Adventures of Superman #500 (1993)



Adventures of Superman #500 (Early June, 1993)
“Life After Death!”
Writer – Jerry Ordway
Pencils – Tom Grummett
Inks & Tones – Doug Hazlewood
Letters – Albert DeGuzman
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor – Jennifer Frank
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $2.95 (Deluxe) / $2.50 (Newsstand)


Welcome, friends to Super-Blog Team-Up: Chromium… where the gang has all come together in order to celebrate… and maybe, just maybe, denigrate the various “eras of excess” within in the industry we all love so much.


This time out, I’ve made a multi-media mess out of myself.  We’ve got this post you’re currently reading… for which, I made a video to introduce the whole thing:



I’ve also released, for those interested, an episode of the Chris is on Infinite Earths Podcast (Episode 33), wherein I spend the better part of an hour discussing… my first choice for this Chromium outing, if I hadn’t already discussed it here: the five-variant covers/stories that appeared in Team Titans #1 (1992)!





And, if that ain’t enough… the end of this very blog post contains a list of links to other great bloggers and content creators that I highly recommend checking out!  Heck, I can take credit for nominating a few of ’em into the SBTU fold!  What I can’t take credit for, is their work, which is great!  So, check ’em out!


But first… here at these Infinite Earths… we’ve got us quite the issue of Superman to discuss.  So, pour yourself a second (or third) cup… and let’s do this.




Picking up right where the story
left off… ya know, three months ago, Jonathan Kent has just flatlined… however,
in the “afterlife” he has just clasped hands with his son Clark.  He’s not there to join his Super son,
however… he’s there to stop him from going toward the light.  The Superman ghost compels Jonathan to return
to the land of the living

Superman turns his back to
Jonathan… and joins a pair of cloaked individuals… Though, it’s worth
noting, that it would appear that Jonathan sees them as Byrne-Man of Steel-style
Kryptonians.  Clark walks into the
light… but that’s not going to stop Pa!  He too flies toward the light!

Back in Smallville, Jonathan has been injected with Lydocaine… which breaks the flatline into intermittent blip-blips.  A nurse is able to pull Martha away for a cup of coffee so the doctors can work their magic.  Outside the examination room, she is surprised to see that Lois has arrived to check in.

In Metropolis, Gangbuster breaks up a drug deal… or does he?  Well, actually he breaks up an undercover cop attempting to bust a big-time dealer.  Such is life for Jose Delgado.  Never one to quit while he’s behind,
Gangbuster then starts… Copbusting.

He judo throws an officer to the
ground… and hops onto a fire escape to, well… escape firing guns!  Being as though this is still Jose
Delgado, he takes a bullet to the bicep during the escape.  An officer gives chase… which forces Jose to
leap off the building, and into the conveniently-located Metropolis Harbor.  Eesh, just think of all the bacteria getting
into that bullet wound!

Back in… Heaven?  Pa is
dressed like Sgt. Rock’s grandfather… stomping through a war zone, bayonet in
hand.  He stumbles onto a battlefield
where his entire unit lay dead.  Jonathan
makes his way through the battlefield… and into some brush.  Passing into
the clearing, he spots a burning hut. 
He rushes inside to find a young man… who looks like his brother Harry.  Probably because… it is!  Well, a
near-death manifestation of him anyway…

As, Jonathan lifts his brother up…
a wild Commie approaches!  The ol’
man punches the Red’s head clean off!

In Metropolis, Cat Grant gets her
butt pinched by Vincent Edge.  Vincent
Edge is the father of Morgan Edge… he’s also tied up with Darkseid and
Apokolips, so… he’s a pretty bad dude. 
We learn he’s sweet-talking Ms. Grant because he needs a
favor.  Ya see, Jimmy Olsen hasn’t shown up for the last two-weeks worth
of Turtle Boy tapings!

He also asks about her love life.  Who does this guy think he is, Tommy Wiseau?

Anyhoo, she reveals that she and
Jose are on the outs… and starts sobbing.  Smelling blood… well, I hope that’s blood…
Vinnie decides to ask Cat out on a date. 
Annnnd, she accepts?!  The lesson
here, I guess is… pinching butts is a way to get dates?  Nah, nevermind… I didn’t say that.

Speaking of Turtle Boy… over at
the prison, the Trickster’s cellmate is watching a rerun on his teeny tiny
television.  And laughing like an “addled-brained,
methane gas-producing jackass”.  That
Trickster, he sure paints with words! 
The Jackass is enjoying his program… and refers to it as being “very
nineties”.  Okey dokey, then.  The Trickster pours water into the teeny tiny
television to put an end to the Turtling (don’t Google that).

Speaking of Turtle Boy…
again!  We next join Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet Building where he is
given an assignment.  While there,
he’s approached by Ron Troupe, who has some Turtle-Boy related phone messages
for Jim… who makes it pretty clear that his days on the half-shell are behind
him.

Back in Smallville, Lois comforts
Ma… by telling her that she doesn’t believe in the afterlife.  That… hmm, that might be a little tone-deaf
there, Ms. Lane.  There’s a time and
place for that kinda debate, Lois… and I don’t think this is it.

Though, while speaking of the
afterlife… Jonathan Kent is still trudging through Korea.  He steps on a
rotten plank and falls into a pit. 
A man approaches the hole and tosses him a rope.  A man Jon
believes to be his own Pa!  Well…
that’s not Pa’s Pa at all… instead it’s a demonic monster!  In the background, we see Blaze
sitting on a throne made of skulls.

She offers him… a deal. 
Devil’s always do that kinda thing. 
If you’re wondering if she’s going to offer him a return to the living
in exchange for his and Martha’s marriage… you’ve probably been reading other
comics in the interim.  This is a much
more “boilerplate” arrangement being presented, she just wants his soul.  Sorry, Aunt May!

Jonathan decides he’ll try his
luck in the pit… and lets go of the line.  He continues to fall… until everything goes
white.  He suddenly finds himself floating before Kismet.  Kismet is like Marvel’s Eternity… only, with
boobs.  She sets him on the right path… to perhaps save “the airman”…
which is to say, she send him to… The World of Krypton!

When Pa gets his bearings, he sees
his boy being carried by a gaggle of Kryptonians in a sedan.  He rushes over in attempt to “wake” Superman…
but he is cut off by the Krypton Clerics.

Back in Metropolis, Gangbuster
pulls himself out of the drink… well, a fella named Highpockets pulls him
out.  He suggests they head over to Bibbo’s, but Jose’s gotta stop by the
bus station first.

Back in the afterlife, Pa
continues to shout at Superman… and it finally seems to get through.  Superman looks at his Kryptonian compatriots…
and sees them for what they truly are… monsters!  Demons, even!  Superman pummels the baddies pretty quickly.  Pa suggests that maybe Superman can’t really
die… and the only reason he’s “going through the motions” is due to his being
raised by mortals… with the concept of mortality.  Wow, there’s some food for thought!  Anyhoo, the pair approach a black hole amid
the light… and go to fly into it.

But first… Jor-El!  Kal’s bio-Pop shows up to stop the pair from
skidooin’.  And so, Pa manifests a
shovel… and smashes Jor-El in the face with it!  I always say, let the punishment fit the
crime!  Anyhoo, Clark and Jonathan head into
the black hole.

At which time, back in Smallville… Pa sits up!

We join Lois on her return flight
to Metropolis… when suddenly, a blue and red blur buzzes the plane!  When the plane touches down… it seems
everywhere Lois goes, all anyone can talk about is… Superman.  As in, he’s
back!

On the news, various eyewitnesses
are interviewed.  A young girl
named Cindy has drawn a picture of the “Sooperman” who rescued her kitty from a
tree.

But, there’s more… In Centennial
Park, a jogger describes Superman saving her from being hit by a stolen cab.  A family in Suicide Slum claims that Superman
rescued their baby from their burning tenement. 
The foreman at the Northpoint Nuclear Power Plant has a similar tale to
tell.  And finally, a woman states that
Superman not only saved her from an attacker… but actually killed her attacker!

We wrap up with Lois at the
Centennial Park Memorial with Inspector Henderson.  With all the sightings… she’s got to know.  They enter, and… the casket… she be
empty!

That might be the end of the
story… but not the end of the issue! 
Our first “sighting” vignette opens with a pair of gangs fighting over
some over-sized guns called “Toastmasters”. 
The woman known as the White Rabbit looks on, pleased that with Superman
out of the way… Metropolis is hers for the taking.

The police drive up, and the gangs
disperse.  From the rubble of one
of the buildings destroyed during the Doomsday massacre, a man rises…

This is a very large bald, black
man… but I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.  He doesn’t
look like him, but he sure sounds a lot like… Superman?!

Our second “sighting” opens with a
would-be carjacker being stopped… by a man in a cape, and visor.  The dude opens fire into the caped-man’s
chest… illuminating it just enough to make out a familiar logo.

The bum attempts to flee, but our
mystery man gives chase… finally descending on him, looking very much like…
Superman?!

Sighting, the Third takes place at Cadmus Labs, as the Guardian rushes toward Lab 13 where an explosion just jammed the doors shut.  A soldier named Silvestri arrives to “gently” nudge the door… with a bazooka.  Like
I always say, the right tool for the right job! 
Once inside, they find… an empty pod, with what looks like Superman’s
torn cape caught in the broken glass.

Guardian notices a Dr. Packard
hanging from the ceiling wrapped in piping.  He reveals that the Newsboys and this… Number
13 escaped through the air ducts. 
At that moment, the five Newsboys… and a guest, pop out of the other end
of the air ducts… and hey look, it’s (don’t ever call him) Superboy!
Sighting, the Final.  It’s morning in Metropolis… and the Sun rises
over the shimmery skyline.  A
family of tourists is walking down Broadway… or whatever block the Daily Planet
Building is on, when their son notices the Superman memorial plaque,
commemorating the spot he died on while saving the city.  This mustn’t be the original plaque, because
that one read: “In Memoriam – Superman – Killed on this spot while defending
the city”
, while this one reads: “In Memory of Superman –
Killed on this spot while defending Metropolis”.

Anyway… as this family stops to admire
the plaque… Superman arrives?!  He
picks up the plaque… and incinerates it. 
In fairness… if he ain’t dead, I guess they don’t need it!  Worth noting, these early panels are kinda
“Austin Powering” the left side of Superman’s face… and when we get a good look
at him… well, sonuvagun… he’s a cyborg!







The Extra Pages:


The “Deluxe”/White-Bagged Edition came packed with an additional eight pages of story.  They’re all splash pages, and don’t really add all that much… but, here they are, in all their glory!


Man… two whole “exclusive” pages wasted on Jose frickin’ Delgado?  Yeesh!  Anyhoo, in case you were interested/unaware (I know I was)… these extra pages were just slotted in instead of Ads:







Got a lot of irons in the fire of late… and one of them has me revisiting the post-Claremont X-Men books.  In re-reading X-Men (vol.2) #1, I mentioned just how iconic nearly every single panel in that thing has become… at least to me.  These images have been burned… heck, imprinted into my memory… and will always be definitive “comics” to me.  I didn’t think there were any other comics, barring maybe Superman (vol.2) #75, that evoked that same reaction in me.  Then… I opened this one.


While it certainly wasn’t every image that “got” me… there were definitely a fair-share that will always remain with me.  I’m talking specifically about the early panel in the afterlife where Pa is grabbing Clark by the shirt… and the four Reign of the Supermen reveals.  Perhaps it was the fact that I read this during my formative years… or, heck, maybe I’m actually right… and these are iconic to everybody!


Anyhoo, whatta we got here, anyway?  This is the beginning of the return of Superman.  On that, we can all agree.  I remember being very excited for this back in the long ago… but, after the initial shock to my system, I kinda fell off the Super-books.  Even this issue, in and of itself, is… I dunno, a bit uneven?  Don’t get me wrong, there are some great bits here… but, there are also sections where it kind of drags.  I can’t really get mad at it… it’s almost like a “necessary evil” situation.


I’ll admit, back when I was a wee lad of thirteen, I couldn’t care less about Jimmy Olsen’s Turtle Boy career, Cat Grant being sexually harassed by the elder Edge, and Jose frickin’ Delgado bumbling his way through his vigilante life.  I wanted Superman… and not much else.  As an adult, I can’t help but to appreciate the, for lack of a better term, “world building” employed here.  We get to catch up with the wider cast… which helps to reinforce the fact to the reader that, even though Superman’s story ended… life went on for the citizens of Metropolis, and beyond.  There’s something, I dunno, kind of sobering about that.  A real feeling of mortality starts to creep into the corner of my mind when I allow myself to think about it.


We get a sorta-kinda reunion with the Man of Steel… but, that’s almost secondary here.  When we look at the afterlife scenes, really and truly, they belong to Pa.  Superman gets a few punches in (a few more in the Deluxe Version than the Newsstand), but this is Pa Kent’s journey… and I think that was a wise decision on the part of the creative team!


The issue wraps up by sweeping us right into the new “status quo”… leading to a quartet of comics with die-cut covers!  Gimmicks galore, y’all!  We meet our new stand-in Supermen… and, I still remember being kind of blown away by this when I first read it.  I was almost positive that the Eradicator would be eventually revealed as being the Real Steel Deal… though, I gotta admit, I was holding out hope for the Cyborg!  What a dumb kid I was…


Overall… I almost feel silly reviewing (if that’s in fact what I’m doing) this issue, with the assumption that most everybody checking out this site has very likely already read this story.  Though, perhaps I’m just projecting.  Wouldn’t be the first time!  If you’ve made it this far, feel free to lemme know in the comments who you thought the “Real Steel Deal” was going to wind up being?


I wanna thank everyone, old and (potentially) new, for stopping by the humble blog today… perhaps during your trip through the Super-Blog Team-Up chain.  I hope you enjoyed what you saw… and hope to see you back again real soon!





Letters Page:


 






Otha Covuhs:











The Card (worth the price of admission on it’s own)!







Interesting Ads:



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Black & White and Bronze: Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine (1968)

15 Comments

  1. I enjoyed this review but I'm confused. I thought you were going to post the review for Lightning Racers today. 🤔

  2. I was totally convinced it'd be the Cyborg. He had the look, the (quasi) memories, etc. At least, that's who I was backing until we saw who he was working with.

    I also vaguely remember buying into some idea of the four being merged somehow, like they were different parts of a whole. Like they'd disappear in some blinding flash of light and when you could see again, you'd have the real Superman and he'd remember what the four had experienced as well, etc.

    (Quite glad it did NOT turn out that way!)

    I forgot about the Bloodlines card coming with the issue…and had forgotten about those splash pages being the difference.

    I was firmly hooked on the "get collector's AND newsstand editions" at the time, but no idea now which edition I actually READ; though wouldn't surprise me if I read the newsstand. The splash pages don't really evoke much memory for me except Clark carrying Pa back…though that could be the same effect from good writing of the novelization that allowed me to recognize a new-to-me image to the MOMENT in a Dragonlance book.

    C'est la vie.

    Did you ever peel that film off the cover? I think I've seen a couple "peeled" in the wild and vaguely recall starting to on a copy I had. (darned if I remember if I followed through or not).

    • I'm ashamed to say I removed that film. I was 11 and stupid. And that having the four merge into the real Superman, that almost sounds like what happened in Superman Reborn. Except that resulted in a whole new history not him having two sets of memories.

    • Heyyy, Walt! I didn't even know there was film to be peeled off! To be honest, I only looked at the thing long enough to snap a pic, haha. Maybe the video needs a "Part 2"!

      I can't remember completely, but I think my little circle of friends had come to the conclusion that Superman WOULD wind up being some sort of a mixture of the four REIGN characters. Like you, I'm very glad it didn't actually turn out that way!

      This was the first time I'd ever seen the extra splash pages… I'm pretty sure the last time I read this (for a Cosmic Treadmill episode), I just read it in the RETURN OF SUPERMAN trade paperback… which, for whatever reason, didn't include the splashes! Maybe they put those in the Omnibus? From what I heard, that wasn't quite as "complete" as people would've liked… so, I wouldn't bet either way!

    • Heyyy Grant! I'm starting to feel silly not knowing about the peelable film! Haha, was this a widely-known thing that I just never learned about?! I feel like I *should've* known about it!

      Great call on the Superman Reborn situation. I wasn't a *huge* fan of that… just like I don't think I would've liked the Kid, the Eradicator, the Cyborg, and Steel "coming together as one" back in the long ago!

    • All I know is the white bag which listwd all the extras said among other things "removable translucent cover" so it obviously wasn't a secret.

      And what I disliked about "Reborn" was the fact that it did away with the Lois and Clark miniseries and erased the pre-Flashpoint Superman from continuity. I don't care about the New 52 Superman's history being erased but the pre-Flashpoint Superman was the only reason I read the Rebirth Superman titles since he was all that remained of the pre-Flashpoint universe. I may not have minded if they hadn't kept the Kents dead but it looks like that may change once the changes made by Doomsday Clock take effect.

    • I can chalk that up for my poor reading comprehension… or perception! I must've looked at this thing a thousand times, and never realized anything about that! Crazy!

      Reborn was kind of a mixed bag… I feel like they way over-complicated it, but thought they were streamlining? If that makes any sense? So much weird hoo-doo, but I think I walked away from it mostly-satisfied.

      I've got the last couple of issues of Doomsday Clock sitting right next to me (and they've been sitting here awhile), just can't get inspired enough to actually crack 'em open!

  3. Little did I know as a kid that Tom Grummett was an amazing Superman artist we did not deserve or appreciate!

  4. I'm wondering how this story works post Superman: Reborn. 🤔 It seems like Superman's resurrection is predicated on Jonathan's near death experience but Dan Jurgens established that both his and Martha's deaths in the car crash on Clark's prom night was still canon. I guess it's a moot point now in light of Doomsday Clock's ending which I guess undid that Brainiac storyline where Pa died.

    • Haha, with all these damn reboots and restarts, it's impossible to keep track of just about everything!

      I remember when, during the earliest bits of The New-52!, where they were still being cagey about whether or not Superman ever died in the first place… and yet, Hal Jordan (who basically just continued on from pre-Flashpoint) still became Parallax… when, the whole Coast City thing was to tied into the Reign of the Supermen… which means, Superman would've HAD to die… but nobody at DC knew what was what!

      The more things change, right?

    • Yep that early New 52 Hawk and Dove series pretty much continued from Brightest Day despite so much of what led up to it not being in continuity but it got cancelled pretty quick. Even now some series are acting like we're back in pre-Flashpoint continuity and other series are acting like it's still New 52 continuity.

    • That's very true! When REBIRTH first hit, I indulged in the "bundles" over at Discount Comic Book Service… it was like the whole line for 50% off, figured why not? It was pretty maddening how fast-and-loose so many of those books were with continuity. Some felt brand-new, others felt like a straight continuation of New-52, while others felt like they skipped the New-52 entirely! Should've been apparent to me right there, that this ship had no captain… and DC didn't have the foggiest of clues as to the direction(s) they were headed!

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