Posts tagged ‘Alex Saviuk’

Action 582 – Superman brings Jor-El and Lara back to life


Boldman, Saviuk and Schaffenberger share the last in-continuity pre-Crisis Superman story in Action 582 (Aug. 86).


After having a number of vivid dreams about Jor-El and Lara, Superman discovers that there are two other, distinct, brain-waves in his head.  He believes these two be the minds of his parents, somehow preserved within him.


He creates clone bodies for them, and is thrilled when the brain-waves transfer from his mind into the bodies, animating them and bringing his parents back to life.  He provides them with human identities, and shows them around Metropolis, and Earth, while helping them adjust to their new powers.


Superman brings them to his Fortress of Solitude, but when he shows them the Phantom Zone viewer, he is surprised that the villains, General Zod, Jax-Ur, Professor Vakox and Faora, are cursing him, and not his father, the man who invented the Zone and sent many of them there.


And, indeed, his parents are not his real parents.  How the Phantom Zone villains could tell is not clear, but once Superman suspects them, they drop the act and try to kill him.  They put him in a rocket and fire him into space.


Superman escapes from the rocket, but spots a familiar ship orbiting Earth.  It belongs to Rokk and Sorban, the compulsive gamblers from Ventura.  Frequent guests in Superman’s own comic, and World’s Finest, back in the 60s, this is their first, and only, appearance in Action.  They used some “free-floating” consciousnesses for Jor-El and Lara, but the bet at the core was whether Superman would be angry enough to kill the phonies, or not.


The story ends as Superman takes Rokk and Sorban to the “prison planet,” (Takron-Galtos?)  Superman shows little concern about what the phony Jor-El and Lara are up to, loose on Earth, with all their powers. But the gamblers assure Superman that they will return to their non-corporeal state.



Action 564 – Superman trapped in a new life


Kupperberg and Saviuk are joined by Mike DeCarlo as the Master Jailer pulls off a devious attack in Action 564 (Feb. 85).


The Master Jailer had been introduced in the late 70s, and appeared a few times, but this marks his first time in the pages of Action.  Carl Draper usually has a psychological element to his attacks on Superman, as well as the physical side, and this time he traps him in a completely different identity, Mike Barton, with no awareness of being Superman, or even Clark Kent.


The Monitor and Harbinger appear, as Draper got the tech for his attack through them.  The Monitor warns Master Jailer that Superman’s memory might return if he sees anything familiar.  Draper keeps the costume, and thinks that everything will be fine – but of course we already see the story’s “out.”


But for a while, Superman enjoys the simple, blue collar life of Mike Barton, while Master Jailer runs wild, with the invulnerable costume under his.  Must be sooo hot in all that.


The scene eventually comes in which “Mike” has to wear a Superman costume.  As soon as its on, he remembers everything, and takes out Master Jailer.

This is the final appearance of the villain.  There were a few post-Crisis attempts to revive him, but like Terra-Man, he failed to gain the status he had at this time.


Action 563 – Ambush Bug loses his suit, Mr. Mxyzptlk wants his own show, and Jimmy Olsen becomes a blob


Three stories in Action 563 (Jan.85), all represented in Giffen’s great cover.


Ambush Bug gets the lead story in the issue, by Giffen, Fleming and Oskner.  Clark Kent is around, in his newscaster guise, and as Superman, but Bethany Snow, from New Teen Titans, and Jack Ryder, better known as the Creeper, also cameo on the first page.  Ted Baxter, from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, almost appears.


There is some degree of story in this one, as Ambush Bug works on his suit, and shorts it out.


A running gag with the character is the origin story, which always involves a person named Irwin Schwab, but otherwise is a pastiche of other heroes origins.  Ambush Bug relates one of these absurd stories to Superman.


Superman dismisses it as nonsense, until he realizes Ambush Bug just told him his own origin.


E. Nelson Bridwell, Alex Saviuk and Dennis Jensen give Mr. Mxyzptlk a yen for the boob tube in the second story in this issue.  The 5th dimensional imp demands his own television show on WGBS, but Morgan Edge refuses.


So Mr. Mxyzptlk wreaks havoc with the networks programming.  Although the story posits this as a bad thing, in reality I’m sure the ratings went through the roof, as everyone tuned in to see what crazy shit was going to happen.  Anyway, Mxyzptlk has made saying, or even writing, his name backwards impossible for anyone.


Superman gets around this by thinking of his Bizarro World counterpart, Kltpzyxm, when setting up his trap.


The issue is rounded out by a Jimmy Olsen adventure, by Craig Boldman, Howard Bender and Pablo Marcos.


Hoping to save a falling girl, Jimmy drinks from an old vial of his Elastic Lad serum, but it turns him into a big blob instead.


He is unable to speak, and is treated as a monster, even by his date for the evening.  Superman figures out what has happened, the serum was corrupted by a radioactive substance it sat next to.  He cures Jimmy in time to still have his planned date, but the girl’s reaction, freaking out just because he metamorphosized, makes it clear this woman is not up to Jimmy Olsen’s speed.

Action 560 – Superman vs John Doe, and Ambush Bug begins


Ambush Bug steals the Giffen cover of Action 560 (Oct. 84).  Oh, go and sulk, Superman, it’s not as if you have a minimum of three other cover appearances this month.


The Superman story in the issue, by Kupperberg, Saviuk and Hunt, is decent enough.  John Doe is a former prisoner, who feels he was wrongfully jailed.  It sounds good at the start, but as the tale progresses we get the sense that he was guilty, and just refuses to take responsibility.

At any rate, with some nifty energy cuffs he is able to destroy the buildings of the justice system, and send Superman flying.


John Doe has acquired these through the Monitor, one of his many cameos in the months leading up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.


Of course, once Superman is prepared for the effect of the cuffs, he is able to withstand it, and shatter them.


But who cares about that story?  Ambush Bug steals the interior, the same way he stole the cover, in this story by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming and Bob Oskner.  This is Ambush Bug’s first solo outing, although Superman appears throughout the story, an follows his appearance in Supergirl a few months earlier.

Ambush Bug has opened a detective agency in Metropolis, and Superman comes to check it out, as Clark Kent.


Ambush Bug sees through that disguise right away, although he doesn’t actually deduce that Clark Kent is his secret identity.  The story strikes just the perfect notes of chaos and comedy.


And though Superman is the butt of much of the humour, the story is not demeaning to the character at all.


Ambush Bug makes his first appearance as Ginsu the ninja as this debut installment comes to a close.

Ambush Bug gets two more back-up stories in Action Comics within the year.

Action 549 – Superman joins forces with Zod and Faora


Superman and the Phantom Zone villain team-up against the deadly Vrangs in Action 549 (Nov. 83).


Bates, Saviuk, Colletta and Marcos do not start this issue off like a team-up, though.  Faora begins by kidnapping Lois Lane.


Curiously, that was done not only to attract Superman’s attention, but to convince him that Zod and Faora mean him no harm.  They inform Superman about the Vrangs finding Argo City, and coming for Earth.  In the extremely distant past, as related in a “World of Krypton” tale from the 70s, the Vrangs had been the alien overlords of Krypton, until overthrown by Val-Lor.  The Vrangs have come seeking vengeance.


The piece of jewel kryptonite, able to focus and empower the thoughts of the Phantom Zone villains, turns out to be the perfect bomb.


While Superman is still on the Vrang ship, Zod and Faora set off the kryptonite,even though its destruction will force them back into the Zone.  This way, they can get rid of the Vrangs and Superman at once.   Except Superman sees what they are up to, and gets off the ship on time.

So the villains not only save the day, but re-imprrison themselves.


Action 548 – jewel kryptonite returns


The Phantom Zone villain are back in Action 548 (Oct. 83), in a story by Cary Bates, Alex Saviuk, Vince Colletta and Pablo Marcos.


General Zod, Jax-Ur, Professor Vakox (in this story, rendered Va-Kox), and Faora have been tracking the one piece of jewel kryptonite, and find it.  Concentrating their powers on it, Zod and Faora manage to escape to Earth, along with a couple of no-name villains.  We do not see what happens with Jax-Ur and Va-Kox


At the same time, an alien race finds the remains of Argo City, and enter it to explore.  They lean of the existence of Superman and Supergirl, and decide to head to Earth.


While the Phantom Zone villains prepare to attack Superman, he is busy dealing with some street hoods operating with Kryptonian technology.

The story continues int he next issue.

Action 540 – Rip Hunter aids Superman, and Aquaman ends


Wolfman and Kane present the penultimate chapter in the split Superman story in Action 540 (Feb. 83).


Clark recovers, just as knife is going in for the autopsy.  But he can tell his other self is severely weakened, and he will die if the other Superman does.  Perry and Jimmy are happy that Clark is alive, but Lana is hugely affected.  When she thought he had died, she realizes how much Clark had meant to her throughout the years.  Lois, on the other hand, just takes the opportunity to challenge him again about being Superman.


Back int he past, Syrene and the merged Satanis/Superman continue their battle throughout the issue, the dynamic segments neatly spaced through the tale.


Lois talks about a series she is doing on Forgotten Heroes.  She references Cave Carson, as well as the Sea Devils and Suicide Squad, Ragman, Bwana Beast and Vigilante.  But the one that grabs Superman’s attention is Rip Hunter, Time Master, and he seeks out Rip and his team, finding them all unusually aged.  This is Rip’s first appearance since appearing in DC Comics Presents a couple of years earlier.


Perhaps because it is not expected, the magical defenses that have kept Superman and his friends from the past are no barrier to Rip Hunter, and he delivers Superman to his merged double just as Satanis/Superman defeats Syrene.

The story concludes in the next issue.


Aquaman’s series comes to an end in this story by Bob Rozakis, Alex Saviuk and Joe Giella.

Ironically, Aquaman himself winds up sidelined, as Mera and V’lanna battle over him.  Mera wins, and V’lanna kills herself, rather than be executed for treason.  Mera is expected to stay in Xebel as queen, but chooses to return to Earth with Aquaman.


So a nice happy ending for these two, and the final back-up story Aquaman will have.  It takes three more years before he gets his own mini-series, and a few of those before he gains his own book again.


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