COLLECTED EDITIONS – DARK KNIGHT OVER METROPOLIS

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

203- DKOM A 204- DKOM BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on October 22, 2013
  • Original Price $14.99
  • 168 pages
  • Cover by Arthur Adams and Dick Giordano

Contents

  • Skeeter! from Action Comics Annual #1
  • The Limits of Power from Adventures of Superman #466
  • “Love & Death” from Action Comics  #653
  • Green Death in Crime Alley from Superman (Vol. 2) #44
  • Taken to the Grave from Adventures of Superman #467
  • Deadly Covenant from Action Comics #654

Notes

  • I cannot tell you how excited I am that this trade paperback exists.
  • For those of you that don’t know I co-host a show called From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast with my good friend Jeffrey Taylor.  On that show (again, for those that don’t know) Jeff and I have been making our way through the Post Crisis comic book adventures of Superman.  We’ve had a lot of fun over the years and have even managed to snag some interviews with the creators from that era.
  • During one of our interviews with Dan Jurgens he mentioned that it was a shame that this story had yet to be collected into a trade paperback.  Jerry Ordway shared this feeling so Jeff and I started a campaign on the show to get our listeners to write in to DC Comics and ask them (politely) to collect this story into a trade paperback.
  • This went on for months and in the end we never got any indication that the powers that be that make the decisions about which stories are collected into trades and hardcovers even knew we existed, which was fine.  Jeff and I do the show out of a love and respect for this era.
  • Imagine our surprise when this trade was solicited and then released.
  • Let me be clear…there is absolutely no evidence that our campaign had anything to do with this trade getting released.  I do not believe what we did made a difference.  I think it is a coincidence that we campaigned to get the story collected and it was actually released.  I believe that the fact that there is a movie featuring Batman and Superman coming out in 2015 and the fact that this is a damn good story were the reasons DC put this trade out.
  • Still…it would be cool to know that we (Jeff, the listeners and I) had something to do with it.  I’m just cool with the fact that it probably didn’t.
  • The cover to this trade is a recolored version of the cover to Action Comics Annual #1.

Action Comics Annual #01

  • I was a bit surprised that they didn’t lead this trade off with the story from Man of Steel #3.  I think it would have made for a strong opening to this collection but this annual works just as well.  It’s an offbeat story, to be sure, and it was interesting to see Superman and Batman fighting vampires with art by Arthur Adams.
  • The bigger surprise was the inclusion of Adventures of Superman #465.  Don’t get me wrong…it’s a great story.  Actually it’s pretty historic.  What started out as Dan Jurgens playing with the Fantastic Four origin and making it more horrific and tragic became the first full appearance of Hank Henshaw.
  • You know…Hank Henshaw,…the man that would become the Cyborg Superman.

Pin-Up Man of Tomorrow

  • Action Comics #653 was the first issue of Bob McLeod’s run on the title an penciller.  He would go on to draw some pretty historic issues of the series, including Clark telling Lois about his secret identity.  I have a very high opinion of his Superman work, so it is neat to go back and see where that started.
  • Dark Knight Over Metropolis is a good example of a story that stands well on its own but is also steeped in continuity.  Amanda McCoy, who meets her final fate in this story, first appeared in Superman (Vol. 2) #2.  She worked for Lex Luthor and helped Lex track down a mysterious woman (that ended up being Lana Lang), which was part of a larger investigation into Superman.  Amanda also caught Lex’s fancy, so it was a bit of a blow when he fired her after all the data they collected pointed to the fact that Superman and Clark Kent were one and the same.
  • She maintained a presence in the books, especially in the lead up to Exile.  Amanda hired a private investigator to prove her right but he ended up getting killed by Intergang when the hitmen working for that criminal group thought he was Clark Kent. 
  • I’ve written it before and I will no doubt write it again; the hallmark of this era of Superman was its ability to build on its own continuity while still remaining somewhat new reader friendly.
  • I have to admit that when this issue came out I was a bummed out that Amanda died.  To be fair she wasn’t a huge part of Superman’s world or even a regular part of the supporting cast but I felt bad for her.  She was used and discarded by Lex Luthor and even though she wasn’t directly responsible for the private investigator’s death Amanda still felt guilty over it.
  • Also she died in pretty violent way.  It wasn’t shown on panel but to be mugged and killed in an alleyway…sure it got the plot rolling to Gotham but still.  I thought it was sad.
  • Finally…Dark Knight Over Metropolis itself.  I have very fond memories of this storyline coming out.  As weird as it may sound for contemporary readers it was big deal for Superman and Batman to team-up in 1990.  Their relationship was still rather icy so it was a rarity for the former World’s Finest team to star in one adventure together.
  • Batman was at an all time high when this story came out.  The 1989 feature film was still fresh in the minds of readers and his titles were entering a high point in terms of sales and creativity.  The time was right for the characters to meet.
  • Slam Bradley makes an appearance in Superman #44, which made for a neat bridge between Superman and Batman’s worlds.  Slam was a Golden Age character that first appeared in Detective Comics #1 way back in 1937.  He was also the creation of two kids named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  Before Superman the two kids from Cleveland worked on a number of DC titles.  So it was neat to see another Siegel and Shuster creation who originated in the eventual home of Batman appearing in a story that featured both characters.
  • It was also neat to see Batman and Gangbuster meet, however briefly.  To me Gangbuster was and still is a good synthesis of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight.  He had Superman’s idealism but he was human, so he had to rely more on Batman’s methods.  To be fair they never became friends but seeing the heroes sharing screen time was neat.
  • This story was also old home week for Dan Jurgens.  Chiller and Shockwave both make appearances as Intergang agents.  While Shockwave was initially a Blue Devil villain both he and Chiller also worked for the 100, an old school DC villain organization that had its roots in Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane and would later run up against a character near and dear to Jurgen’s heart; Booster Gold.
  • There is a weird continuity error in the Adventures of Superman chapter and I feel kind of bad pointing it out.
  • During the party scene Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor meet for the first time.

AOS Lex and Bruce Meet

  • The thing is Lex and Bruce had already met.  In the pages of Booster Gold #23, which was published in 1987.

Booster Lex and Bruce Meet

  • The only reason I mention it is both scenes were written and drawn by Dan Jurgens.  Again, I am not pointing this out to feel superior.  It’s just one of those things that has stood out to me since 1990.
  • The main reason this story is so important to the Post Crisis Superman is what happens at the end of the Action Comics chapter.  Superman gives Batman the Krytptonite ring in case he ever loses control and needs to be stopped.  This was no small gesture.  These two barely got along at the time but there was a respect that Superman and Batman had for each other and that respect manifested in Superman trusting Batman enough to give him his greatest weakness just in case.
  • It spoke volumes for the relationship the characters had at the time.
  • The ring would pop up numerous times in the years to come but this is one of its most pivotal appearances.
  • There was no introduction in this trade, which is a shame.
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