Superman in Crisis

SiC 18 — To Save You, Why Must I Kill You? (06:06:1985)

Reviewing Crisis on Infinite Earths 6 (1:19) and DC Comics Presents 85 (22:52), and responding to your feedback (40:53)!

4 replies on “SiC 18 — To Save You, Why Must I Kill You? (06:06:1985)”

“Crisis” #6 has some good “battle” scenes, although I’ve never been a big fan of heroes vs. heroes fights, especially in DC comics. That always seemed like a Marvel thing to me, with my Silver Age upbringing, I guess. This issue does, as you say, lay some groundwork for future developments and contains enough mystery and intrigue to keep readers coming back for more, so, good job to Marv Wolfman.
“DC Comics Presents” #85 was quite a good story, I think. I find myself going up and down on writer Alan Moore. Some of his stories, I really like, from this story, to a couple of his excellent Green Lantern tales, including “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize” and “In Blackest Night” (the story of recruiting a Green Lantern from the Obsidian Deeps, a sector of space with no stars and no light), and some, let us just say, I like less. In “The Jungle Line”, we see a dying Superman, helpless to save himself, being helped by the Swamp Thing, a complete stranger, and then having no conscious memory of that stranger or his help. It’s kind of a reversal for Superman, who, I imagine, often helps people without their even knowing it, and I like that. Even the most powerful person on Earth sometimes needs someone else’s help, and gets that help – – – unaware.
By the way, I did not know your birthday was approaching, but I’m glad the timing of the book worked out to be a kind of birthday present. I thought, with your voracious reading, especially regarding the Man o’ Steel, that you might well have already read Philip (There’s only one “l” in “Philip”, just as there’s no “h” in “Jon”.) Wylie’s “Gladiator”, but, just in case you hadn’t, I wanted to make it available to you, for the Superman connection.
Looking forward to the next episode, as always. Thank you.

Another nice solid show. The Moore story was good and a bit offbeat. I have a question- why did Clark avoid going to the JL and is there an equivalent person in the DC universe to Reed Richards? It seems that DC doesn’t have that “guy” that is genius level that is accessible to solve giant science mysteries. My “no prize” answer to why Clark avoided looking for help is that his mind was affected by the fungus as well as his powers. Crisis #6 seemed like a padded issue where not much happened. Lots of people declaring that the world was ending and not much else. Thanks for this podcast every week , it brightens my day. Did you ever consider doing voiceover work? You seem to have a talent for it.

Your big question for Crisis #6 was, who’s that guy with the wings? His name is Azrael, and his history is interesting. His first appearance is Tales of the Teen Titans #52 on sale Jan 3, 1985, and second in New Teen Titans #7 from Jan 17, 1985. In terms of continuity, NTT was 12 issues in the future from TotTT, so that’s wild if you were reading both series at the same time. But get this. He got a half-page entry in Who’s Who #2 the same day as NTT #7, which gives him a name that was not established yet in either Titans comic, because like in Crisis #6, he’s amnesiac so his whole past is a mystery even to him. It’s not a big guess to say Marv Wolfman had plans for Azrael and wanted to make him a big concern. Looking at the results, I’d say they didn’t work out.

But about this issue, #6 really made this feel like big things were coming. I wasn’t familiar with the Freedom Fighters, but of course I knew the Shazam family from comics and cartoons. I’d even lucked into a couple of Captain Atom and Blue Beetle comics back in the day, so it was exciting seeing them here. And the possibilities of things to come, oh what a magical time for comics.

Plus a sidebar, the footnotes to other comics were subtly or overtly working on me. My collecting of JLA started with #242, mentioned right in this issue. I was intrigued by Infinity Inc, but wasn’t going to a comic shop yet. Once I got to college and that was an option, it was on my pull list, and Crisis definitely convinced me to do so.

DCCP #85 was an issue I read shortly after getting the DCU app, so I gave it a reread here. Really amazing story. For me, Superman’s white glowing eyes and other force effects make me think of 2 things: his power of flight like a force projection, and post-Crisis Superboy Kon-El’s tactile telekinesis. Either approach amped up could justify the power shown when the sickness overwhelms him. Pretty great stuff.

And I’m so glad Moore wrote this issue. It might not have been Swamp Thing-ish enough under another writer. Plus the tone hearkens to “For the man who has everything”, even having an alien plant involved, without being a direct copy. And it made sense to end without Superman even knowing that he had help. That’s just not Swampy’s way. Wonderful.

Gosh, halfway thru Crisis! Where has the time gone? Thanks for the great show, my friend!

This was a great episode, and fantastic coverage of these two issues. The Crisis issue, as Dave says, does feel a bit Marvel-ish with all the hero vs. hero fights. Of course, Marv and George had both worked at Marvel for years before they came to DC, so I suppose it’s understandable. It’s hard to read this issue in isolation; we’re somewhat spoiled by knowing what’s going to happen next issue, and it feels like this one is just kind of marking time until it happens. That’s not really the fault of the issue, but is a consequence of reading it 37 years later and having that knowledge of the “future.”

I vividly remember DC Comics Presents #85. As I mentioned, I wasn’t really reading much Superman at the time. But for whatever reason, I bought this issue when it was new, and it really made an impression! I’m pretty sure this was my first encounter with Alan Moore, and I thought his writing was incredible. It had a sophistication and (dare I say it) poetry that you didn’t often see in comics in those days. The fact that it featured Superman in such a helpless and vulnerable position also struck me. I was so used to the character being indestructible, or at least able to think his way out of situations that seemed to get the better of him, that seeing him so utterly beaten was quite a shock to me.

You don’t have to read this next part on the podcast if you think it’s too spoilery:

I agree with what Tim Price says above about the similarities with “For the Man Who Has Everything.” Given the release dates, Moore must have been working on both stories at around the same time, and they sort of feed into each other. Moore correctly intuits that for all his physical strength, where Superman is most vulnerable is through his mind and his memories (or perhaps fantasies) of Krypton. Getting lost in fantasies of what might have been is so tempting, and in both cases Superman needs help to fight his way out of it.

I’m so glad that I found this podcast; it’s a terrific listen!

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