With a title like “The Phantom Superman,” one might expect the story in Action 199 (Dec. 54) to be a forerunner of the Phantom Zone. But it’s not. Rather, the Boring and Kaye story hints more towards the development of Bizarro.
A grey Superman appears in Metropolis, wreaking havoc in the city.
This evil duplicate of Superman was created by Lex Luthor, using a device that seems to work off of photographing Superman. It’s an imperfect duplicate, but only in colour. It also fades after a while, and must be re-charged. Unlike Bizarro, this Superman is a dutiful slave of Luthor, ready to obey any command.
It takes until the end of the story for Superman to confront this double. They appear to be evenly matched in their fight,although Superman wins, and other presumably fades away. Worth noting is the panel in which the Daily Planet building gets lifted into the air. There is no globe atop the building in this panel. The globe had appeared, as far back as the 40s, but had singularly failed to grab the attention of most of the artists on the series, and was not yet a standard sight.
Tommy Tomorrow comes to the aid of the Interplanetary Bank in this Jim Mooney story, after a series of thefts.
The crime element drives the story, but really it’s an excuse to show a variety of unusual currencies from different worlds. Again, the bank would return in the Legion of Super-Heroes series.
Some of the currencies shown would return in Legion as well. Most notably, the one that is the culprit in this story, a crystalline metal-eating living currency. These creatures attack Lightning Lad’s robotic arm in the Evillo story in Adventure Comics.