Sequart on Twitter Sequart on Facebook Sequart on Google+ SequartTV on YouTube Sequart on Patreon

Post-Crisis Superman:

John Byrne Era (1986-1988)

In 1986, in the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC chose John Byrne to helm the reboot of the Superman titles. Byrne was the popular artist of Marvel’s The Uncanny X-Men, which he had often co-plotted with writer Chris Claremont. Now, Byrne was given the privilege of remaking Superman, adapting the character for the 1980s.

The new Superman debuted in the biweekly six-issue mini-series The Man of Steel (Oct-Dec 1986), which retold Superman’s origin and key events from the subsequent few years, culminating in Superman learning his Kryptonian origin, shortly before the DC Universe’s present. The series established the new Superman as once again the “Last Son of Krypton,” doing away with Supergirl, Krypto, the more rarely-seen Superwoman, and the various other Kryptonians that had built up over the years. The series also established that Superman’s powers hadn’t materialized until adulthood, which eliminated his years as Superboy from continuity, thereby removing both a silly element of the Superman mythos and avoiding the continuity questions it had long raised. It was a streamlined, back-to-basics approach, which worked well as a way of reintroducing the character to new readers.

One of Byrne’s most successful changes was to Lex Luthor, no longer depicted like a mad scientist or an armored super-criminal. Instead, this new Luthor was a rich and vicious capitalist, reflecting the decade’s emphasis on selfish individualism. In many ways, the new Luthor more closely represented the Kingpin, the Marvel villain most closely associated with Daredevil, than Luthor’s earlier incarnations.

In September 1986, the month following Man of Steel, this new continuity took over Superman’s ongoing titles. A third ongoing title was added for the occasion. Superman Vol. 1, published under that title since 1939, was renamed Adventures of Superman. This allowed DC to offer a new Superman #1 (Vol. 2). Byrne would write and pencil both Superman Vol. 2 and Action Comics (still Vol. 1), while Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway handled Adventures of Superman.

In the three title’s first year in this new continuity (during which all three also got annuals), the titles only rarely and loosely connected with one another. During this time, characters from Superman’s past continued to be reintroduced in new forms, alongside new characters, some of whom survived to become important for many years, while others did not. While these stories were often primitive by the standards of later decades, especially because of plot holes, many contained mature elements — such as exploring the intersection of super-heroes and politics, or veiled allusions to sex and sexuality — that were remarkably progressive. More than anything, these stories felt remarkably new.

During this same year (1987), the Superman film series (which had inspired Byrne’s austere vision of Krypton) came to an end with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. While the film bombed critically and commercially, it did address nuclear proliferation, reflecting the somewhat more adult concerns of the Superman comics at the time.

For the three titles’ second year (beginning in September 1987), they more clearly took place in their order of publication, creating a more unified depiction of Superman. Marv Wolfman left Adventures of Superman, leaving it to Byrne and Ordway.

In the month prior to this second year, DC effectively began a year-long fourth Superman title in the form of three consecutive four-issue mini-series: World of Krypton, World of Smallville, and World of Metropolis, all written (but not illustrated) by Byrne. This was exceptional, in an era when mini-series were still rare, and the later two “World of” mini-series featured a cover layout reminiscent of that used on Man of Steel. Of particular note was World of Krypton, which featured art by Mike Mignola and took place both before and shortly after the Man of Steel mini-series.

This brief abundance of Superman material lasted only six months, however: Superman surrendered Action Comics, after 600 issues, to make way for that title becoming a weekly anthology series titled Action Comics Weekly. The extra-long issue #600 (May 1988), half by Byrne and George Pérez, would be fondly remembered, featuring Superman and Wonder Woman up against Darkseid.

In January 1988, Superman got his first prestige-format graphic novella: Superman: The Earth Stealers, written by Byrne, with art by Curt Swan and Jerry Ordway.

These were heady days of change for DC.

Byrne deserves credit for ending his run well. In Superman Vol. 1 #16, he introduced a new Supergirl, surprising readers because of this apparently defied this new Superman’s streamlined “Last Son of Krypton” focus. This Supergirl was later revealed to be a shape-shifter, not a Kryptonian, from a pocket universe. This universe was essentially a duplicate of the Earth-1 from before Crisis on Infinite Earths, which explained how the future Legion of Super-Heroes, which continued through Crisis, had interacted so frequently with a past that no longer existed. Once this past was revealed to be a pocket universe, however, it was suddenly available for dramatic change: and Byrne provided it, revealing that three Kryptonian criminals of that universe had decimated its Earth, killing all of its heroes. Superman thus encountered fellow Kryptonians (albeit ones from a pocket universe), only to find them the greatest evil he had faced. The excellent story concluded with Superman, realizing the Kryptonians would inevitably escape and spread their destruction, forced to violate his rule against killing by executing his fellow Kryptonians.

It was a masterpiece of a story, and its consequences would ripple through the next year of the Superman titles.

Of the 82 original issues in this era, only 14 (Adventures of Superman #424-435 and 443, plus Adventures of Superman Annual #1) were not at least partially written by Byrne — a remarkable accomplishment, given their rapid rate of publication.

Continuity

Amazing Heroes #96

John Byrne's cover to Amazing Heroes #96 (1 June 1986).

The only major continuity problems are caused by those issues of Adventures of Superman without Byrne’s involvement. Issues #424-426 may be clearly placed, but issues #427-428 follow up on #424-425, despite a significant gap occurring between those issues. In general, Adventures of Superman follows its own developing plotlines, which the other two titles don’t reference. Although these don’t constitute outright errors, these different and continuing plot concerns (along with the different look and feel of Adventures) can be hard to reconcile with Byrne’s Superman Vol. 2 and Action Comics Vol. 1.

A bigger problem occurs with Adventures of Superman #430, which contains a page in which a week passes, during which the events of Action Comics Vol. 1 #589 and Superman Vol. 2 #7 (the two Superman issues published between Adventures of Superman #429 and #430) are said to occur. This attempt at establishing continuity between the three titles, however, fails completely. The page in question makes no reference of Action Comics Vol. 1 #588, which continued into the referenced Action Comics Vol. 1 #589. It also makes no reference to Superman Vol. 2 #8 and Action Comics #591, which take place between the final two pages of the referenced Superman Vol. 2 #7. Moreover, if one is inclined to keep the issues of Action Comics Vol. 1 in sequential order, the page in question also makes no reference to Action Comics Vol. 1 #590, which must take place between the two referenced issues. One can only guess that writer Marv Wolfman only knew the most basic of plot outlines Byrne would be covering. To make this matter even more complicated, the issue of Adventures of Superman in question (#430) states that Clark Kent hasn’t been home to Smallville in some time, although he visits Smallville in the aforementioned Superman Vol. 2 #8 (which continues into Action Comics #589). The best solution is simply to rule the page in question as incoherent (and in fact, it’s not necessary for the story, so it could be removed in collection). This also allows the issue in question to be placed directly after the previous one, which ends by setting up the themes of the issue in question. With a gap between the two issues (as the issues would demand, were the page in question included), the reader is left wondering (for several issues) if Superman returned home to Smallville (which the ending of Adventures of Superman #429 implies he’s about to do), if that’s what “go home” really meant at all, and why he didn’t, if indeed he didn’t. Removing the page in question and setting the two issues together clears up this confusion.

A less sticky situation arises around Superman Vol. 2 #9-10 and Adventures of Superman #431-432. All must occur after Superman Vol. 2 #8 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #591, the two-part Legion of Super-Heroes crossover mentioned above. In Superman Vol. 2 #8, Superman briefly experiences his powers going out of control. Lex Luthor, in the back-up in Superman Vol. 1 #9, mentions Project Overload, as if it’s his sole concern. This flows into Superman Vol. 1 #10, in which that project is revealed to have caused Superman’s symptoms in Superman Vol. 1 #8. The issue even refers to Superman Vol. 2 #8 as occurring a mere ten days before. The main story of Superman Vol. 1 #9 (featuring the Joker) begins a couple new plot threads and has no mention of Project Overload, which suggests that it might be moved to after Superman Vol. 1 #10, in order to keep the Project Overlord material as close as possible to Superman Vol. 1 #8, without introducing new plot threads amid this material. What virtually necessitates this shift is that Adventures of Superman #432 occurs immediately following the main story of Superman Vol. 2 #9, and it shows Lex Luthor concerned with a very different scheme, without reference to the ambiguous Project Overload, which is not only inconsistent but would almost certainly create needless confusion, as readers equivocate between Luthor’s two projects. Additionally, keeping the main story of Superman Vol. 2 #9 in place would require that Adventures of Superman #431 either be placed before the Legion crossover or (like the Joker story) between the Legion crossover and the resolution of Project Overlord. Moving the Joker story solves these problems, keeping the Project Overlord material as a kind of coda to the Legion story, while opening a place between it and the Joker story, into which Adventures of Superman #431 may be placed. Superman Annual Vol. 2 #1 (published near Superman Vol. 2 #9) may also be placed here, rather than after the Project Overlord material, and this has the added advantage of decreasing the separation between Adventures of Superman #432-434, which tell a single story (albeit with chapter breaks allowing stories to be inserted between issues).

It’s worth noting that the trade paperback series Superman: The Man of Steel, which reprinted Man of Steel and the first post-Man of Steel year of all three titles (along with annuals and some tie-in issues), attempts to place the issues it reprints in some kind of coherent order, yet fails completely. The second trade paperback, which reprints the first three post-Man of Steel issues of the three titles, ignores the continuity clearly established in the stories themselves. The next volume ignores the problem with that page in Adventures of Superman #430, placing that issue where that page would demand the issue be placed. This ignores (1) the fact that Action Comics Vol. 1 #588 isn’t mentioned, (2) the fact that this page in Adventures of Superman #430 violates the chronology of Superman Vol. 2 #7 (which it references), and (3) the fact that Superman Vol. 2 #8 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #591, placed subsequent to Adventures of Superman #430, clearly take place during Superman Vol. 2 #7. This incoherence is made more frustrating by the fact that a more careful analysis would have suggested simply removing the offending page (perhaps reprinting it in the back of the book for completists). While some placements are simply less than optimum, the fifth trade paperback contains Adventures of Superman #435, which is indisputably set between Superman Vol. 2 #12 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #595 — two issues reprinted instead in the sixth trade paperback. It’s nice that DC collected these issues, but their sequencing is a mess.

In the Superman titles’ second post-Man of Steel year, with Byrne at least co-writing each issue, continuity improved. Until Byrne’s departure, only two substantial holes are open to insert stories into: (1) between Adventures of Superman #439 and Action Comics vol. 1 #599, and (2) between Superman Vol. 2 #18 and Adventures of Superman #441. Superman: The Earth Stealers and World of Smallville may be comfortably inserted into the first. World of Metropolis and Adventures of Superman #443 (which occurs out of sequence) may be inserted into the second, which keeps them with the rest of Byrne’s work and avoids interrupting the first sequence of issues that follow his tenure.

The Man of Steel

World of Krypton Vol. 2 #1

“Pieces” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; breakdowns by Mike Mignola; finishes by Rick Bryant
  • Krypton debates the rights of clones, setting up its clone wars

first issue; cover by John Byrne and Walt Simonson; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Dec 1987

World of Krypton Vol. 2 #2

“After the Fall” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; breakdowns by Mike Mignola; finishes by Rick Bryant
  • Krypton begins a war over clone rights
  • the city of Kandor is destoryed by a terrorist

cover by John Byrne and Walt Simonson; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1988
World of Krypton Vol. 2 #3

“History Lesson” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; breakdowns by Mike Mignola; finishes by Rick Bryant
  • the Kryptonian civil war ends
  • features a young Jor-El, who finds out he is to get a mate and a child

cover by John Byrne and Walt Simonson; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1988
Man of Steel #1

untitled (as a whole, but divided into “Prologue: From Out the Green Dawn” (8 pages), “Chapter One: The Secret” (10 pages), “Chapter Two: The Exposure” (10 pages), and “Epilogue: The Super-Hero” (4 pages)) -- 32 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • as Krypton explodes, Lara and Jor-El send their unborn son, Kal-El, to Earth
  • Clark Kent becomes a star football player, but his foster father reveals he’s adopted and is an alien from another planet
  • after helping the world secretly for years, Clark Kent is forced into doing his first public super-deed by saving the space-plane Constitution (which has Lois Lane on board)
  • the Kents design and make a costume for Clark, who adopts his Superman identity

first issue; introduction by Dick Giordano; afterword by John Byrne; cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Oct 1986

Additional Images:

Man of Steel #2

“The Story of the Century” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • Clark Kent gets hired by Perry White at the Daily Planet because Clark writes the first Superman interview (during the first week after his emergence)
  • Clark Kent first meets Lois Lane

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Oct 1986
Man of Steel #3

“One Night in Gotham City…” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • Superman meets Batman for the first time (in their current incarnations) and defeat Magpie

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Nov 1986
Man of Steel #4

“Enemy Mine” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • first appearance of Lex Luthor (returning to Metropolis, after a year’s absence, with rapidly-receding red hair)
  • tells the origin of the Luthor-Superman fued (Superman has the respected Luthor arrested)
  • occurs 18 months after Clark got the job at the Daily Planet (in Man of Steel #2)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Nov 1986
Man of Steel #5

“The Mirror Crack’d” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • first appearance and the death of Bizarro (Luthor’s attempt to close Superman)
  • Lucy Lane’s sight gets restored

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Dec 1986
Man of Steel #6

“The Haunting” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • Superman discovers his Kryptonian rocketship is missing and triggers a computer program that shows him his Kryptonian origins (he and the Kents previously assumed the rocket was terrestrial in origins)
  • Superman discovers what revealing his powers to Lana years ago did to her and decides he wants to pursue a life with Lois

final issue; cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Dec 1986

Man of Steel

collects Man of Steel #1-6; foreword by Ray Bradbury; cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $12.95; published 1986

Man of Steel Ballantine Books edition
cover by Arne Starr based on Man of Steel #1 (collector’s edition); published by Ballantine Books / Random House; $12.95; published 1988
Man of Steel cheaper edition
printed on cheaper paper than the original edition; published by DC Comics; $7.50; cover-dated July 1993
Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 1

collects Man of Steel #1-6; published by DC Comics; 152 pages; $14.99; published Oct 2003

First Batch of Regular Issues

Superman Vol. 2 #1

“Heart of Stone” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Terry Austin
  • introduces the new Metallo, who is mysteriously abducted at the end of the story, just as he’s about to kill Superman
  • introduces Kryptonite in the new continuity
  • the world learns, through Metallo’s comments, that Superman is an alien, a fact Superman confirms to Lois on the final page

first issue; afterword by John Byrne (addressing the Superman reboot and concerns that he is “Marvelizing” Superman); cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1987

Additional Images:

World of Krypton Vol. 2 #4

“Family History” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Mike Mignola; inks by Carlos Garzón
  • Lois interviews Superman about his alien heritage (following up on Superman Vol. 2 #1)
  • the issue’s Kryptonian tale (unlike World of Krypton Vol. 2 #1-3) is narrated by Superman
  • in flashback, Jor-El learns of Krypton’s imminent destruction caused by the end of the clone war, and sends Kal-El to Earth

final issue; cover by John Byrne and Walt Simonson; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1988

Superman: The World of Krypton

collects World of Krypton Vol. 2 #1-4 along with the eight-page prologue from Man of Steel #1 (which duplicates narrative from World of Krypton Vol. 2 #4) and “The Fabulous World of Krypton” back-ups, specifically, (1) “Jor-El’s Golden Folly” from Superman Vol. 1 #233, (2) “The Doomsayer!” from Superman Vol. 1 #233, (3) “A Name is Born” from Superman Vol. 1 #238, (4) “The Man who Cheated Time” from Superman Vol. 1 #240, (5) “All in the Mind!” from Superman Vol. 1 #248, (6) “The Greatest Green Lantern of All!” from Superman Vol. 1 #257, (7) “The Face on the Falling Star!” from Superman Vol. 1 #266, (8) “The Stranger” from Superman Family #182, (9) “…And Not a Drop to Drink” from Superman Vol. 1 #367, and (10) “Last ‘Scoop’ on Krypton” from Superman Vol. 1 #375; introduction by Paul Kupperberg; cover taken from World of Krypton Vol. 2 #1; published by DC Comics; 196 pages; $14.99; published 2008

buy from Amazon

Adventures of Superman #424

“Man o’ War!” -- 23 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Mike Machlan
  • first appearance of Catherine Grant and Professor Hamilton
  • Luthor provides Lois Lane with a serum, that must be used monthly and thus keeps her gratefully coming to him, to save her mother’s life
  • Superman fights terrorists
  • Superman recieves a call from the mad scientist from Action Comics Vol. 1 #584 (placing this story shortly before that one)

cover by Jerry Ordway based on Superman Vol. 1 #14; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1987
Adventures of Superman #425

“Going the Gauntlet” -- 23 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; art by Jerry Ordway
  • Superman battles Qurac’s machines
  • Professor Hamilton uses his invention on Superman, inadvertently threatening innocents

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #584

“Squatter” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • the Teen Titans battle Superman with a particularly bad justification (which is only revealed in last few pages and involves an evil scientist named David Gundersen using mind transference on Superman)
  • the Teen Titans know of Superman’s alien heritage (placing this tale after World of Krypton Vol. 2 #4)
  • Luthor decides to investigate the connection between Superman and Clark Kent (leading into Superman Vol. 2 #2)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #2

“The Secret Revealed!” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Terry Austin (on figures) and Keith Williams (on backgrounds)
  • introduces Luthor’s Kryptonite ring, created with Kryptonite taken (thanks to the help of Dr. Happersen) from the heart of Metallo (kidnapped in Superman Vol. 2 #1)
  • Luthor, attempting to learn the connection between Clark Kent and Superman, tortures Lana Lang and drugs Ma and Pa Kent
  • Luthor gets Ma Kent’s scrapbook (anonymously returned to Superman in Superman Vol. 2 #9)
  • investigator Amanda McCoy uses computers to deduce that Superman is Clark Kent, but Luthor fires her because no superior Kryptonian would masquerade as a helpless human

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #585

“And the Graves Give Up Their Dead…” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • Superman first meets the Phantom Stranger (placing this before Superman Vol. 2 #3)
  • the Phantom Strangers enlists Superman to help defeat Arathaza, a creature created by the Serabite Stone

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1987

Legends

Superman Vol. 2 #3

“Legends from the Darkside” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Terry Austin
  • Darkseid sends his omega beams after Superman, only to get Clark Kent instead
  • occurs after Jack Kirby’s graphic novel The Hunger Dogs, in which New Genesis was destroyed (later removed from continuity)
  • features the Phantom Stranger (whom Superman recognizes, placing this after Action Comics Vol. 1 #585)

marked Legends chapter 17; cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1987

Additional Images:

Adventures of Superman #426

“From the Dregs” -- 22 pages

  • script by Marv Wolfman; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; art by Jerry Ordway
  • continued from Superman Vol. 1 #3
  • Amazing Grace tricks Superman into joining the wrong side of the revolution

marked Legends chapter 18; cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #586

“The Champion” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • continued from Adventures of Superman #426
  • a mind-controlled Superman battles Orion
  • features Darkseid and Lightray
  • Superman has his memory of killing for Darkseid conveniently wiped clean at the end of this story

marked Legends chapter 19; cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1987
Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 2

collects Superman Vol. 2 #1, Action Comics Vol. 1 #584, Superman Vol. 2 #2, Adventures of Superman #424-425, Action Comics Vol. 1 #585, Superman Vol. 2 #3, Adventures of Superman #426, Action Comics Vol. 1 #586, and some pages from Who’s Who Update ’87; published by DC Comics; 224 pages; $19.99; published Oct 2003

buy from Amazon

Second Batch of Regular Issues

Adventures of Superman #427

“Mind Games” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; art by Jerry Ordway
  • follows up on Adventures of Superman #424-425 (which argues for an early chronological placement, to keep it as close as possible to those two issues)
  • suspecting that Qurac is funding terrorists around the world, Superman invades the country and destroys their weapons

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1987
Adventures of Superman #428

“Personal Best” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; art by Jerry Ordway
  • occurs three days after Adventures of Superman #437 (and follows those events rather directly)
  • Perry’s son Jerry is kidnapped, and Perry must decide whether to publish a lie to save his son
  • contains the first appearance of Bibbo Bibbowski

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated May 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #4

“Bloodsport!” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Superman battles Bloodsport
  • Luthor loses control of Bloodsport, who starts slaughtering innocent bystanders

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #587

“Cityscape!” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • a time-travel story in which Superman teams up with the current version of the Demon and the 1162 version to stop Morgan Le Fay
  • a note at the end of the story indicates that this takes place before The Demon Vol. 2

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #5

“The Mummy Strikes” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • examining a South American pyramid, Clark and Lois are attacked by a mummy
  • Superman remembers Legends as very recent

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated May 1987

Additional Images:

Superman Vol. 2 #6

“The Last Five Hundred” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Superman discovers that the mummy is a robot called Host, which houses the souls of 500 people from an ancient era

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated June 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #588

“All Wars Must End, Part Two” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • Hawkman and Hawkwoman request Superman’s aide to help repel the Thangarian invastion fleet
  • continues from Hawkman Vol. 2 #10
  • continues separately into Hawkman Vol. 2 #11 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #589

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated May 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #589

“Green on Green” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • when Hawkman triggered the overlord switch in Action Comics Vol. 1 #588, it sent Superman 400,000 light years from Earth, where he is found by Arisia of the Green Lantern Corps
  • Superman and the Green Lantern Corps team up to stop the mystical menace that Superman thought was stopped when he teamed up with the Phantom Stranger (in Action Comics Vol. 1 #585)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated June 1987
Adventures of Superman #429

“Old Ties” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; art by Jerry Ordway
  • Clark learns that Cat Grant has a son with Morgan Edge, and one of the Circle attacks Superman to get revenge for the death of Prana (in Adventures of Superman #427)
  • on the final page, Superman decides to “go home” (to Smallville) to sort the tensions between his identities out, which occurs in Adventures of Superman #430 (although not immediately)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated June 1987
Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 3

collects Superman Vol. 2 #4, Adventures of Superman #427-428, Action Comics Vol. 1 #587, Superman Vol. 2 #5-6, Adventures of Superman #429, Action Comics Vol. 1 #588-589; published by DC Comics; 208 pages; $19.99; published 2004

buy from Amazon

Adventures of Superman #430

“Homeward Bound!” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; art by Jerry Ordway
  • Clark struggles to reconcile his private life with his activities as Superman after he misses an interview with the U.S. President(!) and (later) his parent’s 49th wedding anniversary
  • continues thematically from Adventures of Superman #429
  • a week passes on a single page mid-issue, during which the events of Action Comics Vol. 1 #589 and Superman Vol. 2 #7 are said to occur (though this cannot be the case, because Superman Vol. 2 #7′s final page occurred three days after the rest of that story, during which Superman Vol. 2 #8 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #591 took place), and this page is best ignored, since it’s not necessary for the story
  • after the week-long gap, Clark says he’s wanted to get home for so long (an idea mentioned at the end of Adventures of Superman #429 and which means his visit home in this issue must come before Superman visits Smallville in Superman Vol. 2 #8)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated July 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #590

“Better Dying through Chemistry!” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Dick Giordano
  • introduces the new Chemo
  • features the Metal Men

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated July 1987

Additional Images:

Superman Vol. 2 #7

“Rampage!” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • the final page occurs three days after the rest of the issue, during which Clark and Superman have been absent (Superman Vol. 2 #8 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #591 occur during this time, contradicting Adventures of Superman #430)
  • Kitty Faulkner becomes Rampage

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated July 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #8

“Future Shock!” -- 21 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • features the Legion of Super-Heroes, who meet the new Superman (who doesn’t accord with their own history or memories) for the first time
  • continued from Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3 #37
  • occurs shortly after the bulk of Superman Vol. 2 #7 (Superman is recovering in Smallville from his battle with Rampage) but before that issue’s final page
  • Superman thinks about how he met Superboy-Prime “a few months ago” (a reference to DC Comics Presents #87), prior to the conclusion of Crisis on Infinite Earths (which he remembers)

cover by John Byrne based on Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #249; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Aug 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #591

“Past Imperfect” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Byrne (on figures) and Keith Williams (on backgrounds)
  • features the Legion of Super-Heroes
  • the Time Trapper explains how he created the Pocket Universe (which reconciles the Legion’s pre-Crisis past with the current continuity)
  • continued from Superman Vol. 2 #8
  • continued into Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3 #38

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Aug 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #10

“The Super Menace of Metropolis” -- 21 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Luthor uses solar energy to manipulate Superman’s powers, causing them to go crazy
  • refers to Superman Vol. 1 #8 as “the other day” and Superman Vol. 2 #7 as “ten days ago” (which argues against setting unnecessary stories between Superman Vol. 2 #7 and #10)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Oct 1987

Additional Images:

Adventures of Superman #431

“They Call Him — Doctor Stratos” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; pencils by Erik Larsen; inks by P. Craig Russell (4 pages), Karl Kesel (4 pages), Bob Smith (3 pages), Robert Ian (2 pages), Dick Giordano (2 pages), Bob Lewis (2 pages), Bill Wray (2 pages), John Beatty (2 pages), Jerry Ordway (1 page)
  • Superman battles Dr. Stratos, who thinks he’s a god and controls the world’s weather
  • features President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President George H. W. Bush, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Aug 1987
Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 4

collects Superman Vol. 2 #7, Adventures of Superman #430, Action Comics Vol. 1 #590, Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3 #37, Superman Vol. 2 #8, Action Comics Vol. 1 #591, Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3 #38, and Adventures of Superman #431; published by DC Comics; 192 pages; $19.99; published 2005

buy from Amazon

Superman Annual Vol. 2 #1

“Tears for Titano” -- 38 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Ron Frenz; pencils by Ron Frenz; inks by Brett Breeding
  • Titano first appears and dies in a story with overtones of animal rights
  • refers to battle with Rampage from Superman Vol. 2 #7

cover by Ron Frenz and Brett Breeding; published by DC Comics; $1.25; cover-dated Sept 1986; published 11 May 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #9

“To Laugh and Die in Metropolis” -- 17 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Superman faces the Joker
  • Clark Kent gets a scrapbook of his adventures as Superman (from Superman Vol. 2 #2)
  • Lana Lang is apparently activated by an alien probe (foreshadowing Millennium)
  • nothing keeps this story before Superman Vol. 2 #10 and is best placed here to fix continuity problems involving Lex Luthor between Superman Vol. 2 Adventures of Superman)

“Metropolis 900 Mi” -- 7 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • at a little diner outside Metropolis, Luthor offers a married waitress $1,000,000 to live with him for one month
  • Lex Luthor refers to “Project Overload” (revealed in Superman Vol. 2 #10)
  • a classic Lex Luthor story

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Sept 1987
Adventures of Superman #432

“Gangwar, Part One: From the Streets, to the Streets!” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by P. Craig Russell
  • Superman and Jose Delgado try to prevent a gang war from getting started
  • Superman thinks about how he can’t solve his problems easily like punching a “space mummy” (a reference to Superman Vol. 2 #5-6 and perhaps a slight against Byrne, in favor of Adventures of Superman‘s more nuanced subject matter)
  • occurs immediately following the main story from Superman Vol. 2 #9 (Superman says he “just finished up with the Joker!”)
  • the use of Lex Luthor, without mention of Project Overload (from the back-up in Superman Vol. 2 #9 and all of #10), strongly argues that this should be placed after those stories, yet this isn’t possible unless the main story from Superman Vol. 2 #9 is shifted to after #10 (once this shift is made, however, this issue’s resolutions with both Superman and Lex Luthor actually make more sense)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Sept 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #592

“…A Walk on the Darkside” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Byrne (on figures) and Keith Williams (on backgrounds)
  • Sleez gets ahold of Big Barda’s Mega-Rod, and uses it to capture Big Barda and Superman
  • continues into Action Comics Vol. 1 #593

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Sept 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #593

“The Suicide Snare” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Byrne (on figures) and Keith Williams (on backgrounds)
  • continued from Action Comics Vol. 1 #592
  • Sleez uses the Mega-Rod to force Superman and Big Barda into making a porno film (for Grossman Pictures)
  • features Mr. Miracle

the letters column refers to Action Comics Annual #1 as “on sale any minute” (helping us to chronologically place that issue); cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Oct 1987

Additional Images:

Action Comics Annual #1

“Skeeter” -- 39 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Arthur Adams (as Art Adams); inks by Dick Giordano
  • Superman and Batman battle vampires
  • refers to Man of Steel #3 (implying this is the second time Superman has met Batman)

cover by Arthur Adams and Dick Giordano; published by DC Comics; $1.25; cover-dated 1987
Adventures of Superman #433

“A Tragedy in Five Acts (Gangwar, Part Two)” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Bob Smith
  • the details of Project Synapse are revealed, and Jerry White is jailed (because he’s not released until Adventures of Superman #434, his concerned father, Perry White, shouldn’t be shown performing his normal duties between this issue and that one, which should occur close to one another)
  • Lois Lane has Clark Kent over for dinner, indicating this occurs before she see him with Cat in Superman Vol. 2 #11 (consequences of which are shown in Adventures of Superman #434)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Oct 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #11

“The Name Game” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • introduces the new Mr. Mxyzptlk (an imp from the 5th dimension)
  • Clark Kent is apparently having sex with Cat Grant (spurring Lois Lane’s jealousy, which begins a period of cold relations between the two that continues through the end of Byrne’s run)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Nov 1987

Additional Images:

Adventures of Superman #434

“Shambles” -- 22 pages

  • written by Marv Wolfman; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Jose F. Marzan
  • part three of the “Gangwar” storyline
  • Lois yells at Clark about Cat (apparently unmotivated, unless this occurs following the end of Superman Vol. 2 #11)
  • Superman and Gangbuster put a temporary stop to the gang war
  • Perry White takes a leave of absence (of “a few days”) from the Daily Planet to focus on his family

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Nov 1987
Adventures of Superman Annual #1

“The Union” -- 38 pages

  • written by Jim Starlin; pencils by Dan Jurgens; inks by Steve Montano
  • the alien Wordbringer extracts the brains of Trudeau, South Dakota
  • features a cameo appearance by President Ronald Reagan

placing this issue here avoids breaking up Adventures of Superman‘s “Gangwar” storyline but also helps distance Adventures of Superman #434 (in which Perry White takes a brief leave of absence) from Action Comics Vol. 1 #594 (in which Perry’s back on the job); cover by Jim Starlin and Dan Jurgens; published by DC Comics; $1.25; cover-dated 1987
Action Comics Vol. 1 #594

“All that Glisters” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Byrne and Keith Williams
  • Superman meets Batman for the third time (refers to their second meeting in Action Comics Annual #1 as “recent”)
  • Superman gives Batman the scrapbook from Superman Vol. 2 #9 (a plotline resolved in Adventures of Superman #440)
  • Booster Gold takes Superman to task for invading Qurac (in Adventures of Superman #427, said to occur “several weeks ago”)
  • as Booster Gold and Superman fight, a second Booster Gold appears
  • refers to Superman’s appearance in Booster Gold Vol. 1 #7
  • features Perry White at work (without reference to his brief leave of absence begun in Adventures of Superman #434, published a week or two before)
  • continues into Booster Gold Vol. 1 #23

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Nov 1987
Superman Vol. 2 #12

“Lost Love” -- 21 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • in her first appearance in the revised continuity, Clark tells the story of Lori Lemaris, his first love
  • Manhunters capture Ma and Pa Kent (leading into Millennium)

letters begin arriving for Superman Annual Vol. 2 #1 following those for Superman Vol. 1 #8 (helping us to date Superman Annual Vol. 2 #1); cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Dec 1987
Adventures of Superman #435

“The Circle Turns” -- 22 pages

  • script by Marv Wolfman; story by Jerry Ordway and Marv Wolfman; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by John Beatty
  • the Circle realizes that Superman isn’t the one they’re looking for

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Dec 1987

Additional Images:

Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 5

collects Superman Vol. 2 #9, Adventures of Superman #432, Action Comics Vol. 1 #592-593, Superman Vol. 2 #10, Adventures of Superman #433, Superman Vol. 2 #11, and Adventures of Superman #434-435; published by DC Comics; 208 pages; $19.99; published 2006

buy from Amazon

Action Comics Vol. 1 #595

“The Ghost of Superman” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Keith Williams
  • occurs immediately following Adventures of Superman #435
  • Superman must fake his death in order to stop Silver Banshee (in her first appearance)
  • features Batman, Black Canary, and Martian Manhunter of the Justice League
  • briefly features Perry White back at his job at the Daily Planet (following Adventures of Superman #434)
  • the final page occurs after Superman Vol. 2 #12 and leads into Millennium

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Dec 1987
Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 6

collects Action Comics Annual #1, Superman Annual Vol. 2 #1, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Action Comics Vol. 1 #594, Booster Gold Vol. 1 #23, Superman Vol. 2 #12, and Action Comics Vol. 1 #595; published by DC Comics; 208 pages; $19.99; published 2008

buy from Amazon

Millennium

Superman Vol. 2 #13

“Toys in the Attic” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • first appearance of the new Toyman
  • Lana Lang is definitively revealed to be Manhunter (although this was pretty clear from Superman Vol. 2 #12 and Action Comics Vol. 1 #595)
  • Clark Kent’s identity is almost exposed

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1988
Adventures of Superman #436

“Junk” -- 22 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by John Beatty
  • the Smallville Manhunters capture Superman

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1988
Action Comics Vol. 1 #596

“Hell is Where the Heart is…” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Byrne and Keith Williams
  • Superman and the Spectre must free the people of Smallville from a simulated death

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1988
Superman Vol. 2 #14

“Last Stand!” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Superman and Green Lantern Hal Jordan go after the Highmaster

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1988
Adventures of Superman #437

“Point of View” -- 22 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by John Beatty
  • Luthor describes to Celia Windward how he percieves the battle between Combattor and Superman will go, but in reality, it is Gangbuster who fights Combattor and ends up winning but also paralyzed for life

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1988
Action Comics Vol. 1 #597

“Visitor” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Leonard Starr and Keith Williams
  • a follow-up to Millennium (although not labeled as a tie-in)
  • Lana Lang meets Lois Lane for the first time (in Smallville)
  • Ma and Pa Kent tell Lois that they raised both Clark and Superman (though Lois still considers them separate entities)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1988

Third Batch of Regular Issues

Superman Vol. 2 #15

“Wings” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Maggie Sawyer asks for Superman’s help in finding her runaway daughter, Jamie
  • Superman battles Skyhook (who appears here for the first time)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1988
Adventures of Superman #438

“The Amazing Brainiac” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by John Beatty
  • Superman, Cat Grant, and Jimmy visit the circus, where the new Brainiac makes his first appearance

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1988
Action Comics Vol. 1 #598

“Checkmate” -- 22 pages

  • script by Paul Kupperberg; story by Paul Kupperberg and John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Ty Templeton
  • first appearance of the Checkmate organization (which spins off into the mature-readers Checkmate Vol. 1, beginning the following month)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1988
Superman Vol. 2 #16

“He Only Laughs When I Hurt” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • first appearance of the new Prankster
  • Supergirl appears for the first time (unconscious in Antarctica)
  • occurs during Christmas week
  • Superman briefly recaps events from the year, making no reference to the new revelations in World of Smallville

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1988

Additional Images:

Adventures of Superman #439

“Tin Soldiers” -- 23 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by John Beatty
  • a robot duplicate of himself built by Superman (a skill basically ignored after this story) goes out of control
  • has snow on the ground (indicating this should probably be placed soon after Superman Vol. 2 #16)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1988
Superman: The Earth Stealers

“The Earth Stealers” -- 47 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Curt Swan; inks by Jerry Ordway
  • aliens steal Earth, and the Daily Planet crew knows the truth but agrees to hide the evidence at the end, per Superman’s request
  • Lois references the revelation that the Kents raised Superman and openly suspects that Clark is Superman
  • with Superman facing death, Lois and Superman kiss
  • although this story may be placed before for after World of Smallville and before or after the block of issues beginning with Action Comics Vol. 1 #499, an event of this magnitude might spur Superman’s return to Smallville (in World of Smallville), and Superman ends the issue by saying he and Lois each have “things to come to terms with”
  • this placement honors this issue’s publication in the beginning of 1988 (since Superman Vol. 1 #16 takes place at the end of the year and there’s still snow on the ground in Adventures of Superman #439)

only issue; cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $2.95; cover-dated May 1988; published Jan 1988

Additional Images:

buy from Amazon

World of Smallville #1

“Secrets” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger; inks by Alfred Alcala
  • reveals the courtship of Jonathan and Martha Kent, including her first marriage to Dan Fordman

first issue; cover by John Byrne and Alfred Alcala; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1988

Additional Images:

World of Smallville #2

“Stolen Moments” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger; inks by Alfred Alcala
  • flashback showing Dan Fordman’s death, Martha and Jonathan’s marriage, and Kal-El’s arrival on Earth
  • Superman’s dialogue (near the end) suggests that this is his first time in Smallville since Millennium (placing this before Adventures of Superman #440)

cover by John Byrne and Alfred Alcala; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated May 1988
World of Smallville #3

“Stolen Souls” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger; inks by Alfred Alcala
  • reveals the Manhunters’ brainwashing of Lana Lang and other children of Smallville (as revealed during Millennium)

cover by John Byrne and Alfred Alcala; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated June 1988
World of Smallville #4

“Return to Smallville” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger; inks by Alfred Alcala
  • continues telling of Lana Lang’s experience as a Manhunter (as revealed during Millennium)

final issue; cover by John Byrne and Alfred Alcala; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated July 1988

Action Comics Vol. 1 #599

“Element 126″ -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Ross Andru; inks by John Byrne (on figures) and Keith Williams (on backgrounds)
  • features the Metal Men
  • Luthor uses Tin’s components to build a Kryptonoid Man

“The Karma Baggers” -- 14 pages

  • written by Joe Calchi; pencils by Britt Wisenbaker; inks by James Scott
  • also includes a faux cover (not included in page count)
  • stars Jimmy Olsen, who tries to break a story on his own
  • takes place immediately following the issue’s main story
  • Bonus Book #1

DC’s first “Bonus Book” (featuring inset stories by new creators at no additional cost); cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1988
Superman Vol. 2 #17

“Cries in the Night” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; art by John Byrne
  • Silver Banshee returns (her second appearance)
  • occurs shortly after Action Comics #499
  • occurs shortly before Adventures of Superman #440 (Wonder Woman telephones)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated May 1988
Adventures of Superman #440

“The Hurrieder I Go” -- 21 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Dennis Janke
  • Batman and Superman reveal that they know one another’s identities
  • Batman gives Superman back a scrapbook, which Superman later returns to Ma Kent (no reference to the scrapbook occurs in World of Smallville)
  • features Supergirl in Antarctica

cover by Dave Gibbons and Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated May 1988

Additional Images:

Action Comics Vol. 1 #600

“Different Worlds” -- 32 pages

  • written by John Byrne; breakdowns by John Byrne; finishes by George Pérez
  • Hermes summons Wonder Woman to Olympus, interrupting her romantic meeting with Superman
  • Darkseid has taken over Olympus (which the Olympians have abandoned) and forces Superman and Wonder Woman to fight
  • Superman and Wonder Woman defeat Darkseid and return to Earth, deciding to remain friends
  • continued from Adventures of Superman #440 and Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #16
  • broken into chapters (the 7-page “Chapter One: First Date…,” the 5-page “Chapter Two: Fallen Idols,” the 8-page “Chapter Three: Broken Mirrors,” the 4-page “Chapter Four: Battle!,” and the 7-page “Chapter Five: This Hollow Victory…”)
  • Darkseid tells Desaad that the Olympian gods are creations of the same energy released by the battle of the old gods that created Apokalips and New Genesis (though Circe describes a different origin of the gods in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #19, in which she tells Diana the New Gods had their genesis in the energy released by the Titans’ conflict with the Olympians)
  • this story would be followed up, almost a decade later, in John Byrne’s run on Wonder Woman Vol. 2 and in the Genesis crossover

untitled (a.k.a. “True Love”) -- 8 pages

  • script by Roger Stern; story by John Byrne; pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger; inks by Jerry Ordway
  • Lois is upset that the papers are saying that Superman and Wonder Woman are dating (echoing “Different Worlds,” in this issue)
  • Clark disappears to answer his signal watch (as shown in “A Friend in Need,” in this issue)

“Games People Play” -- 8 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Dick Giordano; inks by John Beatty
  • Luthor threatens to reveal to the public that Maggie Sawyer is a lesbian
  • Luthor learns he has kryptonite poisoning

“A Friend in Need” -- 8 pages

  • script by Roger Stern; story by John Byrne; pencils by Curt Swan; inks by Murphy Anderson
  • Superman goes to Millersburg to answer Jimmy’s signal watch, but weakens from kyptonite poisoning
  • Jimmy takes Superman to a cave and then goes for help
  • continues into “The Dark Where Madness Lies” (in this issue)

“The Dark Where Madness Lies” -- 8 pages

  • written by John Byrne; art by Mike Mignola
  • Superman, weakened by the kryptonite, attacks Man-Bat, then recovers and sends Man-Bat for help
  • features a cameo appearance by Hawkman
  • continues into Superman Vol. 1 #18 (“to be continued” box erroneously states #19)

pin-ups -- 6 pages

  • an alternate, fully-lettered cover to this issue by John Byrne and George Pérez
  • pin-up of Superman and friends (including Mr. Miracle, Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Firestorm, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Black Canary, the Creeper, Batman, Captain Marvel, Flash, and Robin Jason Todd) by Linda Medley and Arthur Adams
  • Superman pin-up by Jon Bogdanove
  • Superman pin-up by Kevin Maguire and Dave Gibbons
  • pin-up of Superman and Lois Lane by Mike Zeck
  • pin-up of Superman and Brainiac by Walt Simonson

cover by Kurt Schaffenberger and Jerry Ordway (central image), John Byrne and George Pérez (Wonder Woman panel), Dick Giordano and John Beatty (Lex Luthor panel), Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson (Lois and Jimmy panel), and Mike Mignola (Man-Bat panel); published by DC Comics; $2.50; cover-dated May 1988

Additional Images:

Superman Vol. 2 #18

“Return to Krypton” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Mike Mignola; inks by Karl Kesel
  • continued from “The Dark Where Madness Lies” (in Action Comics Vol. 1 #600)
  • Hawkman and Hawkwoman take Superman to the remains of Krypton

cover by Mike Mignola; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated June 1988
World of Metropolis #1

“A Reporter’s Story” -- 23 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Win Mortimer; inks by Frank McLaughlin and Dick Giordano
  • flashback to Perry White’s days as a reporter, revealing how he became the Daily Planet editor and the origin of his rivalry with Lex Luthor, who originally owned the Daily Planet (Luthor and Perry were childhood friends, but Luthor beds Perry’s girl, Alice Spencer, while Perry is away gone as a foreign correspondent)
  • in the present, Lois refers to how Clark has “the inside track” on Superman, apparently a reference to how she believes they were raised together, and Perry replies that this is old news
  • reveals that Perry’s son, Jerry White, is really Luthor’s

first issue; cover by John Byrne and Dick Giordano; published by DC Comics; $1.00; cover-dated Aug 1988

World of Metropolis #2

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Win Mortimer; inks by Dick Giordano and Sal Trapani
  • reveals how a 15-year-old Lois Lane landed her job at the Daily Planet and investigated Lex Luthor

cover by John Byrne and Dick Giordano; published by DC Comics; $1.00; cover-dated Sept 1988
World of Metropolis #3

“Mr. Kent Goes to Metropolis” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Win Mortimer; inks by Dick Giordano and Sal Trapani
  • flashback to Clark Kent’s first days in Metropolis

cover by John Byrne and Dick Giordano; published by DC Comics; $1.00; cover-dated Oct 1988
World of Metropolis #4

“Friends in Need” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by Win Mortimer; inks by Dick Giordano and Sal Trapani
  • tells the origin of Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch

final issue; cover by John Byrne and Dick Giordano; published by DC Comics; $1.00; cover-dated Nov 1988

Adventures of Superman #443

“Prisoner of Conscience” -- 30 pages

  • written by Jerry Ordway; pencils by John Statema; inks by Doug Hazlewood
  • Clark and Jimmy go to the Middle East on a missing persons story
  • Jimmy expresses surprise that Perry let him go with Clark (suggesting that this takes place after Jimmy’s more modest successes in World of Metropolis but before Perry more casually sends Jimmy and Lois to Ireland in Superman Vol. 2 #21)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Aug 1988
Adventures of Superman #441

“The Tiny Terror of Tinseltown” -- 22 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Dennis Janke
  • Mr. Mxyzptlk returns (second appearance), and this time Superman must get him to paint his face blue before he’ll return to the 5th dimension
  • final panel continues into Superman Vol. 2 #19

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated June 1988
Superman Vol. 2 #19

“The Power that Failed!” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Beatty
  • Superman investigates a spaceship and starts losing his powers one at a time
  • Supergirl leaves Antarctica (beginning brief appearances each issue that, if possible, should not be interrupted)
  • Lex Luthor gets a cyborg hand
  • Lois Lane is still mad at Clark (he says the final straw was the revelation, during Millennium, that he grew up with Superman)

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated July 1988

Additional Images:

Adventures of Superman #442

“Power Play” -- 22 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Andy Kubert
  • continued from Superman Vol. 2 #19
  • Psi-Phon has drained Superman’s powers one by one and given them to his partner, Dreadnaught
  • to defeat Dreadnaught, Superman gets help from Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, the Elongated Man, and Captain Marvel
  • Supergirl arrives in Smallville

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated July 1988
Superman Vol. 2 #20

“Doom in the Heartland” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by Karl Kesel
  • Lana Lang introduces Ma and Pa Kent to Supergirl
  • Superman investigates a disturbance in Kansas City and meets the Doom Patrol, who have just been defeated by Metallo
  • occurs concurrently with Doom Patrol Vol. 2 #10 (pages 20-22 of that issue take place between panels 4 and 5 of this issue’s page 7)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Aug 1988

The Supergirl Saga

Superman Vol. 2 #21

“You Can’t Go Home Again” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; pencils by John Byrne; inks by John Beatty
  • continues from Superman Vol. 2 #20
  • Superman meets Supergirl, who’s revealed to be a shape-shifter
  • Perry White sends Jimmy and Lois to Ireland to investigate the Silver Banshee (as shown in Superman Vol. 2 #23, after Byrne’s departure)

cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Sept 1988
Adventures of Superman #444

“Parallel Lives Meet at Infinity…” -- 22 pages

  • script by John Byrne; story by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; pencils by Jerry Ordway; inks by Dennis Janke
  • continued from Superman Vol. 2 #21
  • the pocket-universe Lex Luthor explains how he was tricked into releasing the Phantom Zone criminals and how they proceeded to kill billions of people

cover by Jerry Ordway; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Sept 1988
Superman Vol. 2 #22

“The Price” -- 22 pages

  • written by John Byrne; art by John Byrne
  • continued from Adventures of Superman #444
  • Superman battles the three Phantom Zone villains, then executes them

John Byrne’s final issue (although Worlds of Metropolis #4 was published later); cover by John Byrne; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Oct 1988

Additional Images:


Tagged , .