A slight cheat here because I have read Adventures of Superman #424 multiple times–in fact, I bought my original copy off the stands back in 1987. But in the 30+ years since the book’s publication, I had not read #425 (or #426–my collection had always gone 424, 427, 428, and then a few random ones here and there before becoming more consistent around the Death and Return). So, I found this in the bins at my LCS, got it for 50 cents, and sat down and read it.
The Adventures of Superman #424 is the first issue of the post-Crisis era Superman series that continues the numbering of the pre-Crisis Superman. Written by Marv Wolfman with art by Jerry Ordway, it continues the continuity set by John Byrne in Man of Steel (and for more on this, check out From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast ). These two issues feature Superman tackling a terrorist threat in Metropolis that allows Ordway to show him tearing apart robots and tanks, and also introduces two of the Man of Steel’s important post-Crisis supporting characters: Cat Grant and Professor Emil Hamilton.
Cat is the focus of much of the subplot of these two issues–she is assigned to work with Clark on a story and Wolfman sets ups a flirtation between the two of them. I will say that I was surprised at how well it was written because I was more familiar with the way Cat was portrayed in the Lois and Clark television show of the 1990s, where she had a “sex kitten” sort of role courtesy of Tracy Scoggins. Cat is definitely more forward here than I think most of Clark’s possible love interests are, but I can see Wolfman trying to at least give her a little more depth than just being an “office flirt.”
Emil Hamilton is the focus of much of issue #425. Wolfman uses the narrative device of having him tell his story to someone and showing it as a series of flashbacks. Superman dispatches the threats from the previous issue a little too quickly for my taste (although this is a 30-year-old comic, a time when things weren’t being written for the trade) and then has to face Hamilton, who is frustrated that his funding has been cut and he has become a laughingstock/exile in the scientific community. Superman obviously wins out in the end and Hamilton will wind up becoming a key ally, especially through the era where I read the Man of Steel’s adventures on the regular. Here, he’s a bit of a mad scientist who uses devices to challenge our hero in several different ways. It doesn’t always work story-wise, although Jerry Ordway’s art is so gorgeous, I didn’t seem to mind.
That’s pretty much the case for the entirety of both issues. Wolfman’s writing at this point is pretty dialogue-heavy and these are two pretty dense reads, and what helps it tremendously is that I spent time lingering over the panels and taking in what’s a great look for Superman and his supporting cast. Everything looks fresh and modern (for 1986, anyway) and Wolfman and Ordway give us a world that we want to see more of or even live in for a while.
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