Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Episode #104: Superman In Exile, Part V: End Of Exile!

This episode concludes our look at the Superman In Exile storyline in the Superman line of DC titles from 1989, which was published by DC Comics in the trade paperback Superman:Exile.

NOTE: For the previous parts of this series refer to the following episodes:

#66: Superman In The Pocket Universe!
#69: Superman Goes Gangbusters!
Superman Fan Podcast Special Blog: Superman In Exile Checklist!, posted on April 25, 2009, lists all of the issues discussed in this series of podcasts so you can read them for yourself!
#71: Superman In Exile, Part I, Free Comic Book Day & The State Of Superman Comics!
#72: Superman In Exile, Part II & Free Comic Book Day!
#90: Superman In Exile, Part III!
#103: Superman In Exile, Part IV: Action Comics Annual #2, 1989!

The Superman issues that will be discussed in this episode are:

Cover dated June 1989:
Superman #32 and The Adventures Of Superman #455.

Cover dated July 1989:
Superman #33, The Adventures Of Superman #456 and Action Comics #643 (its first monthly issue since the end of Action Comics Weekly). The editor for all of these issues was Mike Carlin.

Superman #32, June, 1989, published on April 18, 1989, cover price 75 cents. The cover was pencilled by Kerry Gammil and inked by Dennis Janke.
Gladiator was written by Roger Stern, pencilled by Kerry Gammil, inked by Dennis Janke, lettered by John Costanza and colored by Glenn Whitmore. Listed as co-conspirators (plotters?) were Jerry Ordway and George Perez.

The issue opened with a brief history of Warworld and its ruler, Mongul. Warworld conquered star systems to grow its empire, killed the intellectuals and enslaved the strong for their gladiator games. Then there was a brief recap about how Superman was captured and brought to Warworld, and forced to become a gladiator. The story begins at the conclusion of Action Comics Annual #2, when Superman defeated Mongul's champion Draaga but refused to kill his opponent, as he had refused to do in all of his other gladiator battles. Mongul answered Superman's defiance by teleporting to the arena planet to kill both Superman and Draaga himself. After being knocked back by Mongul, Superman keeps the dictator from killing Draaga. This impressed the Cleric, who followed the battle through his telepathic link with Superman. Mongul finally knocked out Superman and ordered some soldiers to take the Man of Steel and Draaga to a prison cell on Warworld. The Cleric decided to rescue Superman from certain death at the hands of Mongul.

In Metropolis Matrix, who has shapeshifted to look like Clark Kent, woke up from sleeping on an apartment building doorstep. Matrix/Clark was found by Jimmy Olsen, who believed that Clark's confusion came at the hands of Intergang in revenge for his expose on the criminal organization. Jimmy hailed a taxi to get Clark off the street before Intergang could attack Clark again.

Superman and Draaga were shackled on Warworld. Superman melted the ray gun that Mongul was going to kill Draaga with, then broke out of his bonds to knock out Mongul in their rematch. But when Superman turned his back to release Draaga from his chains Mongul revived and zapped Superman with his energy weapon on his chestplate. Draaga thought Superman had been disintegrated and Mongul acted dishonorably, which fueled his own rebellion from his ruler.

The Adventures Of Superman #455, June 1989, April 25, 1989. The cover artist was Jerry Ordway.

Heritage was written by Jerry Ordway, pencilled by Dan Jurgens, inked by Art Thibert, lettered by Albert DeGuzman and colored by Glenn Whitmore. Jonathan Peterson was the assistant editor on this and the following issues discussed in this episode.

Riots erupted all over Warworld because of Mongul's interference with the gladiator games. The destruction was of grave concern to the Overseers, who are revealed for the first time in this issue. Their ancestors built the artificial Warworld, and they were concerned that if the riots lasted long enough the damage would be too much to repair. The history of the alliance between the Overseers and Mongul was revealed. Theirs was a match made in hell, Mongul's desire to rule an empire and the Overseers desire to commandeer worlds to develop (asquire)technologies. They wished Draaga could survive because he would serve them better now instead of Mongul as the figurehead ruler of Warworld.

At the Cleric's asteroid, he awakened Superman, who recognized the Eradicator from his earlier telepathic link with the Cleric. The Cellkeeper returned to his duties on Warworld, and to see to the safety of Lentra, leaving the Cleric and Superman in private.

Jimy Olsen took Matrix/Clark Kent to Inspector Henderson's office at the Metropolis Police Department. Lois called Henderson's office in return to Jimmy's call and spoke briefly to Clark. Cat Grant went to Lois' apartment and revealed that she was Clark's inside source to Morgan Edge's connection with Intergang.

The Cellkeeper returned to the chaos of Warworld (we saw an alien wearing Superman's boots), only to find Lentra's dead body holding Superman's superhero uniform. She had been killed by Mongul who pounced on the Cellkeeper. He was saved by Draaga, who fought Mongul to regain his honor and become the new ruler of Warworld, as promised by the Overseers.

On the secluded asteroid Superman bonded with the Eradicator. His skimpy gladiator garb was transformed to the then traditional Kryptonian clothing, influenced by the Cleric's desire to atone for his past guilt in a small way.

Dragga's battle with Mongul continued until Draaga ripped the weapon off Mongul's chest, as the Overseers had revealed Mongul's secret to him. The apparatus actually helped keep Mongul alive. Mongul snatched it out of Draaga's hand and escaped in a spaceship.

Superman touched the Eradicator again and his Kryptonian costume was transformed to his Superman costume, complete with cape.

Superman #33, July 1989, May 25, 1989. The cover was pencilled by Kerry Gammil and inked by Dennis Janke.

Two Destinies was written by Roger Stern, pencilled by Kerry Gammil, inked by Dennis Janke, lettered by John Costanza and lettered by Glenn Whitmore.

Draaga, the new figurehead ruler of Warworld, demanded that Superman be found so that they could battle and Draaga could regain his honor either by victory or his own death. The Overseers ignored his order and reminded him who really ran Warworld. Their concern was to restore order on Warworld and do an inspection tour of their empire to concolidate their power. As Warworld moved out of the star system to jupm into hyperspace Superman attempted to catch up with the artificial world. Warworld flew into hyperspace before Superman could catch it, so he had to return to the asteroid.

On Earth, Luthor had the Milton Fine Brainiac, still kept unconscious medically, finally settled in at the Rocky Mountain facility he had bought from S.T.A.R. Labs through a takeover attempt, setting up a future storyline in the Superman titles.

On the asteroid, the Cellkeeper had improvised a set of reflectors to focus the local star's sunlight onto Superman to recharge his superpowers.

In Kansas Ma and Pa Kent made final preparations to leave the farm and search for Matrix/Clark, when she/he called them from Perry White's office. The Planet staff thought Clark had been brainwashed by Intergang.

Then he and the Cleric telepathically link with each other through the Eradicator and relive each other's darkest moments, from the Cleric's shame at the accidental deaths of his Kryptonian followers to Superman's remorse at executing the Kryptonian criminals from the pocket universe. The Cleric identified with Superman's remorse, but reminded the Man of Steel that his exile had deprived his planet of their greatest hero. He then encouraged Superman to take sole possession of the Eradicator. When Superman did, the Cleric collapsed and aged rapidly. Since the Cleric now longer physically possessed the Eradicator, it no longer preserved his life as it did over the eons. The Cleric's last request before his death was to see Superman's beardless face. Superman took a panel from the Eradicator to reflect his heat vision and shave his beard. After the Cleric's death Superman buried him on the asteroid and carved a Superman"S" on the headstone.

The Adventures Of Superman #456, July 1989, June 1, 1989. The cover artist was Jerry Ordway.

Redemption was plotted by Jerry Ordway, written and pencilled by Dan Jurgens, inked by Art Thibert, lettered by Albert De Guzman and colored by Glenn Whitmore.

The issue opened with Superman paying his final respects to the late Cleric and saying goodbye to the Cellkeeper. The Man of Steel then used the Eradicator to teleport himself back to Earth.

In Metropolis, after Morgan Edge got a medical examination in his GBS office, he received a secret call from Mannheim, head of Intergang. He informed Edge that he was sending Turmoil to deal with the Daily Planet reporters who wrote their Intergang expose.

At the Kent farm Ma and Pa Kent are releived that Matrix/Clark is being cared for by the Daily Planet staff, but can't help but wonder about their adopted son somewhere in outer space.

Matrix was sitting in a Metropolis park, eating Bib Belly burgers, when he was attacked by the giant robot Turmoil. He is found by Cat Grant, who called Professor Hamilton. Jose Delgado, wearing the LexCorp armor as his new Gangbuster costume, left Hamilton's lab to go to the rescue. Gangbuster met Turmoil as it attacked Lois Lane. They became trapped in the rubble of a building destroyed by Turmoil. Lex Luthor, in his LexCorp office, was notified by his new Rocky Mountain facility that Brainiac had awakened and kept repeating, "He's back!", referring to Superman.

The final issue of this storyline was published in Action Comics #643, July 1989, June 8, 1989. The cover was an homage to Joe Shuster's cover to Superman #1 in 1939, drawn by George Perez.

Superman On Earth was written and pencilled by George Perez, inked by Brett Breeding, lettered by Bill Oakley and colored by Glenn Whitmore.

As the title suggested, Superman returned to Earth and landed on the Daily Planet roof. He took a few minutes to soak in the sights, sounds and smells of Earth before being reunited with the Daily Planet staff. He flies off before Cat Grant can bring Matrix/Clark Kent to meet him. Luthor sees Superman flying over Metropolis once again, just as the Milton Fine Brainiac warned. Superman returned to his Clark kent apartment, placed the Eradicator on a shelf, and took a much needed shower.

Lois called the Daily Planet office from her car phone, under the rubble of a collapsed building. After the building collapsed further she stayed by Jose Delgado's side, as he was trapped in the rubble.

Before he can finish his shower, Superman was summoned by Jimy Olsen's emergency watch. He battled and destroyed Turmoil, rescued Lois and Jose, and found Morgan Edge for the hat trick. Instead of taking Edge to prison, he had to take him to a hospital after he had a heart attack.

It was revealed that instead of Darkseid being the ultimate head of Intergang, it was a disguised Desaad.

At the end of the day Clark Kent returned to his apartment to find his front door open. Before he could enter, an explosion occurred inside, where he found the unconscious Matrix/Clark holding the Eradicator. This story would be continued in Superman #34.

Next episode: Superman Vs. Captain Marvel!

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Thanks for listening to the Superman Fan Podcast and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

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