Legacy of Superman #1 (1993)

Legacy of Superman #1 (1993)
Guardian: “The Guardians of Metropolis!”
Rose & Thorn: “Sister Act”
Gangbuster: “Gangbuster of Suicide Slum”
Sinbad: “Funeral Pyres!”
The Linear Men
Writers – Karl Kesel, Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway, William Messner-Loebs, & Dan Jurgens 
Pencils – Walter Simonson, Denis Rodier, Dennis Janke, Curt Swan, & Dan Jurgens
Inks – Ande Parks, Mike Machlan, Josef Rubenstein, & Trevor Scott
Letters – John Workman, Albert DeGuzman, John Costanza, & Bill Oakley
Colors – Glenn Whitmore
Assistant Editor – Jennifer Frank
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $2.50

Wow, it’s been a minute since our last Compilation Post, hasn’t it?  Hopefully I can still remember how to do one of these.

This week I’ve righted a quarter-century’s old wrong in that I finally read this Legacy of Superman Special… cover-to-cover.  I mentioned the other day when we started this issue, that I did buy this when it came out… but just couldn’t get myself to invest in any of these unfamiliar (to me) characters.  I’ve given it the “old college try” a time or two in the interim… but, have never been able to go the distance.  Welp, here’s to getting one off the “bucket list”, right?

Let’s take a page out of our Action Comics Weekly approach and talk a bit about the cover… because, it might be the most memorable part of the issue!  It’s from Art Adams, and should go without saying that it’s… ya know, quite good!  I swear, up until this actual read-through, I had no idea who that kid in the top right corner was supposed to be!  If I had a dozen guesses, I don’t think the word Sinbad would’ve ever come out my mouth.  I’m pretty sure I hadn’t the foggiest idea that the redhead was actually Thorn.  Back in the day, I’m pretty sure I thought she was Maxima.

Oh well… should we do a Poll to see what everyone’s favorite story was?  Hahaha, nah… not gonna put y’all through that bit of nonsense again!  Though, if you do wanna share your thoughts on any of these stories or let me know which one you liked best, please feel free to leave a comment!  It’s taken some doing, but I’ve gotten a lot better about responding!

Anyhoo… before we hop into the stories, just want to drop a reminder here that we are TWO DAYS away from this humble blog’s FOUR YEAR ANNIVERSARY.  That’s FOUR-YEARS of DAILY Discussions… which is about forty-seven months longer than I thought any of this was going to go!

Our first story opens at Cadmus, where a gaggle of geeks are attempting to scrape some Super-cells off of Superman’s corpse.  This is proving to be rather a daunting, if not completely impossible, task.  That fact does not please Director Paul Westfield.  He and the Guardian are checking on the progress of this project… when, suddenly… the Newsboys burst in the place to tawk ol’ New Yawk and generally make nuisances of themselves.  Westfield’s ticked that they’re in a Classified Area (Classified… area?  Do you mean “Restricted”?).  Anyhoo, all that does is make me wonder why doors at Cadmus don’t seem to have locks?

While the sassiness commences, some scientists rush in with the news that… they did it!  They’ve managed to, via approximations and estimations, replicated the D.N.A. code of Superman!  Westfield is overjoyed… and demands they hand the data disc over.

Well, not so fast there, kemosabe… they still need to run tests on the stuff before declaring it a complete success.  Kinda begs the question… why in all hells did they burst into the lab to share the good news, if the thing ain’t done yet?  C’mon guys.  The Guardian, who hasn’t said anything just yet, pipes in with the suggestion that they just clone him!  An army of Guardians should suffice in keeping Metropolis safe until such a time where they can effectively clone another Superman.  The Newsboys chime in with their ideas on how the Guardian might be diversified… and somewhere, Axel Alonso weeps.

This suggestion reminds Westfield that he’s got something he wants to show off.  He takes the Science Team down to Sub-Level Four… Toppest of Top Secret.  He informs the Newsboys that they ain’t welcome down there… though, we all know they’ll find a way.  Now, down at Sub-Level Four, Director Westfield introduces his team to… Auron!

No, wait… that doesn’t look right at all.  Let’s try again.  Director Westfield introduces his team to… Auron!

That’s the ticket.  This Auron is a “Super-Soldier of the Future”… which, I think accounts for about half the characters introduced into comics during this era.  He packs a bad-ass jet-pak, which is cybernetically linked with his mind… so, like, whatever he can think… he can do.  Pretty cool, right?  The Guardian notices that this Auron has a very familiar voice… and there’s a good reason for that, ya see… Auron… like the Guardian himself, is a clone of Jim Harper!  Wha-a-a-a-a?

Westfield commands Auron to snag that Superman D.N.A. Data-Disc by initiating “Sanction Blue”.  Auron belts The Guardian, however, before he can procure the disc… the Newsboys slide in and steal it first!

The kids rush into a nearby (and wildly convenient) subway car to make their getaway.  Auron gives chase… after punching the Guardian again one more time for good measure.  The Newsboys reach their weird sewer hideout, and attempt to lock Auron out long enough for them to load into the Whiz Wagon.  Auron is hot on their heels… however, is slowed by a Mental Jolt from Dubbilex, who just happened to be in his path.

The Newsboys floor it like a Lightning Racer and attempt to escape the facility and reach the remains of Habitat.  If you recall, the battle between Superman and Doomsday kinda wrecked that place.  Since the Whiz Wagon ain’t all that great at turning on a dime, Auron is able to catch up pretty quick.  He grabs the rig by it’s spoiler, and sends it crashing to the ground below.  It’s here that the Newsboys devise a plan to appeal to Auron’s inner Jim Harper by… dog-piling him?  Really?

Auron easily wipes the floor with the kids, and procures the Data Disc.  Director Westfield arrives on the scene and requests he hand over the information.  Instead, Auron crushes the disc in his hand!  Ya see, the Newsboys were, in fact, able to appeal to his inner-Harper.  He knows that, in the wrong hands, Superman’s D.N.A. would be a very dangerous weapon.  He tells Guardian that the information is safe inside his computer-mind, and he will leave the planet in order to protect it.

We wrap up with a bit of a soliloquy from The Guardian, reminding us how Superman was the true Guardian of Metropolis… and it’s up to them to preserve his Legacy.

This was alright!  Didn’t bore me nearly as much as it did when I was a kid!  I’m sure having a better-rounded familiarity with the characters was a big help in that.  Not sure what I was thinking snagging this off the rack when I was a kid… I should’ve at least flipped through the thing before plunkin’ my ten-quarters on the counter.  Maybe I was subconsciously speculating?!  I mean, this was the first (of three) appearance of… the Legendary Auron!

The story itself was… ehhh… nothin’ all that special, though, it did continue the thread of Cadmus trying to clone Superman… which is important going forward into The Reign.  Auron’s introduction, I dunno… he’s made to look really important, right?  Like, a character who would (and should) show up from time to time going forward.  I mean, he’s got Superman’s D.N.A. uploaded into himself… stands to reason, he’d be something of a “player” from this point on, no?  Fact is, he doesn’t wind up doing a whole heckuva lot after this.

It was neat seeing the Newsboys… it usually is.  They can be a bit “one note”, so it’s a good thing that it’s a fun note.  They don’t overstay their welcome.  The Guardian… kind of a background player here, though I suppose he was a necessary presence to play off the other Harper clone… and to make an inspiring speech at the end.

The art?  I know it’s an unpopular stance, but I’m not the biggest Simonson fan.  There’s plenty of Walter’s work that I do like… but, I think, if I’m being honest, I run like 50/50 with him.  Here… well, this story kind of embodies my hot and cold take on his art.  There were some panels here that looked pretty great… and others that came across like a blocky, scratchy mess.  Nothing worth getting mad at, but still, worth mentioning.

Overall… this was okay.  Not likely to rock any socks… but, also, unlikely to offend.

Story the Second opens with a woman out jogging.  We will soon learn that this woman is Rose Forrest, so I won’t pretend not to know that.  She’s listening to her little AM/FM receiver… and the news is full’a some pretty bad stories.  Ya see, ever since Superman died, it’s been sort of an “open season” on Metropolis… there’ve been robberies, assaults… you name it!  Our lady returns to her home, only to find that it’s currently being robbed!  A Scuzz is in there ransacking the place… and winds up stealing her VCR!  Wow, our man’s aimin’ high, there!  I think even back in ye old 1993, a VCR might run a hundred bucks.  Well, I guess any ol’ port in a storm, right?

We jump ahead… probably an hour or two, and Ms. Forrest is having her locks fixed… and is having security bars placed on her windows.  This is sure a grim new look for Metropolis, innit?  If I’m being honest, it looks kinda like… a lot of parts of South Phoenix!

That night, Rose is in bed watching the news.  She just can’t help herself, it seems.  The news is… still, all bad.  Suddenly, there’s a voice in her head… begging to let it “take over”.  In a trance-like state, Rose gets out of bed, and wanders down to her basement…

… where she changes into the “working clothes” of… The Thorn!

We shift scenes into a dark and seedy alley, where a pair of nogoodniks are bragging about their latest hauls.  One happens to mention that he knows where allllllll the best Fences are, which prompts Thorn to emerge from a storm drain, and pounce!  She demands to know about this great Fence… and the fella has no choice but to comply.

Turns out this Fence is run by a big fella called The Cherokee… who the Thorn is, evidently, familiar with.  The clash outside some building… with the Cherokee looking, I dunno… I don’t think “sense of urgency” quite fits it.  More like, just resigned and annoyed to see Thorn.  It’s as though he’s sighing when he draws his gun.  Thorn beats him up pretty good.

Moments later, the VCR thief just happens to arrive.  He’s overjoyed that he’ll probably be handed a crisp five-dollar bill for his troubles.  Daaaaaaaang, fool… this VCR’s got onscreen programming an erryt’ing!  Ya know, if a VCR was the most valuable thing Rose Forrest had in her house… why did she bother with the fancy new locks and bars?  I mean, right now, those locks and bars are the most valuable things she owns!

Anyhoo, the T’eef is led into the Cherokee’s office… only to find… Thorn!  And hoo-boy, is she ticked!

She proceeds to beat the everlovin’ dog out of the kid… and, pretty much everybody there.  The Police arrive on the scene, in response to an “anonymous tip”, and make all of the necessary arrests.

The following morning, Rose Forrest is awakened by a phone call.  It’s the Police, and they’re happy to report that the thief was caught… and her cherished VCR has been retrieved.  She’s ever-so thankful, but the Police tell her to save her thanks for… the Thorn!  Rose remembers that the mysterious Thorn was responsible for capturing her father’s killer back in the long ago… but, doesn’t know much more about her.  Hmm…

We wrap up with Rose discovering a note on her bedside lampshade.  It’s from, duh, Thorn… and it informs her that the strong will always protect the meek.  The story closes with the 1st Issue Special special… asking fans to write in if they want to see more from the “Woman Who is Really Two”!  I don’t think they received any sort of overwhelming response.

While this wasn’t necessarily my “cup of tea”, I feel like it was an important story to be told here, as it depicts just what an impact the loss of Superman has had on the City of Metropolis as a whole.  Part of the “Legacy” piece is having an understanding of just how much was lost with his passing.  Safety and security in the law-abiding citizens… and fear in those who would love nothing more than to do them harm.  It’s pretty powerful in that regard.

Having Ms. Rose Forrest get robbed… and have to decide what kind of security she’s going to require going forward was especially powerful.  I mean, even when Superman was around… he couldn’t stop every burglary from occurring, but the overall feeling in Metropolis (well, much of Metropolis) was that its people were protected.  Without that protection, Rose had to resort to putting bars on her own windows… the symbolism there is pretty striking.  It’s as though she’s become a literal prisoner of her circumstance.

I know I joked about the VCR being taken… but, that’s just me making light of the situation.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how valuable or un-valuable something might be… if it’s taken from you… stolen from you… there’s a feeling of violation there, that you really can’t put a price-tag on!  What price do you put on getting a good night’s sleep, ya know?  What price do you put on being unafraid in your own home?  It’s more than a lousy VCR that’s been “taken” here… it’s Rose’s piece of mind.

Sure, the “action” bits here were what they were… but, really, they were (to me) just “scenery”.  This isn’t really a story about beating up bad guys… it’s about the tremendous hole left in Metropolis due to Superman’s passing… and in that regard, I’d call it a success!

Rose & Thorn… ehhh, I could take ’em or leave ’em, to be honest… but, she/they were as good a fit here as anyone!  I appreciate the whole gimmick of her not knowing she’s really both characters… though, I don’t feel like that has all that long a “shelf life” in an ongoing series, ya know what I mean?  Eventually, she’s going to have to find out… there’s only so many ways you can creatively sidestep the obvious.

I definitely recommend checking this story out… if only to get a new perspective on Metropolis.

Our middle story opens in Suicide Slum, where Gangbuster is… well, busting a gang.  This is a pretty disorganized group of geeks, who have just imported… or at least somehow procured… mass quantities of guns.  Jose spends, what feels like a half-dozen pages (though, it’s really only two or three), beating the hell out of them.  Their supplier is a mobster in a pinstriped suit… this gang is a pretty sorry sight and, worth noting, includes a very skinny, weaselly sort of dude.

While the brouhaha brouha’s, one of the baddies grabs a shotgun… and shoots Gangbuster right in the chest!  Poor Jose can just never catch a break, can he?  Well, lucky for him his armored logo managed to save his life today.

Delgado then kips-up and resumes his baddie-beat-down.  After kayoing the underlings, he sets his sights on ol’ pinstripe.  The bad-guy-boss immediately surrenders… and begs Gangbuster to call the police.  Jose knows that this is a no-go, as ol’ pinstripe is “connected” enough to be back on the streets within minutes.

After pummeling the Pinstripe, Jose grabs the leader of the gang.  A rather low-rent looking goofball with slicked-back hair.  He ties him up with a rope, and after securing the other end to the leg of an easy-chair… deposits him out a window!

The easy chair skids toward the window, threatening to drop the leader all the way to the ground below.  In order to counter-balance the weight, Gangbuster tosses that skinny, weaselly dude into the chair.  The boss cries out for the geek to stay put in the chair.

After Jose leaves (with the supplier slung over his shoulder), the Boss begs Skinny Pete to pull him back in the window.  Unfortunately, the “Dim-Bulb” just isn’t strong enough to accomplish the task.  At that very moment, down at the station, Inspector Henderson gets a call from Gangbuster.

Henderson resigns to the fact that he’s going to have to deal with Gangbuster… he knows Delgado means well… and he also understands how the rules might seem a bit different in Suicide Slum.  But, he also knows that, ever since Superman died, Gangbuster has been ruthless as all get out… just beating the ever-lovin’ dog out of criminals left and right!

He is able to track Jose down to the Superman Memorial in Centennial Park.  He’s tying the kayoed gun-running mobster down, with a sign that reads “I sell guns to children” around his neck.  Gangbuster assumes Henderson is there to bust him, and warns him to stay back.  Henderson assures him this is a “friendly visit”.

In fact, he comes bearing gifts… well, a gift, in the form of a one-way bus ticket outta town.  Ya see, Gangbuster has broken a lot of rules of late… and he isn’t exactly “winning over” those in law-enforcement.  Henderson suggests Jose get as far away from Metropolis as possible… and warns that, if he doesn’t, so help him… Henderson himself will lead the charge against him.

Another solid look at the World Without Superman… this time, focusing on that part of Metropolis many would like to forget exists at all… Suicide Slum!  Many of the normal “rules” don’t apply here… which, is where Gangbuster comes in.

I appreciate how brutal he has become since Superman’s passing… as, without that fear of a caped-god flying overhead in the minds of criminals… they’re more inspired than ever to get a foothold.  If the name isn’t a dead giveaway, “Suicide Slum” was never the best place in the city… but, it was still a place under Superman’s watchful eye.

Without him, Suicide Slum is more vulnerable than it’s been in a long while… which ups the ante (and brutality) in Gangbuster’s purpose and methodology.  He needs to be rougher… he needs to be scarier… he needs to make an impact wherein his reputation as a force of justice proceeds him.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t exactly jive with the law-enforcement establishment.  Enter: Inspector Henderson.  Now, this little scene at the end is probably my main takeaway from this piece.  Henderson attempts to reason with Jose… and even shares stories of his working in Suicide Slum as a rookie.  He, Henderson that is, assures Delgado that the rules aren’t any different there.

Clearly (to me), Henderson might be a little too far removed from his time as a Suicide Slum flat-foot.  It’s plainly obvious (again, to me) that “penthouse” Metropolis and Suicide Slum operate under different “rules”.  Sure, the laws are the same… laws are the same everywhere… but the way in which enforcement is performed is where everything differs.

I can think back to a time where I worked overnights, managing a call-center… and if you pardon the very weak analogy… the policies between the three-shifts were identical… and the “establishment” (ie. daytime management) would swear up and down that there were no differences between the shifts.  However, things are in-fact, very different in the middle of the night.  Approaches are different, availability is different, priorities are different.  Things are just… different.

I remember requesting help in certain areas and situations, that… the powers-that-be... assured me were unnecessary… even going as far as claiming that I was imagining were needed.  No such situation existed… because, in their eyes… everything was identical across the board.  That’s what Henderson reminded me of here… and perhaps why, I leave this story pulling for Gangbuster to prove him wrong.

Very solid story… and, another where the “action” serves as more of a back-drop to establishing the tone and tenor of this new-look Metropolis.

Our fourth story opens 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!

Not bad!

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-timeSuperman: 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.

Our fifth and final story opens at… Vanishing Point.  Hey, hey… c’mon, wake up!  Where the Linear Men… aw c’mon, quit snoring… this is going to be okay, I promise!  Let’s try that again.  We open at Vanishing Point, where the Linear Men are taking Waverider to the Library of Time.  They’re here to show the golden fella one of the most significant moments of the late-twentieth century… that moment being, the Death of Superman!

Waverider is positively beside himself at the sight… especially with the realization that the death occurred like two days after the last time he’d chummed up with the Man of Steel.  Waverider, with his time-traveling hoo-doo, sees no other option than to go back in time, and stop this event from happening!  One of the boring Linear Men (the one that kinda looks like Cable) tell him that’s a “no-go”… but, ain’t nothin’ gonna stop Goldie from doin’ what he feels he needs to do!

And so, before we know it, Waverider is in Metropolis… on that day.  He watches as Doomsday and Superman exchange blows, realizing the futility of the fight… and then, he pauses time so he can plan his next move.

Just as he does so, however, he finds himself joined by Linear Man, Matthew Ryder… who is, pretty much Waverider, just an “alternate” version.  Matt tries to interject some critical thinking into the endeavor.  Sure, they save Superman… this time.  So, what happens… next time?  And the time after that?  Are they literally just granting Superman immortality?  I gotta say, I know what they’re going for here… but, ya know what?  That doesn’t sound like a half-bad idea, does it?

Matthew then plays the “where does it end?” card… ya know, asking why they don’t just save everybody… superheroes, historical figures, just ordinary folks… everybody.  A resigned Waverider quickly comes around to Matthew’s way of thinking.

And so, Waverider unfreezes time… and decides to just sit back and watch the inevitable.  And by “watch”, I mean exactly that… he doesn’t turn away from the brutality or “killing blow”, he just watches it happen.

The story… and this special, ends the same way Superman #75 did… the way it was always supposed to.

Heyyy, how about that, I really liked this one!  Well, mostly, anyway.

I still couldn’t give a rip about the Linear Men… however, as a “device” for this outing, I think Waverider served his role well.  He’s depicted as naive, brash, and well-intentioned… but, sometimes there’s more to making a decision than who it might benefit in the immediate.  He learns a pretty valuable lesson here… with more than a dash of “with great power…”

I wanna take everything we know about how this arc played out out of the equation for a minute.  I really wonder if any of the folks who bought this off the racks… actually thought, for even a half-second, that this story would result in the death being “un-done”.  I mean, it’s almost ludicrous to consider… but, I mean… even for a fraction of a second, did Jurgens and Company actually get a “gotcha”?  Were there readers who thought this was DC’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card?  A way to walk back the Death?  I’d certainly be interested in finding out!

As for the story itself… I liked seeing all of the familiar “trappings” of Superman #75.  The bits and pieces of art shown at the Library of Time was a hoot… and also, seeing Waverider and Matthew Ryder sorta-kinda “Forrest Gumped” into the familiar and iconic panels of the “death issue” was really cool!

The “message” here… I mean, the point of it is well-taken.  If you use your great power to save Superman, each and every time he’s in danger… well, then… where does it end?  Right?  Some of the examples Ryder gives here are Albert Einstein, Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr., and Beethoven.  If you could save them/keep them alive… would you?  Perhaps more importantly, should you?

It’s a pretty “heavy” topic… and one that I have a hard time making “jive” in the fantastical world of superhero comics, where the “rules” of the world are vastly (and often incomparably) different… but, again… the point is well-taken.

We’ve looked at a story that had similar themes way back in the long ago here at the blog… and it also included Dan Jurgens’ name in the credits!  Booster Gold (vol.2) #5 (2008) featured the titular character attempting to un-do The Killing Joke… and failing time and again, until he finally learned his lesson about the amount of power a time-traveler potentially wields.

All told, this was a very strong way to close out the Special… with both a glimmer of hope that the whole magilla will be un-done, and the ultimate realization that nothing was actually going to change.  Worth noting, the art here was prrrrrrrrretty phenomenal.

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0 thoughts on “Legacy of Superman #1 (1993)

  • Grant Kitchen

    Did you know Guardian is Roy Harper's uncle? It came up in the second run of the original Teen Titans series and in Superman Family 191-194. The characters' first post-Crisis meeting is in Superboy 81-82 in the early 2000s.

    • Ya know… it rings a bell, but I must've totally spaced it!

  • Jeremiah

    I think one of the reasons I like stories like this is because it doesn't have the main heroes of the DCU. I know that's the point because it is after Superman died but it could have easily featured Batman or Aquaman. I sometimes think that ever since Grant Morrison's JLA, DC has focused too much on those heroes. I also agree these stories were good because they do a nice job of building a world without Superman.

    • It's very true… THESE are definitely not the characters I'd see DC choosing nowadays to cram into a Special issue. There would definitely have to be, at the very least, a Bat-Anchor. I'm sure the Joker and Harley would somehow wind up on the cover too!

      I agree, the Morrison JLA (I'd also include Kingdom Come), for how good much of it was… really helped change the way DC presented their characters. The iconics are ever-present… and the less-represented, became even further buried. I can't really argue the methodology… but, I'd certainly appreciate more characters like THESE getting a bit of the shine.

      I think ever since we slid over into the "writers-first" mindset (which happened around the time of JLA/Kingdom Come), writers just wanted to write the "biggies". Iconic characters who had better likelihood of selling. It stopped being about "Waverider is cool-looking and fun to draw" and became "Oh crud, nobody's gonna buy a Waverider ongoing!"

  • Grant Kitchen

    I just read your review of the Booster Gold issue you mentioned above. One thing that stood out to me was that in pre-Crisis continuity Commisioner Gordon knew Barbara was Batgirl. She revealed her identity to him in Detective Comics 422. I always wondered if he knew in post-Crisis continuity. This BG issue answered that.

    • Yup! I always assumed that in the post-Crisis, deep-down Jim DID know… but, didn't *want to* confirm it? I sometimes feel like he knows Batman's really Bruce Wayne too… but, doesn't want to "officially" know. Ya know?


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