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The Byrne years
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cdtm
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Location: United States

The Byrne years

Looking back at the post Man of Steel Superman series, a few things become apparent.

1. Superman doesn't punch himself out of problems. His first fight was against Metallo and Kryptonite, a fight he can't possibly win. This sets the theme of every robot, bruiser, alien, or mutant being something he'll try and beat with fists, fail miserably at, and need to think his way out of the problem.

2. John Byrne isn't all that smart.


The problems he invents, and the solutions to them, make no sense. You remember those classic point and click adventure games, where you needed a guide or a lot of trial and error to solve problems, because the logic simply wasn't there? It's that kind of writing.


For example, Superman faces a giant robot with the minds of 500 aliens. The aliens can be transferred into host bodies. Superman reasons, they'd all want his body, fight over him, and short out the circuits.

How he came to this conclusion is anyone's guess. He outright admits, the result isn't what he predicted... It all worked out in the end, but it did nothing to showcase his intelligence, and instead made it look like he simply got lucky.

A similar thing happens with Dreadnaut and Phi-Phon, two genetically engineered monsters that can inhibit powers, and copy them. Supermans answer to this problem: Bring in as many heroes as he could, and overload them.

Again, not clever. Just lucky. Superman had no idea what their threshold was, and could been building an unstoppable Amazo.


Most of the stories follow this pattern, where his super power is less super intelligence, but more super guesses. He takes a leap of faith, based on nothing at all, and everything works out.

Bloodsport has his finger on a dead mans switch? Bring in his crippled brother, who lost his legs in Vietnam, and hope he can talk him down, rather then drive him over the edge and cause a lot of deaths.

Joker's in town! His big plan is to trap Perry, Lois, and Jimmy in lead lined caskets, on the assumption Superman can't SEE lead (Come on! Even in 1990, did anyone really believe lead was invisible to him?)

Mxy makes his first appearance, gets tricked to type his name on a typewriter that Superman rewired to spell his name backwards Ok, fair enough, Mxy is totally dumb enough to fall for that.


I'm not saying Byrne is an idiot, but he's certainly no Christopher Priest.


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Last edited by cdtm on Nov 3rd, 2018 at 05:01 PM

Old Post Nov 3rd, 2018 04:55 PM
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XLR87T3
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Well his unorthodox style is a product of the time period, it's in the 80s. I kinda liked Byrne era Superman's power level, balanced and not too overpowered similar to DCAU Superman.

Old Post Dec 5th, 2018 03:56 AM
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