Posts tagged ‘Inspector Henderson’

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 542- Savage Superman robots

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Vandal Savage returns, as do Curt Swan and Dave Hunt for Marv Wolfman’s story in Action 542 (April 1983).

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Lois is growing jealous of Lana Lang and Clark Kent’s new relationship, and demands a commitment from Superman, one that he is not willing to give.  He uses his usual reasons, which does not impress Lois in the slightest. She calls for a time out between them, which he agrees to, but is not happy about.

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Vandal Savage has come back to Metropolis, and is running the Abraxas Corporation.  He has created a small army of Superman robots, which function much as the real thing does.

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This is a great page of art, and deserves to be included.  Superman responds to this disaster, as do the robots. He can tell they are not his own, and is not sure what to make of them, but they act in a helpful manner, so he leaves them be.

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Vandal Savage had planned for people to assume the robots belonged to Superman, so they would accept them.  Then he announces that in fact they are from the Abraxas Corporation, instantly building his own good will.

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Superman interrupts a press conference that Savage holds, destroying the robots, and making all manner of accusations against him. But Vandal Savage is only known on Earth-2, and there is no proof of anything wrong.  He had a permit for the conference, and Inspector Henderson informs Superman that, if Savage wanted to, he could sue Superman for destroying the robots.

Superman is left looking like a hot-headed fool in front of the crowd.

Action 442 – faster than a speeding bullet, and the Martian Atom?

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Action 442 (Dec. 74) has a perfect cover, and the story is exactly suited to it.

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The Johnny Nevada Show is the location of this story by Bates, Swan and Schaffenberger.  But Johnny is nowhere in sight, and Steve Lombard is struggling through as the guest host.  Clark Kent is one of the guests for the evening, although he spends a lot of time super-speeding around.

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Johnny Nevada had been kidnapped earlier in the day, and the ransom demand included the airing of a certain commercial during Nevada’s show, to tell the kidnappers that the ten million dollar ransom was ready.  Inspector Bill Henderson is introduced in this story.  Henderson was the policeman on the old Adventures of Superman tv series, but not used in the comics until now.

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The story has an excellent climax. Unable to find the kidnappers, Superman goes on the Nevada show, to Lombard’s delight, but unmasks to reveal that he is Johnny Nevada, having traded places with Superman the previous day.  The kidnappers don’t know what to think, but decide to kill the guy they have.

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Which is exactly what Superman counted on.  He listens for the click of the gun, and then flies, literally, faster than a speeding bullet, getting there in time to stop it hitting Nevada. Rounding up the bad guys is almost an afterthought.

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The Atom story is also pretty good this month, using Professor Hyatt’s Time Pool.  Pasko and Grell tell this story, in which a huge endowment to Ivy University relies on finding a missing page from the donor’s diary.

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The Atom travels back to the late 30s, and finds that people think he is a Martian invader.

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This was right after Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” hysteria.  The scientist is embarrassed that he got caught up in it, and tears out the diary page in which he wrote about it, which is retrieved by his cleaning lady.  Returning to the present, Ray pushes Jean in the right direction, and they get the page, and the endowment.

The one really dorky thing about this is that it was the man himself who tore out his diary page, and then made the endowment dependent on finding it.

 

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