Reign of the Supermen #193: Distant Fires Superman

Source: Superman: Distant Fires GN (1998)
Type: ElseworldsSo we finally blew ourselves up. But in the DCU, all that radiation has to have a comic book effect, and so the animals that survived became gigantic, normal humans mutated into cavemen, and superhumans lost their powers. It's up to them to rebuild, but is that something to ask from characters whose bread and butter is fighting among themselves?!

That's the premise of Howard Chaykin's Distant Fires, brought to life by the legendary Gil Kane with gorgeous inks by Kevin Nowlan (not the one from SNL). Superman's lost everyone he loves in the firestorm, and for a while there, it looks like he's gonna lose his mind too.
He eventually finds his way to a paradisical patch of overgrown nature on the back of his giant riding cat Kryptonite, and there he finds Wonder Woman and a whole town of supers with J'Onn J'Onzz as the mayor and Billy Batson as the town crank. Well, if you've read any Elseworld that stars both Superman and Captain Marvel, you know where this is gonna lead. Batson used to have a relationship with Wonder Woman (creepy!) and now she's falling for Clark. As DC's premiere couple get married and have a baby, Batson spends his nights shouting SHAZAM in the woods, getting his powers back for ever longer amounts of time, but causing the Earth's ecosystem to churn. Eventually, his manipulations cause many people's powers to come back and lines are drawn in the sand. Superman's peaceniks stay in Champion (AKA the Town that Mister Miracle built) and ally with a mutated Aquaman's Atlantean forces, those who want to subjugate the world leave for Marvel City, which is soon allied with Metallo and his mutant army. Soon, Captain Marvel is sharing his power with his kids from three different wives (creepy!) and they kill Wonder Woman.
Superman goes blind with rage, and war is joined.
It ends with Marvel getting zapped by an unfortunate bolt of lightning and dying, as the Earth starts cracking around the survivors.
The cycle is about to be complete. Superman uses a discovered Green Lantern ring to create a rocket for his son Bruce and he sends the boy out into space to forge his own legend.
In Superman jammies no less.


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

This actually sounds fairly interesting.

Eric TF Bat said...

@Wayne - it wasn't. From what I recall, the Mighty Marvel Melodrama and the awful out-of-character behaviour of just about everyone made it a painful and embarrassing mess. I've never been impressed with Howard "Nipples!" Chaykin, but for the glorious Gil Kane this was a real slump.

Siskoid said...

I liked it a little more than that, and I suppose "Elseworlds" can explain any discrepancy. I'm not a Chaykin fan either, nor do I consider this project a classic, but it's a fairly good entertainment, and I do love Nowlan's inks on Kane's pencils.


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