Reign of the Supermen #520: Faux Bronze Age Superman

Source: Action Comics #745-747 (1998)
Type: Alternate Earth(ish)
Dominus' reality trap creates a 1977 version of the Superman comics that more or less successfully harks back to the Bronze Age. Like the previous "faux" ages, they don't really LOOK or are paced like comics of the actual era, but it at least puts Clark Kent at WGBS, co-anchor to fashion model Lana Lang, and wearing some very 70s suits. Not fashionable ones, however.
Aside from the continuity detail, I think writer Stuart Immonen struggles with bringing the era to life. In contrast to the other books' attempts, he does give us more of a soap opera, and the villain sticks around for several issues, and yes, perhaps there's more exposition than what we were used to in 1998, but 1977 is perhaps too close to the modern era to be that distinctive, while still making use of Silver Age tropes. At best, it feels like a slightly old-fashioned modern comic. Even the choice of villain is problematic:
Oswald Loomis, the Prankster, is really more of a Golden Age villain, even though he did return in the late 70s to plague the Man of Steel several times. And his wedding ploy here, that's straight out of the Silver Age. I suppose it's the checkered jacket. He LOOKS 70s. Good enough. Otherwise, Immonen uses the setting to either contrast the world of my youth with today's (well, 15 years ago's), so Jimmy dreams of a time when computers are no bigger than dictionaries and can access Wikipedia, or to make pop culture references vaguely associated with the 70s. And when I say "vaguely":
Tarantino certain channeled 70s exploitation films in Pulp Fiction (well, across his entire oeuvre), but it's not really a 70s reference, is it? He does better in a later issue when Superman fights the shark from Jaws:
It really is "Bruce" too, because he's revealed to be mechanical. The movie references make me wonder why Immonen didn't just evoke the Richard Donner Superman films beyond setting it in 1977 specifically. A be-wigged Luthor, Otis in tow, a crystal Fortress of Solitude, etc. would have gone a long way setting this part of the reality trap apart.


SallyP said...

This is a little weird.

Rex Kidd said...

I couldn't really see from the panels shown, but did Clark have his ring? That's the one thing I remember from TV anchor era Superman, Clark wore a ring.

Siskoid said...


Martin Gray said...

I get the Dominus story mixed up with the Mr Z one, but this issue was fun while not being as good as the Mr Z tales.

I think ...


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