Superman’s powers finally go this issue, burning out as he uses them more and more. It’s a very awkward issue, with Supes coming across almost like Spider-Man at times, he’s so depressed. He discovers, for example, average people don’t really care about him. Without his powers, he’s an object for their scorn.
Given the Pre-Crisis Superman is without an immediate support system, he’s basically on his own… until Wonder Woman’s pet sufi shows up to offer a cure. It’s such a small story–Clark Kent gets tailed by bad guys who go after an impaired (human) Superman–and O’Neil’s frequent references to Superman’s Silver Age planet juggling abilities make it feel unique.
The conclusion is, though somewhat hackneyed (human Superman versus thugs), very effective.
Lots has to do with Swan’s art. His figures in action are great, but he also goes for viscerally involving panel layouts.
To Save a Superman; writer, Denny O’Neil; penciller, Curt Swan; inker, Dick Giordano. The Man Who Cheated Time; writer, Cary Bates; artist, Michael Kaluta. Editor, Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.