Superman in Crisis

SiC 63 — The Man of Tomorrow (06:26:1986)

Lois Lane 2, Action Comics 583

4 replies on “SiC 63 — The Man of Tomorrow (06:26:1986)”

Whew! What a ride!
Thanks for the Lois Lane #2 wrap-up. It was a good story dealing with a subject that was, and continues to be, a hear-wrenching problem. The revelation about Lana Lang’s tragedy was hard for me to hear and process, since I never read these issues, and was unaware of this development.
Now, for the main course: I’ve been fairly open that I did not like “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, both on its own merits and as an end for the Silver/Bronze Age version of Superman. I continue to maintain that if it was decided that there needed to be an end, I think a reprint or update of “The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue” would be a more upbeat ending with happy endings for just about all of the main characters. Not everyone’s taste, but it would have worked well for me, and I imagine a lot of readers of my generation. Just my two cents.
Some of the things I disliked most about this two-part ending story include: the deaths of so many beloved characters (which, at the time felt like a giant slap in the face to longtime fans), the almost complete passivity of Superman throughout the Action Comics half of the story, in which Lana, Jimmy, Krypto, and even, to some extent, Luthor, have more agency in the fight than Superman does, and the revelation of Superman’s “greatest foe” (Really?! Holy Complete Last Moment Abrupt Character Shift Negating Everything We’ve Seen About Him FOR DECADES, Batman!). Also, I know many people like the last “bit” with Jordan Elliot’s “wink”, and Jonathan’s “coal to diamond” trick. I realize these moments are supposed to be 10 years after the main events of the story, but the wink seems to gloss over all the deaths of their friends, and Jonathan exhibiting super strength goes against the long-established rule that Gold Kryptonite not only removes a Kryptonian’s powers, but also eliminates those powers being passed to descendants. I guess that’s part of the “This is an Imaginary Story”, helping out, although it’s possible that Alan Moore just forgot that aspect of Gold K.
This is not to say that “Whatever Happened . . .” is without merit. There is great poignancy in it. The moment when Lana hears Superman talk about his love for Lois, and she and Jimmy head out to battle the villains, we get to feel the love that both Jimmy and Lana have for Superman. The heroic resistance of Luthor, possibly inspired by Lana, gave us a last glimpse of the goodness that also was part of him. Krypto’s death while protecting Superman was noble, and worthy of the best dog on Earth.
Your discussion of Superman’s history of killing was a good one, and I think I have a little to add to your thoughts on Superman’s killing of Mxyzptlk. You say that Superman couldn’t have known exactly how and when Mxyzptlk would react, and so couldn’t have known he’d kill him, but Superman certainly had the intent to kill him, and even if it was partly coincidental in the timing of events, he did kill him deliberately, so I don’t necessarily see it as an excuse to give up his powers.
I also agree with your assessment of those last 18 months worth of stories, that some were “meh”; some were good; not a lot were great. I don’t think that was intentional, but I imagine, knowing, at some point that the “end” was coming may have invited some inertia into the work. I think that’s almost inevitable.
Thanks for your excellent work in this podcast. You’ve given me a lot of things to think about, and a lot of enjoyment along the way.

With apologies to Lt. Columbo, just one more thing, sir: There certainly are mountains in the Arctic. Not at the pole, of course, since there’s no land there, but there are mountains inside the Arctic Circle, notably the Brooks Range, the northernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains, in Alaska. Superman’s Fortress of Solitude (and with all his guests in this issue, and all the villains outside, I don’t imagine there was much “solitude”) was always described in those days as simply being “in the Arctic”, which normally means “between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole”.

Congratulations. I haven’t listened to it all, but I’ve been popping in and out for the highlights as I remembered them and always enjoyed the show.

If people want to see what an Alan Moore Superman run would have been like they need look no further than Supreme.

On to Superman killing. It’s obvious why he has this code just from the timing of it as you mentioned: it’s there so that he didn’t have to go to Vietnam; it allows him to be a conscientious objector. But I think that he has, as the Earth-1 Superman from that time onward, a strong code against purely intentional killing. In the heat of combat if he has to kill to stop someone he will, though he will try to avoid it (putting more effort against human villains and almost none against robots; guy has some issues there that are probably Brainiac related.), but even in those cases, if the enemy were to, even at the last minute, surrender or retreat, Superman would always relent. And that’s the opposite of what he does with Myx here, which is why it’s Gold K time.

Hi Jon! I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. How’ve you been? Oh yeah, I know what you mean. It’s been a year, hasn’t it. Speaking of that, this last year plus of reading along with this podcast has been wonderful. I got to read some new-to-me comics, and revisit some that I haven’t read in years. So it’s been fun.

This Lois Lane mini was a first read for me. Quite a different story from the rest of the Superman line. The conclusion felt a little abrupt and flat. Perhaps it had trouble sticking the landing, when the subject of this mini was so troubling, and Lois was actually quite unlikeable and not self-aware. Maybe it needed just 2 pages to show Lois realizing and regretting how she had behaved. But overall a gripping story on a horrific tragedy.

Then there’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. I actually missed this when it first came out, and only read it a few years back when the DCU Finite app had it. It still blows me away. But I agree with you, this is not an example of stories that could sustain a series. So it would be interesting to see what Moore would have done with a monthly Superman assignment. But I have no complaints about the Byrne reboot.

It’s also funny to me that these 2 issues were normal sized comics. Nowadays, they’d be double sized or 80-page whoppers. But no, just a couple of 22-pagers to conclude an era of Superman. Considering how the stories were written in this period, so many one-and-dones, that’s eminently appropriate.

While I’ve said it on social media, I have to repeat here my congratulations on completing this podcast, and my gratitude that I could contribute in my little way with rambling feedback and likes/stars/thumbs. Thank you, my friend. May the battle never end.

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