Reign of the Supermen #519: Faux Silver Age Superman
Source: Adventures of Superman #558-560 (1998) Type: Alternate Earth(ish)
Last week, we took a look at Dominus' Golden Age reality trap for Superman. This week, it's the Silver Age. But once again, it's not the ACTUAL Silver Age, but rather what the present (1998) would look like dressed in Silver Age trappings. It's not just about using classic looks on villains like Luthor, Brainiac, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Metallo, or the old Fortress of Solitude either. Post-Reign characters like Steel and the new Superboy join Supergirl and Krypto in the Superman Family:
Intergang, Cadmus, Maggie Sawyer et al. have all been transplanted into the Silver Age as well. Kesel and Ordway get out away with modern-style caption narration by making it part of Kal-El's diary and the fascination with Krypton, as well as Lois' marital obsessions and the theme of transformation, are all part of the equation.
As is the old "cheap reveal and explanation" structure of the old stories (though I would have liked to see splash panels at the top of each issue as well), so for example, Jimmy isn't actually turned into an alien with a Midas Touch in the first story, but merely replaced by an alien that stole his clothes and so on. The second story has everyone in Metropolis gain super-powers and donning costumes...
...including Clark Kent because needs must...
...and that turns out to be a certain 5th-dimensional imp's doing. Of course. In the third issue, Adventures of Superman becomes a classic Word's Finest story, though I might quibble with the absence of a yellow oval around Batman's insignia. Still, they've got Batman kissing Lois Lane, Red Kryptonite found in a box of Crackerjacks that makes Superman's head balloon up, and the World's Greatest Detective disguising himself as Superman to resolve the plot. All the classic bits then.
Because the adventures of Superman as Superboy was such an important part of the Silver Age, they've also got a Smallville flashback that has Bruce Wayne don HIS boyhood identity of Robin to team up with the Teen of Steel.
All in all, lots of fun to be had, and I would definitely read more adventures in this style. That could become a broken record as we go through Dominus' realities. And I do like what conclusions the writers come to about translating 90s events to the 60s style they're emulating. The death and return of Superman still happened, because that's just the kind of cheat the Silver Age was known for - including the mind-boggling addition of four new Supermen - though it likely took place inside of a single issue. However, Clark and Lois were never married, because the Silver Age made clear it could only ever happen in "imaginary stories". That's been flipped in this story arc, hasn't it? The only thing I might question is Maggie Sawyer's role as police captain. Not sure about the gender politics there.