Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Action Comics #394Cover date: November 1970
"Midas of Metropolis"
Writer: Leo Dorfman
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Murphy Anderson
Cover: Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson
"Requiem for a Hot Rod!"
Writer: Geoff Brown
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Murphy Anderson
Reviewed by: Charlie Niemeyer
"Midas of Metropolis"
One day, Clark Kent is interviewing Cyrus Brand, the richest business tycoon in the country. Brand is showing off his trophies when they are suddenly interrupted by an explosion. Clark feigns fear to run off and change to Superman. He crashes through to find two men attempting to rob Brand's vault, but before he can do anything to stop then, Brand's security system activates and stops the robbers.
The next day, at an off-shore reef, Superman helps a salvage crew raise a ship carrying a $20 million shipment of cash. After securing the ship, he then goes inside and collects his fee of $500,000, half of what the salvage crew would have charged. Over the next few days, Superman performs several more super-feats, making sure to collect a reward for each one. Soon he actually has too much money to fit in the Metropolis national bank, so he quickly builds his own, the Superman Bank. The next day, Metropolis National's customers start closing their accounts and moving all of their savings to the Superman Bank. This gets Brand's attention because Superman has not only been getting his fees from Brand's companies, but he also secretly owns Metropolis National Bank!
Declaring war, Brand starts a bidding war with Superman over various holdings that he is interested in, with Superman coming out on top each time, and creating trophies for each victory. The final straw is when they fight over some oil wells. Brand is able to purchase some existing wells while Superman gets an empty property. Promptly, Superman tunnels into his property, creating a giant gusher of oil, which causes Brand's wells to run dry. Since he can dig a gusher at any time, Superman not only sells his well to Brand for $1 billion, but gives him his trophy as well. Promising to have the money in Superman Bank by the next afternoon, Brand takes a helicopter to a Lead Mine in the western mountains. Upon entering, we find out that the mine is actually a cover up for Brand's counterfeit money operation. Suddenly, the trophy rockets out of Brand's hands and crashes out through the roof, so that Superman can spot it with his telescopic vision.
Crashing into the hideout, Superman explains to Brand that he knew about the fake money because his x-ray vision made it glow. So, working with the US Treasury Department, Superman went through the entire charade in order to get the fake money out of circulation and to catch Brand in the act. The story ends with Brand in prison and Superman destroying the fake money with his heat vision.
Story - 3: This was another very "Silver-Agey" story. Superman's plan did involve him having to make a few gambles, but they, fortunately, paid off. However, I have to wonder why Superman was looking at Brand's money bin with his x-ray vision in the first place. It wasn't hidden or anything. As the action that is the catalyst for the whole story, it seems kind of weird. Also, it is nice to see Lois in this story, but unfortunately she's just there to get mad at Superman and cry, which Superman doesn't even seem to notice. All in all, not a terrible story, but not a great one either.
Art - 5: This story is saved by the art here. Swan's work here is amazing, and Anderson's inks are just right, letting a lot of Swan's pencils shine through, something he doesn't always do. The only slight problem is the way the vault at the beginning is drawn. I'm not sure if Superman crashed through from the outside or if he just dove down through the building down to the vault (which would be more property damage and would be tough to explain away to certain female reporters). Overall, great work.
"Requiem for a Hot Rod!"
Clark Kent and Lois Lane take part in a vintage car rally as part of a story for the Daily Planet, when they are suddenly forced off the road by "Coffin" Crowley in his hot rod. Using the kicked up dust for cover, Clark switches to Superman, saves all of the vintage cars in the rally, then switches back to Clark, pretending to have been thrown from the car and into a tree. With the drivers all shaken up, the rally is cancelled, so Lois and Clark head back to the Planet. On their way, they pass an abandoned air field that has been turned into a drag strip. Hoping to spot "Coffin," they investigate and spot him playing a game of chicken with another driver. After he wins and collects his bet, "Coffin" gloats over his victory (he's never lost) until he hears Clark calling him a phony. So "Coffin" challenges Clark to a game of chicken.
In their respective cars, they race toward each other. "Coffin" thinks to himself that his gizmo should be working, but Clark does not turn away. At the last second "Coffin" turns away. Clark then explains that "Coffin" always won because he would activate his reflective hood ornament, blinding the other driver and causing him or her to swerve away from the light. He only noticed this because normally, a driver would swerve in any direction, but each driver facing "Coffin" went to the right every time. Defeated, "Coffin" is forced to return his winnings and leave. When Lois asks Clark if he was not affected by the light because he's actually Superman, Clark reminds her that he was wearing sunglasses, so he wasn't blinded like the others.
On their way back to the Planet, Clark gets pulled over by a motorcycle cop. Turns out, the old car they were driving was holding up traffic on the highway because he was only going about 20mph! Clark thinks to himself that if Lois ever knew that Superman got a ticket for going too slow, he'd never be able to live it down.
Story - 4: A simple little adventure story, and we got to see Clark be brave for a change and Lois act like a decent person (almost made it all the way though without asking if Clark's Superman too). This story is a definite step up from last issue's heavy-handed story. Did not read like it was only 8 pages either. Good work.
Art - 5: Same art team as the first story, and the great work continues. Although, I do notice a few more "Anderson faces" than in the first story, but we still get Swan's pencils shining through. The expressions on the face of "Coffin" during his game of chicken are pure Swan and look fantastic.
Cover Art - 4: Not bad. Very Silver-Age like. Weird choice to depict the very end of the story on the cover. Almost like what happens in the issue though, except everyone knew why he was burning the money in the story. Also, purple heat-vision?
Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews
- Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
- Action Comics #2 (July 1938)
- Action Comics #3 (August 1938)
- Action Comics #4 (September 1938)
- Action Comics #5 (October 1938)
- Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
- Action Comics #7 (December 1938)
- Superman Archives: Volume 1 (1939)
- Superman #1 (Summer 1939)
- Action Comics #8 (January 1939)
- Action Comics #9 (February 1939)
- Action Comics #10 (March 1939)
- Superman #13 (November/December 1941) - The Archer
- Superman #19 (November/December 1942) - Case of the Funny Paper Crimes
- Action Comics #60 (May 1943) - Lois Lane - Superwoman
- Superman #30 (September/October 1944) - The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk
- Action Comics #80 (January 1945) - Mr. Mxyztplk Returns
- Superman #38 (January/February 1946) - The Battle of the Atoms
- Superman #42 (September/October 1946) - The Death of Clark Kent
- Superman #45 (March/April 1947) - Lois Lane, Superwoman
- Superman #53 (July 1948) - The Origin of Superman
- Action Comics #124 (September 1948) - A Superman of Doom
- Superman #60 (December 1949/January 1950) - The Two Identities of Superman & Superman Fights the Super-Brain
- Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - The Mightiest Team in the World
- Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - Superman's Lost Brother
- Superman 3D (1953) - The Man Who Stole the Sun, Origin of Superman and The Man Who Bossed Superman
- Superman #87 (February 1954) - The Prankster's Greatest Role
- Superman #88 (March 1954) - The Terrible Trio
- Superman #89 (May 1954) - Captain Kent the Terrible, Superman of Skid Row, and One Hour to Doom!
- Superman #91 (August 1954) - The Superman Stamp and Great Caesar's Ghost
- World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes
- Superman #115 (August 1957) - The Midget Superman!
- Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse
- Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - The Super-Duel in Space
- Superman #123 (August 1958) - The Girl of Steel
- Superman #127 (February 1959) - Titano the Super Ape
- Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - The Menace of Metallo and The Supergirl From Krypton
- Superman #129 (May 1959) - The Girl in Superman's Past
- Superman #130 (July 1959) - The Curse of Kryptonite!, The Super-Servant of Crime!, and The Town that Hated Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal
- Superman #134 (January 1960) - The Super-Menace of Metropolis
- Jimmy Olsen #42 (January 1960) - The Big Superman Movie!, Perry White, Cub Reporter!, and Jimmy the Genie!
- Jimmy Olsen #44 (April 1960) - The Wolf-Man of Metropolis
- Adventure Comics #271 (April 1960) - How Luthor Met Superboy
- Jimmy Olsen #46 (July 1960) - Jimmy Olsen, Orphan
- Superman #141 (November 1960) - Superman's Return To Krypton
- Superboy #85 (December 1960) - The Impossible Mission
- Jimmy Olsen #51 (March 1961) - The Girl with Green Hair
- Jimmy Olsen #52 (April 1961) - Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man
- Superboy #89 (June 1961) - Superboy's Big Brother!
- Action Comics #279 (August 1961) - The Super-Rivals
- Superman #147 (August 1961) - The Legion of Super Villains
- Superman #149 (November 1961) - The Death of Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #57 (December 1961) - Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl
- Superman #155 (August 1962) - Superman Under the Green Sun and The Downfall of Superman
- Justice League of America #13 (August 1962) - Riddle of the Robot Justice League
- World's Finest #129 (November 1962) - Joker-Luthor, Incorporated
- Superman #158 (January 1963) - Superman in Kandor
- Superman #160 (April 1963) - The Mortal Superman
- Superman #161 (May 1963) - The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent
- Superman #162 (July 1963) - The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue
- Superman #163 (August 1963) - Wonder-Man, the New Hero of Metropolis and The Goofy Superman
- Justice League of America #21 & #22 (August/September 1963) - Crisis on Earth-One! and Crisis on Earth-Two!
- Superman #164 (October 1963) - The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman
- Superman #165 (November 1963) - The Sweetheart Superman Forgot
- Superman #166 (January 1964) - The Fantastic Story of Superman's Sons
- Superman #167 (February 1964) - The Team of Luthor and Brainiac
- Superman #168 (April 1964) - Luthor - Super Hero and Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor
- Superman #169 (May 1964) - The Man Who Stole Superman's Secret Life
- Action Comics #314 (July 1964) - The Day Superman Became The Flash
- Justice League of America #29 & #30 (August/September 1964) - Crisis on Earth-Three! and The Most Dangerous Earth of All!
- Superman #173 (November 1964) - The Triumph of Luthor and Brainiac
- Action Comics #318 (November 1964) - The Death of Luthor
- Action Comics #319 (December 1964) - The Condemned Superman
- Superman #175 (February 1965) - Clark Kent's Brother
- Superman #181 (November 1965) - The Superman of 2965
- The Legion of Super-Heroes - Archives Volume 4 (1965)
- Superman #184 (February 1966) - The Demon Under the Red Sun
- Action Comics #338 (June 1966) - Muto - Monarch of Menace
- Action Comics #339 (July 1966) - Muto versus The Man of Tomorrow
- Superman #189 (August 1966) - Krypton Lives Again
- Action Comics #346 (February 1967) - The Man Who Sold Insurance to Superman and The Case of the Superman Imposter
- Superman #194 (February 1967) - The Death of Lois Lane
- Superman #196 (May 1967) - The Star of Steel
- Superman #199 (January 1967) - Superman's Race With The Flash
- Superman #200 (October 1967) - Super-Brother Against Super-Brother
- The Flash #175 (December 1967) - Race to the End of the Universe
- Justice League of America #63 (June 1968) - Time Signs a Death Warrant for the Justice League
- Superman #211 (November 1968) - The Name of the Game is Superman!
- Superman #215 (April 1969) - Lois LaneŠ DeadŠ Yet Alive
- Superman #224 (February 1970) - Beware the Super-Genius Baby
- Action Comics #393 (October 1970) - Superman Meets Super-Houdini! and The Day Superboy Became Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #133 (October 1970) - The Newsboy Legion
- Action Comics #394 (November 1970) - Midas of Metropolis and Requiem for a Hot Rod!
- World's Finest #198 (November 1970) - Race to Save the Universe!
- Action Comics #395 (December 1970) - The Secrets of Superman's Fortress and The Credit Card of Catastrophe
- Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970) - The Mountain of Judgement!
- World's Finest #199 (December 1970) - A Race to Save Time!
- Superman #233 (January 1971) - Superman Breaks Loose!
- Jimmy Olsen #135 (January 1971) - The Evil Factory!
- Superman #234 (February 1971) - How to Tame a Wild Volcano
- Jimmy Olsen #136 (February 1971) - The Saga of the D.N.Aliens
- Superman #235 (March 1971) - The Sinister Scream of the Devil's Harp
- Superman #236 (April 1971) - Planet of the Angels and The Doomsayer
- Jimmy Olsen #137 (April 1971) - The Four-Armed Terror!
- Superman #237 (May 1971) - The Enemy of Earth
- Superman #238 (June 1971) - Menace at 1000 Degrees
- Jimmy Olsen #138 (June 1971) - The Big Boom!!
- Superman #240 (July 1971) - To Save a Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971) - The Guardian Fights Again!!!
- Superman #241 (August 1971) - The Shape of Fear
- Superman #242 (September 1971) - The Ultimate Battle
- Jimmy Olsen #141 (September 1971) - Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?!?
- Jimmy Olsen #142 (October 1971) - The Man from Transilvane!
- Jimmy Olsen #143 (November 1971) - Genocide Spray
- Jimmy Olsen #144 (December 1971) - A Big Thing in a Deep Scottish Lake!
- Superman #247 (January 1972) - Must There Be A Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #145 (January 1972) - Brigadoom!
- Jimmy Olsen #146 (February 1972) - Homo-Disastrous!
- Jimmy Olsen #147 (March 1972) - A Superman in Super-Town!
- Jimmy Olsen #148 (April 1972) - Monarch of All He Subdues!
- Superman #292 (October 1975) - The Luthor Nobody Knows!
- Action Comics #458 (April 1976) - Make Me a Super-Hero! and Masquerade of the Nutty Kid!
- Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (Spring 1978)
- Action Comics #484 (June 1978) - Superman Takes a Wife!
- Superman #328 (October 1978) - Attack of the Kryptonoid
- Action Comics #489 (November 1978) - Krypton Dies Again and Where There's a Will... There's a Fray
- Superman #329 (November 1978) - I Have Met The Enemy... And He Is Me! and The Secret of the Talking Car
- Superman #330 (December 1978) - The Master Mesmerizer of Metropolis!
- Action Comics #490 (December 1978) - No Tomorrow For Superman
- Action Comics #491 (January 1979) - A Matter of Light and Death
- Superman #331 (January 1979) - Lockup at 20,000 Feet
- Action Comics #492 (February 1979) - Superman's Secret Afterlife
- Superman #332 (February 1979) - The Eternity Cage
- Action Comics #493 (March 1979) - The Metropolis UFO Connection
- Action Comics #494 (April 1979) - The Secret of the Super S
- Action Comics #495 (May 1979) - Attack of the Ultimate Warrior
- DC Comics Presents #14 (October 1979) - Judge, Jury... and No Justice!
- The Superman Story (1979) - The Life Story of Superman
- DC Comics Presents #57 (May 1983) - Days of Future Past
- DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984) - 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas
- DC Comics Presents Annual #3 (1984) - With One Magic Word
- Superman: The Secret Years #1 (February 1985) - Dreams and Schemes and Feeling Proud!
- Superman: The Secret Years #2 (March 1985) - Reach Out and Touch
- Superman: The Secret Years #3 (April 1985) - Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #80 (April 1985) - A World Full of Supermen!
- Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985) - Beyond Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #85 (September 1985) - The Jungle Line
- Superman Annual #11 (1985) - For The Man Who Has Everything
- World's Finest #323 (January 1986) - Afraid of the Dark
- DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986) - Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter
- Superman #423 & Action Comics #583 (September 1986) - Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?
- Showcase Presents: Superman Family - Volume 1 (October 2005)
- Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons (December 2007)
- Not Brand ECHH #7 (April 1967) - The Origin of Stuporman
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