Posts tagged ‘Cosmic Boy’

Action 389 – Superman turns jock, and vengeance against an unknown Legionnaire

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Leo Dorfman joins Curt Swan and George Roussos for Action 389 (June 1970).

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Clark Kent heads out to write a story about spring training for the baseball team in Metropolis, when he suddenly decides to start playing as Superman.

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Over the next few days, Superman takes up a variety of sports, always sending some piece of equipment high into the sky.  Jimmy Olsen thinks Superman is just showing off.  After all their years together, Jimmy should know better.

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What appeared to be pointless actions were actually a clever plan to forestall an alien invasion, by using the sports equipment to send false information to the alien’s sensors.

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Cary Bates takes their reins of the Legion of Super-Heroes series with this issue, joining Win Mortimer and Jack Abel.

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The story deals with a severed robotic head, seeking vengeance against the Legionnaire who decapitated him.  The best sequence is the flashback, as the robot experiences the effects of the various members’ powers, without seeing the Legionnaires themselves.

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It turns out his severed circuits are faulty.  He saw a composite formed of both Cosmic Boy and Chemical King, so he had been hunting a member who did not actually exist.  The robot tries to blow itself up in anger, but Shrinking Violet managed to get into the head and deactivate it.

Not a mind-blowing story, but decent. And it uses Chemical King, who rarely got featured.

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Action 388 – Sgt. Rock fights Superman over Lois Lane

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Bates, Swan and Roussos attempt to re-capture the joyous insanity of the early 60s Superman stories in Action 388 (May 1970).

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The story, such as it is, has Superman come back to Earth after a mission in space, and find that everything has turned crazy.  Sgt. Rock is his romantic rival for Lois Lane.  Every panel holds bizarre details, which are occasionally humourous.  There are also a few cameos – note Enemy Ace flying by in the last panel above.

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Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bizarro all appear in the tale, though none are the villain of the story.

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The Legion make a cameo, in probably the most serious couple of panels, as Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl warn Superman that Lois Lane is an idiot.

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There is an explanation, of sorts. Superman has wound up on a weird mirror-world, thanks to a bumbling scientist.  They both return to the real Earth at story’s end.

It’s not a bad story. It’s not as funny as they would have liked.  If anything, it shows what an achievement the early 60s Superman stories were.

Action 387 – Superman at the end of time, and the Legion vs tax laws

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Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude Superman’s travel through time in Action 387 (April 1970).

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He encounters some astronauts, frozen in suspended animation for centuries, and revives them in the year 801,970.

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Travelling even further into the future, he reaches a time when the entire planet is dead and devoid of life.  If those are different.  Anyway, he cuts the planet open and terraforms it, and brings life forms, including humans, from other worlds to populate it and start the cycle again.

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There is a very unexpected attack from Lex Luthor.  He had never believed Superman dead, and left behind a weapon, powered by his eternal hate, to kill him.  It fails.

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Superman travels even further ahead, but Time Trapper loops him, and sends him back to the start. He blacks out, waking to find himself a baby in his parents arms on Krypton.  A few more blackout time jumps, and Superman is back to where he was at the start of the saga.

Which is a bit of a let-down finish, if you ask me.

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Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel share one of the oddest Legion stories.  Every single member appears.  Even the Super-Pets appear.  And I’m tagging them ALL.

And the board is also worth noting, on the first page. The Legionnaires appear in the order they joined the team.  Supergirl is located between Star Boy and Brainiac 5, while Superboy is later, between Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy.

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An evil tax man shows up, and the Legion discover that they have to get rid of one member, or have to pay taxes.  As they do not actually make money by being the Legion, I’m not sure what they would be taxed on, but it’s enough of a threat that they all start vying to be the one to leave.  Timber Wolf and Chemical King are the first to offer, being the most recent to join.

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The team attempt to hold a random draw, but it gets rigged, and then everyone starts claiming responsibility for rigging it.

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Supergirl insists that she should be the one to leave, as she attends the fewest meeting.  Brainiac 5 is not happy, and the Super-Pets all but revolt, insisting that they will disband if she leaves.

Brainiac 5 is selected by the computer as the hero who performed the fewest feats, but everyone insists his mind is worth more than just feats.

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Finally, it is Superboy who chooses to leave.  His powers are duplicated by Mon-El, and he has no romance or clinging pets, as Supergirl does.  Notice that Krypto would resign if Supergirl left, but not Superboy.

Duo Damsel is the one most upset about his departure. Luornu’s unrequited love for Superboy would be touched on again in the future.

For many of the characters, this was the last appearance they have before the end of the Legion’s run in Action Comics.  Ironically, this is also the last appearance of the full line up of the Super-Pets, as Beppo does not appear again, aside from flashbacks in comprehensive Superman origin tales.

 

Action 386 – Superman put out to pasture, and the impostor returns

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Superman continues travelling forward in time in the second part of the story, by Bates, Swan and Roussos, in Action 386 (March 1970).

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Superman time jumps forward, and winds up in an era where all super-powers have been outlawed, following a huge war of super-powered people.

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Superman winds up exiled to a planet where all the other super-people have been sent.  King of the retirement home.

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He does get everyone to work together, and show the world that old super-heroes have something to offer.  But then he just time jumps again, as the Time Trapper watches, enjoying it all.

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Uli Algor, the woman who impersonated Shadow Lass, returns in this story by Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel.  It begins on Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, which I believe is the first time that entire name and description are used.

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Despite the scary name, they are using feel good gem therapy, it seems, to rehabilitate criminals.  It does work on some, but Uli had conditioned herself to resist it.

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Returning to Earth,she sets out to avenge her defeat against the Legion.  She runs into two couples in the park, challenges, and defeats Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Night Girl, with a device that enables her to turn the heroes powers against them.

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That might have been enough for some, but not for Uli.  She presses her luck, and challenges another group of Legionnaires.  Karate Kid, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl accept her challenge, and head out to Talus, an asteroid of junked space ships.  This is the only appearance of Talus until it becomes the headquarters of the Legion, in the early 90s.

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Uli uses her weapon successfully against three of the team, but she waits as Ultra Boy approaches her, to see which of his repertoire of one-at-a-time powers he will use.  And Ultra Boy just runs up and decks her, using nothing but his own strength.

Uli heads back to Takron-Galtos.  We never hear from her again.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 289 – Supergirl tries to hook up Superman

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A few significant developments, and some quasi-incest, are the hallmarks of this classic tale by Siegel and Mooney, in Action 289 (June 1962).

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After Linda watches a romantic movie with her parents,she decides that Superman needs a wife, and that neither Lois Lane nor Lana Lang is the right one for her cousin.  Her parents warn her not to meddle, but she pays them no mind.

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Her first attempt has her try to match up Superman with Helen of Troy.  After that fails, she leads Superman into the 30th century, to see the Legion of Super-Heroes when they are grown up.  This is the first “Adult Legion” sequence.  Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, Phantom Girl, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy and Triplicate Girl are all shown as adults, but the important one, for Supergirl, is Saturn Girl.  Sparks do fly between her and Superman when they kiss under the mistletoe.

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But Lightning Lad steps in and calls a halt to that.  For the first time, we learn that Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad will get married at some point.

Oh, and in a continuity-defying act, Superman and Supergirl invent flight rings for the Legion, to replace the ugly flight belts.  The flight rings immediately start being used in stories about the teenaged versions of these characters.

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Supergirl confesses her plans to find Superman a girlfriend.  Superman explains that he would want someone exactly like her.  But they can’t be a couple, because they are cousins.  Of course, some cultures allow cousins to marry.  But not Kryptonians.  Superman has clearly thought a lot about this.

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So together they search the universe, and manage to find a super-powered double of Supergirl, Luma Lynai, on the planet Staryl.  Superman and this twin of Supergirl hit it off, but she cannot maintain her powers under Earth’s sun, and he will lose his under Staryl’s, so they split.

So Superman and Supergirl decide to move to Kentucky where they marry and settle down.

No, they don’t do that.

But you know they want to.

Action 287 – Superman’s bad dreams, and Supergirl kills

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The second half of the Superman Revenge Squad story, in Action 287 (April 1962) never quite lives up to the joyous insanity of the first half, though Swan and Klein’s art remains superb.

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Superman has one long dream, which sees him become a criminal against his will.  He is hunted by the police, and Perry White.

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Finally the payoff comes, as the Revenge Squad attack Earth right in front of Superman, and hope that he will think it was just a dream.

Really?  That was the plan?

They deserved to lose.

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Now, onto a story that I have so much to say about.  Siegel and Mooney’s deadly Supergirl tale.

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Linda Danvers is invited to join a Superman fan club, and does. Lois Lane has been brought in to give a talk.  She proves more insightful than usual, as she pegs Linda as looking identical to Supergirl.

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Returning home, Linda sees that her model of the Legion Clubhouse is ringing.  That alerts her to look at the Legion figures on her bookshelf, which are flashing, which means they want her to come to help them.  You’d think she could do without being alerted to look at the glowing figures on the bookshelf, but apparently not.

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She gets to the 30th century just as Legion are performing live on 3D television.  It’s being watched in “millions of homes,” but for some reason they chose to show us this family, who cannot say anything interesting.

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A positive energy being, who is a transformed scientist, is wreaking havoc in space, as is a negative energy bird.  That’s why the Legion called on her.  She sets them up to take each other out.  In other words, sets them up to kill each other.  Pretty much the same as just killing them herself.  And the story makes it clear that the positive being still has some degree of the scientist’s sentience in it.

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But whatever. Moving on, we get introduced to Whizzy.  This super-powered cat wears a collar that proclaims him to be the descendant of Streaky, and he claims to have acquired his ancestor’s powers through evolution. Which is extremely unlikely, given that Streaky’s powers are a temporary effect from exposure to x-kryptonite.

Oh, and we see an android store, where a woman wants an android nanny who looks just like her, so her children will not be able to tell them apart.  Yes, because she is clearly as heartless as the android.

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Oh, gosh, there’s more.  The Legionnaires lose their powers as a result of the positive/negative explosion, and Supergirl uses her powers to make it look like they have not.  But they aren’t really the Legionnaires, they are evil impostors, a chameleon race.  Which likely means they are also Durlans, from Chameleon Boy’s homeworld.

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They reveal themselves to Supergirl, and send her and Whizzy into the Phantom Zone.

Darned unfriendly.

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But everything works out in the end, as she gets Whizzy to telepathically order a chameleon android, and…

Can I just stop now?

No, because I must point out that this is the one and only appearance of Whizzy.

 

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