Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Classics - The Adventures of Superman #424

Back in 1986 DC Comics made a radical move.

The company "rebooted" much of its line (sound familiar?) in the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it handed over the Superman titles to writer / artist John Byrne.

Byrne was allowed to rearrange the lineup a bit - he took over Action Comics and he started a new Superman comic beginning with issue #1. So what to do with the existing Superman comic after 423 issues?

He tweaked the title, based on the classic TV show, and The Adventures of Superman began with #424.

But even the speedy Byrne couldn't write and draw three monthly titles (or he decided it wasn't a good idea to try), so "Adventures" was put in the hands of the more-than-capable team of writer Marv Wolfman and artist Jerry Ordway.

The focus was on the Clark Kent side of things, and Wolfman introduced some new cast members at the Daily Planet, including Cat Grant.

But there was plenty of action to go around, too, as Superman had to deal with several giant robots terrorizing the city. It's somewhat prescient, as the terrorists use the robots to destroy skyscrapers in Metropolis. (One panel is eerie as it shows a skyscraper crumbling - it could easily have been a drawing of one of the Trade Towers in New York).

Ordway's art is a real treat here - his style is something of a cross between Wally Wood's power and John Buscema's styling - and that's a fine neighborhood to hang around in.

His heroes are the ideal (as the cover amply demonstrates), his characters are expressive and distinctive, and his women are beautiful. As I've said many times, why isn't he working on a regular title?

"Adventures" was always a solid, dependable title under this team. It didn't quite have the flair of Byrne's work, but it was certainly a step in the right direction for
the newly-revived Man of Steel, and helped create a foundation that lasted for 25 years.

Not too shabby!

Grade: B+



Anonymous said...

Jerry Ordway's art is usually the best thing about the comic you find it in, whether the Superman issue you review here, or the latest version of the Challengers of The Unknown.
He's been drawing (and writing) comics for decades now, and his art is just as fantastic as ever.

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, I agree - it's great to see his work on the new Challengers! I'd still like to see him working on a regular monthly title, instead of one-shots and mini-series - but I'll take what I can get!