Reign of the Supermen #123: Realworlds Superman

Source: Realworlds: Superman GN (2000)
Type: ElseworldsRealworlds feature stories set in our world, where superheroes are something found only in comics... but those four-color icons can inspire ordinary people to do great things. "The Mark of Superman" tells the story of Eddie Dial, an ordinary grocery clerk who gets into trouble with local hoodlums who get him drunk and tattoo the Superman shield on his chest. The shield makes him a magnet for trouble and gives him a run of bad luck that would make Spider-Man feel a lot better about his life. He loses his job, can't pay the rent, is humiliated at every turn, turns to petty theft, is immediately caught, and gets beaten in the slammer.

But then he decides to make the shield his own, puts on muscle, and thanks to a friendly mob boss, becomes the neighborhood enforcer when he gets paroled. The Superman image makes him feared, and he can certainly handle himself on the streets. But Eddie is still a big softie inside, and he starts giving to the community by distributing stolen toys to kids, throwing birthday parties, etc. At first he hopes to create a network of blue collar guys loyal to him (thinking long term), but he soon becomes distressed when a kid sees him beat up his dad (it's that scene in the Daredevil movie). So he renounces the mob and stops a hit on a kid's dad, and seemingly goes down in a hail of bullets. We know this story because he in fact survived and went into the witness protection program, pulling a Goodfellas on his old gang.

A fairly enjoyable tale by Steve Vance, with great art by José Luis Garcia-Lopez. I especially like how many of the characters are "played" by the actual Superman cast. It's like they're putting on a play or like that DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars" or something. Lois, Lana and Cat are the neighborhood girls who tease Eddie:
Perry White plays the grocery store's owner:
Superman plays Al, the hood who destroys Eddie's life:
The Kents are neighborhood gossips:
Pre-balding Lex Luthor and Morgan Edge are the cops who arrest him:
Jimmy Olsen as Eddie's replacement:
Ron Troupe as a paramedic:
And Clark Kent as the kid:
Yes, that's two roles for Clark, but in fact, many characters play dual roles, or at least, JLGL puts their characteristics in various people. Perry is also the mob boss, and Cat is certainly the girl Eddie tries to pick up in a club. And then there's Eddie's cellmate... O.J. Simpson?
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