First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.28: Superman #27/Adventures of Superman #450

A Superman double feature! Bass and Siskoid continue their coverage of Invasion Aftermath with Superman #27 and Adventures of Superman #450, a major turning point in Superman's life AND in DC Universe history. Check it out if you don't believe us!

Listen to Episode 28 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings may apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.28 Supplemental

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16 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.28: Superman #27/Adventures of Superman #450

  1. Great episode and great books. As you say Siskoid, this era of Superman really was building something. Every arc seemed to nicely dovetail into the next. Every subplot seemed to lead to more subplots. Very good. Good writers/good artists/good continuity all the way around.

    I am 99% certain that the ‘execution issue’ in the pocket universe was Byrne’s last issue. And I am also 99% sure that it ends with some ominous ‘what effect will this have on Superman?’ panel with Supes lost in thought. So perhaps the seeds of this breakdown were evident from the beginning. And as you say, this exile story has major implications for the mythos down the road. (I’ll need to look at that issue tonight.)

    I think that the Matrix Supergirl arc is one worth retreading. While Clark is in space, Matrix uses her shape-changing abilities to actually become Clark, taking his place and acting as Superman in his absence. When he returns, they fight as Superman vs Superman (Action Comics #644). She also has had a break. And, interestingly enough, she exiles herself to space as well. Sounds like a mirror of just what Clark went through.

    Ultimately, she leaves the Superman form behind and embraces the Supergirl form. But that is when Brainiac ends up dominating her will, making her a pawn for a short period of time. In the end, she regains her freedom in Panic in the Sky and starts acting as Supergirl. Alas, the creators liked dragging her down a bit. She falls in love with the cloned/red-headed Lex, becoming his lover and being basically controlled by him. It is only in Doomsday/Reign of the Supermen that she finally asserts herself as a hero on her own.

  2. Add me to the list who consider this era his own personal “Golden Age” for Superman. And I had been buying the Superman titles pretty regularly since the late 70s/early 80s. Every big story arc was better than the last, and it really begins here. I do think Byrne had intended for the Phantom Zoners’ execution to have psychological repercussions for Clark, but I’m not sure how much of that was plotted out by him, and even if so, how much was used.

    Great examination of these issues. I never considered Superman’s lack of a cape as him being somewhat “lesser”, but it makes perfect sense. I really feel for Lana Lang in this era. It seem like Clark was always doing things to make her feel like he was finally going to commit to her, or that his love for her was more deeply romantic…and then he flies off. Or goes for Lois. It’s the closest Post-Crisis Supes got to Super-Dickery. I don’t think it was intentional, but the poor woman can only take so much…especially from a god-like being with a heart of gold. Who WOULDN’T want to be with that guy? And here he is swapping spit, and flying off. Geez Clark.

    Oh, and I really like Gangbuster’s outfit. It was about 30 years ahead of it’s time, as it would fit right in on any of the DC/CW shows. And of course Wolfman and Ordway WANTED to make Jose Delgado a new Guardian, but the idea was nixed for some reason. So having Gangbuster fight Guardian is even more apt when you consider the backstory!


  3. Did that alien-hating Bass just say Gal Gadot’s role in the Fast and the Furious series was unremarkable? Giselle was the heart of parts 5&6, you monsters. The moment she died it was clear all the goodwill and momentum built since her intro in part 4 was spent.

  4. Oh man, this is right smack-dab in the middle of MY Superman era. I read this off the shelves as it shipped and remember piecing the Gangbuster puzzle together just before the second part shipped.

    Also, Australia is a pretty big place, so I presume the invaders were sight-seeing when they crashed at Uluru…

  5. Forgot to mention, Superman hasn’t quite left the story as much as you think. It is true that he doesn’t return to Earth in the course of Invasion 3.

  6. This was my “Golden Age” of Superman too. I had started buying the books in 1987 but this was the era where getting the next issue was non-negotiable. I was 12 and still young enough both as a comic book fan and as a person to worry that this was it…he’s gone and he’s never coming back.

    Good times.

    Dr. Anj is correct that the execution of the Phantom Zone villains in the Pocket Universe was Byrne’s last issue. There was a bit in one of Giordano’s MEANWHILE column a few months before laying out things that are going to happen in the Superman books (Lois will find out Clark is Superman, Lex is going to be put through the wringer, etc.) but ultimately that execution would be Byrne’s final story. I’m not going to argue the merits of Superman killing because that’s a discussion in and of itself but I will say that in terms of dealing with such an event the creative teams that followed Byrne did an amazing job in having him come to terms with his actions. Is leaving Earth a bit knee jerk? Yes, but given everything that had happened maybe doing something rash made perfect sense.

    Regarding Lana; that poor woman. Clark did this whole kissing thing a lot in this era and it wouldn’t be until 1990 when that whole thing was resolved. While I liked that Byrne had Lana learn Clark’s secret and while the idea that learning that secret had a negative impact on Lana’s life I’m not convinced it was fair to the character.

    Jonathan’s military career did change slightly during the Post Crisis era. In WORLD OF SMALLVILLE, published earlier in 1988, Jonathan came home from World War II. By the Death of Superman this was changed to Korea. A slight retcon but one that made sense and allowed the Kents to be a little younger when they found Clark. Despite being a terrible liar Jonathan and Martha were fantastic during this era. You could make the argument that their deaths serve to show Clark that with all the things he could do, all his powers there are things he can’t control. It’s a good argument but ultimately having them around serves to give Clark a place to go to for comfort and support. Also I’m never really comfortable with saying, “Yeah, his parents should die to teach him a lesson.” That seems a bit cold hearted.

    The issues preceding the two covered in this episode and the ones that followed are what cemented my love for Superman. Some people call this version of the character “The Byrne Superman” but I would argue that while Byrne got the ball rolling and revamped Superman for a new generation this really should be called “The Carlin Era”. After Byrne left Carlin was the guiding force for the Man of Steel. Ordway stayed on but getting Roger Stern, Dan Jurgens, George Perez and then Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove on the various titles and then turning those two then three then four books into what was ostensibly a weekly Superman comics I think it’s safe to say that The Great Carlini really did pull a rabbit out of his hat. The run from just before Exile going all the way through the Death and Return is a great era of Superman and I say that both as someone that grew up during that time and as someone that has studied Superman for years. It was almost magic that Carlin was able to put together a team that managed to work together while still having their own voices. Other groups would attempt the same thing but never to the same result.

    And in case y’all weren’t aware there is an omnibus coming out next year that reprints all of the stories from Byrne leaving to just after Exile. I am so excited this is happening.

  7. Man, Kerry Gammill and Brett Breeding are a perfect art combo for Superman. I didn’t read this era of the book but it looks terrific.

    On a related note, the minute i heard Bass say anything less than total love for the work of Gal Gadot, I pictured DAG furiously typing.

    1. Kerry Gammill doesn’t do enough work in comics nowadays. Love his stuff. I think someone called it “Superman as if drawn by John Buscema”. Of course Buscema did draw Supes in that second Supes/Spidey Treasury, but you get the idea.

      Plus, Gammill is a HUGE Monster Kid and historian of classic monster films! Even more reason to like that guy!


    2. I couldn’t agree more, Rob. Gammill’s artwork always gets a “must have” from me. He and Breeding are a terribly underappreciated team.

  8. So heartening to see all the love for this Superman era. Count me in, too.

    I don’t know if it’s obvious, but Byrne’s last issue was Superman #22. This is a mere 6 issues later, and the second month of a crossover event. So this whole Superman/Gangbuster story happened over less than 12 comics between “Superman” and “Adventures of”. Not very long by some standards, but it didn’t feel rushed at all.

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