Legacy of Superman #1 (Sinbad)
Writer – William Messner-Loebs
Pencils – Curt Swan
Inks – Josef Rubenstein
Letters – Bill Oakley
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor – Jennifer Frank
Editor – Mike Carlin
Shazaam! Today we’re going to talk all about my main man, Sinbad!
Oh, not him? There’s another? Hmm… ohhhhh, the kid! Yeah, I remember now. Been a heckuva long time since I read the short “Sinbad Saga” in the Superman comics… I don’t think it left all that much of an impact on me. If I’m being honest, I was surprised to be reminded that he got himself his own little chapter in this here Special. In flipping through it (today is the first time I’ve gotten to it), I just assumed this was a Lex Chapter.
Probably would’ve been able to give y’all a better “cover logo” if it were a Lex Chapter… there ain’t all that much in the way of clean Sinbad logos out there… especially not for someone so inept at image manipulation as I!
Anyhoo, let’s check it out!
We open at LexCorp, where Lex, Jr. is arriving for the day. He’s greeted by his bank of receptionists, secretaries, employees, and assistants… which includes a certain sister-of-Sinbad. She thinks to herself how lucky she is to be working for the “nice” younger Luthor. We follow Lex-da-Second into his office, where he dictates some notation into a very of-its-time tape recorder. Ya see, he knows that this certain secretary is, in fact, Soraya Nassur… the sister of Davood Nassur, who is… ya know, Sinbad. He laments the fact that, without Superman, there’s been something of a “power vacuum” in Metropolis… and there are a group of bad guys calling themselves the “TerrorMasters” trying to establish themselves as that power.
Soraya leaves for lunch, where she is literally “picked up” by her brother. Here’s the thing… the people of Metropolis have been led to believe that Davood has been depowered, and has retired the Sinbad alter-ego. We see here that, that’s not entirely the case.
Davood and Soraya have themselves a picnic in the sky… which, I dunno, is that a little “on the nose”? Ehh, nevermind. The Nassurs chat about Davood’s Sinbad powers… and it would appear that they’re back, and better than ever. While they dine, Davood offers Soraya some Tahini… like, an entire bowl of it. Hmm. Okay then. Anyhoo, they talk about how nobody should know that the Sinbad powers are back. Davood is confident that the secret is safe, however, since Luthor is involved… it should come as no surprise that that’s not the way this story is going to go.
Soraya returns to the office, just as a bunch of packages have been delivered. Her friend, Clarice is attending to the boxes, and is preparing to open ’em up. Just then, a group of old dorks burst in… and hold the office up! These must be… those dang TerrorMasters! These goofballs are wearing these tiny domino-masks… I mean, that’s their entire disguise. What’s more, one of them, the guy with the Cincinnati Reds cap, loses his mask during the robbery! Anyhoo, they shoot Clarice thrice, and steal the packages.
Soraya wonders what was so important about these packages… and we learn that this Lex was continuing his father’s weapons research… and those boxes contained what he refers to as “the most terrible weapon ever developed”. Welp… you’d almost assume someone would have to sign to have such a thing delivered, no? Oh well, Lex laments the fact that this research has cost a human life… but, it’s worth noting that he’s smiling broadly when he says this. Weird. As this is going on, our man Davood is being fitted for an all-new super-hero costume, complete with a domino mask and cape!
That night, we join Sinbad and Soraya to a rather dumpy area of Metropolis where those “TerrorMasters” usually meet up. I mean, TerrorMasters? For real? Okay. Anyhoo, as they look on, that one dude whose mask fell off during the robbery saunters in… and they realize they’re in the right place. Inside, the baddies are assembling “the most terrible weapon ever developed” on a pool table. Cincinnati Cap takes a look through the scope, and reveals (via thought balloon) that he’s actually working for Lex Luthor. Hmm…
Reds-Cap fires the blaster… resulting in blowing holes in several walls… kind of like you might see in a cartoon. Then, just as they bad guys are celebrating the fact that nobody can stop them… Sinbad shows up! And boy, does he look like a nerd or what?
Sinbad informs the bad guys that they’re “all under arrest”, which is just adorable. He nails one of the baddies with an energy blast, however, forgets to protect-his-neck… and suffers a shot from “the most terrible weapon ever developed”, which sends him flying out of the building!
Just then, like a Genie (Shazaam!), Lex Luthor’s visage emerges from the barrel of “the most terrible weapon ever developed”. He informs the goofballs that they’ve now fired off two shots… which is all he accounted for them needing to take care of “whoever he gulled into attacking them”… and so, they’ve now outlived their usefulness. Three-seconds later, dey go boom.
We wrap up with Sinbad, all safe and sound… having been knocked clear of the explosion. He and Soraya leave the scene… however, Davood isn’t entirely pleased with how everything went down. While he doesn’t seem especially bothered by the result, he’s certain that Superman would have handled it far differently… and without casualty. Fair enough!
I certainly wasn’t expecting much from this one… but, found myself quite enjoying it! Ya know, I think I gave this entire Legacy of Superman Special a pretty bad rap in dismissing it all these years. So far, it’s been really very good! Really digging this new perspective on Metropolis as a city without Superman.
Let’s look at Lex. Dude seems… kinda bored without Superman around. He still has to be the sort of puppet-master of the city, but since he’s the “good” Luthor, can’t be quite as overt about it. I appreciate the lengths he goes to here in order to “wield power from the shadows”. While, it requires quite a few “happy accidents” to go as planned, it was still pretty satisfying that it did.
He had to “take care of” the, ahem, TerrorMasters… and spun a pretty good web to trap ’em in. He knows their game… and their designs, and used them to his advantage. Lex also doesn’t mind young Davood winding up in the crossfire… the kid don’t mean anything to him. Just another casualty… in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
The “TerrorMasters”. Yeesh. These old goofs look like they’d be more likely to be regaling people about that one time, back in high school, that they scored four touchdowns in a single game! They don’t exactly look up to the task of taking over the Metropolis underworld, do they? I mean, they probably need to stop for multiple TUMS breaks during a given firefight.
Sinbad… not exactly the most stylish superhero, right? Very dorky “costume”… if we can even call it that. This would actually wind up being his fourth… and final appearance, ever! That wasn’t supposed to be the case, however… he was originally slated to make an appearance during the dirt-worst Superman story of all-time… Superman: Grounded!
Davood was supposed to make an appearance in Superman #712 (2011), during Chris Roberson’s attempt at salvaging the Straczynski garbage-fire. Davood was going to be all grown up and take the name “Sharif”, which is a name with many meanings… I’m no expert, but from my research, those meanings include “honorable” and “noble”, so a pretty great name for a superhero!
According to Roberson, this story had been turned in and approved by DC Comics. The story, would have to do with Superman (still on his ridiculous walk across America) in Los Angeles, meeting with Sharif, who finds himself with quite the quandary. He’s a hero, who the public aren’t completely keen to accept due to the fact that he is a Muslim. Yeah, it’s kind of “torn from the headlines”, which I’m not always a fan of… but, this could make for an interesting chapter. Certainly would have been more interesting than the Krypto story DC jammed into the schedule in its place!
DC got themselves some cold feet, and decided to pull the story… even though they’d already approved it! What’s more, according to the creative team, DC Editorial kind of dragged their feet about informing them all of the change! Who’dathunkit? DC Editorial not being forthcoming with information? Perish the thought! Though, in fairness… they (Editorial) probably didn’t even have the foggiest idea that the Grounded storyline was still going on. Clearly, they hadn’t actually read an issue of Superman since JMS took over. If they had, and still allowed Superman #701 to happen… they all deserve to be fired and black-balled from the industry.
Wait, where were we? Oh yeah, Sinbad! Even after DC decided to pull the story… they didn’t even bother to change the solicit (barring the new Krypto cover). Even more evidence of the right hand not knowing what the left hand’s doing? Here, take a look:
And, the letters page from Superman #711… the issue right before Sharif was set to show up!
Oh well, what could’a been. Figure, for completion’s sake, we’ll wrap this up with Davood’s Who’s Who entry…
Overall, a good story… and a real shame that Davood/Sinbad/Sharif never showed up again.