Superman Adventures #49
DC Comics (November, 2000)
WRITER: Michael Reaves
PENCILER: Aluir Amangio
INKER: Terry Austin
COLORIST: Marie Severin
LETTERER: Phil Felix
EDITOR: Joey Cavalieri
A satellite appears over Metropolis, filtering the sun’s light so it turns red before reaching the city. It’s the work of an alien calling himself The Challenger, a member of a race that proves themselves by defeating the champion of another world, and the Challenger has chosen Superman by cutting off his powers. Thanks to help from others Superman manages to reach his Fortress Of Solitude before the Challenger’s deadline, although he attempts to stop the Man of Steel’s trip. Not helping is that Lois has snuck along, determined to get the story of this battle but is injured when the plane Superman was using was shot down. Superman gets her to a healing device but the Challenger doesn’t fight honorably and tries to use her to distract Superman when the hero filters the light in the Fortress to something closer to the yellow sun and comes up with a plan where Lois helps him defeat the Challenger.
What they got right: Stories where Superman loses his powers should be rare, but they also serve a purpose to show what kind of man he is. This time it’s to show how resourceful he is and how his good deeds earns him aid from others when he needs them. Even a Superman needs other people from time to time. Lois even apologizes for making things difficult for Superman just to get the story when the Challenger was threatening to blow up the planet if Superman didn’t make it in time. Nice to see her finally realize she screwed up. Of course, we know she’s still filing the story if Superman/Clark doesn’t get it out there first.
What they got wrong: The Challenger broadcast that he had zapped Superman’s powers, so how did the military base guard not know about this? You can’t keep something like that hush-hush from the military when the civilians are already aware of it. It was broadcast all over Metropolis. And how can the Challenger’s people pull him out of the Phantom Zone (how Lois and Superman beat him)? It’s not supposed to be that easy to access, is it?
Recommendation: This is a pretty good de-powered Superman story. Worth checking out.