Posts tagged ‘Ardora’

Action 544 – Luthor loses it all, and Brainiac reboots


Action 544 (June 1983)is a double-sized anniversary issue, with two stories, as Lex Luthor and Brainiac each get an upgrade for the 80s.


Luthor’s story, by Bates, Swan and Anderson, comes first.  It begins as he loses yet another battle with Superman, and his robots send his wounded body off to Lexor.


The anti-Luthor revolution that was going on when the planet was last seen must have fizzled out, as he is once again considered a planetary hero.  Ardora has had a son by Lex since the last time he was on Lexor, presumably a visit that did not make it into the comics, or else Ardora had an extremely long gestation.


Lex decides to live out his life as a father and husband on Lexor, and be a good person.  Still, he knows that Superman will one day come for him.  He stumbles into a laboratory form a forgotten, advanced culture, and gets an idea…


Lex performs numerous good deeds for Lexor, including a weird huge pole, going right into the centre of the planet, that will keep it safe from a Krypton-like destruction.


But at night a mystery marauder wreaks havoc.  Who could it be?


Superman shows up to take Lex back to Earth, and he publicly battles Superman in his new armor, which synthesizes a number of power sources, and proves dangerous to Superman.  But the Lexorians recognize the outfit, and are horrified that Lex is the mystery villain.  They shouldn’t be.


Lex fires a blast at Superman that rebounds and hits the rod.  Lex realizes this will destroy his planet.


Luthor tries to save Ardora and his son, but fails.


Refusing to admit he had any part in this disaster, he blames Superman, and swears vengeance.  This storyline continues in the pages of Superman.


George Perez’s rendition of the costume looks great,although that headpiece just doesn’t work for me.


Wolfman and Kane handle the Brainiac story, which brings the character back to the aritifical world he had created.  He merges with the central computer, but loses his android body in the process.


After a journey through all of time and space, in non-corporeal, mental form, which basically drives him insane, Brainiac constructs a new body for himself out of the planet.


Brainiac also fashions the headship, which I think is the coolest Brainiac-related thing ever.


Superman enters the ship, expecting the Brainiac he knows, and is stunned by the mechanical construct in front of him.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 512 – the bride of Luthor, and Air Wave gets his first villain


Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte conclude the story of Luthor’s reformation (Hah!  I’m so witty) in Action 512 (Oct. 80).


It’s the big wedding day for Lex Luthor and Angela Blake.  Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lana Lang are among the guests gathered.


Superman shows up, to give the bride a kiss, but both disappear in a bright blast of light.  Luthor is promptly gassed and taken away by his robots.


The robots hook Lex up to one of his brain machines, and remind him of his latest scheme.  Angela Blake was all part of a plot to kill Superman.  Lex chose the woman, cloned and killed her.  He had the clone infected with a disease that he also created the cure for.  The woman was chosen to be perfectly appealling to Lex.


The woman had been built with a teleportation device inside her, which would go off when Superman kissed her.  He escapes from the trap, and makes it back to Luthor’s lab.  He destroys the machines, but Luthor makes no effort to stop him.


Superman knew something was wrong, because Lex was already married, to Ardora.  I had assumed that, as Ardora had not appeared in years, she was just being edited out of continuity.  Superman “saw” that Lex had had brain cells removed, to forget about Ardora, which got him suspicious of the whole wedding.

This does point out the big flaw in the plan, that it required Superman to forget about Ardora as well.  With his super-memory? Not likely.


Still, Lex is left distraught at the end.  He really did love her.


Bob Rozakis, Romeo Tanghal and Vince Colletta give Air Wave his first super-powered foe in this story.


Sunspotter has the power to disrupt electrical devices, which both causes trouble for Air Wave, but also alerts him when the villain is operating.


Hal also joins the football team, and has to find a way off of the field when Sunspotter acts in the middle of a game.  He succeeds, and not only defeats the villain but wins the game.  Still, the fact that he had to take off so fast means that Sunspotter is still on the loose.

Action 335 – Luthor destroys Superman’s confidence, and Supergirl enters beauty pageants


Dorfman and Plastino conclude Luthor’s vengeance storyline in Action 335 (March 1966).


Superman continues to be indecisive, which makes him not nearly as useful as he had been, and people begin to turn against him.  Van Benson appears as the editor of the Daily Planet, while Perry White appears as a senator. Perry became a senator in a recent issue of Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane.  Through Perry, the president requests tests of Superman’s abilities.


Superman fares no better on the tests than he has in actual situations.


But the people running the tests are not really generals. They are Luthor and Brainiac in disguise, making the most of their psychological war on Superman.


But they overplayed their hand.  Superman’s x-ray vision gave away how the tests were rigged, and their gloating was overheard by his super-hearing.


Still, Superman allows them to escape.  Returning to Lexor, Luthor finds an adoring Ardora, with seemingly no memory of the criminal acts she discovered.  Brainiac figures out that Superman induced amnesia in Ardora.  We learn Superman’s rationale for this – that Ardora was too nice to learn the truth.  That’s kind of odd reasoning.  And leaves Ardora in the hands of a dangerous and unstable man.  But Superman is fine with that.


Binder and Mooney begin a 2-part Supergirl story, which sees Linda Danvers become a beauty pageant contestant.


Linda gets spotted by a talent scout while on a date with Dick Malverne.  She is flattered by the attention, and agrees to enter a competition.  Dick has a charmingly cute nightmare about Linda becoming successful and leaving him in the dust.


Linda wins pageant after pageant, eventually making it into the finals of the Miss Universe competition.  She has no problem sabotaging the other contestants to ensure her victory.


After being crowned, Linda finds herself being transported into space for the real finals of the real Miss Universe pageant – exactly as she had planned. She had discovered that the previous winners had vanished, and never returned.


Once again she wins, although this time as Supergirl.  But the “prize” is a transformation into a hideous monster.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action 332 – Ardora learns the truth, and Superwoman trains Superboy


An Imaginary Story featuring Supergirl(woman) gets the cover of Action 332 (Jan. 66), but not the lead story.


Dorfman and Plastino begin a multi-part Superman saga in this issue.


The story opens on Luthor, in exile on an alien prison planet, along with Brainiac, as well as Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen of the Legion of Super-Villains.  They had been sent there a few months earlier, at the end of a battle with Superman in the pages of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.


Luthor escapes, and Superman expects that he will head to Lexor.  A scientist has devised a teleportation ray, which Superman uses, getting to Lexor ahead of Lex.  He is interrupted by Ardora, and barely gets away before she attacks him with deadly flowers.  But Superman has opened a secret vault, containing Lex’s tapes.  Ardora listens to them, and discovers that her husband really is the criminal Superman made him out to be.


Lex is furious with Superman for damaging his idyllic life on Lexor, and returns to Earth.  Perversely, he then rescues Superman a number of times.  Superman has no idea why Lex is doing this.

The story continues in the next issue.


Dorfman and Mooney then begin a 2-part Imaginary Story with Supergirl, switching the origins of her and Superman.  Zor-El and Alura come to Earth on a rocket with their baby girl, while Jor-El remains on Argo City.  Zor-El and Alura lose their powers after exposure to gold kryptonite, but Supergirl is not with them at the time, and so begins her career as a hero.


She winds up with the plain Jane alternate identity, Carole Zorelles, and is the one to discover her younger cousin, as his rocket lands on Earth after the destruction of Argo City.


The story parallels the Supergirl series, down to having Dick Wilson (at the orphanage, before he gets adopted and becomes Dick Malverne) suspicious of young Cal Ellis and trying to prove he is Superboy.


Superboy proves a handful for Superwoman to deal with.  He claims to have lost his powers to gold kryptonite at the end of this issue, but the reader is informed that he is lying.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action 319 – Superman finds that innocence is irrelevant, and Supergirl gets expelled


Hamilton, Swan and Klein conclude the Death of Luthor storyline in Action 319 (Dec. 64).


Much of this issue is a Kafkaesque trial for Superman, as nothing he says or does has any effect on the Lexorians, who are simply going through the motions before executing him.  Their preferred method turns a person into stone.


During the trial, Superman learns that no autopsy was performed on Luthor, at his own request.  This makes Superman suspicious enough to bust out of his cell to investigate further.


The pills make Luthor’s plan clear.  He will be in his death-like coma for the duration of the trial, and wake up after Superman has been executed for killing him.


Superman gets Lex out of his trance, and even reveals the pills he used, but to no avial.  Oh, the charges against him are dropped, but everyone still believes in Lex.  Superman is forced to return to Earth, while Luthor stays on Lexor with Ardora.


Donna Storm, the villain from the previous issue, returns to plague Linda Danvers, and Supergirl, in this Dorfman and Mooney story.


Donna feels she needs to be the best at everything, but has no prblem cheating to achieve this. She gets scientists at her father’s lab to do her chemistry work, and has a mini tape recorder in her earrings, feeding her for presentations.


Supergirl decides to outdo her, because that is the maturest way to handle the situation.  When Donna spends a lot of money on pictures for a presentation in biology, Supergirl takes the rest of the class to Atlantis for a lesson by Lori Lemaris.


Donna is even more upset with Linda, and her friendship with Supergirl, after this.  She steals some jewels, and plants them in Linda’s room.  They are found, and Linda gets expelled.


But Donna Storm makes her big mistake, when Linda comes to confront her.  She admits everything, bragging to Linda about it, but her words get broadcast to the entire campus.


Supergirl had called on the Legion of Super-Heroes for help, and Shrinking Violet had re-wired her tape recorder earrings to become a broadcast device.

Linda’s expulsion is rescinded, and Donna Storm gets the boot instead.  She never appears again.

Considering the self-esteem issues that Donna clearly has, after the public humiliation of her activities being exposed, and the, likely, forthcoming criminal charges, I expect she just killed herself.


Action 318 – Superman kills Luthor, and Supergirl goes to university


Much of the story in Action 318 (Nov. 64), by Hamilton, Swan and Klein, takes place on the planet Lexor, a world where Lex Luthor is hailed as a great hero, which had been introduced in the pages of Superman, and now makes its first appearance in this book.

Luthor escapes from prison on Earth, and takes a rocket to Lexor, where he is given a parade, because, wouldn’t you?


Lex even has a girlfriend on Lexor, Ardora, who he marries in this issue.  They both know Superman will be coming for Lex eventually, and she begs him not to kill the man.


Lex goes out to confront Superman when arrives on Lexor.  The planet orbits a red sun, so Superman has no powers there.  As they fight, Superman knocks Lex against a pillar, which cracks his head open and kills him.


Superman is immediately hauled away, risking an all-out lynching.  Lex Luthor’s funeral draws a huge crowd, even Brainiac shows up to attend.


No one believes that the death was accidental, not even the lawyers appointed for Superman, who does not look happy about waiting till next issue for the resolution to the story.


Supergirl graduates from high school, and moves away to attend Stanhope University in this Dorfman and Mooney story.  It’s kind of weird, as the last year or so of Supergirl stories have placed so much emotional weight on which parents get to raise her, and now she’s off on her own.


Of course, the first order of business is joining a sorority.  Linda sees one, Alpha Lamba, where Donna Storm treats the pledges appallingly.  So that’s the one she intends to join.  Because.  Umm.  Ok.


So Linda is assigned a variety of humiliating tasks, which she turns into popular triumphs.  When she is tricked into having to kiss a monkey in public, the monkey turns out to be Beppo.


When she has to find a last minute mascot, Super-Horse steps in.  Dick Malverne does have a cameo, but we learn he is attending a different school.


The super-pets raise Donna’s suspicions about knowing, or being, Supergirl.  She drives her car off a cliff, in an attempt to prove that Linda is the heroine, but she tricks Donna into thinking the car landed safely.  Remorseful, Donna agrees to stop tormenting the pledges, and becomes Linda’s friend.  Hoping to suck up to Supergirl, I expect.



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