, and so he bee-lines it to the console and pulls da plug. This causes an explosion that is even felt on the other side of the dilapidated wall. Lois shows a bit of humanity (finally) and begins to panic, fearing Clark dead.
The crew works their way through the rubble, and finds Clark… unconscious. They carry him out, presumably back to the surface. Raoul, however, remains… he goes a bit deeper into the darkness, and finally walks right into the mummy… in its true form!
Okay, not much of a Halloween issue, right? I guess I’m equating Halloween with those spooky cereals… Count Chocula and the like. There’s a Yummy Mummy, right? I didn’t just dream that… right?
Anyhoo, I gotta say… during John Byrne’s two-ish year run on Superman, I don’t think he did much wrong. This was a blast… and still felt pretty fresh, despite being… jeez, 30-years old. Well, maybe not Lois’ haircut… that is horrendous no matter what the year.
It’s been awhile since I reread these, so it was a treat to revisit the disparate wants and desires of Superman and Clark Kent. We get the feeling here that Superman is of the mind that Wonder Woman would be his perfect mate… and if you think about it, that’s not completely wrong. I don’t like it… but, it does make sense. Clark, however is… as Perry said, carrying a torch for Lois bigger than Lady Liberty’s. I’d forgotten how open and how, for lack of a better term, puppy-love-ish Clark is toward Lois. What’s more… she knows it! Can’t believe I’d forgotten that.
Clark’s five o’clock shadow was… curious. Really not sure why it was there, other than to be a handicap for later on in the issue. I like that Clark realized that it would be suspicious that they “both” had forgotten to shave that morning. Still kinda unnecessary, but interesting in a way.
The South America bits and the mummy fight were… kinda just there. Nothing really socks rocking, but pretty fun nonetheless. It’s always cool to see Superman/Clark cut loose and go punch for punch with a big bad. This was no different.
Overall… hell, the entire Byrne run is something comics fans owe it to themselves to check out. This issue is no exception.