Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

Superman Inc. [Elseworlds]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 3, 1999

Cover date: December 1999

Writer: Steve Vance
Penciller: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez
Inker: Mark Farmer

Reviewed by: Gareth Baker (

Years ago, a travelling salesman rocketed down a Kansas road, a hip flask in one hand, the other on the steering wheel while his eyes were on a map. Suddenly he sees a naked baby crawling across the road in front of him. He slams on the brakes but it is already too late. Staggering out of his car, the panicked man discovers the baby safe and well, albeit with a tyremark across his back. Claiming him as a miracle, the salesman scoops him up and deposits him on the doorstep of the nearest police station. As he drives away, he throws his hipflask out of the window. The baby has a second chance, and so does he.

A few months later, the baby is adopted by a couple called the Sudermans and is named Dale. All is happy, they are a family, until one day the father never comes home. Now Dale has to look after his widowed mother. Mrs Suderman becomes ill, but she doesn't want Dale to know. However he does, he can hear is mother even though she is rooms away.

Years pass and Dale falls from a tree and is unhurt, more time passes and he lifts heavy objects, sees through things and flies. On seeing her flying son, Mrs Suderman panics and fall backwards down the stairs to her death.

Dale is sent to a home, where he regularly sees a therapist. He doesn't settle in. He keeps himself apart from the others until one day he is forced to play basketball. He scores from fifty yards. Dale begins to fit in, and his therapist is pleased... when he runs away.

Years later a teenage Dale is playing basketball in an inner-city somewhere and beats Marcus, an ex-pro basketball player.

More years pass. Dale is a full grown man, and basketball legend and the owner of a company called Superman Inc. As Dale walks through his own museum and souvenir shop, he is seiged by children who want his autograph. He dishes them out with a wave and a smile, but once he's behind closed doors, his whole persona changes. When looking at his new publicity photos, he gets angry with the team that produced them because he isn't smiling in the photos.

Later he and his friend, Marcus travel to a sports awards ceremony. Marcus is worried about his friend. All he cares about is Superman Inc. and money. What about his private life?

At the awards the press are all over Lex Luthor and his date, Lois Lane to get the scoop on Luthor's plan to build a new stadium in which Dale Suderman will play. As soon as Dale walks in, the press leave Lex and talk to him instead. The awards are given out, and Dale announces his plans, the council agreed to his plans to build a new stadium and a new basketball team in Metropolis. Lex is less than pleased. As well as beating him to it, the new team could knock Lex's own Monarchs off the top of the league!!

Later, Suderman has a meeting with some TV producers. He treats them badly and keeps them waiting. They are not pleased, but then he tells them about the idea he has for a kids cartoon show. "Superman!" A caped hero able to leap tall buildings, etc, etc. The show is a success as are the range of merchandise to go with it.

Lex is beginning to really feel put out. He wants the dirt on Suderman. He sends his top reporter Lois Lane to find out what she can, and also secretly sends out a dodgy looking P.I. to dig up any mud on Suderman he can fine. Lois interviews Dale, and although he denies it, Marcus feels that there was something of a romantic nature going on between them. The discussion soon degenerates into an argument. Marcus walks out to fly to LA.

This is where Dale begins to change, he quickly e-mails Marcus telling him he is sorry, but he never gets the chance to tell him to his face. Marcus' plane crashes.

Meanwhile, the PI begins snooping around, but doesn't get anywhere until he sees a TV evangelist who tells of the time he met a baby that changed his life. That night a band of LexCorp thugs break into the evangelist's house and get him to reveal what he did with the baby. They soon discover the rocketship.

The next day, Dale storms into Lex's office with a copy of The Daily Planet in his hands. Luthor has printed some rubbish about him being an alien. To prove it to himself and Dale, Lex shoots Dale, who is, of course, unhurt. Then Lex shows Dale his rocketship. When Dale steps closer, he becomes weak. LexCorp security burst in and shoot at Suderman, causing him to fall backwards out of a window. When he hits the floor, he leaps back up, takes out the security men, threatens Lex and then flies away. Soon the whole word knows the truth about Suderman.

Elsewhere in LexCorp Tower, Dabney Donovan discovers the reason why Dale became weak near the rocketship and names it Kryptonite. Lex and Donovan don't know that Lois is listening.

Dale Suderman goes on the Whitty Banter show to try and clear his name, to tell people HE didn't know, that he DIDN'T use his powers to win. Suddenly he is shot. In hospital they discover the bullet was made of a strange green rock. In hospital, Lane visits and tells him that she's had enough of journalism and that she is going to teach instead. A policeman also visits and he turns out to be none other than J'onn J'onzz . The telepath reveals Dale's past to him, about his mother's death and how he blocked out his powers. Dale leaves hospital, says goodbaye to Marcus Clark at his graveside and travels to Kansas, where he is struck by lightning.

When he wakes he finds himself in a strange bed and a kindly old couple, the Kents have been taking care of him. He's been out of it for over a day! To repay them, Dale stays and helps them on the farm and after giving them a video tape, he leaves.

That night the video appears on the news. It is Dale Suderman telling the world that he is leaving to find his own world, and that he may return. His vast monies have been put into charity to help disadvantaged children.

At the Midwestern University a new man signs up for Lois Lane's journalism degree, his name is Kent, Clark Kent.

5Story - 5: You can always tell when I like a comic because I write my synopsis in detail. This book was great. I would even go so far to say it's the best Elseworlds ever, and that includes the over rated (IMHO) Kingdom Come. What was so great? The almost complete re-write of the tale. There have been a number of tales where Superman has been "bad" to begin with, but this takes it to new levels. Suderman is practically Lex Luthor!!! I liked the way the salesman cropped up again later in the story, and how Clark Kent got his name and of course the Superman cartoon. Some real thought has gone into this, something lacking on, sadly, many an occasion in Superman comics.

4Art - 4: I have to say I'm a fan of Garcia-Lopez, so that was a good start, though I feel Farmer's inks spoilt it slightly. I love Suderman revealing his Spartan's top. The page in which Dale thinks about his fight with Marcus is wonderfully drawn and coloured, but I think the last page is my favourite. My only real complaint is Dale's haircut. What's that all about, eh?

4Cover Art - 4: I really liked this, it was so different. I don't really look at covers, if I like it I like it, but here I found I was looking at it all and reading it. The back is even better.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic was on sale.

June 1999

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