Jim Starlin, Dan Jurgens and Steve Montano are the creative team on Adventures of Superman Annual 1. It tells its own, complete, story, but other tales would follow up on it over the next couple of years.
Superman gets summoned to the White House, where he meets with Ronald Reagan and Sarge Steel, both last seen in this year’s Superman Annual. Communications have been lost with the town of Trudeau, South Dakota, and a military unit sent in has also failed to report.
I do like the word association played with the name of the town. The capital of South Dakota is Pierre.
Superman heads to the eerie, vacant town. He finds no people, or even animals, but there is something there, communicating with him through writing.
Superman deals with a massive globby monster, but also finds a pile of undigestable remains, enough to indicate that all the people are dead, and have been consumed by something.
The villain of the story has no problem revealing himself or admitting his plans. The Word-Bringer travels the galaxies, collecting the brains of the inhabitants of various worlds. He believes that this is an beneficial act, and as the brains remain alive, does not see that he has done any harm to those he collects.
The leftover organic material is the big globby thing, which the Word-Bringer is able to control through the power of the group mind.
Superman is able to drive off the Word-Bringer, but the globby thing stops him from pursuing. At first Superman thinks this is at Word-Bringer’s command, but the brains have taken control of their former bodies. They want Superman to put them at peace, pull the plug. He refuses, and the brains take control of his mind.
When Superman wakes, the brains have been unplugged, and are dead. He is left to assume that they took control of his body and made him kill them. He is not happy about that, but wonders what more he could possibly have done for them.
The town of Trudeau, and the Word-Bringer, both return later down the road.