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.
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
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!
Gangbuster then starts… Copbusting.
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!
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…
a wild Commie approaches! The ol’
man punches the Red’s head clean off!
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!
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
are interviewed. A young girl
named Cindy has drawn a picture of the “Sooperman” who rescued her kitty from a
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!
Centennial Park Memorial with Inspector Henderson. With all the sightings… she’s got to know. They enter, and… the casket… she be
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.
disperse. From the rubble of one
of the buildings destroyed during the Doomsday massacre, a man rises…
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?!
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.
mystery man gives chase… finally descending on him, looking very much 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.
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!
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”.
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!
The Card (worth the price of admission on it’s own)!
Super-Hero Satellite: 70s-80s Photo Covers
Chris is on Infinite Earths: Adventures of Superman #500 (1993)
Chris is on Infinite Earths (Podcast): Team Titans #1’s (1992)
Comic Reviews by Walt: The 90’s Revisited – Shiny Covers!
Source Material Podcast: Spider-Man: Torment
ComicsComicsComics: Daredevil: Fall From Grace
The Telltale Mind: Worlds Collide: The Inter-Company Crossover
Between the Pages: Guerilla Marketing
DC in the 80s: Top Five Most Memorable DC “Gimmicks”
Comics in the Golden Age: Fawcett’s Mighty Midget Comics
Unspoken Issues: Darkhawk #25
Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: New Teen Titans #37/Batman and the Outsiders #5
When it Was Cool: Polybag it!
Pop Culture Retrorama: Glow in the Dark Covers!
In My Not So Humble Opinion: Force Works #1
Black & White and Bronze: Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine (1968)