superman-annual11Superman Annual #11 [1985]
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Dave Gibbons

“Happy birthday, Kryptonian. I give you… oblivion.”

And another one in a row to feature Alan Moore’s writing.  Not so much of a theme, or obsession as well (even though one could argue the point), but this stands as perhaps a testament to Moore’s incredible ability to really get into the head of the comic characters he works on.  Be it his classic run on Swamp Thing, his legendary retooling of Marvel Man (Miracle Man here in the States), the Bat-Man mythos in “The Killing Joke”, or even the ones he created himself, his stories are more or less a look into what goes on inside the heads of superheroes.

In “For The Man Who Has Everything”, Moore deftly gets to the inner conflict within Kal-El, what his secret desires are, and what could have been, as Superman, on his birthday, is visited by Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman, and discover that interplanetary despot Mongul has already crashed the party and given Supes his gift- a Black Mercy, which is a parasite that grafts itself to the host and gives said host hallucinogenic experiences of their very heart’s desire.  Fighting ensues for the life of Superman, who is trapped inside his head, living out the life he always wanted.

The greatest part of this story culminates when, after the Black Mercy is taken off of him, he realizes what Mongul has done, and in his rage, Superman takes Mongul out with his heat vision, saying only one word: “Burn.”  Chilling.

While the original comic is relatively cheep, the paper stock isn’t exactly of the same quality that comics nowadays are printed on.  This story has been reprinted in a trade paperback that has all of Moore’s work he did for DC back in the day, so check that out.  You won’t be disappointed, I’m sure…