Posts tagged ‘Element Lad’

Action 391 – Superman’s useless son, and Element Lad pushed to the limit

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Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito begin a 2-part early adventure of the Super-Sons in Action 391 (Aug. 70).

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Batman and his son have only supporting roles in this story, which largely deals with Clark’s frustration about his son’s immaturity.  As usual, the mothers of the boys are not clearly shown.  The Super-Sons stories began as “Imaginary Stories” in the Superman comics, although as yet they were not labelled “Super-Sons.”

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Both Superman and Batman act somewhat out of character in this tale. Batman is a casual braggart, scoring points on Superman through the actions of their children.

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Batman Jr is a bit nicer, while Superman Jr does his best, despite not having good control of his powers, and being impulsive.

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Yeah, that whole lack of control thing can be a good excuse sometimes.

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Superman takes his son to the Fortress of Solitude just before his 14th birthday, showing him the statues of their ancestors, as well as Kandor.  He has prepared a Superman Jr robot, to help train him, but the boy thinks the robot is intended as a replacement, and they get into a big, destructive battle in the Fortress.

As the story ends, Superman exposes his son to gold kryptonite.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel conclude their Legion Espionage Squad story in this issue.  Saturn Girl is recognized as a telepath from Titan, by another woman from her planet – but not as Legionnaire.  So her infiltration proves successful.

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She learns the government plans, which she relays to the Legionnaires who are with the rebels.  While the rebel leader is a Dark Circle pawn, most of the rebels themselves are not, and the Legion decide which of the rebels should be the new leader.

Element Lad pretty much single-handedly overthrows the government forces, though it exhausts him, and later uses his powers to make it look like the rebel leader has lied to his followers about the government’s treasure.

So in the course of this story, the Legion not only overthrow a government, they also frame a rebel leader, and instal a person of their own choosing to rule the planet.

No wonder the Dark Circle oppose them.

 

 

Action 390 – Superman running scared, and the Legion Espionage Squad in action

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Bates, Swan and Roussos make Superman turn chicken in Action 390 (July 1970).

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Superman gets chased by a mechanical bomb, which defies all his attempts to evade or destroy it.  He even flies through time, bringing the machine along with him to the explosion of Krakatoa, but it has no effect.

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Superman determines that the bomb is of Kryptonian origin.  Contacting the Kandorians, he discovers that it was built by Jor-El, and is attuned to his brainwaves, and capable of following him anywhere.  Eventually, Superman figures out that it is not so much a bomb, as a device designed to scare him to death.

It was designed as a weapon against alien invasion, and powered by the fear of those it pursues.  Superman had encountered it as a baby in his father’s lab, and it scared him then.  His adult reaction is a result of those memories.  All Superman has to do to deactivate the device is to stop being scared, which he does.

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The Dark Circle are behind the events in this story by Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel, although they do not appear in person.  They are behind the troubles brewing on Lahum, where rebels seek to overthrow a militaristic dictator.  The mission is handled by the Legion Espionage Squad, which is under the command of Chameleon Boy.  He selects Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Element Lad, Karate Kid and Timber Wolf as his team.  Proty II briefly appears, his final appearance until the 80s.

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The Legionnaires infiltrate both sides of the dispute.  With the rebels, they pretend to have powerful weapons that can stop the government’s android army in their tracks.  In reality, the weapons do nothing, it’s Element Lad’s powers that do all the work.

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Saturn Girl heads to the capital, to get a job at the presidential palace.  But one of the workers there recognizes her…

The story concludes in the next issue.

 

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 379 – Superman vs a phantom killer, and an impostor Legionnaire

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Another story that verges on the occult, Superman faces a murderous spirit in Action 379 (Aug. 69), by Dorfman, Swan and Abel.

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Clark Kent is among a group of reporters who go to the funeral of a prominent occultist, Dr. Phantas.  As Superman, he defies a curse and opens the coffin, which seems to release his vengeful spirit.

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The other reporters begin dying unusual deaths, while Superman finds his dreams haunted by the ghost.  Clark does not believe this is all a curse, and discovers that the dead reporters had all travelled together a while earlier, along with one who had not yet been killed.

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Clark takes that reporters place, so when the “ghost” comes to kill him, he confronts him.  It isn’t a ghost at all.  Rather, he is an alien policeman, hunting down fugitives who had taken the place of the reporters.  He used the whole curse thing so prevent the public from being afraid of killer aliens on the loose.  Killer ghosts on the loose are fine.

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Superman kind of gives his ok to all of this, though he points out that the Eliminator (as the alien cop is called) could have captured the men without killing them.  But the Eliminator just takes off, and Superman stands around justifying his lack of action.

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E. Nelson Bridwell scripts a decent little Legion mystery, with art by Win Mortimer that is taken up a notch by Murphy Anderson’s inks.  Ultra Boy is referred to as being the leader again, though he is off on a mission.  Mon-El, as deputy leader, is in charge as the Legion’s computer announces that one of the gathered members is an impostor.  Lightning Lad, Element Lad, Dream Girl and Shadow Lass have no time to solve this before they have to run off and deal with a villain, Sunburst.

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During the fight, each of them either has their powers not work, or something unusual happen, like Lightning Lad’s hair going straight, as if from an electric charge.

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Shadow Lass takes down Sunburst, but the group immediately turn on each other, firing off accusations about who is the fake.

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Explanations are given for the various power failures, and Shadow Lass is exposed as the phony, not weakened at all by Sunburst’s blasts of light.  Mon-El finds the real Shadow Lass, the fake was working with Sunburst, presumably to wreak havoc within the Legion.  For some reason.

Action 309 – the Superman family, and the secret of Supergirl’s parents

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Edmond Hamilton gave Curt Swan and George Klein an awful lot of work in Action 309 (Feb. 64).

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I’m including the splash page of this story to give you some idea of the amount of guest stars who appear.  But this is not just trivial packing, it’s also part of the suspense of the story.

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JFK, looking awfully shadowy, tricks Superman into going to a location, which is where a “this is your life!” special about him is being broadcast.  It’s not that much of a surprise for Superman, Clark Kent received an invitation.

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But who will Superman get to be Clark?  Lois and Lana have a robot detector, as they are using the special to try to prove Clark is Superman.  Lori Lemaris reads their minds, and alerts Superman to the danger.  Lex Luthor makes a cameo, watching the show from prison, but he is the only villain really featured in the tale.

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The Super-Pets put on an impressive show under Supergirl’s command.

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Superboy’s friend Pete Ross makes his first appearance as an adult, and we see a very aged Police Chief Parker from Smallville as well.  All the usual friends are there, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, as well as representatives from Kandor.  Among them are the “Lookalike Squad”, the ones who are identical to people in Superman’s life.  This includes the Clark Kent lookalike, Van-Zee, and his Lois Lane lookalike wife, Sylvia. Even the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club show up, one of whom is dumb enough to bring a chunk of gold kryptonite as a gift.

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But then the Legion of Super-Heroes show up, and Element Lad changes the rock and saves the day.  Chameleon Boy is part of the group, eliminating him as the phony Clark Kent.

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Batman unmasks in front of Lois, but is wearing a Bizarro face.  A nice laugh on snoopy Lois, and a way to work the Bizarro image into the story.

So who is left that could possibly have been Clark Kent?

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Why, JFK of course.

Very disturbingly, this issue was released only a couple of weeks after the assassination of JFK.

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Dorfman and Mooney add yet another twist to the never-dull life of Supergirl.

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Linda is being haunted by dreams of her dead parents, Zor-El and Alura, and can’t even enjoy her dates with Dick Malverne.   She wonders if her parents might be trapped in the Phantom Zone, because of their ghostly nature.  She checks with Comet, who can telepathically sense them somewhere.

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Supergirl can find no trace of them, but does find a remorseful Kryptonian, Jer-Em.  He is willing to tell her of them, but Jax-Ur, Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox muddle his telepathy.

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In Kandor, Supergirl uses a chronoscope to review the events of Argo City, her departure for Earth and the death of her parents.  She learns that Jer-Em altered the direction of Argo City’s flight, to take them away from an empowering yellow sun, believing it was evil.  But the change in course lead to the meteor shower that ruined the city.

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She also discovers that her parents did survive, heading into a place like the Phantom Zone, but without all the yucky criminals, called the Survival Zone.

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Supergirl vows to find and free her parents!

 

 

 

 

 

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