Comic to Movie Recall – Superman Returns Prequel Issue #3

If you’ve made it all the way to Part Three of this series, thank you, and congratulations.

I did not realize this series was going to be so boring when I decided to venture into these recaps and hope my write-ups have not come across as such.

If you are new to these, Book One was a look back at Superman’s arrival on Earth, consisting of mostly boring inner monologue from Jor-El.

Book Two focused on the depression of Ma Kent and made a Lifetime Original movie look like a Michael Bay flick… and it was more entertaining than the first one!

So that brings us to Book Three, the one I hold out most hope for bringing the excitement.

SRP3 insert

Lex Luthor.

We got zany Kevin Spacey in this movie.  He had Kumar of Harold & Kumar fame as a silent lackey.  Everything should be on the rise, right?  Besides, Book Four is going to focus on Lois Lane and most likely will be some lame story about how her and Superman’s asthmatic kid met Cyclops.

Although in hindsight, my sentence there may sound more exciting than the end result will be.

Let’s ignore that and move forward to the book…

Oh!  New ads!  These were a highlight in Book One, before just getting repeated in Book Two.  Right away, I get to see the variety of Superman TV on DVD – some Dean Cain, some George Reeve,s and the guy who played Superboy.  Is there a special word for you when you are less relevant than Dean Cain?

The story begins in Lex Luthor’s prison cell, filled with maps and pictures of Superman, you know, stuff that you could expect from the lair of several villains.  What captures my attention most is the first page works over all the different angles in which you can view the entirety of the cell and on every corner, Lex hangs at least one picture of himself.  That speaks volumes to me.  Volumes of awesomeness.  He even has one hanging directly above his bed.  It’s like when you tape the poster of someone super dreamy above your bed and hope the tape falls off.  That way you wake up and are kissing.

Lexy has his cellmate well-trained, calling him Mister Luthor, as he hypothesizes about just when Superman… Returns.  You know, the title of the upcoming (in 2006) feature film!

Lex has a flashback to his days with hair, hanging out with a blonde who just wants to go places, when Superman barges in.  Before this settles, I get this:

Routh Milk

It is a Got Milk ad but you can have fun pretending it is an outtake from his role in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Do I get kicked out of writing articles for this site seeing I mentioned that lower-tier Kevin Smith movie in two separate articles already here in the first few months of Culture Crossfire?

So before ADD kicked in and got me all up on Brandon Routh promoting the importance of calcium, Lex Luthor was offering that intruder Superman a drink. Right away, Superman is not impressed.  He is so Straight Edge that his pupils disappear.

straight edge superman

This exchange is very short and focused on what defines, “murdering the innocent.”  Such a petty quarrel, Supes.  Get over yourself.

The story jumps forward to bald Lex but still pre-prison sentence, working on what appears to be a giant mechanical spider, which I really hope is the case.  Jon Peters had great vision in getting us Superman with a mechanical spider but got screwed on making it happen when the production of Superman Lives fell through.  We will always have Wild, Wild West.

Lex’s inner monologue lets us know that he has a fear of Superman being an alien among us and we quickly see him hunting in the frosty tundra in search of some Kryptonite.

The layout in this book is quite interesting as it seems like every time they have an ad, they need to do a scene change.  We get two panels of the search for Kryptonite, an ad for the Justice League DVD sets, and then next thing we know, we are finally meeting Lex back in prison.

Lex reviews his previous evil master plans and jumps from a real-estate scam straight into launching deadly missiles.  I like the drastic contrast.  It makes me hopeful of what his weekly agenda looks like.

Monday – Steal all the milk from local school lunches.
Tuesday – Kidnap and torture a world leader.
Wednesday – Visit birthday party; pop all balloons.
Thursday – Spread a flesh-eating Friday.
Friday – Tell Grandma her meatloaf sucks.
Saturday – Mass genocide.
Sunday – Free day!  SUSHI!  Beauty sleep and start again!

As Lex reviews all of his acts that were previously devious, he makes a cute joke asking if his cellmate believes in, “hate at first sight.”  I don’t think his cell mate buys into his coy flirtations.

no means no cellamte

As the story hits an intriguing point of the will they/won’t they of prison love, we instead go back to the “Lex Has Hair Era” meeting from earlier where the two mortal enemies have playful banter over Martin Luther King, which just seems pretty out of place.  Lex says he has a dream like Dr. King, Superman says it must be more like other people’s nightmares.   But if that wasn’t odd enough, it feels like Lex’s master plan revelation is truly more of a time share presentation.  Very tricky but we get the quick switch and the real master plot was causing destruction by upsetting the San Andreas fault.

Lex has that bad guy last laugh line but there is no one-up by Superman.  We straight up jump right into Superman stopping a missile and apprehending Luthor and some guy in suspenders.

apprehend suspend

This book is definitely as jumpy as the other books in this mini-series but still feels to have slightly more substance.  Something is actually happening rather than simply old people thinking.  Now it is more evil guy thinking.

I actually skipped pointing out an ad for some release of a comic called RUSH CITY that I have zero recollection of existing.  But the guy has a gun in his car, so you know it had to have been great.

Luthor gets to leave jail.  I enjoy that he apparently got to keep a suitcase in his cell.

jail suit case

We even get some closure on the Lex Jail Love storyline (that only I am seeing), as Lex looks upon what could’ve been had he been incarcerated just a few cells over… They’ll always have the yard.

Really, the jail exit feels like it could be more substance but instead is just a couple generic baddie one-liners and some grubby prisoners.  Although we get a final shot of what I assume is a creepy tattoo.

creepy tat

If the creepy prisoners were not enough to scare you straight, AbovetheInfluence shows me on the next page what drugs use would do to me.


I get the feeling people are more inclined to try drugs after these ads.  Actually, more likely, I bet they trick people they don’t like into taking drugs just to see if that smush thing could really happen.

Lex is released into what appears to be a doctor’s office, where Parker Posey’s character from the movie, Kitty Kowalski, starts undressing him.  He does not appear as happy as he did with his boys in his cell.

Lex Kitty Dressing

Lex makes a statement and burns his apparent toupee with a crazed look in his eye, telling Kitty that fire cleanses.   Without missing a beat, he casually puts his shirt on.  I still have no idea why they did all of this in a medical examining room. Oh, come to find out, the next flash back shows how Lex and Kitty met.  I guess Kitty is supposed to be a rip-off of Harley Quinn, as she catches Lex with another man in prison.

Lex Prison Tumble

Despite the picture looking like an Afternoon Delight, Lex was trying to shank this guy in the laundry, as he was victim of an extortion attempt.  In prison.

Kitty introduces herself as Lex’s biggest fan.  Bleh.  Quinn did it better.  In fact, just go read David Hunter’s article on the Top 5 Harley Quinn episodes.  Enjoy a good spin on the inmate/employee forbidden love.

Lex thanks Kitty for the exam, takes off, and does an evil stare into the sky.  He almost feels scorned by departure of Superman.  Oh, Lex.  You let them get to you every time! Superman floats in the sky but only in Luthor’s imagination.  Lexy continually gets away with staring with evil intentions into the sky as clueless police officers send him to roam free.

Lex puts on a show as his incapacitated sugar momma picks him up and as he talks trash about her via a favorite of this series, internal monologue. He enters the car a free man and ends the book…

Lex Swag


Either that or he is Professor X.  I can’t see his legs.

Once again, this book was filled with a whole lot of nothing.  I really don’t know how they expected this series to pump people up for the movie.  Typically the studio doesn’t want to give away the secrets of the real film but these books are pure fluff.  Nothing happens.  It isn’t really a great introduction of the characters either.  I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish, other than taking cash from suckers like me.

Well, judging by the back cover, maybe they are selling me on Superman Returns video games tie-in for Xbox 360.  Look!  Doomsday is there!  Tease us with something interesting.  That’s fine.

Superman Returns 360 ad

We will be back shortly to look at Book Four, Lois Lane.  Hopefully there will be a few days following to cleanse the palate before Man of Steel.


Written by B. Patrick

Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona, B. Patrick's interests include comedy, basketball, wrestling, comic books and can change as quickly as a butterfly flaps its wings.

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