CREDITS: Written by Scott McCloud; art by Rick Burchett and Terry Austin.
REVIEW: A clever little idea where most of the issue, aside from its two leads, is told in reverse order, with Superman flying from the destruction of his city to smaller and smaller beatings of butterfly wings until he finds the event that set off this crazy chain of dominoes. Along the way, we'll see buildings build themselves back up, vehicles uncrash, and people brought back to life. And it makes sense that Mxyzptlk would be involved, not because it takes magic to achieve the effect, but because reversing things (like his name) is part of his shtick. (And the situation cleverly sends him back to the 5th Dimension, I must say.) Mxy shows him perhaps too much if he wants to be the antagonist here, but it's a small complaint.
If Mxy is a pest that accidentally helps Superman save Metropolis, the real villains are a terrorist group that combine the traits of religious zealots, communist saboteurs and aimless anarchists. The situation is full of reversals. At first, they're not much of a threat, not to Superman. Then they appear to have caused the city's destruction. Then it's clear something else happened while Superman was distracted. Then it turns out they WERE ultimately responsible. And even armed with this knowledge, Superman isn't quite out of the woods. The head terrorist plays a game of tag with Superman and a piece of kryptonite, and the day isn't entirely won (but just enough).
And I kind of love that this story is being told to the Kents, after the fact, on a rainy night over a cup of cocoa. It adds a lot of charm. McCloud really is finding ways to give the wider supporting cast as much to do as possible, isn't he?