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Bates, Swan and Anderson give Luthor one of his most inventive attacks on Superman in Action 423 (April 1973).

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The story opens on a humourous note, as Morgan Edge orders Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen to take acting classes, to improve their ability to emote on camera.

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Luthor has realized that his obsessive hate is actually a detriment, that it stops him acting rationally as he tries to kill the man he blames for causing his hair loss as a child.  So he invents a hammer, which absorbs all his hatred for Superman.

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And he shoots Superman with the hammer.  It looks silly and harmless.  But it isn’t.  It transfers the insane hatred to Superman, which makes him act violent and impulsive.

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He even has an outburst on television as Clark, to Morgan Edge’s dismay.

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Superman transfers the hate into a robotic hand. Luthor is so mad about this he acts impulsively, and is caught.

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Len Wein and Dick Giordano conclude the origin of the Human Target in this story.

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Disguised as the bookkeeper with a contract on him, he follows the trail backwards, to get to the man who killed his father, and who tried to kill the bookkeeper.

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He finds and confronts the man, now quite old, who collapses as a whimpering shadow of himself.  It’s a strong ending, as Christopher Chance consoles the desperate man, rather than killing him.

 

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