Superman (Vol.1) No's.
Cover Date(s): Jan.1976-May 1976
Written By: Cary Bates and Elliot
Inks: Bob Oksner
With this four-part epic (a relatively rare
event in the Superman books of the time), Cary Bates and
Elliot Maggin presented our hero with an impossible choice;
whether to live the rest of his life as Superman, full-time
defender of Earth with powers far beyond those of mortal
men, or permanently retire to a relatively carefree life
as a powerless Clark Kent.
The plot device that necessitates this choice
is, ultimately, pretty standard comics fare, but it allows
the writers to address issues central to the Superman mythos,
and results in what is perhaps Clark Kent's finest hour.
Does Superman owe the world 24-hour protection?
Is Earth's greatest protector worthy of the occasional break?
What kind of man might Clark Kent have been, if not for
his double life? Can Lois, Jimmy and the rest of his "friends"
really ever understand Superman, much less support him in
his time of need? All questions examined in this storyline...
Part I: Who
Took The Super Out Of Superman?
It is revealed that on the same day baby Kal-El
arrived on Earth, another spacecraft landed elsewhere in the US,
this one bearing what looks like a human male in a business suit.
His intentions are far less altruistic than Kal-El's however,
as he disintegrates the men who find his ship. Over the years,
the alien follows the career of Superboy, then Superman, and reports
back regularly to his alien masters.
Cut to the present. WGBS sportscaster Steve Lombard
is nearly hit by a cab when he runs impulsively into the street
to catch a child's football. Clark Kent knocks Steve clear of
danger and takes the hit himself. Later, Clark regains conciousness
in a hospital bed and is astonished to learn he really was hurt
in the accident, and that a doctor has successfully injected him
with a tranquilizer via hypodermic needle.
Left alone briefly, Clark changes to his Superman
outfit (conveniently compressed to the size of a wad of gum and
held under his tongue! No kidding!) and walks out of the hospital.
Spotting a crime in progress, he finds his powers returned and
captures the bad guys. Heading to his apartment, he deduces that
due to some mysterious effect, he is now powerless as Clark, but
as powerful as ever when dressed as Superman. He realizes it's
time to decide which identity to live in for the rest of his life.
Watching over all these events is the mysterious
Mr. Xavier, Clark's next door neighbor whom neither he nor the
other building tenants have ever seen. We readers have, though...he
is the mysterious alien from the beginning of the story!
Part II: Clark
Kent Forever...Superman Never!
After one last super-feat, Superman decides to
hang up his costume and live a full seven days as plain old Clark
Kent. "Hopefully," he muses, "I'll learn what the
real Clark Kent is like in the process!"
Later, Clark and Lois are in a restaurant when
Steve Lombard shows up, acting his normal arrogant, bullying self.
This time, however, Clark has had enough and sends Steve tumbling
from his chair with the dinner table and its contents spilling
over him! Leaving the restaurant, Clark witnesses a crisis as
the Metropolis subway is flooded with water. Immediately tossing
aside his promise to himself, he begins to change to Superman,
only to remember he left his costume in his apartment, and lacks
the superspeed needed to fetch it, or to help in any way.
Fortunately, emergency crews are able to handle
the crisis, and Clark resolves to stick to his week-long "experiment."
That night Lois Lane, impressed with Clark's earlier display of
backbone, shows up at his apartment and cooks him dinner. Clark
sweeps her off her feet and the two make out (and perhaps more!)
on his couch!
|Whatever happened on that date,
it sure left Lois happy! Check out Great Rao's site for more
The next day, Clark tells off his
insufferable boss Morgan Edge and when Steve Lombard makes more
trouble, he decks him! Then, hot on the trail of the mafia-like
"Inter-Gang," the de-powered Kent goes on a dangerous
evidence-gathering mission and ends up defeating several hoodlums
in combat. Meanwhile, that mysterious Mr. Xavier has stolen space
jewels from Clark's apartment, and is still up to no good...