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Time And Time Again is a seven issue storyline that ran through the Superman titles in the nineties and is collected here in one volume. Time And Time Again begins shortly after Clark Kent has told fiancee Lois Lane that he is Superman and Lois is still grappling with this large bombshell.
'Marrying Clark Kent is the easy part! But marrying Superman? That's like marrying a God! Will you even age or are you immortal? When I'm sixty-five how old will you be?' Clark can't answer any of these questions because he doesn't know and he's soon needed as Superman anyway when Booster Gold (another superhero and member of The Justice League) is seen falling in the sky over Metropolis. Superman discovers Booster Gold (who is originally from the future and travelled back in time from the year 2462) fighting a character called Linear Man. Linear Man is a sort of time travelling bounty hunter and here to take Booster Gold back to 2462. Booster loves his life in 1991 though and has no desire to allow this to happen.
When he arrives on the scene, Superman notices with his X-Ray vision that Linear Man has killed a security guard and decides to intervene. However, Linear Man is attempting to open a time vortex to take Booster into and Superman accidently gets dragged into the vortex instead and ends up in the 30th Century. This is only the beginning of his time travelling capers though as each time Superman is close to a huge energy source or explosion he is sent to another point in time - along the way landing in places as diverse as Nazi Germany, Camelot, the prehistoric age, and the far distant future when ten million people live on the moon. He meets Roosevelt, dinosaurs, the 30th Century Legion of Superheroes and Merlin amongst others but just wants to go back to 1991 Metropolis and see Lois again. Will the Man of Steel ever make it back to his own time?
Superman: Time And Time Again is a good solid comic arc with consistently nice art and a fun story for perhaps the most famous superhero of them all. Around this time, Clark had just told Lois he was Superman although how she never knew is anyone's guess. Hadn't she ever noticed that Clark Kent is just Superman with a pair of glasses on! Anyway, it's quite an interesting touch here to have Lois curious about the nature of Superman and wondering if he'll age like human beings or if he'll just be Superman for years and years and stay the same. Clark doesn't know what will happen to him and when he lands in the far distant future a couple of times he tries to find out what the final fate of Superman was so that he might perhaps have a few answers for Lois. In the 30th Century he's told at one point that it's difficult to have any definitive knowledge on someone who lived so long ago - especially Superman as myth is difficult to separate from fact. It's fun to see Superman (with black costume) interacting with the youthful Legion of Superheroes in the future but the best chapter is probably the one where Superman lands in the United States in 1943 and joins the circus as a strongman.
I really liked this portion of the story. Superman lifts elephants and breaks chains in the act as he mooches about with clowns and circus people on the road. 'I could almost dismiss my past life as a dream if I didn't have to shave using heat beams reflected from my own eyes!' He saves Roosevelt from assassination and decides to drop in on the The Justice Society, a team of vintage superheroes who look like characters from the flashbacks in Alan Moore's Watchmen. The two chapters that probably work least well are Superman in Nazi Germany (although we do learn why superheroes couldn't alter the course of the war, Hitler had a 'psychic barrier' put up so they couldn't interfere!) and the one in Camelot. The Camelot chapter seems the most rushed and throwaway and has Superman under a spell and fighting demons as a knight with much mystical mumbo jumbo and Merlin wearing a big purple wizard hat with stars on it. Better I feel are chapters where Superman battles a 'Sun Eater' with The Legion of Superheroes in the 30th Century and meets dinosaurs in prehistoric times.
A Sun Eater is a 'mammoth gaseous organism that moves from galaxy to galaxy devouring whole suns!' It's quite good fun here the way that Superman keeps bumping into the Legion again and while it's only been days for him it's been years for them. When he first meets them they are a bunch of kids but when he meets them later they are jaded and mostly retired. One is pregnant and another has an artificial leg. The prehistoric chapter has some nice art and Superman dodging dinosaurs as he ponders life as the only person on the planet. The climax to the story makes for a good finish and occurs on the moon in the 30th Century, the moon now home to cities and millions of people. Linear Man is still trying to get Superman back to his correct time but Superman, the inhabitants of the moon and The Legion of Superheroes have more than their hands full when some nutty character named Dev Em, a 'Daxamite' who is easily as powerful as Superman, pitches up on the moon and decides to cause as much trouble and destruction as possible.
As a backdrop to Superman's time travel shenanigans, there are a number of smaller stories that play out too. Jimmy Olsen, who has lost his job in difficult economic times and has moved in with his mother, attempting in comical fashion to spend time with his new girlfriend despite the presence of the aforementioned parent. He has to endure her getting out his baby photos and more besides. Another subplot revolves around the 'death' of Lex Luthor and is set at Lexcorp where the company bosses are trying to decide what to do next. This was all part of a big Luthor storyline brewing at the time. Perry White also appears in the story, as of course does Lois Lane. Although this is a collection of individual comic issues (therefore there are different artists involved) the art is consistent and of a not dissimilar style. Dan Jurgens, who was a good custodian of Superman, supplies some excellent art and I liked some of the art too by Bob McLeod in the Action Comics issues of Time and Time Again.
Superman: Time And Time Again is a good solid Superman story and while not a classic this volume is a lot of fun at times and recommended to any Superman enthusiasts out there who haven't read it yet.