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When Was the First Comic Book Corner Box?

This is Comic Book Questions Answered, where people write in to to ask comic book questions and I, well, you know, answer them.

Reader Andrew R. wrote in to ask:

Comics’ cover have a box on the left hand side of the page – normally company logo, issue number price, and approved by the CCA.

When did this box, or versions there of, begin to appear, let alone become common place?

The basic concept of the corner box is that back in the old days, when comic books were mostly displayed either on magazine racks (where books would be staggered on top of each other) or on a spinner rack, sometimes only the TOP of a comic book cover would be visible to people. Therefore, comic book companies would make sure to have something interesting at the top of the comic to let you know what you were dealing with.

In Action Comics, an anthology that quickly became just about Superman, they kept trying to make the “anthology” aspect of the comic work, including having features other than Superman on the cover (why did they bother? I have no idea). They realized that that was a dumb idea, so they made sure to have Superman featured on the cover in a corner drawing starting with Action Comics #16…

This became a common thing for lots of comic book companies – showing the character in the comic in a corner drawing. However, they were not what you would consider corner boxes just yet, as they didn’t have the issue number or anything like that. They were just small drawings like this Action Comics one.

No, it would not be until Fantastic Four #14 that the corner box as we now know it was born…

Marvel then went all in on corner boxes, using them on all of their titles (even advertising how you should look for the Marvel corner box to know you got a Marvel comic).

By 1970, even DC had to join it…

But they quickly abandoned it and went back to their previous approach of having stuff across the top of the comic (like the infamous go-go checkerboard strips they had for a while in the late 1960s).

In 1983, right around the same time that DC put the Comics Code Authority into their version of the corner box for the first time…

Marvel also did so, creating the iconic corner box format that most comic book fans are familiar with…drawing of character, issue number, date and Comics Code authority…

DC would start following suit in 1990…

Thanks for the question, Andrew! If anyone ELSE has a question, just drop me a line at!


Marvel takes shot at ‘Batman v Superman’ in new Deadpool comic … – Batman

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A year after Marvel took a shot at the “Martha” scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in issue #6 of “Spider-Man/Deadpool”… they’re at it again!

This time, it comes courtesy of “Deadpool vs. The Punisher (2017) #5”. Deadpool can be seen beating the crap out of The Punisher, when he suddenly stops himself and goes into a full blown “Martha” rant, a clear shot at the Batman v Superman scene. Check out the panels below (click to enlarge):

A Marvel X-Men comic also took a shot at the controversial Batman v Superman scene last fall. The first one may have been funny, but to keep doing it a year later seems a bit excessive. What do you make of Marvel’s latest Batman v Superman joke? Sound off in the comments below.


Batman v Superman’s ‘Martha’ scene mocked by Deadpool in new …

The far-too-serious, far-too-gritty Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been mocked by Marvel a few times already, but in a new issue of Deadpool Versus The Punisher #5, one of the movie’s worst moments gets called out.

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Deadpool Versus The Punisher #5. If you’re not caught up on your comics and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading.]

It’s during Deadpool’s fight with the Punisher that the joke comes into play. When the Punisher starts to call Deadpool a “motherfucker,” Deadpool cuts him off, instead choosing to reference the name Martha. For those who haven’t seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the gag takes aim at the climactic battle between Superman and Batman. The heroes, dead set on killing each other, suddenly realize both of their mothers are named Martha. Instead of continuing to fight, they share a small bonding moment over the fact, seemingly becoming allies in the blink of an eye.

Almost everyone can agree it’s downright ridiculous, and Marvel’s most beloved jokester wasn’t going to let the scene off the hook that easily. Not even after more than a year since the movie was released had passed.




Again, this isn’t the first time that Marvel has taken a shot at Warner Bros. and DC’s movie. In Uncanny X-Men Annual #1, the name Martha is a common theme while Spider-Man/Deadpool #6 pokes fun at the overall gloominess of Batman v Superman.

As far as directly making fun of that particular scene, however, Deadpool definitely hits its target. The kicker is the perfect example of Deadpool committing to a theatrical performance all in name of comedy and mockery.

Deadpool Versus The Punisher #5 marks the end of this run, but Deadpool returns again in Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again, which is out today.


The World’s Finest Duo: Superman and…Marc Teichman?!

In every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

When DC Comics Presents launched in late 1978, it was the first time that Superman had gained a new ongoing series in…something like almost forty years (since World’s Finest Comics, which was in the early 1940s). In any event, in the first issue, there was a contest where fans could suggest the name of the letter column for the series and the winner would appear in the comic book.

Finally, in DC Comics Presents #11 (by Cary Bates, Joe Staton and Frank Chiaramonte), the winner debuted, visiting the Daily Planet soon after Superman was mysteriously attacked by his Justice League teammate, Hawkman.

Marc Teichman, from Staten Island, and Superman then flew around and took photographs all day.

When he got back to the Daily Planet, though, and began developing the film, Marc made a shocking discovery that he passed along to Superman!

As it turned out, the blue jay had been sent to warn Superman by Hawkman (the bad guy controlled Hawkman’s actions, but not his mind or, as it turned out, his ability to speak to birds). So paired with what he learned from Marc, Superman was able to avoid getting punched by Hawkman’s “polaris punch,” which was designed by an evil scientist that would have resulted in Superman and Hawkman exploding if they had ACTUALLY made hard contact with each other (the villain charged Hawkman with a special radiation – it was the after-effect of that radiation left over on Superman from an earlier fight with Hawkman that led to the strange effect in the photograph).

What a delightfully weird team-up.

Congratulations, Marc!

If anyone has a suggestion for another bizarrely awesome comic book for this column, feel free to e-mail me at! I love hearing from you all!


Marvel takes shot at ‘Batman v Superman’ in new Deadpool comic… again – Batman

deadpool-punisher-martha-1 F

A year after Marvel took a shot at the “Martha” scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in issue #6 of “Spider-Man/Deadpool”… they’re at it again!

This time, it comes courtesy of “Deadpool vs. The Punisher (2017) #5”. Deadpool can be seen beating the crap out of The Punisher, when he suddenly stops himself and goes into a full blown “Martha” rant, a clear shot at the Batman v Superman scene. Check out the panels below (click to enlarge):

A Marvel X-Men comic also took a shot at the controversial Batman v Superman scene last fall. The first one may have been funny, but to keep doing it a year later seems a bit excessive. What do you make of Marvel’s latest Batman v Superman joke? Sound off in the comments below.


Supergirl Star Criticizes Cyborg Superman – CBR

David Harewood enjoys portraying J’onn J’onzz, aka Martian Manhunter, on Supergirl. However, he is not a fan of pulling double duty as the villainous Cyborg Superman on the DC Comics-based series.

Speaking to a young fan at Supernova Comic Convention in Australia (via ComicBookMovie), Harewood revealed his distaste for the role, criticizing how the character is written and portrayed visually.

RELATED: Supergirl Adds Two New Showrunners; Ali Adler Departs

“I don’t like playing Cyborg Superman,” Harewood said. “It’s boring. They didn’t really flesh it out, they didn’t really write for the character. They just gave me this rather cheap-looking mask and no costume, and said ‘Okay, you’re Cyborg Superman.’ But it didn’t really pan out – they didn’t really go into why he was a cyborg, how he became a cyborg, what his powers were…it was just kind of randomly calling him ‘Cyborg Superman.’ I was very excited about it at first, but then I very quickly realized that there wasn’t really much to it so, it’s kind of boring. Whenever I’m walking to my trailer and I see that costume, I just switch off. Because I know it’s going to be a really boring day.”

Check out the full interview with Harewood below.

RELATED: Who Is Reign? Explaining Supergirl Season 3’s New Villain

RELATED: For Supergirl to Soar in Season 3, Does Superman Have to Die?

Returning to The CW on Monday, October 9th at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist as the Girl of Steel, David Harewood as Martian Manhunter, Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott, with appearances by Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman.


Darkest Days: DC’s Most BRUTAL Possible Futures

With so many time travelers and dimension hoppers, the DC Comics Multiverse is full of horrifying possible futures. While these alternate worlds are a hallmark of the superhero genre, DC’s terrible tomorrows are especially heart-breaking. A large number of these timelines are predicated on the failures of some of the most famous, inspirational figures in comics. Whether Superman, Batman, and DC’s other paragons of morality broke bad or failed in the face of ultimate evil, these are worlds where the good guys didn’t win. Even if DC’s heroes re-emerged to save the day, these futures are memorable for subverting the hope and the optimism that helped define the DC Universe.

RELATED: All In The Family: 15 Long-Lost Relatives Who SHOCKED Comics

With teases of new dark worlds in DC’s crossover Dark Days: The Forge, CBR is taking a look back at some of DC’s most brutal possible futures. For this hardly comprehensive list, we’ll be pulling examples of parallel worlds and dark timelines from comics, film and TV. Since there are so many parallel realities in the DC Multiverse, we’re only going to be looking at futures that grew out of a recognizable version of a modern DC Universe. That means we won’t be including worlds based around alternate histories or the Crime Syndicate’s earth, where evil versions of DC’s heroes always ruled.


Kingdom Come Alex Ross

Over four issues in 1996, the world of Kingdom Come became one of DC’s most famous alternate realities. Created by Alex Ross and Mark Waid, the series featured a dark future where a deadly new generation of antiheroes had replaced DC’s icons. When their recklessness caused a devastating nuclear explosion in the American Midwest, older versions of Superman and Batman led an effort to stop Magog and his antiheroes.

With a deep knowledge of DC’s history and Ross’ lush fully-painted artwork, the series was a critical and commercial success and served as a stunning critique of the grim antiheroes of the 1990s. Although many of that world’s characters died by the end of that initial series, the world has been revisited a few times, most notably in The Kingdom, a 1999 miniseries. This world’s Superman traveled to the main DC Universe in 2007 and briefly joined the Justice Society.


Batman Beyond Return of the Joker

For the most part, Batman Beyond showed that the DC Animated Universe had a fairly bright future. While it had its share of problems, most people were able to lead normal lives in a technologically-advanced society. Despite that, this world was home to one of the Joker’s most horrifying schemes in the 2000 direct-to-video animated feature, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Although its original release was heavily edited, the uncut version of Curt Geda’s film revealed the final fates of the Joker and Tim Drake, the DCAU’s second Robin. After Drake’s Robin was kidnapped and brainwashed into becoming the Joker’s sidekick, he killed the Clown Prince of Crime. However, thanks to a microchip implanted in a young Drake’s skull, the Joker was able to digitally possess the former Robin as an adult. Although Terry McGuiness’ futuristic Batman prevailed, this film helped flesh the DCAU’s future on a chilling note.


Dark Knight Frank Miller

Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s Dark Knight Returns revolutionized superhero comics and will likely always stand as one of the most important Batman comics ever published. In the essential miniseries, a grizzled Bruce Wayne came out of retirement to take back the streets of Gotham and continued his war for justice against a gang of Mutants, a re-emergent Joker and a government-controlled Superman.

Since that miniseries was published in 1986, Miller and other creators have revisited Dark Knight Returns with projects like 2001’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again and 2015’s Dark Knight III: The Master Race. From Kryptonian attacks to the oppressive leadership of a Lex Luthor and Brainiac-created president, this world was a harsh reality protected by grizzled versions of Batman and his allies. In a cruel, cynical twist, heroes like Superman and Dick Grayson were corrupted or misled into becoming dark reflections of their famous selves.



The cynical world of Dark Knight Returns and its sequels was a major inspiration for Zack Snyder’s 2016 slugfest, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While Batman and Superman have traditionally been the “world’s finest” duo, both works found reasons for the two heroes to fight.

Although Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne already thought Henry Cavill’s Superman was a threat, Batman’s “Knightmare” vision helped fuel their conflict. In this extended sequence, Batman envisioned a future where Superman and the forces of the evil space god Darkseid ruled a devastated Earth. Against a backdrop of broken cities, erupting fire pits and arid wastelands, Batman and Superman both killed indiscriminately in what seemed like a prolonged conflict. Thanks to a warning from Ezra Miller’s time-traveling Flash in that same scene, the fight to keep that world from happening will likely be a part of Snyder’s Justice League, set for release later this year.


JLA Rock of Ages Darkseid

Whether he’s on film or in comics, Darkseid is arguably the most dangerous villain in any version of the DC Universe. While the ruler of Apokolips briefly took over DC’s main Earth in the 2008 crossover Final Crisis, he conquered another reality’s Earth in the 1997 JLA story, “Rock of Ages,” by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. In that time-twisting story, the Justice League fought Lex Luthor’s new Injustice Gang in the present day while battling the forces of Darkseid, 15 years into a dark future.

In a world where Europe was reduced to a smoldering fire pit, Earth’s population had been rendered docile by the mind-numbing Anti-Life Equation, which was broadcast on a constant loop. With the help of some present day heroes, a handful of Justice League members led a small resistance force and defeated the villain moments before the universe was destroyed.


Armageddon 2001

Although the year 2001 doesn’t inspire the imagination like it did in the early 1990s, Armageddon 2001 still stands as one of the more comprehensive looks at the possible futures of the DC Universe. In that 1991 crossover led by Dennis O’Neil and Archie Goodwin, one heroes killed DC’s other heroes, became the villainous Monarch and ruled the future with an iron fist. In a Terminator-esuqe story, the time-traveling Waverider traveled back to the modern DCU to stop Monarch from ever rising to power.

To figure out which hero would become Monarch, Waverider looked into the various alternate futures of Superman, Batman and their allies. While several of those futures had some dark moments, the minor, violent hero Hawk became Monarch after the death of his partner Dove. After briefly playing a major role as the villain Extant, he died in 2000, ironically, a few months shy of 2001.


Bamtan Red Rain

In a story that seems shockingly obvious in retrospect, Doug Moench and Kelley Jones turned Batman into a vampire in the 1991 one-shot Batman: Red Rain. In that initial story, Batman gained vampiric abilities and killed Dracula, but remained a fairly heroic figure.

That changed in the title’s two sequels, 1994’s Batman: Bloodstorm and 1999’s Batman: Crimson Mist. In the first sequel, the undead Batman fought the Joker and Gotham’s newly vampiric crimelords. After the death of Catwoman, Batman asked Alfred to stake him through the heart to stop his bloodlust. In Crimson Mist, rampant crime forced Alfred and Commissioner Gordon to revive the vampire Batman once again. After Batman decapitated most of the villains in Arkham Asylum, Alfred, Gordon, Two-Face and Killer Croc teamed up to stop the Dark Knight. After those villains were slaughtered too, Gordon, Alfred and the undead Batman all died for the greater good.


Superman At Earth's End

Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth is one of Jack Kirby’s most memorable DC creations. In the 1970s series, most of humanity died in a Great Disaster, and super-evolved animals took their place at the top of the food chain. While that cult classic series ended in 1978, a version of it was revisited in 1993’s Kamandi: At Earth’s End and 1995’s Superman: At Earth’s End.

In that first miniseries by Tom Veitch and Frank Gomez, an adult Kamandi and a 150 year-old Superman worked together to defeat the forces that caused that world’s apocalypse. Superman took center stage in the follow-up special. In that critically derided story, Superman used giant guns to help a gang of humans fight mutated bat creatures, Nazi clones and a creature made from Bruce Wayne’s bones. Despite Superman’s impressive beard, this is widely considered to be one of Superman’s worst adventures.


Justice League Elseworlds Mignola

In the DC Universe, alien invasions aren’t that uncommon. While the might of Justice League and its allies is usually enough to turn them back, a pair of 1994 annuals looked at a world where DC’s heroes fell to alien invaders called the Horde. These aliens turned humanity against its heroes by threatening to kill 1,000 humans for every superhero sighting and 5,000 humans for every time a superhero fought back. In the ensuing conflict, the Green Lantern’s home Coast City was destroyed.

In Karl Kesel and Brock Hor’s Adventures of Superman Annual #6 and Kesel and Greg Luzniak’s Superboy Annual #1, Earth’s surviving heroes formed the Super Seven. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Superboy and a robot Lex Luthor led a final charge against the Malazza-Rem invaders. Everyone except Superboy, Green Lantern and Luthor perished, and Superboy took Superman’s name after they toppled the aliens’ leaders.


Titans Tomorrow

In the world of “Titans Tomorrow,” another world’s Superboy evolved into another, far darker version of Superman. Created by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone in 2003’s Teen Titans #17, the Titans of Tomorrow were adult versions of the Teen Titans who became their world’s primary heroes after the Justice League perished in a “crisis,” ten years in the future.

With the United States split into two factions, the Titans of Tomorrow ruled mercilessly, torturing and executing their enemies. Although the modern Titans were briefly trapped there, they returned to the present, dedicated to preventing that world’s existence. In 2008, the Titans of Tomorrow and their Titans Army visited the modern era, where they fought the Teen Titans before teaming up against Starro the Conqueror. Although they ultimately returned to their home, the future Tim Drake and Miss Martian seemingly inspired their younger selves to form the Titans of Tomorrow


Justice Lords

While the Titans of Tomorrow became fascist rulers in their world, another world’s Justice League became the tyrannical Justice Lords after the death of the Flash. In “A Better World,” a two-part Justice League story, the DC Animated Universe started to fall apart when Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States. After he killed the Flash, Superman killed him to stop a world war, and the rest of the Justice Lords seized control of the Earth in a tale partially inspired by The Authority.

In the Dan Riba-directed episodes, the Lords traded places with their main universe counterparts and tried to use their violent methods in the League’s world. Although the League ultimately beat their corrupted counterparts, the Lords incursion helped give Amanda Waller and her allies the political capital to form Project Cadmus and Task Force X, the DCAU’s Suicide Squad.


Batman Brotherhood of the Bat

Using his considerable resources and intellect, Batman has successfully beaten a few plagues in his time, and did it twice in 1996 alone. One year earlier, another world’s Batman wasn’t so lucky. In 1995’s Batman: Brotherhood of the Bat, by Doug Moench, Jim Aparo and a legion of veteran Batman artists, Ra’s al Ghul killed Batman and took billions of lives by releasing a worldwide plague.

After moving to Gotham City, he tried to exterminate all crime in Gotham City by forming a League of Batmen by using Bruce Wayne’s old rejected designs. However, Tallant Wayne, Batman and Talia al Ghul’s son, infiltrated the group and took down his grandfather. In Moench and Mark Bright’s 2001 sequel, Batman: League of Batmen, Talia and Tallant led the League of Batmen in final confrontation against a more demonic Ra’s al Ghul to save what was left of the world.


Batman 666 Damian

Although Batman and Talia had children in a few different realities, a version of their most famous son, Damian Wayne, was the lone protector of a fallen world in 2007’s Batman #666. In that story by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, Damian was the Batman of a world ravaged after 15 years of war and climactic disasters.

While Damian sold his soul to give Gotham City some measure of protection, he used deadly methods as Batman. In order to kill Damian and bring about Gotham’s destruction, Michael Lane posed as a new Batman, killed several crime bosses and brought a group of Arkham Asylum’s most violent inmates to a climate change conference. After revealing that he had covered Gotham in explosive traps, he detonated one and gutted the imposter. Although Commissioner Barbara Gordon tried to shoot him, Damian reaffirmed his commitment to Gotham until the end of the world.


Futures End

Another one of Batman’s most famous heirs, Batman Beyond‘s Terry McGuiness, finally made his way into the DC Universe with the time-traveling 2014 crossover The New 52: Future’s End. With work from Giffen, Brian Azzarello, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire and a massive team of artists, tat crossover ran through 2014 and 2015. In the main story, McGuinness traveled back in time to prevent a future where the techno-organic entity Brother Eye turned heroes like Wonder Woman and Superman into gruesome cybernetic monstrosities.

Although McGuiness started 35 years in the future, he arrived five years too late to keep Mister Terrific from creating Brother Eye. After McGuinness’ unexpected death, an older Tim Drake continued his mission, but ultimately couldn’t keep Brother Eye from taking over the future. Over the course of Drake’s short starring stint in Batman Beyond, Brother Eye was defeated in the future and McGuiness’ true fate was revealed.


Injustice Superman

On the surface, there aren’t many differences between the Justice Lords and the plot of NetherRealm Studios’ 2013 game Injustice: Gods Among Us. In both, one bad day turned Superman into a killer and inspired DC’s other heroes to help him conquer the world. However, the intensity of Superman’s betrayal is what makes Injustice stand apart. In the acclaimed blockbuster game, Superman and his Regime waged war against Batman and his team of objectors.

Over 200 digital-first issues of an impressive comic adaption, creators like Tom Taylor and Brian Buccellato have expanded on the history of this universe in shocking, often heart-breaking detail. While that world’s Batman and another dimension’s Justice League were able to topple Superman’s Regime, the population of Metropolis, the Green Lantern Corps and dozens of familiar characters all met brutal ends. As the recently-released Injustice 2 suggests, this world’s darkest days might not be over yet.

Keep it locked to CBR for the latest in comics news until the end of the world. Let us know what you favorite dark DC future is in the comments below!


‘Wonder Woman’ Passes ‘Batman v Superman’ as Highest-Earning DC Comics Movie

Move over boys — “Wonder Woman” is taking the box office crown.

In just four weeks, “Wonder Woman has become the highest-grossing DC Comics Extended Universe movie at the domestic box office, topping the 12-week run of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

The feat is especially impressive since “Wonder Woman” had a smaller opening weekend than both “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad.” That means the positive reviews and good word-of-mouth are propelling the movie’s success.

The DCEU standings are now:

  1. “Wonder Woman” – $330.533 million
  2. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” – $330.366 million
  3. “Suicide Squad” – $325.100 million
  4. “Man of Steel” – $291.045 million

It’s just a matter of time before “Wonder Woman” also surges to the top in worldwide grosses and very possibly become Warner Bros./DC’s first billion dollar movie.

“Wonder Woman 2” is inevitable, though talks are still underway with director Patty Jenkins. But with such smashing success, there’s very little doubt everyone will want to repeat it.


Action Comics: Superman Assembles First Ever [REDACTED]

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Action Comics #982, on sale now.

How do you counter a Superman Revenge Squad hell-bent on destroying the Man of Steel? With a Superman Squad, of course, and that’s exactly what we see at the conclusion of Action Comics #982.

In this fourth instalment of Dan Jurgens’ “Revenge” storyline, which sees the writer joined by artists Jack Herbert, Jose Luis and Ray McCarthy, Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw continues to scheme against Kal-El. Seeking to avenge the death of his wife, which he blames on the Man of Steel, Henshaw has assembled a rogues gallery of Superman’s foes, including General Zod, whom he has sprung from Belle Reve prison where he was being held by Suicide Squad head honcho Amanda Waller as a last resort should Superman turn to evil.

RELATED: A Possible Dark Multiverse Peek Kickstarts [REDACTED] In Superman #25

With a full complement of villains at his side, Henshaw prepares to head to the Antarctic Fortress of Solitude, correctly surmising that the Man of Steel fled there after being pummeled by Zod. He and the Eradicator recognize that the fortress is more than a hideaway, and a “repository of science and technology that Earth has yet to discover,” which they can use to achieve far more than simple payback. Revenge is only part of their plan, and they have to convince their comrades to look beyond simply beating the snot out of Superman.

The bigger picture, they promise, has more to offer to each member of the Revenge Squad. The Eradicator not only gets to purify Kal-El’s bloodline by killing Jonathan, he also gets to rebuild Krypton on Earth. Blanque’s reward is a planet’s worth of human canvasses, Mongul is promised perpetual war, and Metallo can hope for eternal life. Zod, for his part, will gain access to the Phantom Zone projector that can bring back his armies. This is not so much a coalition of the willing as it is a group of thugs joining forces for their own selfish purposes.

What they don’t know, as they embark on the journey back to Earth, is that Superman was blinded and lost his vision-based powers as a result of being inside the Black Vault that encased Belle Reve. Kelex surmises that the loss of sight is due to the barrier containing properties related to the Phantom Zone, but he also doesn’t now if the damage is permanent. Lois, who has also fled to the Fortress with Jonathan and Krypto, suggests that he use the Kryptonian battle suit that helped restore him after his first battle with Doomsday, but Kelex cautions that his catastrophic injuries at the time have exhausted his system’s restorative capabilities.

Faced with diminished capacity and increased vulnerability, Clark recognizes he must call for help, but the Revenge Squad strikes sooner than he’d anticipated, so he sends a distress signal to Supergirl using the Omnihedron, a mysterious Kryptonian device that he gifted to his cousin in the pages of Supergirl #8. He then tunnels though the ice underneath the fortress and bursts into the air in the midst of the assemblage of super villains. He knows he can’t defeat them but he intends to distract them long enough for Lois and Jonathan to escape.

The battle is short, and quickly descends into chaos once the Revenge Squad corners the Man of Steel. The moment Superman is down, each of its members wants a shot at his nemesis, and the lack of co-ordination provides a vector for Supergirl to swoop in and rescue her cousin. But Kara is not alone, she has brought along Lex Luthor, Steel, new Super-Man Kenan Kong and Superwoman Lana Lang.

“Superman is ours,” declares the armored Lex. “The only way you get him is over our dead bodies.”

The iconic full page panel that concludes Action Comics #982 reveals Luthor as the head of the Superman Squad, and effectively completes the iconic character’s transition from villain to hero.

Superman’s one-time greatest nemesis, who for decades schemed to destroy the Man of Steel and dominate the world, now stands alongside a group of Superman-related heroes against a group that would subjugate humanity and implement the reign of a master race, all for the sake of petty revenge — and he does so with Superman’s iconic S-shield prominently emblazoned on his chest. This turn is a testament to the power of redemption and resistance at a time when so much is as stake in the real world, and sends a message that we can abandon once cherished beliefs when they no longer serve us, or those around us.

RELATED: Snyder Confirms Man of Steel Easter Egg in Batman v Superman

Without a trace of irony and more than a nod to creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Jurgens has given us a Lex Luthor who embodies the same virtues of the Superman who first graced the pages of Action Comics #1 in 1938. After all, their first version of Superman — who debuted in the pages of their 1933 fanzine Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of the Future #3 — was conceived as a bald villain who wanted to rule the world.

But there’s another lesson to be learned from this fun action story: Evil is often based on self-interest. When the chips are down, follow-the-leader gives way to a free-for-all, because everyone is working at cross purposes.

The Superman Squad, on the other hand, presents a united front. Although it is an ad hoc assemblage seen here for the very first time, it embodies a cohesion and a unity of purpose that extend beyond the “S” emblazoned on every member’s chest. The message could not be clearer. Virtue, not might, makes right, and no matter how you slice it, the shield truly does stand for hope.


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