Posts tagged ‘Dave Hunt’

Action 574 – Superman competes for the glory, and Mr. Mxyzptlk has a son

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Action 574 (Dec. 85) has a great cover, although the art on Boldman’s story itself, by Schaffenberger and Hunt, is not as evocative.

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Superman receives a challenge from the champion of Ostok, a planet that used to hold regular athletic competitions with Krypton.

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It’s all really friendly, and Lana Lang broadcasts the meeting of the two planetary champions, and is later allowed to go along and cover the games themselves.  The hero looks identical to the one who was involved in the last, undecided, games, but claims to be someone else entirely.  He is the same.  It’s so obvious.

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Anyway, the games go on, and each one is very close.  Jenet Klyburn, who is with Jimmy Olsen, running tests throughout, determines that the champion from Ostok is giving off an odd radiation, but it doesn’t seem to be a threat or attack.

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Superman loses the games, and the champion returns home, and dies.  He had made himself young again in order to finish the competition from so long ago.  Klyburn realizes the radiation affected the timing monitors, and that Superman really won.

The best panel in this is the last, in which he expresses sorrow that he won, as it was just another victory, not as special a one as it was for the man from Ostok.

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Mr. Mxyzptlk returns in a story by Robert Greenberger and Barbara Kesel, with art by Bender and Hunt.

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Mr. Mxyzptlk has had a baby boy, and comes to Earth to celebrate.

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He throws a party at the Daily Planet, with cigars for everyone.  I love the personalized bibs for Perry, Jimmy and Lois.  Lana and Clark get flowers, perhaps to reflect their relationship.  Mxyzptlk is enjoying the day so much he wants it to last forever, until Clark makes him realize that he will never enjoy his son growing up if he does that.  Mxyzptlk agrees, and goes home without being tricked.

 

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Action 567 – Yellow Peri’s housing development

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The Yellow Peri makes her final pre-Crisis appearance in Action 567 (May 1985), in a story by Rozakis, Schaffenberger and Hunt..

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With her husband Alvin, Loretta, the Yellow Peri, has opened a housing development protected from the vagaries of the climate by her magic, and Lois and Clark come out to investigate.

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Peri uses her magic to create rapidly harvestable food, but as they eat it, they discover that it makes people speak the truth.  It begins as Clark reveals that he is Superman.  Revelations spiral, until Loretta hears Alvin admit that he never loved her, and married her on a dare.  When Superman and Lois wind up preparing to wed, Peri gets jealous, and things go crazy.

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The story is clearly written for comedy.  And I do enjoy the bit when Superman tries to get rid of the book, but can’t.  Loretta no longer wants it, but Superman finds it cannot be destroyed.  He seals it in lead, which causes all its effects to vanish, for some reason.

The end of the story teases the return of the book, and therefore, the Yellow Peri, but Crisis wiped all that out.

She does appear again, though not for a very long time, making her next appearance in the miniseries 52.

Action 562 – Queen Bee meets King Alexander

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Alexander the Great, aka the Planeteer returns, now calling himself King Alexander, in the Rozakis, Schaffenberger and Hunt story in Action 562 (Dec. 84).

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The story has a subplot about Steve Lombard,who was fired from WGBS by Morgan Edge in the pages of Superman.  He is starring in a production of Damn Yankees, and has sent opening night tickets to Clark, Lana, Jimmy and Perry White.  Perry actually winds up stopping a pair of robbers during the show, and his wife Alice gets a small role.

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Queen Bee gets most of the attention in the story.  She has been causing magnetic anomalies throughout Metropolis.  She has found an immortality serum that needs a constant recharge of magnetic energy to allow her to stay mobile.

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And who should also be back in Metropolis but the magnetically powered Alexander?

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They hit it off, and Alexander thinks its true love and world conquest, unaware that he is being drugged, and his power drained, by Zazzala.

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Mind you, even when Superman explains to him what is going on, he just chooses not to believe it.  He has fallen hard.  Superman uses the couple’s magnetism against them.

This is the final appearance of Alexander the Great aka Planeteer aka King Alexander, and the Queen Bee is next seen in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

And Steve Lombard’s revival of Damn Yankees closes after one night.

Action 560 – Superman vs John Doe, and Ambush Bug begins

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Ambush Bug steals the Giffen cover of Action 560 (Oct. 84).  Oh, go and sulk, Superman, it’s not as if you have a minimum of three other cover appearances this month.

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The Superman story in the issue, by Kupperberg, Saviuk and Hunt, is decent enough.  John Doe is a former prisoner, who feels he was wrongfully jailed.  It sounds good at the start, but as the tale progresses we get the sense that he was guilty, and just refuses to take responsibility.

At any rate, with some nifty energy cuffs he is able to destroy the buildings of the justice system, and send Superman flying.

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John Doe has acquired these through the Monitor, one of his many cameos in the months leading up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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Of course, once Superman is prepared for the effect of the cuffs, he is able to withstand it, and shatter them.

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But who cares about that story?  Ambush Bug steals the interior, the same way he stole the cover, in this story by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming and Bob Oskner.  This is Ambush Bug’s first solo outing, although Superman appears throughout the story, an follows his appearance in Supergirl a few months earlier.

Ambush Bug has opened a detective agency in Metropolis, and Superman comes to check it out, as Clark Kent.

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Ambush Bug sees through that disguise right away, although he doesn’t actually deduce that Clark Kent is his secret identity.  The story strikes just the perfect notes of chaos and comedy.

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And though Superman is the butt of much of the humour, the story is not demeaning to the character at all.

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Ambush Bug makes his first appearance as Ginsu the ninja as this debut installment comes to a close.

Ambush Bug gets two more back-up stories in Action Comics within the year.

Action 559 – The Yellow Peri comes back

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The Yellow Peri, a magic user that had caused problems for Superboy a couple of years earlier in his book, returns to cause trouble for Superman in the Rozakis, Schaffenberger and Hunt story in Action 559 (Sept. 84).

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Loretta is now married to Alvin Grant, a real creep who married her to win a bet with his friends.  her magic book just comes out of the sky, crashing through their ceiling one day.  With the book in her hands, she can make pretty much anything happen.  Alvin thinks of all the money he can make off of her.

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She believes that they are going around being helpful, stopping disasters and cleaning up polluted areas, but Alvin is exploiting everything to make money.  It’s not illegal, but it goes against the normal code of heroes.  Superman is watchful.

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Trying to get him out of the way, Alvin makes it look like Superman is trying to kill him, in hopes that Loretta will kill Superman.  But that doesn’t work.

It’s like a bizarre version of Bewitched, but not a funny one, though I think it’s trying to be.

Not having broken any laws, nothing happens to Alvin, and the couple return a few months down the road.

Action 557 – Terra-Man gets bored

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Kupperberg, Swan and Hunt give Terra-Man his last major pre-Crisis appearance in Action 557 (July 1984).

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The story begins with a wild west showdown between Terra-Man and Superman, although we learn that this is just a robot in a robot town, which Terra-Man uses to amuse himself.  But he is bored, and comes to Earth to perform a series of pointless robberies, stealing the same paintings over and over, just to bait Superman.

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Terra-Man leaves word as to where the paintings are located, and then, while Lana Lang broadcasts their retrieval by Inspector Henderson, Terra-Man bursts in to steal them again, live on tv.

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The mid-air robbery is fun, and I wouldn’t have minded this sequence extended to be a story unto itself.  At least it serves as the climax to this tale.

Terra-Man has only cameos between now and the reboot of Superman.  And despite a couple of efforts at re-booting this character, the original remains the best.

 

Action 555 – Superman vs the Parasite, but where is Supergirl?

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Action 555 (May 1984) sure looks like a story between Superman and Supergirl, with the Parasite being involved to a lesser degree.  That’s what the cover implies.

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But it is not in any way what Kupperberg, Swan and Hunt deliver.  The Parasite does return, and can still track Superman as Clark Kent.  The Parasite drains his energy and they fight and fight.  Parasite traps Superman to use him as a battery, but Superman breaks free and gets the best of the monster.  And all the while one keeps waiting for Supergirl to show up.

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She finally does, at the very end.  She does have a brief cameo earlier in the story, I will admit that.  And the Parasite story, and the Superman/Supergirl team-up does continue into the following issue of Supergirl.

This is a perfect example of the kind of covers I hate, that completely misrepresent a story, and really ought to be the cover for the next chapter of the tale.

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