Comic Book / The Superman Adventures
A Superman comic book series in the universe and style of Superman: The Animated Series
, and counterpart to The Batman Adventures
. Like that book, it featured mostly done-in-one, tightly focused and exciting Superman stories that stayed away from the grimmer Dark Age
tone, endless crossovers and Continuity Lockout
of the main Superman series.
Writers on the series included Paul Dini
, Scott McCloud
, Mark Millar
, Mark Evanier and Ty Templeton. It ran 66 issues, including some specials and annuals.
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Acquitted Too Late: Averted in "Superman's Busy Day." The Man of Steel just barely manages to get to the gas chamber in time to liberate the innocent man and show the proof of his innocence to the bystanders.
- Adaptational Heroism: Livewire. Not only does she start out as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but she later makes a Heel–Face Turn and becomes one of Superman's allies, and even makes a Heroic Sacrifice (though she gets better). This is in stark contrast to the cartoons where this never happens and she has no real motive for her actions besides For the Evulz.
- Anticlimax: the ending of "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid" (see also Covers Always Lie). Seconds after Jimmy breaks Superman out of Desaad's bindings and reverses the body swap, the lord of Apocalips himself shows up. The two heroes brace themselves for a battle, only for Darkseid to tell them he doesn't want to fight Superman now and let them go home.
- Bad Future: Mxy convinces the teenaged Superman that he'll become a Knight Templar if he takes up the superhero path. Instead, the world goes down the tubes because he doesn't.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: An aversion becomes a plot point. Superman deals with Krypto, gone berserk because he can't handle the stimulation, by briefly spacing him, knocking him unconscious.
- BFG: Maggie Sawyer and the S.C.U. carry big guns for use against Metropolis' supervillains.
- Body Swap: Jimmy Olsen and Superman become trapped in each others' bodies as the result of Jimmy fouling up Kalibak's body-swapping scheme in "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid."
- Break the Haughty: A Played for Laughs example; "Superman's Pal's Pal" is one long string of difficulties and embarrassments for Jimmy, who's been getting a bit too cocky.
- Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: The picture comes from an issue of this comic, where the Mad Hatter takes Bruce hostage and demands Batman's cowl in exchange.
- Continuity Nod: In one comic, Superman delivers the following line: "Of all the cub reporters to kidnap, you had to pick my pal with the signal watch!" Both the watch and Jimmy's title as "Superman's Pal" go back to the animated series episode of the same name.
- Covers Always Lie: "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid." More like titles always lie. Jimmy does not wind up fighting Darkseid, though he does take out Kalibak and Desaad.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: "Old Wounds" shows what would happen if there really was such a thing as an Animal Superhero — Krypto has Superman's powers, but none of his intellect to help control them or deal with all the excess sensory stimulation. This results in mass destruction.
- Driven to Suicide: "Superman's Busy Day", a man who committed a murder and let his brother take the blame for it jumps off a building.
- Enemy Mine: When Supergirl becomes deathly ill, Superman is forced to go to Lex Luthor to help her.
- Epic Hail: Jimmy Olsen's signal watch. An odd twist in the 28th comic when Superman has to use it to get Jimmy's attention.
- Exploding Closet: In one short story, Supergirl is forbidden from leaving her room until she cleans it. However, she sneaks out anyway to help a farmer. Upon her return, she finds Superman standing in the (completely clean) room. He warns her not to open her closet.
- Eye Twitch: Superman's eye twitches in "Roughnecks" after Jimmy gives him an Armor-Piercing Response.
- Facepalm: Lois Lane puts a hand to her face in "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid" in response to some of Jimmy's behavior.
- Forgot About His Powers: Jimmy-as-Superman forgets that he's invulnerable and therefore it won't matter if he has a problem with flying.
- For Want of a Nail: in "Yesterday's Man of Tomorrow", Superman himself. When Mxy convinces his younger self to exile himself to the moon, what results is a horrible world where Lex Luthor is the richest, most powerful man in the world and Lois Lane was killed.
- Frame-Up: "Clark Kent, Public Enemy".
- Future Me Scares Me: Mxy employs the fear of becoming a Knight Templar to get Superman's teenage self to exile himself to the moon.
- Heroes Love Dogs: In "Old Wounds", Superman has a lot of fun having Krypto around (thanks to one of Mxy's tricks) before the dog's superpowers emerge.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- The first time to stop Brainiac from releasing all the world's nuclear weapons. Livewire ends up using all her power and the effort leaves her pretty much pretty much brain dead. Star Labs can only barely manage to keep her alive.
- The second time is after Luthor uses Apokolips tech to revive Livewire in order to sell her to Apokolips. Superman intervenes but ends up getting himself and Leslie sent to Apokolips itself, where they find out Darkseid plans to use Livewire to power a doomsday weapon. Leslie and Superman manage to foil the plan and Leslie, fully powered by the planet, itself starts to wreak havoc. Realizing that she will go nuclear soon, she tells Superman to run. Being Supes, he refuses and races Leslie back to earth where he flies her to a clearing to explode. Luckily for her, it doesn't hurt her, but it kills Superman, Leslie uses the last of her power to restart his heart, which reverts her back to normal. Later she gets struck by lightning again and returns to being Livewire, but now as a hero.
- Hey, That's My Line!: Clark Kent shouts, "Stop the presses!" Perry snaps that nobody tells the presses to stop but him.
- Hypocritical Humor: While she and Jimmy are covering one of Superman's battles, Lois remarks that the populace is treating it "like a cheap prize fight" only to murmur, "Ooh, good one" with the next punch.
- I Just Want to Be Special: In "Roughnecks", Jimmy becomes (temporarily) bitter when he comes to think that the only reason anyone notices him is his status as "Superman's Pal."
- Instant Ultimatum Denial: Brainiac captures Lois and demands the globe containing Krypton's memories. Superman responds with his own demand — let Lois go or he smashes the ball. Superman won.
- Is That the Best You Can Do?: Superman says a variant of this at the end of "Men of Steel": "Today, you thought you saw me at the limit of my power. Sorry, Luthor...I was only at the limit of yours!"
- Look Behind You: In "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid" Jimmy (in Superman's body) gets Kalibak to turn around during a fight.
Jimmy: Darkseid? You mean the oversized loser behind you with a look like he just ate a bucketful of angry wasps?
Kalibak (turns around): Master...
Jimmy (tackling him): Hah! Made ya look!
- Mistaken for Special Guest: Jimmy mistakes Lois' cousin, Tim, for a potential new intern.
- Mundane Utility: During one short comic, Professor Hamilton is engaged in a secret experiment, which he insists only he can tell the success rate of. When he downs the formula, the other scientists almost call 911...until Hamilton reveals that the experiment was adding mint flavor to the office coffee.
- Mythology Gag:
- Krypto the Superdog makes an appearance in "Old Wounds."
- Jimmy's nickname "Mr. Action" shows up in more than one piece.
- In another short piece, the old "It's a bird! It's a plane!" line shows up.
- In "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid", the cover shows Jimmy ripping open his shirt to reveal the S-shield, ala Clark Kent in some older works.
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken:in "Eye to Eye", Jimmy thinks that Perry was calling him a coward during his latest chewing-out, and he is not pleased. Later, he puts himself in danger to get a good shot, something Perry said was essential for a good newsman.
- Pet the Dog: Mxy feeling sorry for the effects of his meddling with the timeline and setting out to fix it.
- Power Incontinence: Jimmy has a mild case in "Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid" when Superman's x-ray vision comes on by accident. Unlike many cases where a person cannot control his powers, nothing catastrophic occurs.
- Reality Warper: Parasite, in "If I Ruled the World." He absorbed Mxy's powers.
- Recurring Character: Numerous people from the animated series, such as Parasite, Brainiac, Mxyzptlk, Metallo, Maggie Sawyer, and Angela Chen make return appearances.
- Sensory Overload: In Krypto's appearance, he goes berserk because he can't handle his Super Senses.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Mxy, of all people, has to fix a messed-up timeline on "Yesterday's Man of Tomorrow."
- Shooting Superman: As usual, crooks attempt to shoot the Man of Steel.
- Shout-Out: In one comic, Mercy asks Lex, "What are we going to do?" Lex responds, "Same thing we do every day, Mercy...try to figure out a way to destroy Superman."
- Stock Phrases: Clark Kent shouts, "Stop the presses!" in one comic.
- Straw Feminist: Livewire, at least at times.
- Swiss Army Tears: Supergirl contracts an Argoian illness. One of the ingredient is Element X, a unknown element — while saying good-bye to Supergirl, Superman cries. It turns out Kryptonians' tears contain Kryptonian salt.
- Sympathy for the Hero: Mxy, of all people, reacts this way in "Yesterday's Man of Tomorrow" when he sees how miserable everyone would be without his nemesis.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: The series ran a comic with the name "Be Careful What You Wish For", about the Man of Steel's interactions with a girl who wishes she could meet him and her life would be more exciting. Both of these wishes are answered when the media declared her "Superman's girlfriend" and she gets kidnapped by Metallo. (Sound familiar?)
- What Is One Woman's Life in Comparison?: Lois pulls a rather interesting version of this in "Distant Fires". Having caught Lois, Brainiac demands the ball containing Krypton's memories - last seen in "Stolen Memories". Superman counters with his own ultimatum - let Lois go or he smashes the ball. Lois protests that she is only one woman against the remnants of an entire civilization. Three guesses how the Boy Scout responded to that.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: As usual, Superman has no problem using tactics on Brainiac that he wouldn't on a human supervillain. Then again, Brainiac seems to always have a backup...
- Wing Ding Eyes: The X-for-dead variation appears in "While You Were Sleeping", in which Luthor is dreaming of finally killing Superman.
- You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses?: a villain pulls out a pair and explicitly asks Superman this question. Superman responds, "Wouldn't dream of it... Ms. Lane, however..."