The Endless Battle: ACTION COMICS # 686

The answer to who stole Superman’s body is revealed in Action comics # 686.

Action comics # 686

Triangular number 1993 – 8

Writer: Roger stern
Pencil: Jackson guice
Inker: Denis rodier
Colorist: Glenn whitmore
Letterer: Bill Oakley

A little like Adventures of Superman, this whole issue was omitted from the 2007 Omnibus. I know I have discussed this edition and its shortcomings quite a bit, so let me take a moment to discuss the other two prints. In 2013, DC completely redesigned the omnibus. They ordered a new cover from Jurgens and Ordway and effectively restored the things that had been left out in the previous edition. The spine has remained the same, but the paper has changed from newsprint to modern glossier page paper. In 2016, alongside the new comprehensive collection of paperback books (split into five books: Death of Superman, Funeral of a Friend, Reign of the Supermen, Return of Superman, and Doomsday – the final cover of the monster’s subsequent appearances), they reprinted the omnibus with an all-black cover. The only other difference between the last two editions is that the most recent also includes the 1993 Superman Annuals. Both are also larger than the original, not just in length.

The issue opens with a scene of Guardian arresting some carjackers. Much like the Gangbuster sequence of the Adventures problem, it sets the tone that Metropolis has become a much more dangerous city in the absence of Superman. It’s one way to make this loss a little more real. After dealing with the crooks, he is urgently called back to Cadmus by Dubbilex.

In an aside with Lex Luthor, we are given a glimpse of his current plans, in that he’s paranoid that the whole situation is Superman’s trick to catch him off guard. After all, he faked his death, so why couldn’t Superman do the same. This is a typical trap that narcissists tend to fall into, where they believe everyone should be responsible for the same crimes as them.

At the same time, Lex Luthor and director Westfield hijack truths and language to explain their actions when questioned. When asked why there are secret access tunnels in the tomb, Luthor claims that it was originally intended to be a time capsule and was only converted into a tomb to meet the needs of current needs. Likewise, when Westfield is confronted with Guardian about Superman’s body, Westfield says the President only told him to let Metropolis have his funeral first. This is where the plot to clone Superman and bring him back to life is established, but geneticists struggle to obtain a sample because even in death, Superman’s skin is invulnerable.

While continuing to search for Superman’s body in the tunnels under the tomb, the SCU, Supergirl, and Luthor stumble upon an explosive charge with the Cadmus logo on it. The charge is triggered by opening a hole in the river above, flooding the tunnels and nearly killing the search team. For now… Cadmus is safe.

The last scene on the show is Lois bidding farewell to Kent and Lana. She and Lana share an emotional embrace and tears after losing the man they loved.

Missed previous entries in The Never Ending Battle? The earliest entries can be found on Comfort Food Comics, while the most recent can be found here on The Beat.

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About Glenn Gosselin

Glenn Gosselin

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