The Never-Ending Battle: ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #504

Team Superman take the fight to Cyborg Superman.
The Kid grows up in Adventures of Superman #504.
Superman, the Kid, and Steel fighting aliens on Adventures of Superman #504
Triangle Number 1993 – 27
Writer: Karl Kesel
Penciler: Tom Grummett
Inker: Doug Hazlewood
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Letterer: Albert De Guzman

Like on Superman #81, the Superman in black on the cover of this issue has short hair, and it would be another two issues before we would see a cover that accurately depicted his new style. As much as I prefer Superman with short hair, it’s really kind of disconcerting to see him with that look in the black and silver costume.
The decision to open Adventures of Superman with the inner monologues of the three Supermen heading towards Engine City is a wonderful choice to clearly illustrate each of their driving motivations as they head towards what is a seemingly unwinnable battle. Superman is discouraged, but driven and angry at the perversion of his symbol. The Man of Steel is awed by the presence the Superman in black presents and finds himself believing that maybe, just maybe, this one is for real. The Kid? He’s hungry. But his flashback to just before they left for Engine City also illustrates exactly how much he’s grown as a character over the last four months of stories. He’s still immature and a little impulsive, but he also very clearly has his heart in the right place. As much as any issue in “Reign of the Supermen” thus far, this issue proves to be the Kid’s coming-of-age tale.
The majority of this issue is just a big action set-piece as Steel, the Kid and the Man in Black begin to make their way through Engine City. Tom Grummett and Doug Hazlewood do a fantastic job with this, drawing absolutely dynamic fight sequences and actually working to make the Man in Black look a bit more grizzled than their normal depictions of Superman.
Karl Kesel also works wonders with the dialogue in this issue, especially the quips that the Kid delivers throughout the fight scenes. Steel and the Man in Black are much more serious, and driven; but the Kid, despite the stakes, is still having the time of his life. An exchange that always stands out to me is the Man in Black loading himself up with alien weaponry, saying that if he’s the world’s biggest boy scout, he might as well follow their motto, and the Kid retorts with “Let’s earn some merit badges!” The characters play off of each other beautifully.

As the three work their way into the depths of the city, they encounter the missile aimed at Metropolis and before they can do anything it’s launched, with just enough time for the heroes to take cover. The Kid, however, decided that it was up to him to prevent what happened to Coast City from happening to Metropolis. As the other two continue their assault, the Kid works to stop the missile, and as he does, there are snippets of Metropolis reacting. Tana Moon reports on the event, much like Lois Lane before her as her friend battles to save Metropolis. Lex Luthor desperately trying to find Supergirl, who has gone missing. The Daily Planet staff watches in horror as the rocket streaks right for them. The Kid manages to divert the missile, but only just barely before it explodes over the harbor. It seems that in one last selfless act, the Kid lived up to the name he’d trademarked.
Miss any previous entries in The Never-Ending Battle? The early entries can be found at Comfort Food Comics, while more recent ones can be found here at The Beat.
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