Monday, November 12, 2018


Story: John Byrne | Inks: Karl Kesel | Lettering: Bill Oakley
Coloring: Petra Scotese | Assistant Editing: Renee Witterstaetter
Editing: Michael Carlin | and Special Guest Penciller: Mike Mignola

The Plot: Hawkman and Hawkwoman fly Superman to the former location of Krypton. There, Superman gets into a lead-lined spacesuit and flies outside, where he relives some of Krypton’s past and then hallucinates an alternate timeline in which Jor-El saved the people of his world and brought them all to Earth, only to watch as they enslaved the planet. Ultimately, Jor-El kills nearly all the other Kryptonians with an engineered plague, before coming face-to-face with the final living members of his race: Lara, ruler of Metropolis, and her son by Jor-El, Kal-El. Superman then awakens and the Hawks fly him home, where the Kryptonite radiation has passed.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: During his hallucination, Superman sees Jor-El find a cure for Kryptonite poisoning. Remembering the formula, he attempts to duplicate it after returning to Earth, but finds the resultant mixture inert.

This issue is drawn by Mike Mignola, who had also illustrated the Byrne-scripted WORLD OF KRYPTON mini-series in late 1987.

My Thoughts: I must confess, I’m not exactly sure what the point of this issue is. Yes, at the end Superman has learned a valuable lesson about how his power could corrupt him, but it’s not like there’s ever been any danger of him falling to the dark side.

Also, what exactly was Superman’s game plan here, anyway? In ACTION 600, he was suffering from severe Kryptonite poisoning thanks to the particles from his home planet finally reaching Earth. He specifically asked for Hawkman’s help. Now in this issue, Hawkman has flown him all the way to Krypton’s former location — but why? I don’t believe the reason for the excursion is ever stated!

All in all, the alternate universe is kind of interesting and the artwork from Mignola is nice, but the story feels utterly without a reason for existing.

Scripter/Penciler/Co-Plotters: Enryb Nhoj & Yawdro Yrrej | Inker: Eknaj Sinned
Colorist: Nillot Ynohtna | Letterer: Namzuged Trebla
Assistant Editor: Retteatsrettiw Eener | Editor: Nilrac Ekim

The Plot: In Hollywood, Superman struggles against Mister Mxyzptlk, fighting a fast food mascot come to life, repairing the Hollywood sign, and battling against an army of Saturday morning cartoon characters. Eventually, Superman follows Mxyzptlk to a game show set, where he finally banishes the imp back to the Fifth Dimension by getting him to cover his face with blue makeup—thus winning Mxyzptlk’s challenge to get him to paint his face blue.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Cat Grant spends some time with her son, Adam, in Metropolis, and Adam suggests that Cat try dating Jimmy — who she says is ten years her junior, thus making Cat somewhere around twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old. Also, little Adam totally calls out his mom for being a bit of a slut (telling her that she likes "all the guys"), and she happily agrees with him (telling him that guys like her, and she "likes to be liked"), which is kind of creepily funny.

Lois (sporting a new hairdo that I like way better than her old one) meets with Ronnie Tran, brother of the late Henry Tran, who tells her that Henry spoke of Lex Luthor and a project called “Phoenix” before his death in issue 438.

At a mental hospital in Metropolis, Milton Fine pleads with his girlfriend, Janet, to believe that he’s sharing his mind with the alien Vril Dox, but Janet instead breaks up with Fine and leaves, causing him to manifest telekinetic powers following her departure.

In Antarctica, the mysterious girl in the Superman costume awakens and tells the scientists who found her that she is Supergirl.

In Australia, a shadowy figure enters a LexCorp facility, kills the night watchman, searches for something, and then blows the place up when he fails to find what he seeks.

Near Jupiter, a spacecraft enters the solar system and sets course for Earth.

My Thoughts: Superman fighting Mxyzptlk is really sort of a backdrop to all the other stuff going on in this issue—and don’t get me wrong, the fight is fun, especially the part where Superman gets turned into a cartoon character, allowing Jerry Ordway to have a lot of fun with his art style — but, on the heels of the pretty much entirely self-contained ACTION 600 and SUPERMAN 18, it’s nice to read a story with page after page of sub-plot cutaways.

I’ve probably said something to this effect before, but I find that as an adult, I tend to judge superhero comics more on what happens between the action than on the action itself. Any good superhero comic should have an entertaining fight, of course, and the story gets bonus points from me if this is the case. But at the same time, I tend to be more engrossed nowadays by Lois going after Luthor, Cat thinking about dating Jimmy, and so forth.

So in the case of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN 441, with both a very fun action sequence driving the issue and several sub-plot pages peppered throughout, we have one of the better installments of this series in some time!


  1. Good job on these reviews here. I especially liked reading issue 441 of "The Adventures of Superman" for the Superman/Mr. Mxyzptlk battle. ^_~

  2. "The Tiny Terror of Tinseltown" was the lead story in the final issue of the UK LEM/Fleetway's original Superman title, with a one-off back-up story (a Superman/Ambush Bug tale from DC Comics Presents) plus Who's Who profiles of Mr Mxyzptlk and Ambush Bug, the former rather giving away a number of plots in years to come.

    Most of the subplots were cut, not least because this was run out of sequence and thus we'd already had the main parts of the first and second Supergirl arcs, the latter frankly demonstrating why 22 pages every two months just isn't enough for longer storylines. But this left a shortened and frankly very silly issue of the sort that's fine as one of two or three Superman stories a month and even excusable as a one off but a killer when combined with more silliness as the only Superman in a four month period.

    Thus the Fleetway issue wound up being a rather silly end to the run, just prior to a relaunch, renaming & renumbering of the title as the fortnightly "The Adventures of Superman", and wasn't very enticing to stay around. (This sort of relaunch was then rare in the British comics market and really did risk ditching readers in the process.) The new Superman title started with an Elastic Lad storyline whereas the new Batman (which stayed monthly) kicked off with Year One and it's easy to see why I shifted to Gotham. I guess the Superman title was hoping to feed off British screenings of "The New Adventures of Superman" ("Lois & Clark" was dropped from the title for the BBC broadcasts) but that show didn't arrive until early 1994, by which time the Adventures title was down to monthly and soon to merge with Batman as "Batman & Superman" which then spent a year reprinting the first half of Knightfall and the Death/Funeral/Return arcs before Fleetway finally stopped all their DC titles for good.

    Looking back, yes the story does have some originality in subverting traditional expectations that all Superman has to do is get Mxyzptlk to say "Kltpzyxm" to disappear, but it had been over three years since his first appearance was reprinted (and the 90 day references just emphasised how slow things were) and more generally this is an expectation from the pre Crisis Superman, an era long since passed and which the assumed target audience on the British newsstands probably wouldn't have specific knowledge of.