Sunday, February 24, 2019

Superman #20 (1988) Review

"Doom in the Heartland!"

Writer: John Byrne
Artists: John Byrne, Karl Kesel, Petra Scotese
Cover Price: $1.00
Release Date: April 6, 1988

Review by Joey Casco of

This is the second part and conclusion to a cross-over with Doom Patrol that started with Doom Patrol #10. In a strange turn of events, it says on the DC Comics app that Doom Patrol (#10) was released in August of 1988 while Superman #20 was released in April of 1988. While such a thing sounds pretty Doom Patrol-ish in the upcoming Grant Morrison era, one of these has got to be wrong. But I don't really care enough to find out which one.

In Doom Patrol (#10), Cliff Steele (AKA Robotman) has replaced some old glitchy parts with new ones. However, these new parts are from something called "Bin Number 19" and Metallo really really really wants them. So he's come for them and is willing to take on the entire Doom Patrol. Superman, hearing about the battle on the radio, arrives at the scene too late. Metallo is gone, Doom Patrol is down, and Cliff is missing.

Please take a moment to appreciate the cover. Isn't that awesome? It's one of my favorite covers of all time.

The issue starts off with two pages of Supergirl in Smallville and one of Maggy Sawyer working on a case, but we shouldn't be concerned with that. So I'm going to start off with Cat Grant strutting her stuff around the Daily Planet because she a fox and she knows it and that's what's really important here.

You're going to have White Snake stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.

"Clarkie" is off in Kansas City trying to help a beaten down Doom Patrol get back on their feet, who just got their asses handed to them by Metallo. But it wasn't just Metallo who took them out. He had robots of his own creation helping him out and he was also controlling Cliff. And where was Cliff? Metallo took him with him so he could take Cliff's new parts from him. See my review of Doom Patrol #10 to see how this isn't explained.

They all agree that they have to go save Cliff, but a big deal is made of Joshua not going because he's their medic and he needs to tend to their wounded. That makes sense for, like, logic and reasoning but I'm on Joshua's side. This is super lame. I'd want to go mess that bitch up too.

Superman takes off and it's not hard for him to find Cliff and Metallo from the damage they've created. Cliff seems to no longer be in Metallo's control, because he's now fighting back.

But Metallo is quick to inform him that he can control him at any time, because his latest installments have already been modified for the purpose of Metallo's use. So he gains control of Cliff and uses him against Superman.

I'm going to use "an unending orgy of destruction" the next time it's sexy time for me and my wife. She's going to laugh at me but it'll be worth it.

And from here on out an "alright, I guess this is okay" story becomes just so fucking good. After some conversation between lower level Doom Patrol members and another Supergirl page, Arani and Valentina combine forces to slice Metallo in half.

As Superman watches, he recalls his history with Metallo. And it's here where the whole robot parts are finally explained. Kind of. But while Supes is going down Memory Lane, he's still fighting Cliff. And then this happens...

Metallo didn't expect such drastic measures to be taken, so he takes it to a drastic measure himself. Oh, and he's repaired himself somehow.

That's Scott Fischer's arm that saves Valentina, but Metallo quickly turns it around and muscles out Scott. Actually, Metallo doesn't have muscles. I'm not sure how to phrase that now. But Scott's hair catches on fire and suddenly all of Metallo's body does too.

So Arani steps up and uses her freezing power on him while he's burning up.

During the clean up of all the destruction, they found all of Metallo's body but couldn't find his head, somehow escaping. So Robotman and Metallo both step away from this story with just their heads. And that Metallo can survive without his Kryptonite heart has shown that his creators built some sort of contingency device.

Bits and Pieces

This two-part crossover could have been really friggin' awesome if we got more details and if we had a reason for Superman to be here. He doesn't do anything until he recalls Metallo's story and rips Robotman's head off. So we don't know why we need Superman here other than Metallo is from his rogues gallery, and we still have no idea what the hell "Bin Number 19" really is. However, this issue really kicks it up in the climax and I liked it overall more than the last one. There's some really cool moments in it that offset its faults. Then there's Cat. Also... Byrne.


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