Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Superman #332Cover date: February 1979
"The Eternity Cage"
Writer: Martin Pasko
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Cover: Ross Andru and Dick Giordano
Reviewed by: James Lantz
Carl Draper, the Master Jailer, has imprisoned Lana Lang and Superman under Mount Olympus. He then reveals his plans to the red-haired WGBS anchorperson. He has placed Superman in what he calls the Eternity Cage, a cell from which there is no escape. He has placed special keys throughout this particular jail that will siphon the Man of Steel's powers. These devices are like the ones Draper used to "borrow" the superhuman abilities of the Atomic Skull, the Parasite and Metallo. Special energy receptors in his costume's gloves allowed the Master Jailer to use the three villains' special gifts to build the hidden prison to trap Superman and be with the woman he loves - Lana Lang.
Confused, Lana asks who Draper really is. She then realizes that he was a boy in Smallville High School with her and Clark Kent nicknamed "Moosie" Draper. Moosie was an overweight, clumsy lad who had been teased by his classmates. Only Lana had been nice to him, but she only had eyes for Superboy. One day, while Moosie and the rest of the Smallville High Senior Geology Club went spelunking outside of town, a cave-in occurred. The students had been trapped for over an hour. Moosie had slipped away determined to find a way out. Even as a boy, he was able to find any escape route, and this time was no exception. However, by the time he had returned to the group, Superboy had broken through the rock that had blocked the cave entrance. Moosie never mentioned the other exit, and nobody had noticed that he was gone.
For twelve years, Carl Draper had struggled to rid himself of "Moosie." Diet, exercise and plastic surgery changed the way he had looked. He had a fascination for architecture, studied penology and became a master locksmith. This led to the creation of the Mount Olympus Correctional Facility, which he feels was upstaged by a certain Kryptonian launching it into the sky. It also planted the seeds for Draper's plan to keep Lana with him forever and to destroy the only thorn in his side - Superman.
As for the Man of Steel, he has managed to escape a water trap and stop a hungry panther by blocking its carotid artery without killing it by using his cape. Even without his amazing powers, Superman has managed to even avoid a pit of anacondas. However, once the Last Son of Krypton reaches the deadly maze's exit, an energy blast erases his memory, and the turntable mechanism on which the labyrinth is built sends him back to the beginning. According to Draper, the Eternity Cage will do this every time Kal-El finds the way out. Superman will remain in the Master Jailer's prison forever.
A masked Draper now is kissing Lana, and Superman is trying to piece together his memories and identity. While Draper is distracted, Lana hurls his power siphoning keyring into his monitors. Superman's power has been restored. The Man of Steel crashes through the prison walls into the Master Jailer's control room. A rock strikes Draper's head as the delusional man says that he's always loved Lana before he is turned over to the police.
Since Lana's apartment was destroyed when the Master Jailer had captured her, Superman has reserved a suite for her at the Hotel Metropole. She thanks him and tries to be affectionate, but Kal-El says that she is making the same mistake with him that Carl Draper had made with her. When Lana had been in Europe, she never once wrote to Superman. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Pete Ross or any of her other friends. They never knew if she was alive or dead, yet she had returned expecting things to be like old times as if nothing had happened. Lana has also gone to great lengths to "ace the competition" with Lois.
Superman continues to speak with Lana. He will always be her friend and grateful for her helping him with the Master Jailer. However, the Last Son of Krypton believes that Lana Lang is only in love with what she thinks is the glory of being Mrs. Superman. With that, our hero flies away leaving a desperate Lana to ponder his words.
Story - 3: Okay, we got the background information that I was hoping for in the conclusion of this two-parter. That's all well and good, but this chapter does drag a bit. Draper explains everything a little too much. This tends to make one lose focus of Superman's attempting to escape the Eternity Cage. This issue could have easily had two pages of backstory while the rest of it could have shown Superman escaping from more traps. We see a total of two or three of the Master Jailer's escape prevention tricks. This makes him look like a second-rate villain toward the end of this issue.
One question entered my mind when reading of Draper's school days in Smallville. Did Clark Kent also tease him? Considering the values that the Kents had instilled into him, I honestly find it hard to swallow if he did. However, Draper probably refuses to see this because of his obsession with Lana.
The rest of Superman #332 is fairly good otherwise. There's a solution of sorts to the Lana/Lois rivalry and a lot of character driven drama, which seems to be a great strength for Martin Pasko. Something tells me that I'll see more of this as I continue his run on this book. I certainly hope so.
Art - 4: Something about Superman doesn't look quite right when he starts fighting the panther on page nine, but otherwise, we have some really great Curt Swan art as usual. His visuals for the characters really show the emotion Pasko put into his scripting of them. Chiaramonte's inks really fit greatly with Swan's pencils. The team of Pasko/Swan/Chiaramonte really work well together.
Cover Art - 3: I'm kind of on the fence with this one. On one hand, the artwork is great, but on the other, Andru's art is a bit overshadowed by the mirrors' effect on the eyes and Superman's dialogue balloon. The image is dramatic enough to make someone want to pick it up, but there is still room for improvement.
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!
- 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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