Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman #108

When the concept of Synmar was introduced in Superman #25 I was intrigued with the concept that there were members of that race willing to judge and execute young Kal even before he landed on Earth. His crime? Potentially becoming a 'light god'. 

It led me to think about other times Superman was judged in some way, leading to the review of Superman #247.

I figured I would be remiss if I didn't include something from the 1990's storyline The Trial of Superman. While Synmar and the Oans were contemplating judging and silently judging Superman respectively, in The Trial, Superman is brought to court and found guilty. The crime? The death of all Kryptonians. 

The Tribunal feel that since it was an El family member which tied the populace to the planet, that the El family did not allow the race to escape. As a result, despite being generations apart, Superman needs to pay for the alleged crime of his ancestor.

In the course of this storyline, Superman has to escape prison, inspire other criminals, beat back the villain behind the new Kandor, get some help from the Superman Rescue Squad (the super family), and even face off against the Cyborg Superman. 

But after escaping and being brought back to the court setting, we are just about at the end. 

This near-ending chapter was written by Dan Jurgens with art by Ron Frenz. Let's jump right into this issue where the words, the art, and the action is all big and bombastic!

Brought before the Tribunal, Superman is once again declared guilty as charged.

Finally, after trying to explain why the Tribunal's thinking is wrong and doing his best to remain deferential, Superman has had it.

Surrounded by his family, he tells the Tribunal he has worked all his life for what is right and just. He has respected different cultures and laws different than his own. 

But this time, he has had enough. He rejects everything about this mockery of justice. 

This is a great page. In fact, this page might have been the impetus for me to seek out a Ron Frenz Supergirl commission. 

But the splashy pages don't end there. 

There is one where the family are walking behind Superman like the astronauts in The Right Stuff as he storms out.

And then this issue where we see the team flying off. Again, all teste pages could be posters or t-shirts of the Superman Family. 

But this isn't the 'drop the mike' moment. The team doesn't get to just go back to Earth. Superman realizes a con he has befriended, Mope, is still there. And Mope is innocent too. Superman has to go back for his friend.

It's time to mobilize his team.

I loved this panel showing Superman large and in charge. He can be a battle leader, a strategist, when he needs to be. 

And great art by Frenz here using the 3 dimensional nature of space to place the team dynamically around Superman. 

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Tribunal Prime has some powers that he hasn't let on about.

Using a medallion, he takes over the body of the Cyborg Superman and goes out to bring back Superman. He believes his verdict is just and right. And he won't let his prisoner escape.

I have to admit, I was sick of the Cyborg Superman then and I am still a little sick of him now.

Back on the planet, Superman does indeed throw down with the Tribunal/Cyborg. And there is this great panel of Supes doling out a great left upper cut. And you know he has put everything behind it just by the placement of his head and the turning of his body.

This is pretty close to a classic Sal Buscema punch. 

But the Cyborg simply shakes it off.

Defeated, Superman is strapped to a rocket sled which will send him to his doom. The ironic plan is to send Superman to the site of Krypton where he will die from Kryptonite exposure.

But there is a Superman family around to help. Supergirl, invisible, has sneaked onto the site and her best to even the odds and free her friend.

Of course, I am going to include the Supergirl moments! This is a Supergirl site!

And I do like seeing the Matrix Supergirl being so outright heroic, a far cry from her earlier days.

But her surprise attack is quickly squelched by the Tribunal/Cyborg being. 

Poor Supergirl. She always gets a couple of shots in but never the knockout punch.

In all the commotion though, Mope has done the impossible. He has pulled a switcheroo.

He takes Superman out of the sled and gets in instead.

At times Mope has admitted that he hasn't been a very good person in his life. Here we see just how much Superman has inspired his new friend. He realizes Superman cannot die. And he knows he must atone for his sins.

He sacrifices himself so Superman can live.

Alas, that switcheroo was a true stealth move.

Even the Superman Family, reorganized in Alpha Centurion's ship and speeding to try and save Superman, think that the Man of Steel has died. 

And a bare chested Superman has to deal with the loss of his friend!

How will it all end!!!

Anyways, this was a rollicking issue and I suppose the penultimate chapter of the Trial of Superman arc. But I love love love that opening scene where Superman finally calls out the Tribunal for their nonsense. Such a tremendous scene worthy of some 'aw yeahs!' 

And while the speeches and dialogue are solid, they are complemented wonderfully by Ron Frenz's semi-rough Marvel-esque approach to the proceedings. A very entertaining issue with a couple of nice Supergirl images and moments as well.

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Super girl should have turned "States Evidence" :)