Superman: The Earth Stealers
by John Byrne, Curt Swan
(DC Comics, 1988)

Following hard on the heels of John Byrne's revamp of Superman, The Earth Stealers is -- well, it's not very good.

In the story, the Earth and moon are removed from this solar system by a grotesque, space-faring gnome king and his crew. Their purpose is to drag the planet and satellite across the galaxy to a processing plant that will reduce them to rubble and extract much-needed natural resources.

Byrne resolves the matter by having Superman defeat the gnome king's champion, at which point the bad guys abandon their ship and spoils without a fight. And then Superman pushes the giant spaceship, which of course is carrying the Earth and moon in a force field, all the way back to our solar system, where conveniently programmed computers put them back in their proper orbit with no harm done.

Bad villain characterizations and improbable plotlines aside, Byrne seems unable to decide exactly how powerful Superman is in this post-Crisis universe. Consequently, this story is flat and uninteresting, best to avoid by everyone but the most diehard Superman (or Byrne) completists.

by Tom Knapp
14 April 2007

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