Tag Archives: Joe Casey

Adventures of Superman 618 – buying a set


I don’t much care for the concluding half of the Mxyzptlk twins story, by Casey and Adlard, in Adventures of Superman 618 (Sept. 03).  There is no real sense of fun in this dark second half.


It does get explained that Mxyzptlk was the mystery man in the cell with Cole Parker, who changed him into the Persuader.  Although why he would do such a thing, and how the effect of the magic lasts when Mxyzptlk has left the dimension, are not fully explained.


Superman, the Justice League and the Titans are all shown trying to deal caused by the removal of gravity.  The Atom uses white dwarf star material, possessing such intense mass, channelled through the Green Lantern rings of John Stewart and Alan Scott to artificially restore gravity.


Superman “defeats” Mxyzptlk by agreeing to buy a set of encyclopedias.  That sort of makes sense, but there is, once again, no sense of fun to this, more like anger and bitterness.


There is a mild chuckle at the end, with a vast set of books.

There are a few more months of Casey stories, but I’m skipping over them. None involve major villains or anything significant.  Overall, this is not one of my favourite periods for Superman, which is probably why Heroville stood out so much for me.


Adventures of Superman 617 – the Mxyzptlk twins


Casey and Charlie Adlard take Mxyzptlk in a very odd direction in a two part story beginning in Adventures of Superman 617 (Aug. 03).


The story is funny at the start.  Mxyzptlk has become a pair of mixed gender twins, and is trying to sell a massive encyclopedia set.  They demonstrate what can be learned through possession of the books by mind warping potential customers to experience other realities.  It’s not a pleasant experience.  Perry White is the mark that we follow, but there are flashbacks to some previous encounters, with Luthor, the Guardians of the Universe and the Legion of Super-Heroes.


After leaving Perry a mess, they move on to Superman and Lois Lane.  Superman realizes right away that this is Mxyzptlk, playing a weird new game.


But when Superman refuses to play, the game turns nasty as the Mxyzptlk twins eliminate gravity.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Adventures of Superman 616 – the final battle of Heroville


Casey and Aucoin conclude the Heroville storyline in Adventures of Superman 616 (July 2003).


Kid Scout reaches Benjamin Conrad, who learns that once again his fictional creations have come to life.  The Hollow Men triumph in the book he had written about them, so he sets out to write a new story about them, one in which they lose.  This is intercut with Superman’s battle against the Hollow Men.


Superman gets de-chromatized in this issue, and winds up in a bleak variation of his own existence.  With Lois Lane reduced to a cardboard version of her personality.


But it is this fictionalized Lois that Superman puts his faith into, and the love between them, and the hope of seeing the real one again, is expressed with a kiss, which enables him to escape this situation.


Superman breaking out of the de-chromatization weakens the Hollow Men, and we see that it released the Ray, the Elongated Man and Major Victory as well.


And as Conrad finishes his story, in which the Hollow Men are defeated, they disintegrate.

I don’t feel I have conveyed all the wonderful effects of this story, with it’s aura of nostalgia and hope.  It absolutely is one of my favourite Superman stories from this period.


Adventures of Superman 615 – attack of the Hollow Men


Things take a turn for the worse in the second chapter of the Heroville storyline, by Casey, Aucoin and Stanisci, in Adventures of Superman 615 (June 2003).


The Hollow Men cut a vicious swath through Heroville, de-chromatizing most of the population.


Superman tries to stop the Hollow Men, but gets trapped between them.  They begin to de-chromatize Superman, so we get to see how this feels to one undergoing it, but the doctor intervenes with a flamethrower, burning the Hollow Men.  They will reform, but it gives Superman an opportunity to get away.


One of the few people from Heroville who has not been affected is Kid Scout, who volunteers to find Benjamin Conrad, the author of the book in which the Hollow Men were created.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Adventures of Superman 614 – Heroville


Casey and Aucoin being the Hollow Men to the fore as they begin an excellent three part story in Adventures of Superman 614 (May 2003).


Batman appears holographically to Superman, informing him about a White House discovery of a forgotten military experiment from fifty years ago.  And though his reason for contacting Superman is to get him on the case, he also has learned that Luthor is aware that Clark is Superman.


The Ray, recently a member of Young Justice, also falls victim to the Hollow Men.


Superman finds the concealed entrance to the tesseract that contains Heroville – most easily described as Pleasantville with super-heroes.  And doesn’t that courthouse look like the one from Back to the Future?


Superman finds the man in charge, and learns that, back during World War 2, the government was experimenting with creating heroes.  When the public opinion turned against costumed adventurers, and the Justice Society was forced to go underground, the people of Heroville entered the tesseract, where they have been ever since, in a weird little utopia.  The government troops that Superman were looking for scared the people, who thought they were evil invaders, and they have been locked up, but otherwise unharmed.


Great artistic swipe as Superman and the doctor walk the US troops out of the tesseract, after dressing up like Heroville people.


But this is not a happy story, and the Hollow Men show up at the end.  They attack the Elongated Man, but Sue Dibny manages to hide, and contacts the military to let them know.  As the story ends, the Hollow Men approach Heroville.

The story continues in the next issue.

Adventures of Superman 613 – the Superman Super-Store


Casey, Aucoin, Marzan and John Stanisci bring back the Funky Flashman for a really fun story the features Lois Lane, in Adventures of Superman 613 (April 2003).


The Major Victory storyline gets touched on right at the start, as Lois Lane gets the scoop on what little is known about the condition that has rendered him comatose.


The Funky Flashman, late of Mr. Miracle, has come to Metropolis to open a store selling Superman merchandise. The Superman symbol is in public domain, so the hero can do nothing about this, and Lois is just repulsed by what a shady operator Flashman is.


This is a Valentine’s Day story, so there is some really beautifully rendered romance between Superman and Lois.


And she’s the one to triumph over Flashman as well.  She meets with him a second time, and plants the seed in his mind to branch out into super-villain merchandise.  He loves the idea, claims its his own, and very publicly promotes his new line.


And just as Lois had counted on, the villains are not as tolerant of this as Superman was, and Captain Cold shuts Flashman down.

Adventures of Superman 612 – the Champion of the Oppressed


Casey and Aucoin play with the original concept of Superman in Adventures of Superman 612 (March 2003).


The story opens with Major Victory having been de-chromatized by the Hollow Men.  This plot thread will continue over the next few issues.  I guess this must be a new Major Victory, as the previous one died in Eclipso almost a decade earlier, but if so, this is his first appearance.


The story then cuts to a scene hugely reminiscent of Superman’s very first story, from Action 1, as he stops the execution of an innocent man.  The scene re-uses some of the names and locations, but is otherwise quite different.  Superman is not clearly seen in this sequence, and his chest symbol is different, more like the original.


There are more scenes like this, with what appears to be Superman acting much more aggressively, and far more concerned with righting the social ills, with no time for the police.


But as this is all going on, Clark Kent is interviewing a writer, Benjamin Conrad, about a new book of his, Champion of the Oppressed.  It is based on early accounts of Superman, but he changed the character to be more activist and aggressive.  Conrad admits that his character has somehow come to life.


Things are getting hairy for the Champion, who cannot be killed by any conventional means.  The military keep upping their weaponry, and Superman convinces Conrad that no good can come of this, no matter what his intent.  Conrad deletes his book, and the Champion disappears.  The whole story plays really well on the nostalgia it is based on.


And there is a great kicker at the end, as we discover that the Hollow Men were also from a book Conrad wrote.