Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Superman #89

Superman #89

Cover date: May 1954

Writer: ?
Penciller: Wayne Boring
Inker: Stan Kaye Cover: Curt Swan and Stan Kaye

Reviewed by: Daniel McIntosh

"Captain Kent the Terrible"

The introduction to the story starts with a small passage describing Captain Kent as being a ferocious and cruel pirate. One afternoon Lois Lane picks up a copy of a newspaper called Compass that details the exploits of Captain Kent the Terrible. The paper also states that Dailey Planet reporter Clark Kent is the only living descendant of this pirate. So Clark Kent, determined to prove otherwise quickly changes to the man of steel and goes back in time to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Back in 16th century England, Superman has some fun exploits and saves a distinguished gentleman who in turn makes him the captain of a ship. Superman heads off an impending battle between the Spanish and the English. All the while Superman is using the name Clark Kent, he inevitably becomes known by all as Captain Kent. After obverting a war between the Spanish and the English he heads back to the present where a messenger comes with a letter that clears the name of Captain Kent.

2Story - 2: The story is very ordinary. There is nothing really to get too excited about in this story, but you probably wouldn't expect much more from a minor story. I suppose looking at it you may want to saver all the excitement for the cover story! Not the most entertaining story that I have read of the Golden Age stories.

3Art - 3: This is classic Wayne Boring artwork where most of the male characters have that big chest. There is the occasional panel that has the colouring slightly outside the lines of the artwork (printing problem most likely).

"Superman of Skid Row"

Clark Kent while covering a building fire saves a man as Superman only to later realise that the man that he had just saved was actually the president of one of Metropolis' largest banks. When Clark Kent quizzes the man about the incident he learns that all he wanted was a copy of Skid Row a hobo newspaper. After another incident Clark decides to investigate further and follows the Skid Row lead. Superman posing as a hobo thus begins his investigation. Once the hobos discover that there newly found hobo friend is in fact Superman continues to help them and uncover a blackmail plot, which he foils and in turn teaches the hobos to help themselves.

3Story - 3: This was a bit more a fun story. It almost seems like there is some form of social commentary in this story. This is certainly one of those stories that provide that striking contrast between the stories of today and those of the Golden Age of comics.

3Art - 3: This is the same artist and the same issues with the inks in the printing are present. One strange part is that in one of the panels part of superman's cape is yellow for some reason. It is definitely not a ink bleed or anything. There are no sources of yellow in the panel near this part of cape. I wonder if it is just my copy?

"One Hour to Doom!" (Cover story)

Superman wakes up in a park and flies back to Metropolis only to no one around and the power stations not running. We are then taken back in time to events earlier on in the day to explain the absence of the people. We find that Lex Luthor has planted a test kryptonite bomb in a field and challenges superman to go and stop it. The bomb suddenly detonates leaving Superman unconscious. Superman is then later roused and learns directly from Luthor that he has set an even more powerful bomb to detonate in Metropolis. Metropolis is cleared except for Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane who refuse to leave the city. Time almost runs out when Superman has all but given up. Suddenly he then realises where the bomb is and creates a fake explosion to lure Luthor out of hiding so that he can capture him when he tries to lute the city.

4Story - 4: Clearly the best out of the three stories which is what you would hope for the featiure story. It would have been nicer if at the end of the re-count we arrived back to the point where Superman is sleeping thus having come full circle.

4Art - 4: The artwork in this story is classic Boring. The inks in this story are also much better in that they are more within the lines and there is less bleeding.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover acted almost as a great teaser poster to a really good final story of the comic. A really great cover! When I look at buying a golden age comic my rule of thumb is to see if the cover grabs me. Obviously I don't have endless amounts of money to spend on buying golden age comics. I generally only buy when the comic is between VG+ to VF-. The story lines are not quite so accessible for these issues and the overstreet guide does not always tell you what happens in the story unless it is a key issue, So unfortunately you have to apply the rule of jusging a book by its cover. So far the rule has been quite successful for me. One comic I am still hunting for is Action Comics #61. So if anyone knows where I can get one, drop me line! :-)

That said I have to say that the cover art is great and is what you would expect a comic book cover to be, something that immediately grabs your attention and this one certainly grabbed mine. When I hunt for potential golden age titles I generally see what is on offer from various dealers, then the price, and then I go to my comic book dealer and have a look in some books to see the cover art work. So taking all that into account, that is why I rated this as 4/5. Hopefully when the supermanhomepage gets enough of these reviews done, the people can read them and decide for themselves if it an issue that they would not mind having their own collection!

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


Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.