The Super Sword story by the end just left me with a sweeping feeling of:
At first I was intrigued by what this Black Knight guy could be. Then after stabbing Superman, I was disappointed to see the Black Knight just running around smashing crap and stealing from banks because that motive didn’t seem to make sense for a guy who just worke up from Arthurian times. And then when it was revealed to be a ruse with Perry White involved I was like "…Surely they could have done a lot less to simply entrap some random gangster.
I will give the story this much credit – I was impressed by what they did to invoke the feeling of Superman being “stabbed.” I have to imagine that’s something that they couldn’t show at all given the CCA (I have to imagine the twist of Superman never being stabbed played a role in getting this out), so leaving it in shadow was a moody, clever way to make you imagine what could be happening. Well done.
As for Mrs Superman…I feel like there could have been an interesting story here, it kind of delivers on it’s click-bait like opening page, but an unsatisfying end. I can see a story where Clark is trapped on this island and he has to wrestle with whether he should just give in and confess his love and identity to Lois, but how it actually turns out and Lois’ thought that Superman just made that whole story and marriage up just to protect her from gangsters for a week I think kind of cements just how much I don’t like how they use the Superman and Lois relationship back then.
It’s funny, this thought and the name of the story makes me wonder what things would be like if Siegel and Schuster’s “Mr. & Mrs. Superman” story was actually published and Lois learned Superman’s identity and married him back in the 40s.
…At least I think that was the case. I could have swore that there was a story they did about this that was unpublished and pages of it eventually came out, but now for the life of me I can’t find it. Did I make this up?!
Anyway, onto “The Steeplejack of Steel.” First off, I learned a new word with this one! Second, like @TheCosmicMoth, this was my favorite story of this issue for a similar reason: to see Superman harken back a bit to his Golden Age roots. It was neat to see him face off against a corrupt businessman that was hurting people and threatening lives – actual superhero stuff and not just “hilarious” mishaps.
Adventure Comics 283 was surprising – I would think that with this story introducing the Phantom Zone and General Zod, it would have been digitalized sooner. Anyway, the story itself was decent – it was odd that there was this constant threat of these horrible weapons that criminals could use, and an actual criminal gang moving in Smallville, and those two narrative beats never met.
There is one thing about this story that I have to address and that’s General Zod. I have to ask…WHAT IN RAO’S NAME IS HE WEARING?! The top half screams Nazi General and the bottom half screams Chippendale Dancer! The man needs a lifetime sentence in the Phantom Zone, both for crimes of insurrection and crimes of fashion!