Posts tagged ‘Daily Planet’

Action 436 – Perry White’s super-cigars, and the Great Frog debuts

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Action 436 (June 1974) was the first issue of this book that I read, a beat up copy in a barbershop, but it made a strong impression on me.

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It refers back to a story from Superman the previous year, about a mutant “army of tomorrow.”  Perry What has won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the story, and Morgan Edge sends him and Clark on a private jet to accept, to make an even bigger story out of it.  Perry also receives a gift from the two mutant children he had aided, although he does not realize the true nature of the present.

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The plane gets into trouble, and Superman ducks out to save it. Perry, smoking on the plane, which seems weird now, punches his way out of the aircraft, without intending to, and finds that he can fly.

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It takes Perry quite a while to make the connection between the cigars and his new found powers.  But he does make the most of them, both in fighting crime alongside Superman, and humiliating an obnoxious reporter bullying Clark Kent.

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Perry uses his powers to learn the secret behind them, and just in time.  He has only one cigar left, and puts that in his safe.

I waited for years for the return of this cigar.  It took quite a while, but it did happen.

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Elliot Maggin and Dick Dillin are joined by Tex Blaisdel as Green Arrow catches up with Speedy.

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It happens entirely by chance.  Oliver is walking by a park, at which a new band, the Great Frog, are performing.  He sees Roy playing the drums.

This is the first time the characters have been together since the “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” story from Green Lantern, in which Roy’s heroin addiction was revealed.  This story is also Speedy’s only appearance between the cancellation of Teen Titans, just over a year ago, and the revival of that book, a couple of years down the road.

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Green Arrow thinks Roy is undercover, and goes backstage, finding some indications of stolen goods and smuggling.  Roy shows up, and decks Green Arrow, but does leave him a clue as to where he is going.

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He was, indeed, undercover, and the manager was using bands for smuggling.  But he really is a drummer now, for the Great Frog.  There is tension and distance between Roy and his former partner, which is painful and unresolved at the end of the story, making it all the more real.

Action 365 – along the flight to cremation

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Action 365 (July 1968) contains the penultimate chapter of Dorfman, Andru and Esposito’s Virus X saga.

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Sadly, there is little that actually happens in this issue.  It begins by recapping the story so far, and then turns into a reviewof Superman’s life, as it all passes through his mind as he travels through space.  We get Jor-El and Lara sending him off from Krypton, and teh Kents finding and raising him.  Lana Lang is introduced, and the origin of LexLuthor retold.

As Superman’s body passes Lexor, the people rise in revolt against Lex for killing Superman.  Ardora tries to get the mob to calm down, but I expect she had some rough days ahead of her.  In fact, we do not see Ardora again until the 80s, although Lexor appears in World’s Finest tale in the mid-70s.

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Superman recalls his time with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later Batman and Robin, and the Justice League.  Lori Lemaris, and then his time at the Daily Planet, with Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane.

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Brainiac, Kandor and Supergirl get a page devoted to their tale.

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He passes Bizarro World, and they shower him with all the forms of kryptonite.  Just before he plunges into the heart of a star, Supergirl flies out Lois, Lana and Lori, to watch and mourn.

 

Action 361 – the Parasite returns, and Supergirl dates a Kryptonian?

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Jim Shooter and Al Plastino bring back the Parasite in Action 361 (March 1968).

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An alien geographer exploring the Earth finds an unusual cloud, which registers as a life-form.  He brings it aboard his ship, and concentrates it, which restores the Parasite back to life.  The Parasite drains the geographer, and heads down to Earth.

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The Parasite still is aware that Superman is Clark Kent.  He takes on the identity of a reporter, drawing the needed skills and abilities from Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, even from Perry White as he hires the man for the Daily Planet.  The Parasite sticks close to Clark, but only draws his energy from him as the Parasite.

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This plan works extremely well.  The Parasite never lets his presence be known, so Superman has no idea what is weakening him.

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When the Parasite has drained Superman sufficiently, he goes on the attack.  And Superman has been weakened so much that the Parasite should have won this fight.  But the geographer recovered, and comes up form behind, trapping Parasite in the device he used to gather him as a cloud int he first place.

Surprisingly, after two great appearances the Parasite is not seen again until the mid-70s.

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Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger explore the wonders of computer dating in this story.

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Linda gets matched with a boy who seems to have super-powers, speak Kryptonian, and know that she is Supergirl. She is wary enough to not reveal anything, but also intrigued.

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When she comes to his aid as Supergirl, he rudely rebuffs her, claiming to have interest only in Linda.  This really throws her.

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He finally tries to prove Linda is Supergirl, at the risk of her life.  She gets out of it, and he confesses that the he faked his Kryptonian stuff, thinking she really was Supergirl.

And we are meant to laugh as he winds up matched with an ugly girl.

But he was right.  And although he lied about who he was, Linda also lies about who she is.

I think they were better suited to each other than Linda thought.  No wonder she never gets a stable boyfriend, and is content with her dalliances with a merboy, a horse, and an alien living in the distant future.

 

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 302 – Perry White is Superman, and Super-Horse goes berserk

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Al Plastino draws another off-beat Superman adventure in Action 302 (July 1963).

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Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are hanging out in Perry White’s office one day, when the Daily Planet globe comes crashing through the ceiling.  Perry catches the globe, and admits to really being Superman.  We get the backstory on this right away.  Perry has been targeted by criminals whose activities he exposed.  Superman has taken Perry’s place, expecting an attack. But he carries on the lie that Perry really is Superman.

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Both Lois Lane and Lana Lang are dismayed to discover that Superman is really the long-married Perry White, and angry with him for toying with their emotions.  Jimmy Olsen thinks that this will make life easier for him, but Perry White continues to be a hard ass with him.

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The real Perry White has been being kept safely at the Fortress of Solitude, but upon seeing the news that people think he is Superman, he steals a flight belt and comes back to Metropolis.  He enjoys the attention of people who think he is the big hero, but also proves himself, bluffing a criminal into submission.

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Superman clears everything up at the end, after capturing the hoods trying to kill him.  Perry’s wife Alice, rarely seen at this time, makes a cameo in the final panel.

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Sueprgirl’s bizarre love life remains the focus of her series in this Dorfman and Mooney tale.

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A renegade Atlantean, Vostar, tries to kill Lori Lemaris and Jerro, but they get rescued by Supergirl and Comet.

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I really love the above panel, when taken completely out of context. Even knowing the context doesn’t make it any less disturbing, really.

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Vostar takes mental control of Comet, sending him on a destructive rampage, which is assumed to be jealousy.

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The story gets as overly complicated as only a Comet story can.  He travels back in time, passing through a year that saw Halley’s Comet, which starts to change him to human form.  He makes it back to the present before he changes completely, and loses his powers.  Then he takes over the role of Mysto, a fortune teller, and gives Supergirl the vital information she needs, when she visits him as Linda, on a date with Dick Malverne.

Vostar gets defeated, but Supergirl discovers that the real Mysto is not the one who told her fortune.  But the guy did look just like Bronco Bill Starr.  Hmmm.

 

 

Action 295 – Superman goes berserk, and Lena Thorul debuts

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The Superman Revenge Squad are back in Action 295 (Dec.62), in a story by Bernstein, Swan and Klein.

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As with most plots of the Revenge Squad, it’s kind of dumb, and uses amazing technology.

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They have the ability to take over Superman, and make him do anything they want.  Although having him eat kryptonite is discussed, they opt instead to have him become hated by all those around him.  He goes on a rampage at the Daily Planet, attacking Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

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But Superman knew what they were up to, and cued Perry in during his rampage.  They put “Plan P” into action.  “Plan L”, for Lois, had recently been shown in her book, and Jimmy Olsen’s”Plan P” is set up by this tale.  The Superman Emergency Squad wind up taking out the Revenge Squad, while Superman just hangs out, apologizing to everyone.

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Lena Thorul makes her first appearance, in this story by Dorfman and Mooney.

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Lena has recently moved to Midvale, and makes quite an impression on the Danvers when she accurately foresees a bridge collapse.  Linda learns that Lena had long wanted to join the FBI, but was rejected.

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Invetigating why, Supergirl learns a secret that not even Lena, or the FBI, know.  She is really Lex Luthor’s little sister.  Her psychic powers were acquired as a result of one of Lex’s experiments.  After he turned evil, the family left Smallville. Lena’s parents were killed in a car accident, after anagramming their last name.  Lex knows who Lena is, though.  He discovers that she has joined a group of bank robbers, as the FBI don’t want her, and enlists Supergirl’s help to turn away from a life of crime.

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It turns out Lex has nothing to worry about.  Lena had joined the robbers only to infiltrate them, and capture them, in the hopes of proving herself to the FBI.

Supergirl decides to keep Lena’s identity a secret, even from her.

Action 283 – Superman punches JFK, and Supergirl becomes a balloon

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Action 283 (Dec. 61) proudly proclaims itself an all-red kryptonite issue, and fulfills this promise.

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Swan and Kaye handle the Superman story, which sees two Durlans come to Earth and create a red kryptonite sculpture, to draw Superman’s attention.  These beings are not called Durlans in the story, but are meant to be from the same planet as Chameleon Boy, so clearly are.  The word had simply not yet been coined.

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Three different red kryptonite meteors were used, so Superman has three different effects during the course of the story.  The first allows his wishes to come true, as he discovers when Sherlock Holmes manifests to explain to the situation, a result of an inadvertent wish.

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So Superman wishes both sets of his parents back into existence, and Jor-El and Lara get to briefly meet Ma and Pa Kent, before this power wears off.  It gets replaced by flame breath, which causes Superman a bit of trouble.

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Back at the Daily Planet, current events impinge upon their reality, as Perry intends to send Lois and Clark out to cover the summit between JFK and Kruschev.  Jimmy sulks about not being picked to go.

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As he arrives for the summit, the third red kryptonite effect takes hold, giving Superman mind-reading powers.  Thanks to this, he knows the two world leaders are not real, and are being impersonated by the Durlans.  Superman knocks them both out, and frees the real men.

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Supergirl also falls prey to red kryptonite in Siegel and Mooney’s story, but this is really her own fault.

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Being immune to green kryptonite, Supergirl believes herself immune to all its variants, and rounds up six red kryptonite meteors.  But Mr. Mxyzptlk only envisioned green kryptonite when he cast his spell, and Linda falls prey to three effects during the course of the tale.

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To make matters worse, these hit while she is out on a date with Dick Malverne.  She grows to massive size, and hides by blending in with out parade balloons.

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Then she turns into a Wolfgirl, while she and Dick are at the movies.  In this guise, she does manage to stop a director, who felt he had run out of horror ideas, from killing himself.  Instead he sets out to make a Wolfgirl movie.

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When she shrinks to microscopic size, Supergirl finds this advantageous, as it allows her to assist in on operation on Dick’s father.

The story continues, with three more effects, in the next issue.

Action 278 – Perry White gains super-powers, and Supergirl loses them

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Perry White gets the starring role in Action 278 (July 1961), in a story by Coleman, Swan and Kaye.

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Perry sees an unusual plant outside his house.  Having less common sense than one might expect, he picks a fruit from the plant and eats it, and promptly gains super-powers.

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He adopts the identity of Masterman, but wonders if kryptonite will have any effect on him.  Jimmy Olsen happens to be photographing the four known forms of kryptonite at this time, for a story Lois Lane is doing for the Daily Planet colour supplement.

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Perry does fight crime as Masterman, but has more fun toying with the Planet staff.  Still, the scene as he and Clark both find reasons to get away and change costumes is fun.

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We then discover that Perry White is actually possessed by some alien plant life.  See what happens when you eat random plants?

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Superman and Perry White battle it out, Superman wearing the kryptonite-proof armor he devised against Luthor.  But it’s Supergirl who saves the day, killing the plant possessing Perry by using white kryptonite, which only kills plant life.

There are very few white kryptonite stories, which makes it easy to label this one the best.

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A good day turns very bad for Supergirl in this story by Siegel and Mooney.

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Superman announces to Supergirl that, once he and Krypto return from an outer space mission, he will reveal her identity to the world.  Superman has even made a tape showing her how this will play out – which is enough to tell you that it absolutely will not.

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A cloud of kryptonite dust encircles the Earth, and Supergirl takes refuse underwater, with Lori Lemaris and Jerro.

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After she saves a ship, people assume that it is Superman hiding under the water, and she performs a series of impressive feats, requested of Superman, all without leaving the ocean.

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But as the story reaches its end, and Superman returns, Supergirl discovers that her powers have suddenly and inexplicably vanished.  Superman has no idea what to do to bring them back, so he just sends her back to the orphanage.

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Linda is left, confused, but still wearing her wig to bed.

 

Action 272 – Superman vs Mental Man

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Siegel, Swan and Kaye create an interesting sort of meta-story in Action 272 (Jan. 61).

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Lois Lane begins drawing a comic strip about a super-hero, Mental Man, and the woman who loves him, Laura Lovely.  She does this for her own amusement, but Perry White is impressed, and begins running it in the Daily Planet.  It becomes a huge success, but no one expects it when Mental Man suddenly comes to life, evoked into existence by all the people who have been reading the strip.

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Mental Man and Lois Lane immediately hit it off, and she is by his side as he uses his mental powers to stop crime and perform other super-deeds.  Even Lana Lang and Lucy Lane are jealous of her.  No one seems to care about Superman anymore.

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But Mental Man can sense Lois Lane’s feelings for Superman.  Some hoodlums give him the secret on how to kill Superman, and Mental Man turns the Daily Planet globe into kryptonite, killing him.

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But once the villains start to go wild, the whole thing is revealed as a hoax intended to draw them out.  Mental Man was really Aquaman, pulling off the various super-deeds through a combination of his own powers, Superman’s, and help from Aqualad.

In an interesting coda, Mental Man and Laura Lovely get married in the newspaper strip, and the readers lose interest.  The strip gets cancelled.

This so clearly reflects the belief at DC, that Superman and Lois must stay separate to maintain reader interest.

 

Action 270 – Superman gets old, again, and Supergirl enters the Batcave

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Binder and Swan are joined by John Forte on inks, as they take another journey into Superman’s old age in Action 270 (Nov. 60).

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Clark Kent pays a visit to the Midvale Orphanage, encouraging the children to write.  Linda shows him a creative writing piece she has done, envisioning her life as Supergirl.  Clark then goes to sleep, so what follows is obviously a dream.

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In the dream, Superman’s powers have faded due to repeated kryptonite exposure.  His identity is now known to the world, while Superwoman operates in his place.  Jimmy Olsen is the editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White having died, and is married to Lucy Lane, making her first appearance in Action.

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Linda works at Clark’s old job at the Planet, so her secret identity has even replaced his.  Even Lex Luthor has retired.

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Superman finds Krypto, also powerless and being taken away by the dog catcher.

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After seeing that Lana Lang has married a millionaire, Superman finally seeks out Lois Lane, who has spent her entire life alone.

One heck of a downer dream, there, Clark.  Maybe it’s trying to tell you something.  Like, don’t base your entire persona on your powers, and take love where you can find it.

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Siegel and Mooney put Supergirl through the paces in this guest-star packed story.

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Supergirl spends the day rushing from one crisis to another.  Lori Lemaris beckons her to Atlantis, where she defeats a destructive merman, Malo.  Ronal and Jerri cameo in the scene.

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Batman and Robin also call on her for help, when they are trapped in the Batcave by a cave-in.

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As it turns out, none of the emergencies were real. It was all a weird “gift” for Supergirl’s 16th birthday, which all the guests show up to attend.  A bit nicer is the tribute by the residents of Kandor.

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