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Action Comics 394
"Midas Of Metropolis!"


Story: Leo Dorfman Art: Curt Swan And Murphy Anderson

(Originally Reviewed On 06/03/02)

On the cover: The Man of Steel is using his heat-vision on piles of money, while Lois Lane begs him to use the money to help those in need, but Superman -- Midas of Metropolis has a reason for destroying it!

An evening at the warehouse district of Metropolis finds mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent greeting Cyrus Brand, who has known that someone was following him for the last hour. Since Brand is the richest business tycoon in the country and shuns the public eye, Clark figures that readers would be interested in learning more about him. Brand reluctantly allows him into the office, where he tells Clark that the story of his life is in his attache case, which he takes with him wherever he goes. Brand sees himself as The Superman of Industry, and like The Man of Steel, he too has trophies of his feats! He shows Clark the trophies, which represent the super-deals which has enabled him to control large American corporations, from shipping, to railroads, to airlines, to television! Clark notes that Brand collects money and corporations much like some folks collect stamps...(and comic books!)

Brand takes Clark's comments in stride, as he grips a globe of the Earth, for his wealth has brought him power, as politicians and potentates ask him for favors, and someday, Cyrus Brand may be the most powerful man on Earth, while a bemused Clark Kent looks on. BAARRROOOOMMM! The office shakes, with Brand wondering if it's an earthquake, and mild-mannered Clark Kent running out, feigning cowardice, but knowing that it was actually an explosion, which means that this is a job for Superman! His x-ray vision has spotted the source of the explosion, and so, The Man of Steel heads... down... down... and away! Two would-be safecrackers have broken into Brand's vault, and regret having used too much nitro, especially with Superman in their midst!

Before he can reach them, the two crooks are trapped behind iron bars, which were activated by a hidden photo-cell! Brand arrives to tell Superman that he'll turn the two men over to the police himself! The few million, he regards as petty cash, but is still guarded by the best security that money can buy. Cyrus Brand regards his wealth as his own super-power, while Superman uses his x-ray vision to see just how much Brand has, enough to make the tycoon the most powerful man in the world! Cyrus Brand waves farewell to the departing Man of Steel, who hears him refer to himself as a Super-Billionaire!

The following day at an off-shore reef, Superman arrives to aid in the salvaging of a sunken Tri-Oceanic Liner. There is a $20,000,000 shipment in cash in the ship's vault, which The Man of Steel flies to a shipyard, and upon arrival, workers tell him that they'll repair the damage. Cyrus Brand, president of Tri-Oceanic, wishes to express his gratitude, but sees Superman soaring through the damaged hull, to get the shipment of cash which was being transported!

After he has reached the ship's safe, The Man of Steel tears the door open, and collects his fee for salvaging the ship... $500,000! Workers can only stare in disbelief, as The Man of Steel takes the half a million, which Brand figures he'll donate to charity, and the workers figure that a Superman doesn't need money. During the week, The Man of Steel saves a falling Intercontinental plane, a Trans-American train, and the antenna tower on a TV building. Each of these rescues is immediately followed by Superman collecting the insurance for saving the airliner,a million-dollar fee for preventing the train wreck, and $50,000 for fixing the TV tower during the storm!

The Man of Steel takes the reward money and heads for Metropolis National Bank, while Cyrus Brand, whose companies he collected the money from, is gleeful, for Superman is making a deposit in into his bank! Unfortunately, there is not enough room in the vault for all that money, and since Superman doesn't want to have his funds unguarded, he plans to take it elsewhere. The following day finds The Man of Steel using a steam shovel, as one would use a pail and shovel, to dig a hole, then build...

Citizens of Metropolis soon see The Superman National Bank, which was made since no other bank in the country is big enough to contain The Man of Steel's money safely, and within the walls of this institution, it's as safe as The Fortress of Solitude! Figuring that their money would also be safe within, depositors move from The Metropolis National Bank to The Superman Bank! Cyrus Brand confronts Superman, who tells him that he wishes to be a tycoon, and that this is only the beginning! Brand is confident that The Man of Steel can't match his money-making power!

At The Daily Planet, Lois wonders if Superman has gone money-mad, while Clark figures that since some folks collect antiques, buttons, stamps, autos, string, (and comic books!), The Man of Steel must be entertained by accumulating cold, hard cash! The Wounded Veteran's Fund receives a $5 donation, while Lois fumes, and demands to know why, with all of his money, he could afford to. He tells her that he can't get rich by giving it away, and cuts off the conversation to answer the phones, while Lois wonders what she ever saw in him!

Cyrus Brand is determined to show Superman who the financial wizard is, even as he is being outbid in many business ventures. When he brings the $50,000,000 to close a deal on the acquisition of a hotel chain, he is told that the offer has been topped... by Superman! Brand wants the hotel and is willing to have The Man of Steel name his price, while Superman carves a trophy which represents his latest super-deal. Brand offers him $100,000,000 for the hotel chain, and Superman agrees, for the money will come in handy for a refinery he's interested in. Brand scoffs, telling the departing Superman that he would have paid more for the hotel, but The Man of Steel tells him that they're not through yet! Brand owns the hotel, then wonders where all the guests are?!?

They are on the floating island, built by Superman, part of a fleet of tropical paradises, which will take them wherever they want to go! The rivalry between Cyrus Brand and Superman continues, with Sheik Hassan selling Brand an oil field for half a billion dollars, but The Man of Steel is content with the desert island sold to him by the sheik yesterday! On the nearby isle, Superman whirls through the ground like a dervish, and a moment later, a giant gusher of oil comes through!

Brand's oil wells have ended well... dry! He knows that Superman's oil must have tapped into the main resevoir underground! Brand asks Superman how much he wants to sell his oil well, and The Man of Steel figures that he can dig a gusher anytime, then asks for a billion in cash, and he'll throw in the trophy, as well! Brand vows to have the money at the bank by tomorrow afternoon! The following day, a helicopter heads for The Rio Bravo Lead Mine, where Cyrus Brand meets with Rembrandt, who is to supply him with a large supply of money for the deal!

Rembrandt has been making undetectable counterfeit bills, and Brand prepares to show him what the fake money will buy, when the oil well trophy ignites, and soars through the mountain, where The Man of Steel spots it with his telescopic-vision! He makes a dramatic entrance, through the mountain wall, confronting Brand, Rembrandt Regan, and the counterfeiting plant within a lead mine. Brand wonders how Superman tumbled onto the undetectable phoney money, but The Man of Steel spotted it as soon as he used his x-ray vision at the warehouse in Metropolis, and they lit up with a radioactive glow!

The Treasury Department learn of his findings and know that one of every five bills is counterfeit, and only Superman's x-ray vision can tell the real ones from the fake ones. In order to take the fake bills out of circulation, The Man of Steel played the part of a Super-Tycoon, using his x-ray vision to inspect the bills as they passed through his hands, so that the government could replace them with genuine currency. The only question was where the fake bills were being made, and since Superman used his x-ray vision and telescopic-vision, he theorizes that the printing presses must be shielded by lead, but then he has an idea! Once the oil deal was sealed, he made a trophy which was actually a super-powered rocket-drill, which would be activated in the presence of large quantities of lead! Brand's properties will be sold by the government in order to recover the losses, and he will spend time in the federal pen. Now that all the fake money has been accounted for, Superman uses his heat-vision to burn it, and his money has been turned over to charity, with Lois wondering if he'll ever forgive her for thinking Superman a Midas of Metropolis?

A dramatic cover, with Superman using his heat-vision for something other than good.

Nowadays, tycoons and financiers are frequently featured in the news and in tabloids.

I particularly enjoy seeing The Swanderson Superman moving at super-speed, as he changes from Clark Kent to Superman, and heads down... down... and away!

With Time-Warner-AOL, the times have changed for DC, but not for acquisitions and assimilation.

Holy Elvis Schlemdicamp! Superman has his own National Bank!

The Man of Steel is interested in the green stuff, and during this time, he is not plagued by the once-overly abundant Kryptonite!

In the letterspage, Robert Faires of Beaumont, Texas writes about Action #388: "On page 3, panel 2, it's raining up. In panel 3, Bizarro's boot is yellow. On the next page, the picture behind Perry changes from one scene to another. The radio flash on page 6 was obviously a bulletin. Why did Superman think it was an alert for The Flash?"

Steve Chung
"Midas Of Reviews!"