Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Oddly enough, this chat with Reagan isn't setting up a plot point, in today's book: from 1987, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, "The Union" Written by Jim Starlin, pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Steve Montano.
Although Reagan isn't keen on calling in Superman, Sarge Steel doesn't see another option: the small town of Trudeau, South Dakota, seems to be completely uninhabited now. A chemical/biological warfare squad and a team of Marines had gone in, but never came back. Superman goes in, and finds the town completely devoid of life. Except for the monster from the sewers.
Superman burns the monster with his heat vision, then trails it into the sewers; where he finds the fillings and pocket change that are all that remain of Trudeau's residents. Playing possum, he's brought to the cause of their deaths, the evangelistic alien Hfuhruhurr the Wordbringer. (Who is absolutely a Jim Starlin design, even with Jurgens drawing: he resembles Monalo from Dreadstar.) And his word is bodilessness is closer to godliness, and harvested the brains of all of Trudeau! This gave him telekinetic powers strong enough to stop Superman's heart!
The bodies of the townspeople were conglomerated into Hfuhruhurr's blob-monster, his "Manifestation." Superman is able to destroy it, but the Wordbringer escapes, and I'm not sure was seen again. He's then left with almost three thousand disembodied brains, who don't want to live like that, and ask Superman to end their suffering. Superman is unwilling to kill, even in such an extreme situation, so the brains force the issue by overpowering Superman's mind, and using him to shut off their oxygen supply. When Superman comes to, he stands victorious, but it's not a clean win...
I didn't have this or 1988's Superman Annual #2 when they came out, but just got both out of the quarter bin last week. The Superman Annual featured the return of Guardian and the Newsboy Legion, so there was a pretty jarring shift in tone between the two!