Superman vol. 2 #73
DC Comics (November, 1992)
WRITER/LAYOUTS: Dan Jurgens
FINISHES: Brett Breeding
COLORIST: Glenn Whitmore
LETTERER: John Costanza
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jennifer Frank
EDITOR: Mike Carlin
I”m going to have to break format here because while the art is good (although Booster Gold needs a haircut) this is one big time travel headache. Liri Lee shows up out of nowhere just as Superman is leaving the current Justice League headquarter to warn him that Waverider is dying and possibly losing his marbles. Booster is also there and recognizes how she teleports in as the same used by the rogue Linear Man, unaware of the Linear Men at this point. She tells Superman that she believes they will be crossing paths soon, then disappears. So Superman heads home to change so he and Lois can have dinner with Lana and Pete, just recently engaged themselves. Outside of previous events being brought up, this is pretty much where this story stops making sense.
At the restaurant Clark observes an old man dying while dining with his family but before he can move to help time freezes and Waverider appears, declaring he’s being tortured by being forced to appear during life tragedies as young Matthew Ryder. Believing the Linear Men responsible after Superman mentions they want to speak to him (and never is it mentioned HOW the Linear Men were doing this to Waverider seeing as nothing else they try to do to him works), Waverider returns to Vanishing Point, which Superman dragged along (on purpose or by accident is never stated.) My question is…Liri is worried that Waverider is dying and going mad…and yet at least in the latter case they’re the ones responsible for it! And presumably they arrange for Superman to see and talk to Waverider, where he’s forced to see his time-frozen dying grandfather. Following so far?
When they arrive the Linear Men attempt to hold them in stasis but due to Waverider being a being of energy it doesn’t hold him, so he pulls numerous versions of himself and Superman from microseconds in time (through what looks like a lazy copy/paste job that shows up in this comic starting in the restaurant–that or the artists are that darn good at drawing the same panel exactly the same more than once even when they don’t need to, like when Pete asks Clark and Lois about whether or not they’re going to have children. Although to be honest I’d probably do the same thing, but DC isn’t paying me money to work on Superman stories. At least it makes more sense when time manipulation is being used. It’s then that the cloaked Linear Man finally reveals that he’s the version of Matthew Ryder that existed in the new Monarch-free reality. This is important because after Waverider blasts him in rage and kills the alternate Matthew (who by the way is Liri’s husband but apparently kept here maiden name for the “shock” reveal) Vanishing Point itself vanishes.
See, it’s this alternate Matthew’s technology that led to Vanishing Point…and here’s where I get confused. If this alternate version of Matthew Ryder created the technology used by the Linear Men after working for I’m assuming Rip Hunter (although this Matthew worked for Lexcorp for awhile because doing time travel experiments for megalomaniacs seems part of Matthew’s destiny) then isn’t it a GOOD think that Waverider ended Monarch’s rise to power? Everyone is now trapped in a null sphere that even Waverider can’t escape because there is no timestream here for him to jump into, and yet he can still read his alternate self’s timeline and see what he accomplished. His solution? Pull Matthew out of time like he did himself and Superman, thus he never got shot and Vanishing Point returns while time paradoxes abound and nobody notices apparently. And then Waverider, finally seeing clearly the danger messing with time can be, just invites himself to join the Linear Men, with only Hunter disapproving. This all ticks off Superman, convinced that these people are messing with time like gods, but they just send him back to watch Matthew’s grandpa die and be worried about the power the Linear Men hold. Just wait until Zero Hour, Clark.
So it seems that the Linear Men keep getting upset with Waverider doing exactly what he’s supposed to do, while Superman is really just here to judge the unjudged, with no real contribution to the story in his own title. And outside of Waverider joining the Linear Men there’s really no purpose to this story. Frankly this entire trade collection has been a mixed bag, but I’ll get to that in two weeks over at The Clutter Reports since this weekend it’s Christmas decorating time! As for the individual issue…if you value you’re own sanity it might be a good idea to skip this one. It follows the time honored time travel tradition of not making any sense.