Tag Archives: Curt Swan

Batman 358 – Killer Croc makes his play

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A great cover for Batman 358 (April 1983), but Conway’s story has art by Curt Swan and Rodin Rodriguez, and Swan’s work just seems odd on this tale.

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That’s doubly unfortunate, a this is the first issue to show Croc clearly.  He had killed the Squid in the previous issue of Detective, and now makes his play to be the major gang boss in Gotham.

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Dick Grayson tells Bruce and Alfred about Trina Todd, Jason’s mother, seeing him without his Robin mask on, and deducing that Bruce Wayne is Batman.  Bruce is not happy about this at all, and blames Dick for the entire thing.  On the other hand, Dick informs him that the Todds are keeping an eye out for Croc, who has been running a protection scam with the circus.

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Croc gets some action, but I cannot say I like the way Swan renders his skin, not at all.

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Batman find Croc’s home, and waits for him there.  Croc is furious to find Batman in his house, and the two fight.  Croc destroys his own home, and takes off into the river, plotting his revenge on Batman.

The story continues in the next issue of Detective.

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Adventures of Superman 536 – Brainiac switches brains

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Tom Peyer and Mark Waid begin a story arc dealing with Brainiac in Adventures of Superman 536 (July 1996), with a large artistic team: Chris Renaud, Curt Swan, Steven Butler, Chris Marrinan, Dick Giordano and Pamela Eklund.

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The story opens in an institution for the mentally ill, centring on a teenage boy who believes that he is Superman.

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Brainiac has been out of it since the end of Dead Again, but gets his mind back in this story, rapidly taking control of the hospital staff tending him.

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Brainiac causes enough problem to lure Superman to the institution, where he executes his plan.

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Brainiac switches his mind into Superman’s body, and Superman’s mind into that of the disturbed boy.  What happens to Brainiac’s body is not revealed.  The story ends on a good note, with the boy insisting that he is really Superman, but of course they don’t believe him, they never do.

The story continues in the next issue of Action.

Adventures of Superman 480 – Krypton Man and Superman fight near the sun

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The third chapter of the Krypton Man storyline takes place in the oversized Adventures of Superman 480 (July 1991), with a huge cast of artists.  And supporting characters, for that matter.  Jerry Ordway scripts, with pencils by Tom Grummett, Curt Swan, Jon Bogdanove, Jim Mooney, Art Thibert, Bob McLeod, and Dan Jurgens, and inks by Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier and Brett Breeding.

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The Eradictor has formed a human-ish body (or I guess I should say, a Kryptonian-ish body), and is able to fight Superman toe to toe.

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But their battle pretty much takes a back seat in this issue to the lives of the other characters.  Vinnie Edge has taken over as CEO of Galaxy Communications while his son Morgan is in prison, and makes a play for Cat Grant, who reluctantly goes along with it.

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Jose has been looking after Adam, but gets mugged and dragged away while the two are in the park.  Adam has no idea what to do, and winds up leaving a panicked phone message for his mother.

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Ron Troupe makes his debut, though it is not a really impressive one. He comes to the Planet looking for a job, but is fobbed off by Foswell, who has been working as editor while Perry White and his wife are on the Caribbean cruise with the Kents.  The cruise itself is suffering from dangerous seas, a result of the Krypton Man’s climactic manipulations.

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Emil Hamilton is at the Fortress, working on Mr. Z’s strange gemstone.  He decides to try out the Kryptonian battle suit for some entertainment.

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Krypton Man gets the best of Superman, hurling him into the sun and coming down to Earth.

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He announces that he is here to teach humans about the superior ways of Kryptonians.  He callously murders soldiers in a tank as he refashions the machine into a statue of Lincoln-as-Kyptonian, and does the same thing with a Big Belly Burger sign, referring to it as the “food god,” which I particularly enjoyed.

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Jose has been kidnapped by a crippled gang member who wants to know his secret for being able to walk again.  Jose has no patience for these fools.

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Superman eventually makes it back to Earth, but is exhausted.

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While the Krypton Man senses someone not Kryptonian in the Fortress, and is incensed to see Hamilton in the battle suit.

The story concludes in the next issue of Action.

 

Adventures of Superman 471 – Sinbad takes on Luthor

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The Sinbad storyline continues from the previous issue of Superman in the story by William Messner-Loebs, Curt Swan and Dennis Janke in Adventures of Superman 471 (Oct. 90).

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Luthor is becoming quite ill, and racked with pain from his kryptonite poisoning.  But that does not lessen his general evilness.

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Davood’s sister insists that if he returns the belt that gives him his Sinbad powers and explains the situation, all will be well with Luthor.  She tries to do this, only to find Luthor intends to keep her and torture her for information.  Sinbad bursts in, wearing the real belt, and frees his sister.

But now Luthor knows who has the belt, and plans to play up Sinbad as a Quraci terrorist.

Superman really doesn’t get to do much at all in this chapter.

The story concludes in the next issue of Action.

Adventures of Superman Annual 2 – Superman vs the L.E.G.I.O.N.

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The L.E.G.I.O.N. come to Earth in Adventures of Superman Annual 2, following events in their own book, as Vril Dox learns that his “father,” Brainiac, survived his discorporation.  With new recruit Lar Gand, he heads here to kill Brainiac.

Dan Jurgens scripts this issue, with art by Bob McLeod, Curt Swan, Kerry Gammill, John Byrne and Dick Giordano.

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Learning of Dox’s plans, Lyrissa Mallor leads another ship, with Strata, Stealth, Lady Quark, Telepath and Lobo to intercept Dox.

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Dox and Lar Gand make it into the Cadmus facility, where he has tracked Brainiac’s mental signature.  But Dubbilex senses them, and believes that Vril is actually Brainiac.  He alerts the Guardian that Brianiac has broken in, and the two sides begin their fight.

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Superman meets Lyrissa’s crew, and though they seem to be reasonable, he does not trust Lobo.  Lobo has no recollection of their previous encounter, and is surprised that Superman seems not to like him for some reason.

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Everyone winds up in Cadmus, and Superman has to face off against Lar Gand.  Gand is the post-Crisis version of Mon-El, but this is the first meeting of these characters.

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Underworlders join the fray, and we get to see the tunnels below Cadmus, and learn of former employee Dabney Donovan, and his failed genetic experiments that inhabit this world.  Dubbilex turns out to have been mind controlled from afar by Brainiac, who lets Dox know that he is now on Colu.

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Brainiac is just as eager to confront his rebellious “son” as Dox is to kill his “father,” and the story concludes in the L.E.G.I.O.N. annual.

Superman 423 – Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? begins

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Superman 423 (Sept. 86) contains the first half of the Imaginary Story that serves as the grand finale to the pre-Crisis Superman.  A true work of genius, by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and George Perez.

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The issue opens with the framing narrative, as a reporter comes to Lois Lane, now married, to discuss the final days of Superman.  With his death announced right at the top of the story, a mournful quality is present from the outset, and simply increases as the tale progresses.

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Lois begins the narrative as Superman returns from space to find Bizarro on a deadly rampage.  He has destroyed Bizarro World and everyone on it, and uses blue kryptonite to kill himself, right in front of Superman.

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A package arrives at the Daily Planet, and when it is opened, it released a number of Superman dolls, which attack Clark in front of everyone, burning off his clothes and revealing the Superman costume beneath.  This kind of thing has happened many times in the past, but in this story it actually works, and Superman’s identity is revealed.  The package also contains the corpse of Pete Ross, who was tortured to death to get the secret.

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Superman hunts down the Prankster and Toyman, the two behind the death of Pete, and though they get severely pummelled, they do actually survive this tale.

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Luthor is in the arctic, searching for the remains of Brainiac after his last battle with Superman.  Luthor finds Brainiac’s head, but is not prepared when the computer forcefully merges with Luthor’s body and takes control of him.

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The villains just keep coming, as an army of Metallos then attack the Daily Planet.  That location is clearly too much of a target. We also see Luthor/Brainiac seek out an recruit the original Kryptonite Man (the former Kryptonite Kid).

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But by far the heaviest part of the tale has no villains in it at all.  Rather, it consists of a visit by the Legion of Super-Heroes.  They bring with them a younger version of Supergirl, who is already dead in this reality.  Supergirl plays with Krypto, and makes a comment about how her “current” self must be out in space, or she would not be able to exist in both times at once.  The entire sequence just reeks of a final visit before Superman’s death.  There is also a painfully ironic bit, as he talks to Brainiac 5 about not letting people know about any bad future events that are coming, while we see Invisible Kid chatting happily with Saturn Girl.  Superman informs neither about the death and loss of child that both will experience.

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More than any of the attacks by his various enemies, it is the visit from his friends that drives him to despair.

The story concludes in the next issue of Action Comics.

Superman 421 – Mr. Mxyzptlk on tv

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The 80s are in full force in Superman 421 (July 1986), in a tale by Bates, Swan and Hunt that reflects the newcomer to the airwaves, MTV.

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Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen all discover that their normal television shows have vanished, replaced by Superman, now a captive in a weird world, seemingly under the spell of Mr. Mxyzptlk.

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Superman is being tormented by rock versions of his friends, but oddly, so is Mxyzptlk, who winds up on a leash held by that world’s version of Lana Lang.

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The real villain of the story turns out to be Mr. Mxyzptlk’s older cousin, who looks much the same.  He hates Mxyzptlk, so is out to both torment him, and out-torment him when it comes to Superman.  But Mxyzptlk worries about both of their lives, as his cousin is a much nastier imp.

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When Superman goes up against a rock version of Clark Kent, he gets the idea to replace him, and get close enough to the real villain to take him down.

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It works, and Mr Mxyzptlk is not only grateful, he even expresses that he has seen how awful it is to be tormented this way, and more or less promises to stop pestering Superman.

But it’s not much of a promise, as he is back in two months in the final issue of DC Comics Presents.