Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Superman #200Cover date: October 1967
Penciller: Wayne Boring
Inker: Wayne Boring
Cover: Curt Swan & George Klein
"Super-Brother Against Super-Brother"
This imaginary story begins many years go on Krypton. Rechecking his calculations, the scientist, Jor-El is disturbed when he determines that Krypton's core is approaching critical mass and will explode within days. Realizing that he has little time, the scientist begins to build a ship that will take his family to safety. But, to Krypton's amazement, a larger craft appears in orbit above Krypton and suddenly Kryptonopolis is reduced and teleported to a bottle inside the ship flown by Brainiac.
Immediately, Jor-El establishes contact with Brainiac who informs the inhabitants of the bottle that he had also determined that Krypton would soon explode. To save them, he had reduced the city in hopes of enlarging it on a new planet. Realizing the immediacy, Jor-El implores Brainiac to return to save more of Krypton's population, but before he can maneuver the ship, Krypton explodes.
The last survivors of Krypton are devastated and try to heal their grief over the next few weeks. Sympathetically, Brainiac shrinks himself and becomes friends with Jor-El. On one visit to Jor-El, Brainiac announces that he doubts that he can ever enlarge Kryptonopolis. The rare element ZN-4 that is used to enlarge living things is in very short supply. He explains that he can enlarge himself only because he is an android, but will devote himself to finding another source for the element.
Life continues in Kryptonopolis, and within a few months Lara gives birth to a second child. At the Sun-Temple, the Naming Ceremony is performed with Brainiac serving as the child's Godfather. Standing before the people of Kryptonopolis, Brainiac proclaims that he names the child after the scientist that created him, Knor, and the boy's father; he shall be called Knor-El. As the years pass, both El boys grow and become quite proficient athletically and academically. Kal pursues a career in science and Knor trains to become a lawman.
One day, Brainiac astounds Jor-El when he announces that he has finally located a source of ZN-4, and sets course for the lone planet which will serve as their new home. But, as fate would have it, Brainiac detects a meteor speeding toward his ship and, when the blaster ray malfunctions, is unable to destroy avoid a collision which disables the ship.
Desperately, Brainiac pilots the disabled ship to the closest planet only to find that the collision has shorted-out the element transporter. Hurriedly, Brainiac transports the city to the planet's surface while his ship enters a crash dive smashing into a gigantic skyscraper and ending Brainiac's life. As Brainiac's ship burns in flames, the Kryptonopolis lies in a deserted field on earth.
The citizens of Kryptonopolis erect a memorial to Brainiac, and Jor-El begins to investigate their new home. Physically the inhabitants are similar, however outside of the artificial gravity and the environs of the bottle, any Kryptonian would possess amazing powers. On the view screen, Kal and Knor watch as crime breaks out across the world and wonder how this can be. Searching Brainiac's memory banks, Jor-El discovers that Brainiac was only able to transport enough ZN-4 gas to enlarge one man. But, who would that be?
In answer, Jor-El designs a tournament for all eligible men of a test combining strategy with athletic ability with the winner becoming earth's Superman. As the tournament comes to a close, only the two El brothers survive. The final challenge of each brother must face, are identical fighting robots. They metal monsters immediately begin the battle and Kal quickly deduces that he can defeat the robots by deactivating the robots photoelectric eyes, however, Knor has found several pressure points. Before Kal can complete his actions, Knor has defeated his robot.
Disappointed, Kal congratulates Knor, who is then presented with the ceremonial blue and red-caped uniform. Using a jetpack to fly to the neck of the bottle, Knor releases the ZN-4 gas and is restored to his full size for the first time in his life and testing his powers discovers that he truly is a super man.
Quickly, Knor begins the tasks assigned him by the High Council. First, he builds an underwater citadel to house Kryptonopolis and keep it safe. Then, he establishes a new identity for himself, and as Ken Clarkson begins work at a huge newspaper, the Daily Planet, to allow him to be close to the word of all emergencies÷ the first of which is a prison break. The new Superman crashes through a heavy lead door with his bare hands, then captures the criminals, and saves the warden from being shot by an errant bullet. Back at the Planet, Clarkson returns with the scoop.
Kal-El and Jor-El monitor Knor's successes from their bottle not knowing that alien forces are doing the same. When an alien craft lands outside of Metropolis, Superman goes to investigate nd the invaders expose Knor to Green Kryptonite. The rays have dire effects and Knor falls to the earth, riddled with pain. After hours of being unable to locate Knor on his viewer, Kal decides to take drastic action. Rushing to his lab, Kal retrieves a cylinder of synthetic ZN-4 gas that he had created, then flying to the neck of the bottle with his jet pack, he releases the gas, enlarges and leaves the bottle city to search for his brother.
It does not take long before he finds the alien ship, and sees his brother lying in pain. Overcome by grief, Kal assails the invaders who react by presenting a second piece of Green Kryptonite. To their amazement, Kal triples in size. Trning, he rips the ship to pieces and captures the invaders. Rushing to Knor, Kal finds that the effects are temporary, and Knor soon recovers. In this version, Green Kryptonite acts like Red Kryptonite producing unexplained effects. When the Green Kryptonite effects wear off, Kal returns to normal size and the two brothers repair the alien craft, put the invaders on board and fling the craft into space. Sadly, Kal realizes that he cannot return to the bottled city. "Why not stay," asks Knor. Earth can use an extra super-hero".
Shortly, at the Montreal Star in Quebec, a new reporter is hired and the headlines begin to roll in. Holding up the newspaper, the editor shows the banner which reads, "Hyperman captures Hold Up Mob", to the staff in the newsroom. "I don't know how you do it LeBlanc," laughs the editor. Charles Leblanc simply turns and walks from the office "He'll never guess that I am Hyperman," laughs LeBlanc. Then Kal-El dons the uniform of Hyperman to begin his patrol over Canada.
So, in this tale, there are two supermen, Superman, of Metropolis hero of the America and Hyperman, of Montreal, hero of Canada.
Story - 4: Centennial issues are important in any title and Superman #200 was intended to be a very special celebration. So special that the editors re-wrote the Superman origin. Here Kryptonopolis is placed in the bottle by Brainiac, not Kandor, Kal-El has a brother, and Green Kryptonite has the effects of Red Kryptonite. Still Kal-El survives to become a superman, just not the Superman. The story does drag a bit, and since it does not fit into the normal continuity appears strange. Yet, it is as plausible as any other Superman story. This issue was also supposed to commemorate the cooperation between Canada and the United States. Superman aficionados will know that the original name for the Daily Planet was the Daily Star, a newspaper from Toronto, Canada. Since Siegel and Shuster were from Cleveland, this was a common newspaper for them, and one of the newspapers that the daily Superman strip was first offered to.
Art - 4: Like Curt Swan in Superman #423 (1986), this was Wayne Boring's swan song on Superman. After three years of drawing the Superman Newspaper strip, and since drawing Superman since 1940, Boring returned for this last interpretation of the character. Boring would draw several more Superman stories, however this would serve to be his last, best effort on the character. Boring and Swan have many similarities; perhaps as many as they do differences. While Swan's Superman was lithe and fluid, Boring's was rigid and stiff. While the editors unceremoniously replaced Swan with John Byrne, Boring was routinely replaced by Curt Swan. For Boring, this was a very solid effort and deserves to be recognized as the end of a very long career on Superman.
Cover Art - 4: The cover to this issues was drawn by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein. It is an adequate cover, depicting the conflict between Kal-El and Knor-El when they battle for supremacy and to determine who becomes the Superman of earth. It is a good cover, but still, seemingly out of place due to the oddity of the story.
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 Laneä Deadä 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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