Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Superman #237Cover date: May 1971
"The Enemy of Earth"
Writer: Denny O'Neil
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Murphy Anderson
Cover: Neal Adams and Dick Giordano
Reviewed by: James Lantz
Superman has just prevented an experimental rocket plane from crashing into a mountain. The pilot has become hysterical and refuses to leave the craft. He shoots the Man of Tomorrow as he is lifted from the burning hulk of the vessel. Unhindered, Superman places the man onto the ground. However, once the person's helmet is removed, the Last Son of Krypton is horrified. What was once a human face is now a twisted mass of lumpy green flesh.
Doctors have examined the airman only to find that he has been infected with an unknown space disease. It is assumed that the rocket had passed the Earth's atmosphere for this to happen. Thinking that the microscopic germs have penetrated his skin and costume when he had saved the pilot, Superman flies into a radiation belt in order to decontaminate himself. After his unusual shower, he returns to Metropolis to assume his role of Galaxy Broadcasting anchorman Clark Kent.
As he reports the news of the rocket plane's pilot's illness, Clark begins to feel weak and dizzy during the news broadcast. He scans Metropolis to find his sand doppelganger on the roof of the GBS Building. Once again, the mild mannered reporter must assume his true identity of Superman. The Man of Steel confronts his double, but the creature does not respond. His invulnerable body is then stunned by a mysterious force that sends him crashing through the roof into one of the GBS newsrooms. Returning to his feet, Superman receives another shock. All the staff in the office have become like the airman. The alien disease has spread to Metropolis.
Superman has alerted the hospital of the space infection at GBS. To top that off, Lois Lane, who had gone to South America to cover a story about a horde of army ants marching into a populated valley, is in trouble. Her plane was forced to land in the jungle. Superman cannot help her without risking her becoming ill. To make matters worse, his sand duplicate is following him everywhere. The Metropolis Marvel cannot seem to fly at top speed. He seems to think that his double, whose sand is now mixed with streaks of red and blue, is the cause of the power loss. This could endanger his plans to aid Lois and rescue Metropolis from the alien malady.
Lois and her pilot were uninjured in the airplane crash. Unfortunately, some bandits have captured them, and the army ants are heading in their direction. Superman is deciding on the best course of action as the sand creature approaches him. The Man of Steel then unsuccessfully tries to persuade his twin to leave. As Superman digs a trench to block the bugs' path, two of their number bite his boots. The small beings are now growing in size. One of the giants knocks Superman off balance, but he quickly recovers to defend himself against their attack.
The pair of giant army ants is now unconscious, and Superman has noticed the one that he had hit with his right hand has gotten bigger. Knowing that their size would doom them to a premature death anyway, Superman flies into space to rid the Earth of both insects and himself. As the Last Son of Krypton ponders exile in space, his powerful eyes see the horde of army ants is approaching Lois and the others in the jungle. The airplane pilot sees this as a chance to be a hero to impress the ace reporter. However, as he reaches for one of the bandits' guns, the man is knocked unconscious. The hungry mob of insects is getting closer to the group as the thieves run away leaving Lois to drag the airman with her. Despite all odds being against her, Miss Lane refuses to give up.
Doctors have found that the alien disease can be cured with liquid freon. They are asking for Superman to return, but their pleas go unheard. The Man of Tomorrow is in space being confronted by his Doppelganger. He believes that his twin can save Lois. However, he must get the creature to understand the situation. Superman reaches out to his double with his right hand. However, the creature does not grow. Instead, it emits an energy that seems to cleanse the Kryptonian hero's body of the alien germs. The Man of Steel surges closer to the mysterious being. Once they have collided, the dormant form of Superman plummets to Earth.
Lois has become exhausted from dragging the injured airplane pilot. Suddenly, she feels the ground shake. A huge crater has formed, and emerging from it is none other than Superman. Despite being unable to fly after contact with the sand being, the Metropolis Marvel carries the airman and tells Lois to hold on tightly to his cape. A powerful leap over the mountains sends the trio into the path of the bandits that had captured Lois. They shoot at our hero, but he feels the bullets bounce off his chest. The Last Son of Krypton is not at full power. However, he is able to knock out the group of thieves and crush their weapons. Lois Lane has once again been rescued by Superman.
With Lois and the pilot safe, Superman can now question his double. The sandman's body seems to be solid as it resembles its Kryptonian counterpart more. The eerie being also has just gained the ability to speak. Every time, it was near Superman, the twin would get some of the abilities that the Man of Steel had lost. Kal-El will recover from his current weakness, but not entirely. When he does, the Doppelganger will be his equal. The double is becoming Superman, and neither of the two beings may survive the experience.
Story - 4: We have a complete issue devoted to "The Sandman Saga" without a back-up story to interrupt the flow of the action. This is an amazingly well-crafted issue. However, I knocked off one point because of one thing. Superman was willing to infect ants with the alien germ. This is something that is extremely out of character for the Man of Steel because all life is sacred to him. Superman would rather die than sacrifice his own beliefs. This is what makes him Superman. Besides this flaw, this book has an incredible story full of action and suspense. This one made me impatient to read Superman #238.
Art - 5: Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson have done it again. No art team can do what they have accomplished for the Man of Steel. They are able to blend various genres into the book and make the story look incredible. Many times, I forgot that I was reading a comic book because the images look like they could be part of a movie or television show. That's how good the Swanderson team is. We need more art like this in comic books nowadays.
Cover Art - 5: This image reminds me of those old horror films where the villagers with torches and pitchforks chase the monster. This seems to be the intention, and it works. It makes the viewer want to look inside and read the book's contents. Whatever happened to covers like these? There needs to be more like them in comic books in this day and age.
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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