Posts tagged ‘Clark Kent’

alternate Action 642 – Green Lantern/Superman – Legend of the Green Flame

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I made an error earlier, I said this was intended for Action 635.  In fact, it was for 642.  I had assumed it was the earlier of the two crossover issues, simply based on the line-up that appears in the story – none of the post-635 series are included.  But the ending makes it clear that it was for the latter issue.

Neil Gaiman’s script was rejected by John Byrne.  At the time, it was a hard and fast rule that no one knew Superman’s identity, and Gaiman insisted on the characters meeting as Clark and Hal.  Neither would budge, and the script got set aside.  The story was finally published in 2001.

This special also has a large art team, divided chapter by chapter.  Eddie Campbell, Mark Buckingham, John Totleben, Jim Aparo, Kevin Nowlan, Jaosn Little, Michael Allred, Eric Shanower, Terry Austin and Arthur Adams.

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The story begins with a prologue in Berlin, shortly after the end of World War II.  Blackhawks Janos Prohaska and Weng Chan go rooting through rubble, searching for a lost weapon.  They come across the remains of the Justice Society of America, although they do not realize who these people are.  We see Sandman, and the remains of Hawkman’s wings, but it’s Alan Scott’s lantern that grabs Weng’s interest, and he takes it with him.

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Jumping to the present day, Hal is feeling lost and alone, and turns to Clark for a shoulder to cry on.  Lois Lane wrangles the two into attending a gallery opening that night.

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Catwoman makes a cameo, running into Hal.  But the catkin emerald she was interested in is not there, so Selina leaves.  Exploring the gallery, Hal comes across the lantern, on display.  He is fascinated.  It’s a Green Lantern lantern, but not one he recognizes.  He uses his ring to scan it.

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Bad idea.

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Deadman comes across the confused heroes, and tells them they are dead.  They aren’t.  Not quite.  But they have been pulled into the magical, somewhat sentient flame that powers Alan Scott’s lantern, and are between being alive and dead.

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The Flame’s burst of energy draws the attention of the Phantom Stranger.

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He convinces Hal that he does have the willpower to tame the wild magic of the flame, and get it back into its battery, dormant.

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The final page makes it clear that this was intended for issue 642.  The story printed there uses a similar marquee in its background.

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Action 642 – Action Comics Weekly ends

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Action Comics Weekly comes to an end with issue 642, a full-length crossover story.  Superman, Green Lantern, Nightwing and Deadman are all involved, as well as Guy Gardner.

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Elliot S Maggin scripts this tale, which opens with a flashback to the death of Abin Sur, and his selection of Hal Jordan as successor.  In this version, we learn that Clark Kent was brought as a possible Lantern, but declined.

The art changes from chapter to chapter.  The various creative teams are: Gil Kane, Steve Ditko and Art Thibert, Jim Aparo and John Nyberg, Curt Swan and Ty Templeton, Jim Mooney with Ian Akin and Keith Garvey, and Carmine Infantino and Kevin Nowlan.

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Green Lantern is investigating an unusual military installation.  The man in charge wants no spying eyes, and shoots Hal right in the chest.  Hal lays dying, and his ring summons potential successors.  It might summon a doctor as well, but apparently has given up on Hal.

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Most of those chosen are not characters we know, have ever seen before, or will ever see again.  Clark Kent is brought again, as is Nightwing.

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Guy Gardner is selected as well, completely nonsensically.  He has removed his ring temporarily, and the story treats this as if it means he is no longer a Green Lantern the second he takes off the ring, despite the mental connection between the ring and its wearer.

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Deadman comes to see what all the fuss is about. This is all taking place in a millisecond.  Deadman is able to converse somewhat with Hal, which makes sense.  Superman can also communicate with Deadman, because he can sense this all happening at great speed.  That really doesn’t explain why he can see Deadman at this event, but not in normal situations.

You can tell from the way I am picking at it that I did not enjoy this story.  There was no likelihood that Hal was going to die, so the story was just pointless.  That might have been ok if it were a lot of fun on the road, but it’s not.  And so these weird errors, just sloppy writing by someone who can, and has done, better, annoy me.

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After a lot of “what if this guy became Green Lantern?” Hal revives, and everyone is returned to what they were doing before.

About the only touch I like is the theatre marquee being changed in the final panel, reading Action – closed for renovations.

Action Comics returns in a few months, with an second annual to launch its return to a regular format.

And there is still just enough room on this blog that I can do an entry on the Neil Gaiman Action Comics Weekly story that never was.

Action 630 – Green Lantern vs Captain Atom, Black Canary saves the Deb, the Secret Six ends, Superman meets his followers, Speedy gets paranoid, and Blackhawk meets the president

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Superman can lift an elephant, but looks none too pleased about that on the cover of Action 630.

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Owsley, Bright and Tanghal have Green Lantern and Captain Atom go head to head for much of this chapter.

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It’s a big, but enjoyable, battle.  Captain Atom comes out the winner, but it’d a moot point, as the alien promptly takes him down.

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Wright, DuBurke and Marcos have Black Canary come to the rescue of the Deb at the start of this story.  With people thinking she is a murderer, she is finding it hard to secure a heroin dealer.  Canary saves her from some angry dealers, but the Deb gets away from Canary as well.

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Some lovely art, and a far better story than the previous one, but still not quite up to par.

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Pasko, Springer and McLaughlin bring the Secret Six saga to a conclusion in this issue, as the agency mounts their final attack on the group.

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Carlo winds up getting killed in the battle, so the original team are all dead, as they were believed to be.

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The new team disband at the end, although Mockingbird makes a final appearance, tagging a possible continuation.  There never would be one.

Instead, the name Secret Six would come to be applied to other groups, the first of which being a team of heroes in the Tangent Universe.

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Clark Kent is brought to the secret temple of the Superman worshippers, as the Superman worshippers haters approach. Superman determines that the powers they believe come from him really are coming from somewhere far away.

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Speedy continues his team-up story single-handedly, thanks to Wilkerson and Mandrake.

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Although he contacts the police about the fire-bombing, it turns out the police are in on it.  The story does evoke some good paranoia, as he has no idea who to trust.

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Blackhawk is summoned to see President Truman in this chapter, by Pasko, Burchett and Nyberg.  Recruited into the CIA, they are given the mission to escort a shipment of LSD from the European manufacturer.  At this point, it was considered a potential truth drug.

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But the Nazis know what the CIA are up to, and the Nazi lady plans to disguise herself as an executive from the drug manufacturer.

Action 606 – Hal has no friends, Rafael listens to Mockingbird, Deadman in hell, Superman worshipped, newspapers are evil, and Blackhawk in a cockfight

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Superman gets the cover of Action 606, so that means I will update what is going on in his 2-page series this issue.

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Owsley is joined by Tod Smith on the art as he searches for someone to share his troubles with.

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Hal goes to visit John Stewart, in prison for the murder of Carol Ferris. Hal can do nothing to clear him, and John is still pissed about Katma Tui’s death.

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Hal forces his way past Alfred and goes to see Bruce Wayne, but Batman, having recently lost Jason Todd, is not in a sociable mood.

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Hal doesn’t even manage to see Clark Kent in person, as he is swamped with work.

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Finally he turns to Green Arrow, who one would have expected Hal would have turned to first. But even Oliver Queen gives Hal the brush off.

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Pasko and Spiegle show the Secret Six what happens when they try to learn anything about Mockingbird, or even more about their mission than they are meant to know, as Mockingbird turns off their devices again.

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Meanwhile, Rafael has opened his father’s safe, and found a wristwatch.  It broadcasts Mockingbird’s messages, and Rafael learns that a new team was formed, and old team told they were going to train their successors.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga have a lot of fun in this chapter, as Deadman arrives in hell in a jar, pulled there by a creature who claims to be the devil.

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I think that the man Deadman spots, who is stated as being still alive, is meant to be Nixon, but it’s not a great rendering.  On the other hand, the hell supermarket is really fun.

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Deadman runs into D.B. Cooper, the infamous and never captured hijacker from the 70s.  He leads Deadman to a mountain, the only way out of hell.

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So what’s been going on in all the Stern, Swan and Beatty Superman chapters that I have skipped?  Not a lot, frankly.  Superman has come to the aid of a man in danger, and rescues him.  The man worships Superman, thinking he is a god.  Lots more to come with these, but I’ll probably just update the story every time Superman makes the cover.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg put one of Wild Dog’s best friends in danger, as he writes an article for his paper against Lyman and his moral crusaders.

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The fact that the newspaper wrote against him is proof of their evil, immoral way, and Lyman sends his goon squad out to blow up the paper, but Wild Dog shows up.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos stage a fight for the alpha male status in Blackhawk, between Massie, the Red Dragon’s former lover, and Blackhawk.  Janos wins, and gets taken to the Dragon’s bedchamber as a reward.

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We also discover that Cynthia Hastings is not who she claims to be, and that she and Massie have a past.

 

Action 597 – Lois Lane meets Lana Lang

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The two main women in Superman’s life meet for the first time in this post-Crisis universe in the Byrne, Willaims and Leonard Starr story in Action 597 (Feb. 88).

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Lois Lane is on the trail of the mysterious woman who showed up at the Daily Planet, accosted Clark Kent, and then flew out the window.  Knowing that Lana was also from Smallville, Lois heads there, and immediately hears about the Manhunters and the near-deaths of everyone.

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Snooping further, she comes to Lana’s house.  Oops.

Seriously, I love the “Oh” panel.  The reactions are real, the situation memorably awkward.

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I’m less fond of the inevitable sizing each other up scene, but it does play out far better as the story goes on.

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Clark and Lana do their best to answer Lois’ questions, but she is getting very suspicious, and accuses Clark of being Superman.  It’s Ma and Pa Kent who save the day, explaining the truth, but adding in a baby Clark to the mix, making Clark Kent and Kal-El pseudo-brothers.

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It’s a really good save, identity-wise, but infuriates Lois, when it comes to her relationship(s) with the men(man), neither of whom she trusts.

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Lana does her best to make Lois understand that Clark is a good person, and that he is in love with Lois, while admitting her unrequited love for him.

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Superman catches up with Lois as she catches up with Jose Delgado, severely wounded fighting against one of Luthor’s pawns during Millenium.

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Things are just as icy there.

An excellent story. One of my favourites of John Byrne’s run.  No big action, but some real human drama with big consequences.

Action 592 – Superman and Big Barda meet Sleez

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Byrne and Williams begin a 2-part story in Action 592 (Sept.) that introduces a new Apokoliptian villain, Sleez.

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Big Barda wanders into the bad part of Metropolis, and her bag gets snatched.  Unfortunately, it contains her mega-rod.

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The thief falls prey to another, as things go.  But this one is bad, a former companion of Darkseid, whose innate ability allows him to dominate and control people, and have them fulfill his worst desires.  Eventually, he proved too depraved even for Darkseid, and Sleez fled to Earth.

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He uses Barda’s own mega-rod to take her down, and once out, she will wake completely under his control.

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Clark Kent has been investigating mysterious cases of good health in the street people living near to Sleez, and follows a radiation trail to the creature, who is unaware of his side-effects.  Superman breaks Barda of Sleez’s control, but when he stops her from killing him, she believes he is just one of Sleez’s games.  Sleez takes advantage of their fight to capture them both.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action Annual 1- Superman and Batman vs Skeeter

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Action Comics has its first annual in 1987, as Byrne is joined by Arthur Adams and Dick Giordano as he re-unites Superman and Batman.

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The story deals with a young woman who lives in a shack in the bayou in the deep south, along withe the mummified corpses of her parents, which seems to not be completely uncommon in the south.

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Batman comes to the town, on the trail of a murderer who drains the victims of their blood.   Of course, he is mistaken as a killer when he is found near a body.

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Batman contacts Clark Kent, getting him to reach Superman.  The code word is Magpie, a reference to the Man of Steel miniseries, the story in which Batman and Superman meet.

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Batman is lead from the town by Skeeter, who has a degree of psychic powers, as well as being a scary vampire when she wants to be.  She tries to bite Sueprman.

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But Batman impales her and saves the day.

It’s not a bad story, but there is little in the way of characterization, or contrast between the heroes.  Sadly, forgettable.

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