Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Superman and the Skyscrapers

The final tale of Superman #2 begins with a frame featuring a man falling from the building he was presumably constructing, followed by a piece written by our very own Clark Kent revealing that this was the fifth falling death on site in as many days. Also take note that he appears to have lost his cape and replaced it with a dish towel. That's some wonky perspective.

Superman knows something is amiss, and heads off to the building under cover of night. He isn't there long when his super hearing detects the arrival of the night watchman, who immediately begins to saw through a girder that a coping saw? Jesus Christ, he'll be there all year!

Somehow sawing through almost the entire girder in mere moments with his friggin' coping saw the watchman is stopped in his egress by an imposing figure clad in red and blue. Why, it's Superman! Wordlessly staring the watchman down Superman slowly approaches, and is met by a typically ineffective hail of bullets. Panicking, the watchman backs up onto the very girder he had sabotaged. That's poetic, folks.

If you read the previous story where Superman kills people left and right you would be forgiven for assuming that Superman lets this schlub fall to his death, but this is one of the arbitrarily chosen times when he feels like saving lives. So our hero leaps from the building grabbing the watchman mid-fall and throws him back into the sky, before landing and making the catch. Pretty cool trick, really.

And it's a darn good thing Superman saved this guy, because otherwise he never would have known that a man named Butch Grogan put him up to the murders. Having given Superman enough info to continue the story, the watchman dies of a heart attack. People seem to do that a lot in this comic. Sure it's only been twice, but that's more people than I've given heart attacks to. At this point I can't help but imagine Superman to be similar to Of Mice and Men's Lennie. He loves people, really he does, he just don't know his own strength!

Superman leaps to suburbia and somehow instinctively knowing where Butch Grogan lives, knocks on his door. Some thug answers and tells Superman that Butch isn't home before slamming the door in his face. I really hope Superman gets a little notoriety in the underworld soon so people stop doing shit like that.

I mean really, the results are always the same. Superman breaks the door down, and carries the thug around the house searching for Butch much like he did with the villainous butler in his first adventure, except this time no one is home. The thug won't tell Superman where Butch is, so he...

Tell me about the rabbits, George.

Yeah, tosses him up and down like a baby. That's great. This is great. Not wanting Superman to embarrass himself further with more "interrogation" the thug makes to reveal Butch's whereabouts just as the man himself arrives on the scene.

Butch has a gun, Superman crushes it, thug hits superman with a piece of banister but it bounces off the Skull of Tomorrow and he knocks himself out, Superman grabs Butch and carries him to the building that started this whole mess in the first place.

When they arrive the dead watchman's body is amazingly still there. He died in the middle of the night, and it's broad daylight now! I've seen roadkill get cleaned up faster. Superman indicates the body and tells Butch that he knows he is responsible for the murders since his henchman ratted on him. After some threats Butch reveals that he was hired by Nat Grayson of Akme Construction (ugh) to ensure that Bruce Construction couldn't finish the job, thus putting them out of business. Grayson and Bruce, you say? I think they're on to something with that.

Butch having worn out his usefulness, it's time for him to buy the farm. The only question is how his death will be achieved. Fortunately for the story a police officer approaches the two men and asks what they're doing...causing both of them to flee like naughty school children. Superman: hero for the ages. The officer fires his gun at Superman's fleeing back, before setting off in pursuit of Butch. This is all without him having noticed the dead body the two were standing next to. I guess it's illegal, not to mention punishable by death, to stand around and talk on the sidewalk. Great place, Metropolis.

Butch escapes into a nearby store and uses their phone to warn Grayson that a man with "the strength of 50 elephants" is coming for him. This actually happens every issue, this is like Superman on autopilot. Butch exits the store, and finds the officer waiting for him. Ignoring the order to stay where he is, Butch is shot in the back and killed. Justice!

As Superman rushes toward his home, Nat Grayson is shown gloating about the room of pure steel he had constructed for just such an occasion. He has also lined his entire home with explosives, which he warns Superman he will detonate if he hangs around too long. Well, it certainly pays to be prepared for the possibility that a man with the strength of fifty elephants will someday invade your home. I applaud Nat's foresight.

So the bombs are detonated because Superman ain't no quitter, and Superman is forced to use his preternatural agility to dodge the explosions which we are informed would have lead to certain annihilation. It seems Superman's weakness is explosions. ...Awesome!

The Man of Steel has no trouble breaking into Nat's room, where he immediately forces the man to phone the police and confess to his crimes. A big deal is made about Grayson's desire to be arrested so that he can escape Superman's wrath, the cops all have a laugh about it, and then the next frame shows a paper declaring Grayson has been sentenced to the electric chair.

Oh. Hahaha. Grayson wants to escape Superman! What a riot! And now he's DEAD! My sides!

We then get the typical ending of Clark's editor wondering how he got the story so quickly, while Clark attributes it to "luck (and Superman!)".

What happens next time? Superman pals around with some kid who looks like he came from another strip entirely. It should be great!

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