Posts tagged ‘George Klein’

Action 339 – the Superman of 2966 vs Muto, and Supergirl vs Brainiac

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A split cover for Action 339 (July 1966), as the Superman of 2966 faces Muto, in a story by Hamilton, Swan and Klein, while Supergirl is caged by Brainiac, thanks to Jim Shooter and Jim Mooney.

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The Superman of 2966 escapes from Muto’s trap, using the androids to bring him to safety.  He has to struggle to deal with Muto, who keeps his base in the toxic waters.

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Muto makes use of an enlarging ray.  His plans are never very precise, but the art is fun.

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It really looks like Superman is killing Muto, not just sending him back to his home dimension.  But Muto does return, along with this Superman, in World’s Finest Comics the following year.

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Sueprgirl has her first solo outing against Brainiac in this story.  Superman leaves Earth in her care as he goes into space with the Justice League of America.

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Brainiac has a trap all specially prepared for Superman, and comes to challenge him.  He refuses to take Sueprgirl seriously.

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But Supergirl will not give up, and keeps attacking over and over.  Finally, Brainiac considers her enough of a nuisance to use his special kryptonite cage on her.

But the cage was built for Superman’s size, and Supergirl slips through the bars. It’s painful, but possible, and she defeats the unwary Brainiac and sends him running.

Action 338 – Muto debuts

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The Superman of 2966 appears in Action 338 (June 1966), in a story by Hamilton, Swan and Klein, which sees the debut of his arch-enemy, Muto.

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Swan’s art is just great as the future Superman, introduced a few months earlier in his own book, returns.  As with many of these tales, everything is as close as possible, with a Clark Kent-based name, and a job as a journalist.  He maintains a secret identity despite the problems it causes him.  He no longer has a problem with kryptonite, but has issues with ocean water, now contaminated beyond his physiology’s ability to deal with it.

Kind of like the weakness in the movie Unbreakable.  Which at one point shows a similar comic book cover, complete with checkerboard pattern.  Just saying.

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We get some more of the family history of the future Superman, including stupid ways his ancestor’s identities were revealed.  The fact that they just kept on re-establishing new ones, generation after generation, says something about obsessiveness in this bloodline.

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Anyway, on to Muto.  His mutations were caused as a very indirect result of a heroic action by this Superman’s father.  So he wants to kill him.  Aside from a big yellow head, he has very strong mental abilities, as one might expect.

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Muto captures the future Superman by making it look like innocent children are endangered by a flood.  But the kids are just androids, and Muto has the Superman of 2966 in a death trap!

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 319 – Superman finds that innocence is irrelevant, and Supergirl gets expelled

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Hamilton, Swan and Klein conclude the Death of Luthor storyline in Action 319 (Dec. 64).

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Much of this issue is a Kafkaesque trial for Superman, as nothing he says or does has any effect on the Lexorians, who are simply going through the motions before executing him.  Their preferred method turns a person into stone.

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During the trial, Superman learns that no autopsy was performed on Luthor, at his own request.  This makes Superman suspicious enough to bust out of his cell to investigate further.

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The pills make Luthor’s plan clear.  He will be in his death-like coma for the duration of the trial, and wake up after Superman has been executed for killing him.

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Superman gets Lex out of his trance, and even reveals the pills he used, but to no avial.  Oh, the charges against him are dropped, but everyone still believes in Lex.  Superman is forced to return to Earth, while Luthor stays on Lexor with Ardora.

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Donna Storm, the villain from the previous issue, returns to plague Linda Danvers, and Supergirl, in this Dorfman and Mooney story.

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Donna feels she needs to be the best at everything, but has no prblem cheating to achieve this. She gets scientists at her father’s lab to do her chemistry work, and has a mini tape recorder in her earrings, feeding her for presentations.

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Supergirl decides to outdo her, because that is the maturest way to handle the situation.  When Donna spends a lot of money on pictures for a presentation in biology, Supergirl takes the rest of the class to Atlantis for a lesson by Lori Lemaris.

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Donna is even more upset with Linda, and her friendship with Supergirl, after this.  She steals some jewels, and plants them in Linda’s room.  They are found, and Linda gets expelled.

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But Donna Storm makes her big mistake, when Linda comes to confront her.  She admits everything, bragging to Linda about it, but her words get broadcast to the entire campus.

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Supergirl had called on the Legion of Super-Heroes for help, and Shrinking Violet had re-wired her tape recorder earrings to become a broadcast device.

Linda’s expulsion is rescinded, and Donna Storm gets the boot instead.  She never appears again.

Considering the self-esteem issues that Donna clearly has, after the public humiliation of her activities being exposed, and the, likely, forthcoming criminal charges, I expect she just killed herself.

 

Action 318 – Superman kills Luthor, and Supergirl goes to university

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Much of the story in Action 318 (Nov. 64), by Hamilton, Swan and Klein, takes place on the planet Lexor, a world where Lex Luthor is hailed as a great hero, which had been introduced in the pages of Superman, and now makes its first appearance in this book.

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Luthor escapes from prison on Earth, and takes a rocket to Lexor, where he is given a parade, because, wouldn’t you?

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Lex even has a girlfriend on Lexor, Ardora, who he marries in this issue.  They both know Superman will be coming for Lex eventually, and she begs him not to kill the man.

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Lex goes out to confront Superman when arrives on Lexor.  The planet orbits a red sun, so Superman has no powers there.  As they fight, Superman knocks Lex against a pillar, which cracks his head open and kills him.

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Superman is immediately hauled away, risking an all-out lynching.  Lex Luthor’s funeral draws a huge crowd, even Brainiac shows up to attend.

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No one believes that the death was accidental, not even the lawyers appointed for Superman, who does not look happy about waiting till next issue for the resolution to the story.

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Supergirl graduates from high school, and moves away to attend Stanhope University in this Dorfman and Mooney story.  It’s kind of weird, as the last year or so of Supergirl stories have placed so much emotional weight on which parents get to raise her, and now she’s off on her own.

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Of course, the first order of business is joining a sorority.  Linda sees one, Alpha Lamba, where Donna Storm treats the pledges appallingly.  So that’s the one she intends to join.  Because.  Umm.  Ok.

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So Linda is assigned a variety of humiliating tasks, which she turns into popular triumphs.  When she is tricked into having to kiss a monkey in public, the monkey turns out to be Beppo.

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When she has to find a last minute mascot, Super-Horse steps in.  Dick Malverne does have a cameo, but we learn he is attending a different school.

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The super-pets raise Donna’s suspicions about knowing, or being, Supergirl.  She drives her car off a cliff, in an attempt to prove that Linda is the heroine, but she tricks Donna into thinking the car landed safely.  Remorseful, Donna agrees to stop tormenting the pledges, and becomes Linda’s friend.  Hoping to suck up to Supergirl, I expect.

 

 

Action 312 – Clark Kent becomes Metallo

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Bernstein, Swan and Klein conclude Superman’s reign as King of Earth in Action 312 (May 1964).

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Clark attempts to infiltrate Superman’s palace, disguising himself as the former hero.  It’s not a bad idea, and the costume’s bulletproof nature saves him from being killed when he is challenged by two suspicious policemen.  He does get critically injured though, and almost dies.

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Clark is saved by Lori Lemaris, after a fortunate fall into the water.  She brings him to Atlantis,and informs him that he needs surgery.  Clark thinks about John Corben, and the operation that turned him into Metallo, which gets recapped for a couple of pages.  Immune to kryptonite as Clark, he asks Lori to have the Atlantean doctors turn him into a Metallo.

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Clark manages to approach Superman, and reveals the kryptonite in his chest.  As he lays dying, Superman explains that he was not really evil.  He had spotted a belligerent alien race approaching Earth, and took on the king stuff in order to scare them off.

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Then, in a particularly lame ending, the effect of the red kryptonite wears off, and the two become one again.  The Metallo body parts fall away.  Superman convinces everyone that he wasn’t really evil, and everyone believes him.

Good story.  Bad ending.

Action 311 – Superman – King of the World, and Supergirl and Super-Horse start dating

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From the cover of Action 311 (Action 1964), I was fully expecting the Swan/Klein story to be an “Imaginary Story,” but it isn’t.  Superman really does take over the world.

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Red kryptonite splits Superman and Clark Kent into different people.  This had happened before, though creating an evil Clark and Good Superman.  Red kryptonite can never have the same effect twice, so in this variation, Clark is good, and Superman is evil.

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Superman heads to the United Nations, and demands that all the countries on Earth turn themselves over to his rule.  There is some debate among nations, but Superman shows what he will do to anyone who defies him,and everyone gives in.

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Superman builds himself a big castle.

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Dismayed at his behaviour, Clark forms an underground movement to overthrow him, consisting of Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Supergirl has a busy Valentine’s Day, thanks to Dorfman and Mooney.

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Dick Malverne gives her candy.  Boooring.  Jerro tops that with a display of glowing fish. Comet watches, getting all jealous.

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Comet travels back in time and begs Circe to make him human.  She warns him that she sees him regretting this choice, but begins a spell which will do just that.  It’s time-delayed, allowing him to make it back to his time period, before he changes and his powers fade.  But before he tranforms, Comet is found by a masked thief, and used in his robberies.

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The thief changes clothes and takes off with his loot, just as Comet takes on human form again. He puts on the thief’s clothes – so you can see exactly where this is going to go.

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For a few pages, Linda is re-united with Bronco Bill Starr, and they spend some loving, quality time together.  Just a girl and her horse, making out in front of a waterfall.

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But then Bill gets accused of being the masked thief.  Supergirl is devastated, but chases him, convinced that he has also kidnapped Super-Horse.  Circe takes pity on him, and changes him back into his Super-Horse form.  The actual masked thief is caught, clearing Bill’s name, but too late.  He’s a horse again.

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