Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
We now have four Supermen: The Cyborg, The Kryptonian, Superdon’tcallmeboy, and Man Of Steel. Only one of them isn’t claiming to be Superman and none of them actually are. You’d think four new superheroes plus Supergirl and Bibbo would make this city even safer, but this is a comic story from the 1990s and nothing is ever that easy. It’s actually going to get a lot more dangerous before we’re through. Let’s see what the damage is this time!
We have the Kryptonian, with Superman’s memories, claiming his “Clark Kent” side is still dead. We have the Cyborg reading as Superman biologically and also claiming his memories but we saw him tapping into Hamilton’s machine. We have Superboy, who is an escaped clone with incomplete programming, and we have the one sane one in the bunch who is just a man in high-tech armor he built in the basement of an apartment complex. Not really the recipe for easy sleeping at night for the citizens of Metropolis. How can things get worse? We’re only three parts into this story and with 29 chapters in the whole book while we’re on 21, it’s most likely going to.
Chapter 21: Reign Of The Supermen part 3
First our forgotten “Sooperman”, as he continues to help people, this time by buying them food. One woman was so bad off she thought it would be better to drown her puppies than have them starve to death with her. Bibbo manages to rescue one and names him “Krypton”, in honor of Superman’s home planet. Remember than when Crisis On Infinite Earths was used by John Byrne to reboot Superman (Byrne loves rebooting stuff–as I always say, he who controls the origin has the power and some egos really want that power) and this included getting rid of the “super-pets”, including Krypton and Streaky, the ones I actually like, especially Krypto. And yes, this is going to be our post-Crisis Krypto until someone has the guts to actually return the real Krypto to the DC Universe. Until then, enjoy the homage.
Then you have The Kryptonian. I don’t know why Stern keeps calling him “The Superman” when he already has a name that he was referred to in the marketing, but I’m sticking with The Kryptonian. It’s how I’ve gotten used to referring to him. This time he crushes a man’s hands so he can’t crack safes anymore. Oddly he is not the villain but he might as well be. This is certainly how the 90s would have created Superman if Superman hadn’t been around for over 25 years at this point.
The focus of this chapter however is Superboy. First he saves a jogger from a bunch of punks and steals one of their shades, then gets mad at Lois because that story is on page six, then nearly beats up Jimmy for calling him Superboy instead of Superman…really, the only ones acting like the actual Superman are the ones not claiming to be Superman. I don’t know why I keep bringing that up but it does seem to be what sticks out the most. It’s another angle I’m curious about with this story. The only thing that saves Jimmy is Superboy’s future supporting cast member, Tana Moon, an intern with a bit of impatience when it comes to becoming a reporter. With Superboy’s help she ends up getting a job on camera with WGBS as Morgan Edge is only interested in the dollar signs he sees. He even sets up a bust of a criminal. And now that he’s public Cadmus is
The result is Lex is angry because he didn’t know about this Superboy because his mole didn’t get a chance to tell him, Lois is freaked since thus far she’s only met the jerk Supermen and is now starting to see Clark everywhere, and things are getting bizarre. At this point Lois doesn’t know how to contact the other heroes…wait, she could call Wally West. I think he was dating Linda Park at the time and without a secret identity. She could contact them to get help or someone over to the Fortress and try to make sense of this. I don’t believe this is where the story goes but I do wonder what the other superheroes are doing at this time that nobody’s gone to check on this craziness. I know it happens but I’m also wondering when one or more of these Supermen are going to meet, or when they’ll meet Supergirl. Perhaps the answer will come in our next chapter.
Next Time: Reign Of The Supermen part 4