Posts tagged ‘Daily Planet’

Action 523 – Steve Lombard – alien, and the Atom saves his parents

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Conway, Swan and Chiaramonte weave a story that repelled me enough that I stopped buying this series after this issue.

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It’s not really that bad a story, so I’m not sure why I hated it so much.  It opens with the Daily Planet staff playing baseball.  There are enjoyable bits for Lois and Lana, Perry and Jimmy.  Clark gets picked on by Steve Lombard, but he is also going crazy, playing with people who were not professional athletes.  Then a goofy looking alien shows up, claiming to be his brother.

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We, and Steve, learn that he was adopted, and there is circumstantial evidence to back up the alien’s claim.  The alien is a shape-shifter, who can take Steve’s form.

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But that all turns out to be a lie.  The alien is part of a race of really competitive athletes, who steal the forms and skills of people from a variety of planets.  He stole Steve’s form and skills, but the real prize is Superman.

But Superman was suspicious, and resisting their energy drain, and beats them.

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Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta continue the Atom’s battle with the Calculator, although most of the story is spent in the past Ray Palmer escaped to in the Time Pool.

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He saves a young couple in a storm, who will one day become his parents.

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Returning, he stays small and out of sight, but tells Professor Hyatt what to do in order to defeat the Calculator.

But as with many Calculator stories, it seems finished, but continues next issue.

Action 517 – the quest for an alien grayl, and Aquaman begins

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Gerry Conway, Curt Swan and Dave Hunt put Superman into an alien Christmas story in Action 517 (March 1981).

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Superman is attending the Daily Planet Christmas party, and almost winds up under the mistletoe with Lana Lang, but whooshes away when he sees an alien ship approaching.  I love that Perry White gets a shirt that says “Foxy.”

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But aside from that, this is a pretty average tale.  Superman learns that two warring alien races are competing to find the “grayl.”

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They each believe it is the key to victory, although there are prophecies that it will bring disaster.

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Superman is basically an overseer in the tale, as the two peoples lose their power source, and have to learn to work together in peace to survive.

And Clark manages to kiss Lois under the mistletoe.

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Aquaman’s series moves over from Adventure Comics, joining the rotating line-up, by Jean-Marc deMatteis and Don Heck.  Cal Durham is still around as a supporting character, along with Mera and Vulko.

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Aquaman faces off against his evil half-brother, Ocean Master, but he is simply an operative in a bigger battle against Aquaman.

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Orm lets some of this slip, when he refers to their, supposedly dead, mother.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 500 – the life story of Superman

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Action 500 (Oct. 79) is an oversize special, which does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive story of Superman.

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte choose a big public tour of a new Superman pavilion as the framing device for the tale.  The various rooms give focus to different parts of the story.

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There is also a machine at the exposition which draws out Superman’s memories, so that people can enjoy his grief as he recalls Jor-El and Lara, and his early life on Krypton. But a mystery villain is making use of the device, channeling the memories into a Superman duplicate he is creating.

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The creation of the Phantom Zone is referenced, as well as Krypto on a test rocket.

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The Kents are shown, finding the boy and raising him, both through his Superbaby phase, and later Superboy.

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The story often uses exact swipes of scenes and images from earlier stories.  The death of Pa Kent duplicates the first telling of the event.

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As does the farewell message from the people of Smallville.

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Clark Kent’s life in Metropolis is shown, getting the job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, and working with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Morgan Edge’s takeover is related, with Steve Lombard making an appearance.

Supergirl gets her own room in the pavilion, and a montage of her career.  Other aspects are really downplayed.  The Legion of Super-Heroes appear, in their current line-up, in the Superboy room, but are not talked about.

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Still, Lori Lemaris does make it into the triptych of his loves, along with Lois and Lana.

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The villain room is the most notable – for its absences.  Aside from Luthor and Brainiac, only the Toyman and Parasite are shown.  Brainiac has his story told in depth, as it relates to Kandor.

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The mystery villain turns out to be Lex Luthor, which is not that much of a surprise.

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And the duplicate gives himself away when he relates Luthor’s origin from Luthor’s own, very slanted, view.

As a story, this leaves something to be desired.  But as a Superman compendium, it works.

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.

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