Posts tagged ‘General Zod’

Action 582 – Superman brings Jor-El and Lara back to life

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Boldman, Saviuk and Schaffenberger share the last in-continuity pre-Crisis Superman story in Action 582 (Aug. 86).

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After having a number of vivid dreams about Jor-El and Lara, Superman discovers that there are two other, distinct, brain-waves in his head.  He believes these two be the minds of his parents, somehow preserved within him.

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He creates clone bodies for them, and is thrilled when the brain-waves transfer from his mind into the bodies, animating them and bringing his parents back to life.  He provides them with human identities, and shows them around Metropolis, and Earth, while helping them adjust to their new powers.

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Superman brings them to his Fortress of Solitude, but when he shows them the Phantom Zone viewer, he is surprised that the villains, General Zod, Jax-Ur, Professor Vakox and Faora, are cursing him, and not his father, the man who invented the Zone and sent many of them there.

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And, indeed, his parents are not his real parents.  How the Phantom Zone villains could tell is not clear, but once Superman suspects them, they drop the act and try to kill him.  They put him in a rocket and fire him into space.

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Superman escapes from the rocket, but spots a familiar ship orbiting Earth.  It belongs to Rokk and Sorban, the compulsive gamblers from Ventura.  Frequent guests in Superman’s own comic, and World’s Finest, back in the 60s, this is their first, and only, appearance in Action.  They used some “free-floating” consciousnesses for Jor-El and Lara, but the bet at the core was whether Superman would be angry enough to kill the phonies, or not.

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The story ends as Superman takes Rokk and Sorban to the “prison planet,” (Takron-Galtos?)  Superman shows little concern about what the phony Jor-El and Lara are up to, loose on Earth, with all their powers. But the gamblers assure Superman that they will return to their non-corporeal state.

 

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Action 549 – Superman joins forces with Zod and Faora

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Superman and the Phantom Zone villain team-up against the deadly Vrangs in Action 549 (Nov. 83).

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Bates, Saviuk, Colletta and Marcos do not start this issue off like a team-up, though.  Faora begins by kidnapping Lois Lane.

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Curiously, that was done not only to attract Superman’s attention, but to convince him that Zod and Faora mean him no harm.  They inform Superman about the Vrangs finding Argo City, and coming for Earth.  In the extremely distant past, as related in a “World of Krypton” tale from the 70s, the Vrangs had been the alien overlords of Krypton, until overthrown by Val-Lor.  The Vrangs have come seeking vengeance.

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The piece of jewel kryptonite, able to focus and empower the thoughts of the Phantom Zone villains, turns out to be the perfect bomb.

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While Superman is still on the Vrang ship, Zod and Faora set off the kryptonite,even though its destruction will force them back into the Zone.  This way, they can get rid of the Vrangs and Superman at once.   Except Superman sees what they are up to, and gets off the ship on time.

So the villains not only save the day, but re-imprrison themselves.

 

Action 548 – jewel kryptonite returns

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The Phantom Zone villain are back in Action 548 (Oct. 83), in a story by Cary Bates, Alex Saviuk, Vince Colletta and Pablo Marcos.

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General Zod, Jax-Ur, Professor Vakox (in this story, rendered Va-Kox), and Faora have been tracking the one piece of jewel kryptonite, and find it.  Concentrating their powers on it, Zod and Faora manage to escape to Earth, along with a couple of no-name villains.  We do not see what happens with Jax-Ur and Va-Kox

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At the same time, an alien race finds the remains of Argo City, and enter it to explore.  They lean of the existence of Superman and Supergirl, and decide to head to Earth.

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While the Phantom Zone villains prepare to attack Superman, he is busy dealing with some street hoods operating with Kryptonian technology.

The story continues int he next issue.

Action 492 – Superman kills his own future family

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In Action 492 (Feb. 79), Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte take Superman on a mystifying journey through his future life.

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Superman encounters an anomaly in space, which sucks him in.  He then believes that he is waking up back on Earth, but we know that this is some psychological game being played on him.

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He experiences a death-trap set by Luthor, with Lois and Lana in separate capsules shot into space.  He saves Lana, but Lois dies.  General Zod, Jax-Ur and Faora are behind this, hovering at the sides of the hallucinations as minor characters.

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They keep taking Superman further into his future, and have him believe that he enlarged Kandor.  Having every event be a bad one might make him realize he is being played.  I like that touch.

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We see that the villains are really still in the Phantom Zone, and Superman is having his life drained by the anomaly.  This line-up of Phantom Zone villains, Zod, Jax-Ur and Faora, is the closest that had appeared in the comics, to the Phantom Zone villains in the movie, about to come out, General Zod, Non and Ursa.

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They make Superman imagine a future in which he and Lana are married, with children.  And Superman kills them all accidentally with a space virus.  This is meant to prompt him to kill himself, but that is what takes him out of their trance.  He would never willingly kill, not even himself.

Free of the anomaly, he leaves the Phantom Zone villains to curse fruitlessly.

Action 473 – Superman vs Faora

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Bates, Swan and Blaisdel conclude the Faora story in Action 473 (July 1977).

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Supergirl gets concerned when there is no word from Superman, despite Faora running wild in Metropolis.  She finds a note in the Fortress, explaining that he has gone into the Phantom Zone, and other information that the reader is not privy to.

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Faora gets into an argument with Steve Lombard, and is about to kill him when her greater scheme kicks in, reversing the Phantom Zone, releasing all its captives, while sending everyone on Earth into the Zone.  Steve actually thinks he has died, until Jimmy Olsen explains the Zone to him.  Batman and Green Lantern are also shown to now be phantoms, while Jax-Ur, General Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox enjoy their new freedom and solidity.

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Faora takes dominance over the other Phantom Zone villains through her use of psychic bolts, but one Zone escapee is immune.  It’s Superman, who figured out her bigger plan, and took precautions, including entering the Zone himself.

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Superman is now stuck fighting against a number of similarly powered Kryptonians, and finds himself overpowered.  Faora is about to kill him when the switch happens again.  Bad timing!  Superman rigged the projector to reverse Faora’s actions, sending the prisoners back into the Zone, and releasing the humans.

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With one exception.  The old man who still, after all this, believes Faora is his dead wife Katie.  He gets to join her in the Zone.

From now on, Faora would be a regularly appearing Phantom Zone villain, almost always included when three or more are shown.  But not the old man.  We never find out what happened to him.

Action 336 – a Phantom Zone ex-con, and Supergirl with melty face

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There is a really great story in Action 336 (April 1966), but it’s not the one on the cover.

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Superman is the titular star of this story by Hamilton, Swan, and Klein, but the real star is Ak-Var.

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As a youth, back on Krypton, Ak-Var had stolen the sun-stone as a prank.  But he was captured, and sentenced to thirty years in the Phantom Zone.  In the intervening time, Krypton exploded.  Superman comes to Kandor as Ak-Var is released, having completed his sentence.  Phantom Zone regulars Jax-Ur, General Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox all cameo.

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Ak-Var wants to stay on Earth, and use his powers, just like Superman.  But the rules are that anyone released from the Zone must take up residence in Kandor – although the Kandorians are none too pleased to have him around.  In fact, the story almost seems to imply that Ak-Var is one of the only people ever released.  He does run into his old gang, and his former girlfriend, all of whom have aged, while he stayed ageless in the Zone.

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This story gives a lot of detail about life in Kandor.  Van-Zee, the double of Superman, takes a liking to Ak-Var, and introduces him to his niece, Thara.

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Ak-Var former gang friends launch a crime spree, and frame Ak-Var.  Being only recently released from the Zone, no one believes him innocent, except Superman, Van-Zee and Thara.

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Together, they expose the gang members as the real criminals.  Ak-Var becomes Van-Zee’s lab assistant.

Van-Zee is not seen again for a decade, returning for a story in World’s Finest Comics.  Ak-Var and Thara have to wait even longer, coming back in the Nightwing and Flamebird series in Superman Family in the late 70s.

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Supergirl comes back to Earth with her transformed face in the concluding half of this Binder and Mooney story.  Superman tries to help restore her features, but with no success.  Comet doesn’t care about her looks (he’s a horse after all), but notices her way of thinking has changed, and doesn’t like that.

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She feels like a freak, and takes off for Bizarro World, thinking to fit in there.  Wanting to fit in on Bizarro World is a pretty dumb idea.

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Linda is stuck wearing a mask over her real face, but discovers that , somehow, her original appearance returned.  She learns that the man who caused it was so grief stricken by his actions, that he changed her back.  And so she ends, happily dancing with Dick Malverne.

An easy out.

 

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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