The Adventures of Superman #540

The Adventures of Superman #540 cover


November 1996


“Curtain Call”
(Cover Title: “Introducing: Ferro!”)


Despite the sun having gone out, actress Nancy Nolan still intends to put on her show, and plans to do it for free.  During the show, she is confronted by a masked boy who is really one of her twin sons, consigned to a medical research facility at a young age.  When the theatre collapses, Superman and the boy, calling himself Ferro, dig out the survivors.  Nancy Nolan refuses to acknowledge Ferro as anything but a fan of hers.  Despite the rejection, Ferro continues to help the citizens of Metropolis, delivering the Daily Planet via the abandoned subway tunnels.

Only the scenes dealing with Legion of Super-Heroes characters are dealt with here.


Karl Kesel (Plot) • Jerry Ordway (Script) • Terry Dodson (Pencils) • Karl Story (Inks) • Albert Deguzman (Letterer) • Glenn Whitmore (Colorist) • Mike McAvennie (Associate [Editor]) • Joey Cavalieri (Editor) • Stuart Immonen / Jose Marzan, Jr. / Patrick Martin (Cover)


Date of Change
Content of Change




Unified to a single file


Format correction


Tracking update from The Adventures of Superman #598
Added Appearance Counts and associated Notes

Tinted cells and text indicate missing or incomplete information.

Character and Object Tracking



Previous Appearance

Next Appearance


Ferro (Andrew Nolan) None <The Final Night #3>
Superman (Clark Kent) <The Final Night #2> <The Final Night #3>


Sun-Eater No appearance; mention only

Supporting Characters

Nancy Nolan None None to date
Also appears in flashbacks to 16 years, a little over 15 years, and about 11 years before this story
Lori Lemaris None in Legion books None in Legion books
Ingot (Douglas Nolan) In flashback to about 11 years before this story
Jerry Jenkins (mailman) None in Legion books None in Legion books
Chad (stage manager) None None to date
One-shot or Untracked Characters:
     Troy McClure (movie actor)
     Barrymore (stage actor; presumably John Barrymore)
     unnamed theatre goers
     Ed McMahon
     Johnny Carson
     unnamed obstetrician
     unnamed doctors/researchers (3; one may be Dr. 30)
     unnamed announcer (may be Chad)


Broadway (street), Metropolis None in Legion books None in Legion books
Cain Theater, Metropolis None None to date
Daily Planet building, Metropolis Previous Legion appearance:
     Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #100 (story #1)
Next Legion appearance:
     The Adventures of Superman #598
Perry White’s office, Daily Planet None in Legion books Next Legion appearance:
     The Adventures of Superman #598
Metropolis Hospital (exterior), Metropolis None in Legion books None in Legion books
Metropolis subway tunnels None in Legion books None in Legion books
One-shot or Untracked Locations:
     Reeves Theater
     Nancy Nolan’s room, Metropolis Hospital


Ferro’s burlap mask None Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #< >
One-shot or Untracked Items:
     Ferro’s knight’s helmet
     lamppost clock
     issues of the Daily Planet

Analysis Notes

Cover Coloring error: Ferro’s eyes should be blue; compare to 13:4.  Also, Ferro doesn’t adopt this mask and costume until after this story, in The Final Night #<3>.
General This story occurs during The Final Night, when the alien Sun-Eater had surrounded Earth’s sun and was devouring it, which cut off heat and light to Earth, making the planet freeze.  Only pages 1-4, 9, and 11-22 are dealt with here.
Some segments of fandom expressed concern about the introduction of Ferro in the 20th century, while the preboot version of the character had come from the 30th century, seeming to make this a major divergence from previous continuity, beyond that which should be explainable by Zero Hour.  However, note that relatively little is known about the preboot Ferro Lad and his family from before he joined the Legion, except that his mother was an actress.  One possibility is that the preboot Nolan family somehow time travelled between the 20th and 30th centuries, such that Ferro Lad was actually from the 20th century without that fact ever having been revealed.  Another is that the facial deformities and iron-transformation power is hereditary in the Nolan line, and there was a similar 20th century character who was simply never shown in the preboot continuity.
1:1 This is apparently the Metropolis theatre district; note that the street sign say “Broadw[ay]”.  “Cats”, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on the poems of T.S. Eliot, is the longest running musical in Broadway history.  “Guys and Dolls”, by Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling, and Abe Burrows is another well known Broadway show.  (The restrooms in the Broadway corner of the New York New York casino in Las Vegas are labelled “Guys” and “Dolls”.)  None of the other signs seen here seem to be related to real world shows.
1:3 The logos on Jerry’ uniform are very close to that of the United States Postal Service.
2:1 Troy McClure was a character on The Simpsons, an actor.  McClure was voiced by Phil Hartman; the character was retired with Hartman’s death.
3:1 Jerry is presumably referring to John Barrymore (d. 1942), although he could be referring to Lionel, Ethel, or others in the family.  Who knows, maybe Drew Barrymore “Scream”ed her last at this theatre in the DC Universe.
While Nancy Nolan claims to not be superstitious, I’ll bet she wouldn’t push things by jumping up on stage and saying the name of That Scottish Play.  (You know, the cursed one.  MacBe...)
3:2 “The Phantom of the Opera,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, is another of Webber’s monster Broadway hits. It is notable in part for the giant chandelier as part of the set.
The Reeves theatre is named for actor George Reeves, who starred as Superman on television.
4 The lettering on the Cain Theater marquees is very poorly done, especially the front marquee.
9:1 “The Queen of Monte Cristo” would be a reference to “The Count of Monte Cristo,” a movie based on the book by Alexandre Dumas père.
9:5 This is Ferro, of course, and his face is shadowed because of his severe facial deformities (although he is presumably wearing his full-face hood/mask like usual).
12:1 The knight’s helmet is apparently one of the props from Nancy Nolan’s career, perhaps from “The Queen of Monte Cristo,” like the speech being recited. Ferro chose to wear this rather than his burlap mask in order to be less likely to scare the audience.
13:1 This is The Tonight Show featuring Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon.
13:2 Observe that if the twins were indeed born nine months after the appearance on The Tonight Show, then the original rumor Nolan was debunking was indeed false (since she would have already had to have been 4-6 weeks along in the pregnancy at that point).  Unless, of course, it was an exceptionally long pregnancy, perhaps related to Andrew and Douglas being mutants.
13:3 Based on heights, the twins are perhaps four years old.  Whether this was when the twins were remanded over to the custody of Dr. 30 is unknown, but that probably occurred a few years later.
13:5 The marquee lettering is somewhat better here, but it is still rather warped on the front of the marquee.
Chad alluded to the roof possibly collapsing due to the weight of the snow.  Why they chose to break the foreshadowing and go with a lightning strike is unclear.
Dialogue is from Lori Lemaris.
14:3 Skyscraper windows typically do not open at all, much less swinging out like this; they slide up, or have a portion that levers out.
15:4 Ferro has apparently changed into his iron form.
16:1 And now he has changed back, based on skin color.
16:3 Superman’s comment about giving him “a start” indicates that he probably used his x-ray vision through Ferro’s helmet and saw what he really looks like.
17 Pink dialog captions are from Nancy Nolan; the yellow one is from Superman.
17:3-5 If the coloring is to be trusted here, Ferro is only transforming to iron when he has to, staying in his human form through most of the rescue.  He is too shy to use his powers continuously, especially in front of Superman.
18:4 Nancy Nolan is apparently in denial.
21 Dialogue captions are from Superman.

Appearance Counts

Character Name


Panels / Speaking

Superman (Clark Kent) X 33 / 31
Ferro (Andrew Nolan)
X 27 / 21
Supporting Characters
Nancy Nolan 30 / 29
Lori Lemaris 7 / 5
Ingot (Douglas Nolan) 1 / 0
Jerry Jenkins (mailman) 15 / 11
Chad (stage manager)
13 / 9