Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Action Comics #490Cover date: December 1978
"No Tomorrow For Superman"
Writer: Cary Bates
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Cover: Ross Andru And Dick Giordano
Reviewed by: James Lantz
It is the day after the people of planet Earth had witnessed the vision of Krypton's destruction. Clark Kent and Lana Lang are reporting about the historic night on the WGBS morning television news. During a commercial break, Clark's eyes begin to burn.
Rushing into a storage room in the middle of the newscast, Clark removes his glasses and notices that his burning eyes are getting worse. He has no choice but to change into Superman. The Man of Tomorrow feels like his insides are on fire. Every fiber of his being is seething with excess energy that must be unleashed now. Superman arrives at a construction site to demolish a building in thirteen seconds. The workmen on the site congratulate the Last Son of Krypton. He was scheduled to help them destroy the inferiorly constructed edifice tomorrow morning, but he tells the workers that he had to blow off some steam. The Man of Steel then promises to help the construction in their rebuilding efforts before he flies away.
In space, Brainiac witnesses Superman's actions from his ship's view-screen. He is revolted by the fact that Kal-El managed to do a good deed despite the fact that he seemed to have lost control of his superhuman abilities. Brainiac continues by saying that the worst is yet to come for Superman. Other Kryptonians have always feared Brainiac and his 12th level intelligence, but the android has exposed his foe to something far more worse than himself. It's a terror from which there is no hope of escape.
Superman's uneasy sleep in the Fortress of Solitude seems to confirm Brainiac's words as he dreams of the battle from the previous issue. The Man of Steel is magnetized to Brainiac's ship as the fearsome automaton makes him watch Krypton die again. Superman's screams shake the Fortress violently.
After Superman awakens, he ponders the attack he had suffered at the WGBS television studio. Brainiac's exposing the Metropolis Marvel to Krypton's destruction is the cause of the episode. Kal-El's eyes burn with the image of his home world's destruction. The vision creates an excessive amount of energy which must be released from Superman's body. The only way to unleash it is for Superman to use his super powers and abilities.
Superman is flying away from his Fortress when he suddenly yawns. Getting rid of the energy from his burning attacks has drained his superhuman stamina. He's now so tired that he nearly flies into the Aurora Borealis when another Krypton-Attack occurs. Superman plows a bunch of snow into the air, uses his heat vision to change the snow into water vapor and blows the clouds it created southward to an area of California that is in desperate need of rain. The Man of Steel was able to control his outburst this time. But how lucky will he be if it happens again?
The next day, two thieves are leaving the Metro Savings Bank. They remove their trenchcoats to reveal policemen disguises. They run with some stolen money to a getaway car made to look like a police vehicle. They discuss retiring to the French Riviera with the stolen cash while trying to blend in with real police automobiles that were responding to the bank's alarm.
Superman has suddenly stopped the thieves' car. He overheard their retirement plans and is now about to take them to the proper authorities. His keen hearing picks up the sound of Jimmy Olsen's signal watch coming from the bandits' auto's trunk. Jimmy had followed the false policemen for about a week in order to get pictures for the Daily Planet. He's able to snap a photo of Superman with the captured bank robbers when another eye-burning Krypton-Attack hits the Man of Tomorrow. This one seems a lot stronger.
Knocking out the thieves, Superman flies away from the scene. Brainiac's ship is not far behind our hero. The malevolent android sees that Kal-El has lost control of his actions. He takes advantage of this by using his spacecraft to pilot all of the Last Son of Krypton's movements. This puts Superman on a collision course with the Justice League Satellite, where Hawkman is now standing watch.
Story - 4: I remember buying this issue when I was just a lad. The contents of the story escaped my memory until I read it for this review, but the cover got my attention back then. I'll get to that later. Right now, I want to discuss the writing in this tale.
The beginning of this comic kind of threw me off guard when I began my first reading of it. I had expected this book to begin where the previous one had left off. However, I found the story entertaining as it progressed. Why a four out of five? Well, I was left with a big question in my warped little mind, boys and girls. Just how in the name of Rao did Superman get back to Earth after being forced by Brainiac to watch Krypton's destruction? This point isn't really explained. Superman theorizes a bunch about the Krypton-Attacks and discusses his battle with Brainiac to benefit the readers that didn't buy the last issue, but he doesn't say, "I assume Brainiac returned me to Metropolis somehow," or "Brainiac beamed me back home like in Star Trek." The reader is left scratching his or her head in confusion for this particular plot hole.
Aside from that, "No Tomorrow For Superman" is a fun adventure from the 1970s. The incredible cliffhanger makes one curious about how the Justice League will handle Kal-El. It reminds me of the endings of some of the best Superman radio show episodes that are in the middle of the story arcs. It made me want more.
If you haven't scanned your local comic shop's back issue bins for this one, do so. You'll be glad you did.
Art - 5: After reading last issue's review, someone mentioned that Curt Swan's art has a consistency that no modern Superman artist could ever hold a candle to. I have to agree with that. I still think Brainiac's ship is outdated for 1978, but that's only because I felt that his 12th level intellect would allow him to upgrade the darned thing once in a while. My views are no reflection on Curt's art as a whole. I'm willing to overlook the spacecraft and give the art the five it deserves. Swan's still the king of Superman artists. 'Nuff said.
Cover Art - 5: Now, THIS is what a cover should look like. I still remember the day I first saw this cover on the comic rack of the local drug store when I was just a boy growing up in Ohio. It caught my eye then, and it still manages to capture my attention after all these years. Kudos to Andru and Giordano for such an outstanding image.
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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