Review: Superman/Top Cat Special #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writers: Dan DiDio, J.M. DeMatteis,

Artists: Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, Tom Mandrake

Colors: Dean White, J. Nanjan, Hi-Fi

Letters: Travis Lanham

 

Summary

It’s Superman versus super food with Top Cat caught in the middle. While searching for his missing friend Bennie, TC uncovers a dietary danger that threatens the healthier portions of mankind, and it’s up to the Man of Steel to stop the probiotic menace of Kalien! In the salad bar, no one can hear you scream. Plus, part four of a Secret Squirrel backup story written by J.M. DeMatteis.

 

Positives

This Top Cat story is a bit different from the other DC/Hanna Barbera crossovers. Where each of the others seems to exist in a world where the DC Heroes and the HB funny animals exist side by side, this one appears to have Top Cat displaced from his native cartoon world onto the regular DCU Earth, And where none of the other specials appear to be related to each other, Superman/Top Cat is a direct sequel to the Batman/Top Cat backup story in the Adam Strange/Future Quest special.

Although this is set, to all appearances, in the real DC Earth, the plot is a more than a bit absurdly comedic. This is somewhat out of place for a Superman story, but quite fitting for his feline co-star. The issue is rife with parody. The main villain is an alien made of kale that is appropriately named Kalien. Kalien is searching for the person who engineered the genocide of his people.

This person might sound a bit familiar to you: Alexander Mikos owns a chain of healthy grocery stores called Wholesome Goods and an online store that makes delivery by drone. And he has a giant prototype of one of the Justice League’s robotic foes called Amazo-Prime. It’s pretty obvious who Mikos is patterned after.

At the end of the story, Superman invites TC to stay at the Hall of Justice until he gets his life sorted out. I wonder if this means he might show up in the background in one of the Justice League titles. That would certainly clear up on if this happens in the canon DCU or not, anyway.

 

Negatives

One of the drawbacks of these HB crossovers is that the Hanna Barbera characters often bear little resemblance to their original cartoon versions in either appearance or personality. Often they seem to just have the same name and a vague physical resemblance to the original.

Top Cat is actually closer to the original cartoon than most of the rest. He looks a bit more like a real cat, but otherwise dresses the same and exhibits the same huckster personality shown in the Top Cat Cartoons. He’s far from being unchanged, but the clothes and attitude make it clear he’s still the same cat who bedevilled Officer Dibble.

 

Verdict

I generally love these Hanna Barbera crossovers, some more than others. Superman/Top Cat is one of these better ones. Not only does it strike a nostalgic chord for me, but it’s a fun, entertaining story – plus I’m an unrepentant cat person. I hope that we will see Top Cat return the next time there is a DC/Hanna Barbera crossover event.

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.