Superman Adventures #13
DC Comics (November, 1997)
WRITER: Scott McCloud
PENCILER: Rick Burchett
INKER: Terry Austin
COLORIST: Tom Ziuko
LETTERER: Lois Buhalis
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Maureen McTigue
EDITOR: Mike McAvennie
Lobo suggests alien competitors go to Earth and force Superman into their competition. Superman takes on the alien champion in three different kind of fights. Professor Hamilton tries to figure out how the weapons work, and Superman eventually wins two out of three fights. However, there’s danger from the trophy, made from a neutron star. That means it’s heavier than even Superman can lift, but using a anti-gravity bat, Hamilton manages to make up for his failed attempts at sports as a kid and sends the ball into space…and right through Lobo’s hog. Serves you right, you jerk!
What they got right: This has Silver Age homage all over it, and it does so gloriously. As silly as the idea is, McCloud makes it work and scores one for those of us who didn’t do so well in gym class and were picked on for it.
What they got wrong: The only variety is in the weapon used for the fights, and two of them are just armed melee combat with different weapons (maces and clubs/bats respectively), followed by alien boxing gloves that fly on their own. And how high up was the ship that it took so long for Superman and the trophy to hit the ground that Hamilton had time to run down from the broadcast booth when it’s supposed to weigh, according to Hamilton’s guess, as much as a thousand battleships?
Recommendation: If you don’t like a fun Superman story, you won’t like this. If you’re not a depressing stick in the mud, however, this is worth checking out.