Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

DC Comics Presents #14

DC Comics Presents #14

Cover date: October 1979

Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciller: Dick Dillin
Inker: Dick Giordano
Cover: Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano

"Judge, Jury... and No Justice!"

Reviewed by: Rafael Magat

At the Metropolis Court House, a prosecutor is about to prove the defendant's guilt. As he does so, Lois Lane gets bored as Clark Kent watches on. Lois tells Clark that she's going to go and have lunch, Clark tells her that he's not sure and that he thinks that this could be important. Lois mocks his lack of journalistic instinct and asks him how he became a top reporter, Clark says that he's just lucky. As Lois walks away, Clark then gets up and tells her that he will join her, when... Superboy comes bursting in throught the door! The entire room becomes chaotic as Superboy punches Clark and debris falls, Clark uses this opportunity to change into Superman. Superman then flies out and confronts Superboy. Lois asks what's going on, Superman tells her that he's not sure but he will find out. Superman and Superboy fly towards each other. Superman asks who he is, Superboy tells him that he really is Superboy and that he's also his doom! Superboy punches Superman and then punches him again, saying that he brought this upon himself, Superman tells him to stop, he doesn't want to hurt him. Superboy tells him not to worry, he won't! And with that, Superboy throws Superman into the floor. Lois then goes to help Superman. Superboy tells him that he'll need the help and that she's given him a very important idea and Superboy flies off vowing to return to settle their account. Lois asks if Superman's going to chase after him. Superman says that it's more vital that he find out who that was and Superman flies off. Superman then drills beneath the rubble to change back into Clark. Clark then reappears under the rubble. Lois asks if he's alright, Clark tells her that he could use a hand.

Later that night, Superman flies over the city in search of "Superboy". As Superman ponders things such as why he wasn't hurled back to another time after meeting himself, Superman then stops two boats from colliding. Superman then thinks to himself that the case is as stalled as the car on the road. Superman lifts up the car and delivers it to a gas station, telling the driver to check his gas gauge next time. As he flies the car down the attendant at the gas station is shocked by Superman's appearance. Superman then flies off as the driver says thanks for bringing his car to the station and sorry for the trouble. Superman then hears the supersonic signal from Jimmy Olsen's signal watch and rushes to his rescue, which leads Superman into the Grand Canyon. As Superman goes into the canyon he is hit by a missile and is knocked out.

Superman wakes up to find "Superboy" with a bazooka and that he has been chained to the canyon wall with Kryptonite chains and shackles! Superman asks why he was chained. "Superboy" responds by telling him that this is simply the beginning. Superboy announces that his sins have come back to haunt him! Superboy then presents the jury which shall condemn him, ("Superboy" then brings in a flying saucer), his closest friends! Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen and Steve Lombard! Superboy announces that they'll make him, his executioner! The jurors protest Superboy. Superboy then aims the bazooka at them, saying that if they don't keep quiet he'll kill them all! Superman then says that it can't be Superboy, saying that there's nothing that evil or mad within him. Superboy then tells Superman that he's simply inside Superboy's body!

We are then treated to a flashback showing a blonde man entering one of Luthor's hidden lairs beneath Smallville, Superboy explains that his real self is a rich man with contacts on both sides of the law. "Superboy" says that he used his contacts to find Luthor's hidden lair where he found two weapons, a time-travel device and a mind-transfer machine. The blonde man is then shown pulling Superboy out of the past and switching minds with him. "Superboy" says that the real Superboy is stuck inside a helpless human body, the body of PETE ROSS! Superman is shocked by this. "Superboy" turns towards the jurors, saying that Superman allowed aliens to kidnap his son and then abandoned him on their planet. Lois defends Superman telling him that Superman told her what really happened, that Pete's son was destined to be the warlord of that planet and lead their space-fleet to save Earth. The jurors side with Lois and Superman. Perry says that he isn't guilty and that it'll be the only verdict they'll get from them. "Superboy" then aims the bazooka at them again and tells them to reconsider their verdict or he'll kill them.

In Luthor's hidden lair beneath Smallville, "Pete Ross" is tied to a chair. He kicks the chair and breaks free. He uses a bunsen burner to burn his binds and begins to think of a way to stop "Superboy". "Pete" exits the lair and realizes that he's in Smallville. "Pete" then runs towards his old house and goes into his hidden lab to find... nothing but a few books, a whistle and a lamp. "Pete" then realizes that they maybe all he needs.

Back at the Grand Canyon, "Superboy" asks the jury if they've changed their minds. They stick with their verdict. "Superboy" then tells them that they're going to be witnesses, to Superman's murder! "Superboy" fires a Kryptonite shell from his bazooka, but just as he does so, Superman breaks free of his chains and crash lands below as the missile explodes! "Superboy" goes up into the upper atmosphere to get more Kryptonite. Superman lies on the ground helpless.

In the upper atmosphere of Earth, "Superboy" plays a game of billiards with Kryptonite and asteroids! He plots the trajectories, then uses his bazooka to push them into place, when... Krypto arrives. Krypto attacks "Superboy", who realizes that the dog knows that it's not really his master. Krypto pushes "Superboy" back down to the Grand Canyon where he crashes. Krypto helps the jurors get out. Superman is aided by Jimmy and Lois. Krypto happily returns to his master as "Superboy" staggers toward them. Superman tells him that he wouldn't stand a chance and "Superboy" sits down and cries.

Later, in Luthor's lair, "Pete" and Superman talk while "Superboy" is strapped to a chair. Superman then switches their minds and the real Superboy returns home to find Krypto the biggest steak he can find, even though he won't earn it for years.

In 1979, Superman vows, that he'll find a way to cure his friend.

3Story - 3: Boy, that was a tough issue to summarize. Anyway, the story is good, but like Infinite Crisis #7, riddled with inconcistencies, such as, how exactly does "Superboy" tie Superman up in Kryptonite chains and not get harmed? How does Pete break into Luthor's lair anyway, isn't there some secret code or defense system for the lair? And look at the panel where "Superboy" is playing billiards with the K. He's about five feet from the meteors which are kinda big and there are seven of them! And he doesn't pass out! Ughhhh! But anyway, the good parts of the story, Pete tries to kill Superman, given the reason (son gets left on planet to grow up to save earth) it makes a lot of sense. Lois and Clark's banter is good. There's a lot of action and Superboy uses his head, I just like that part.

2Art - 2: "Great Scott Krypto, your ears are huge!", and they are under the hands of Dick Dillin. The art here is okay, average, but the inking pushes it from a three to a two. It looks so rushed and at times I can't tell Superman from Superboy and every time a woman looks straigth at us, they look like they're dazed and confused. And apparently you can see the Grand Canyon from the upper atmosphere, in fairly good detail.

5Cover Art - 5: It happened, and the art here puts the interiors to shame.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • 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”




Compilation Volumes


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