Adventures of Superman #558 (1998)

Adventures of Superman #558 (June, 1998)
“Another Typical Day”
Plot – Karl Kesel
Script – Jerry Ordway
Pencils – Steve Yeowell
Inks – Denis Rodier
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Separations – Digital Chameleon
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Assistant Editor – Maureen McTigue
Editor – Joey Cavalieri
Cover Price: $1.95

Now there’s a cover that’s gonna tickle your curiosity, ain’t it?  I mean… what in the world could it be about?!  Tell me that wouldn’t just jump off the shelves atcha!

This cover is credited to little Tommy Grummett… though, I’m not sure if this is actually a doodle from his childhood, or just an approximation at drawing “kiddie”.  Either way, it’s really neat!

So, let’s find out what this one’s all about.

We open with Jimmy Olsen waking up, and ooh boy is he running late!  It’s half passed ten, and he knows the Chief’ll have his hide if he doesn’t get to work with the quickness.  At that very moment, Superman is hanging out somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean… when a “ball” comes flying his way, which he swats away with a broken piece of mast!

The “ball” is sent into orbit, where it’s caught by… Supergirl.  She doesn’t really look like the Supergirl who was running around during the turn of the century, but it’s definitely a Supergirl.  By the time she snags it, Superman is flying over Machu Picchu.  In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, they’re playing a game of sorta-kinda Cosmic Baseball.

Supergirl hurls the “ball” back to Earth, where Steel is waiting for it.  He whacks it away, hopeful that it might find its way to… Superboy, who is flirting with some local ladies in Paris.  His costume doesn’t really look “contemporary” either, it’s worth saying.

Back in Metropolis, Jimmy Olsen arrives at the Daily Planet.  He’s instructed to get to the roof right away to snap some pictures of what’s about to happen.  As he climbs the stairs, however, he is overcome by a weird paralysis… which he blames on his “accidentally” injesting an alien isotope (during the Superman Forever Prestige Format book), because of course he did.

On the roof, Lois waits with a Superman Robot to find out if the Real Steel Deal or the “ball” arrives first.  Looks like Superman wins by a nose.

Well, er, he does cheat though… by using Krypto to pluck the “ball” out of the sky.  Superman retrieves the “ball”, which is going to be auctioned off for charity later on.  Krypto kind of freaks out a bit when he gets a load of Jimmy Olsen…

… who appears to have been turned into an alien.  Whoops.

We head back inside, where Superman “kents down”.  It’s made clear right off the bat that Lois isn’t “in” on the secret.  They head over to Jimmy Spaceman who has turned the “ball” into gold!  Why it’s like he’s got the Midas touch!  That sounds familiar

Jimmy and Lois are then sent to Krypton Park… a Superman-inspired park set to be dedicated with tonight’s Charity Auction.  There, they meet Lois’ sister (and Jimmy’s squeeze) Lucy.  She’s okay with Jimmy looking like a Spaceman… so long as it ain’t permanent.  Gotta figure, this might be one of the tamer transformations she’s lived through.

Later on, the Auction is set to begin.  Before it can, however, the (all too realistic) “Fire Falls Riverbed” goes boom threatening to flood the whole place with firewater!

Superman hops into action, and quickly deduces that this wasn’t no accident.  Oh, and Jimmy is now missing as well!  After checking his Pal’s favorite “haunts”, Superman is alerted by the Zee-Zee-Zee of the Signal Watch, which guides him directly in for a speedy rescue… from, Lex Luthor (naturally).

Later on, back at the newsroom… Superman and Lois consider just what they’re going to do with Jimmy… who hasn’t yet shown any signs of returning to “normal”.  They compare him to a child, and set him aside do some doodling.  Lois suggests that Jimmy Spaceman might benefit by having a Mom and Dad to look after him… which Superman sees through as yet another attempt at having a ring put on it.

Just then, Jimmy Olsen emerges from the Fire Exit.  Wait, what?  Well, ya see, it turns out he never transformed!  The isotope he “accidentally” must’ve belonged to the Spaceman… and so, the alien demanded payment, in the form of… Jimmy’s clothes?  Okay then.  Anyhoo, at this point, a blinding pink light fills the room… and when it clears, the Spaceman is gone!

All he’s left behind (besides Jimmy’s clothes) is a doodled picture of Superman! Could the Spaceman be little Tommy Grummett?!

The Man of Steel snags it… and takes it back to the Fortress of Solitude to try and analyze it.

A Fortress of Solitude… full of some very strange relics and artifacts for those of us who came in after 1985.  Different shades of Kryptonite… strange Kryptonian costumes.  Heck, you oughta see the door on this thing!

Well, that was… weird.

This came out during one of my “DC dark” periods where I wasn’t really following all that much from the publisher.  I did grab the Superman Forever one-shot prestige book that proceeded this arc, and remember feeling wildly lost when I gave it a shot.  I’m sure had I stuck around, I’d have been even worse off!

Ya see, the gimmick here is “Forever”… and the disparate Superman Family books are all taking place during different times/ages.  Man of Steel is a tribute to the Golden Age, Superman (vol.2) is in the future… and I wanna say Action is in the present… or closest to the present.  This book is, of course, is a celebration of the Silver Age.

The Silver Age is something I’ve grown to have a lot of affection for, however, back in the 90’s I doubt I would have appreciated this silly story all that much… or understood it!

This time around though?  I really enjoyed it.  I’m still pretty confused by how this story is happening the way it is, but I’m intrigued enough by the strange little doodle being left behind that I really want to come back for more.  Also, the juxtaposition between contemporary characters (the then-current Superman Family) among all of the Silver-Age trappings was interesting to see!

Ya see, writing this blog every day can be kind of handcuffing in a way where I get very little opportunity to do any “fun” reading… but it also affords me the chance to fill in some interesting blanks in my own fandom “career”.  Today is a pretty good example of that.

Overall… I’d say this one is worth it for the cover alone.  I mean, it’s just so wild, it’s hard to believe it’s even real!  The story might not live up to the cover (how could it, really?), but it’s a fun and intriguing little tale.  This issue is available digitally.

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