Geoff Johns’ wall.


Superman Adventures #9

DC Comics (July, 1997)

“Return Of The Hero”

WRITER: Scott McCloud

PENCILER: Mike Manley

INKER: Terry Austin

COLORIST: Marie Severin

LETTERER: Lois Buhalis

EDITOR: Mike McAvennie

Young Frank has two heroes. Superman is naturally one of them, but the other is Lex Luthor. He admires how Luthor dragged himself out of Suicide Slum, where Frank lives and is currently being hit by arsonists, to become a big man in Metropolis. However, Lex is responsible for the events that led to Frank’s father dying in prison, and when his mother finally tells him the truth he refuses to believe it. Meanwhile, Lex is trying to buy up areas of the slum to build a new complex, and burning out the holdouts. When his thugs target Frank’s house by mistake (Frank’s dad made Lex promise to protect his family if he let himself be framed for embezzlement) and Frank and his sister are in trouble, it’s Superman who saves the day as Frank finally sees Lex for who he really is, and wants to learn more about his father.

What they got right: With the cartoon at the time (that this series is based on) focusing on Superman, some of the stories McCloud wrote actually focused on the people affected by Superman and, in this case, Lex, and this is one of the better ones. Here’s a kid who believes Lex’s hype rather than his press, and Superman’s speech to Frank about admiring the positive things in spite of the evil thinks Lex has done should be what he focuses on as he finds his own way. That’s a good message for kids and I’m worried that aspect gets lost in “my hero isn’t who I thought he was” stories targeted at kids. And since colorists don’t always get the credit due, points to Severin’s images of people trapped in fiery buildings. That was good art.

What they got wrong: Why didn’t Frank’s mom tell him the truth when he was old enough to understand? I know there’s some line about not wanting Frank to see revenge on Lex or something and we’ve certainly seen kids do that in these kinds of stories, but we see he’s a good kid, like when he tries to talk his friends out of shoplifting. I’m just surprised Lex had honor enough to keep his word even after the man died in prison.

Recommendation: A really good Superman story whether you followed the animated series of the time or not. Give this one a look.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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