If Superman ’78 weren’t written for eight-year-old fans of Superman: The Movie—ones who don’t have home video technology yet because otherwise you’d just rent the movie instead of reading this terribly written comic—I’d say this issue were the best. Even with the retconning for fan service’s sake and the pointless stunt cameos. Writer Robert Venditti, faced with the limitless budget of comic book action, goes the Canon Quest for Peace route and chickens out on doing the tougher cameo.
It’d be embarrassing if the writing weren’t so terrible. There’s some of Venditti’s worst dialogue in the comic, which is saying a lot.
The issue picks up with Brainiac arresting Superman. It’s the Metropolis fight from Superman II, only with a different ending and terrible “acting.” It’s not fair artist Wilfredo Torres gets tied to such a lousy script. It makes his Gene Hackman Lex Luthor “act” far worse than Hackman did in the movies (including IV).
Also, Brainiac’s a limp noodle of a villain. He’s probably Venditti’s worst writing, which is—again—saying a lot. He brings Superman up to his spaceship, and there we get a big reveal or four in the best visually paced scene in the series. You almost wish it were a movie, right until Venditti’s “fan” servicing ruins it.
Quotation marks on fan because if this comic were a real “sequel”—to what, II, right? Like, III hasn’t happened yet? Anyway. If it were an actual sequel, it’s a turn of events no one was asking for because for that period… it’d be a cop-out turn of events. Whereas post-big budget fan service in the twenty-first century has shown no one cares about cop-outs if there’s fan service.
I didn’t have an iota of hope for the comic after the previous two issues, but I guess #3 decides I’ll finish it. Morbid curiosity and Torres’s nostalgia plucking art outweighing Venditti’s truly insipid writing.