Reign of the Supermen #210: Post-Crisis Sand Superman

Source: Superman Special vol.2 #1 (1992)
Type: BizarroIn 1992, though the story was set earlier, just after Superman returned from his space trip, DC published Walt Simonson's homage to the Sand Superman story that originally ran in Superman vol.1 #233 through #242. As in "Kryptonite No More", the story features a science experiment gone wrong which appears to make Superman immune to kryptonite (here, makes the kryptonite inert) and inadvertently creates a sand creature that progressively bleeds Superman dry of his powers while taking on aspects of his "soul". Eventually, though the creature Frankensteins its way into a number of battles with the Man of Steel, it realizes it is a danger (to Superman, at the very least), but shares Clark's vow never to kill. It gives its life to restore Superman... or does it? So no Quarrm anti-matter dimension in this version, but Simonson visually quotes the original so there's no mistaking it for an unrelated story.
And though his creature doesn't stick around for the better part of a year, it's still a heck of a lot creepier than Curt Swan's.
Too cool! This new Sand Superman became the center of a speculation and controversy at the time because the Special was published soon before the Death of Superman arc, despite taking place a few years earlier. What's more, the creature's death was rather ambiguous. As in the original, it becomes more solid and colorful, and we don't really see it give up the ghost. Could THAT be the Superman that gets killed? Had Superman been a bizarro clone creature for the past 3 years? Or instead, might the Sand Superman have been kept in storage at the Fortress (where the story ends) only to be revived as a copy or as one of the Reign alternates? According to Simonson, his story had no relation to the Death of Superman. I simply took him longer that anticipated to finish the book.

Good thing. We were no doubt spared a controversy of Spider-Clone proportions.


Matthew Turnage said...

I hadn't heard the theories about the Sand Superman tying in to the Death and Return of Superman, although that would explain why I had such a hard time finding that special when I first started seriously collecting Superman in 1993.

This was originally supposed to be the Superman Annual for 1989 or 1990, which explains the time period of the story. I think it was mentioned as forthcoming in some lettercols of the time, and I definitely remember a house ad promoting it as Superman Annual #3, before it was delayed.

Delta said...

G-D he was good. Never get tired of the Simonson art.

Siskoid said...

Correct. Superman had no Annuals for '89 and '90, and #3 turned out to be the Armageddon 2001 issue (in '91).

Siskoid said...

Simonson is so awesome. I pulled out my copies of his Thor run last night after seeing the film. This is still what I would recommend to people who want more Thor.


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