Posts tagged ‘Jim Mooney’

Action 642 – Action Comics Weekly ends


Action Comics Weekly comes to an end with issue 642, a full-length crossover story.  Superman, Green Lantern, Nightwing and Deadman are all involved, as well as Guy Gardner.


Elliot S Maggin scripts this tale, which opens with a flashback to the death of Abin Sur, and his selection of Hal Jordan as successor.  In this version, we learn that Clark Kent was brought as a possible Lantern, but declined.

The art changes from chapter to chapter.  The various creative teams are: Gil Kane, Steve Ditko and Art Thibert, Jim Aparo and John Nyberg, Curt Swan and Ty Templeton, Jim Mooney with Ian Akin and Keith Garvey, and Carmine Infantino and Kevin Nowlan.


Green Lantern is investigating an unusual military installation.  The man in charge wants no spying eyes, and shoots Hal right in the chest.  Hal lays dying, and his ring summons potential successors.  It might summon a doctor as well, but apparently has given up on Hal.


Most of those chosen are not characters we know, have ever seen before, or will ever see again.  Clark Kent is brought again, as is Nightwing.


Guy Gardner is selected as well, completely nonsensically.  He has removed his ring temporarily, and the story treats this as if it means he is no longer a Green Lantern the second he takes off the ring, despite the mental connection between the ring and its wearer.


Deadman comes to see what all the fuss is about. This is all taking place in a millisecond.  Deadman is able to converse somewhat with Hal, which makes sense.  Superman can also communicate with Deadman, because he can sense this all happening at great speed.  That really doesn’t explain why he can see Deadman at this event, but not in normal situations.

You can tell from the way I am picking at it that I did not enjoy this story.  There was no likelihood that Hal was going to die, so the story was just pointless.  That might have been ok if it were a lot of fun on the road, but it’s not.  And so these weird errors, just sloppy writing by someone who can, and has done, better, annoy me.


After a lot of “what if this guy became Green Lantern?” Hal revives, and everyone is returned to what they were doing before.

About the only touch I like is the theatre marquee being changed in the final panel, reading Action – closed for renovations.

Action Comics returns in a few months, with an second annual to launch its return to a regular format.

And there is still just enough room on this blog that I can do an entry on the Neil Gaiman Action Comics Weekly story that never was.


Action 350 – the Caveman Superman, and Supergirl and the Heroes


Binder and Boring solve the mystery of the stone-age Superman in Action 350 (May 1967).


Perry White gets trapped at a cave-in at an archaeological dig.  When Superman comes to dig him out, they discover the skeletal remains of a caveman, wearing a Superman uniform.


Superman travels back in time to investigate, and winds up in a prehistoric era, with both dinosaurs and cavemen, and even a red sun.

As far as I understand, the red giant phase is something our sun has yet to experience, not part of its distant past.  But whatever, it leaves Superman powerless.


Superman runs afoul of a tribe, lead by Guarr, but eventually proves himself to them.  Guarr wants Superman’s costume, which retains its invulnerability. Somehow.


One of Superman’s robots comes back in time, worried that his master has not returned.  He brings Superman back to the present, and they leave a costume for Guarr to wear and die in, and be dug up centuries later.

I have to confess, I wish it wasn’t Wayne Boring on the art.  Superman grows a beard while in the past, but Boring never makes it look like much more than some shading.


Dorfman and Mooney pit Supergirl against some unheroic Heroes in this story.


The Heroes are a rock band, who dress as Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, as well as a girl dressed as Supergirl.  Linda enjoys their music, but they are really a gang of thieves, who steal from the locations they perform at, while everyone is watching their Supergirl.


Supergirl notes the correlation between the thefts and their performances, and goes to question their Supergirl.  She has also just figured out what is going on, and wants no part of the ban anymore.  When Supergirl shows up to rehearse for their next gig, the boys are suspicious.  She seems to be much better than she had been previously, and they suspect she is the real thing.


They lay a kryptonite trap for her, but their pans backfire badly.  It was not the real Supergirl, just their singer, pretending to be, so the kryptonite does nothing.  Supergirl calls on the Justice League of America, and Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern are happy to help her round up the band, while Hawkman sits, stuck on monitor duty.



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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 335 – Luthor destroys Superman’s confidence, and Supergirl enters beauty pageants


Dorfman and Plastino conclude Luthor’s vengeance storyline in Action 335 (March 1966).


Superman continues to be indecisive, which makes him not nearly as useful as he had been, and people begin to turn against him.  Van Benson appears as the editor of the Daily Planet, while Perry White appears as a senator. Perry became a senator in a recent issue of Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane.  Through Perry, the president requests tests of Superman’s abilities.


Superman fares no better on the tests than he has in actual situations.


But the people running the tests are not really generals. They are Luthor and Brainiac in disguise, making the most of their psychological war on Superman.


But they overplayed their hand.  Superman’s x-ray vision gave away how the tests were rigged, and their gloating was overheard by his super-hearing.


Still, Superman allows them to escape.  Returning to Lexor, Luthor finds an adoring Ardora, with seemingly no memory of the criminal acts she discovered.  Brainiac figures out that Superman induced amnesia in Ardora.  We learn Superman’s rationale for this – that Ardora was too nice to learn the truth.  That’s kind of odd reasoning.  And leaves Ardora in the hands of a dangerous and unstable man.  But Superman is fine with that.


Binder and Mooney begin a 2-part Supergirl story, which sees Linda Danvers become a beauty pageant contestant.


Linda gets spotted by a talent scout while on a date with Dick Malverne.  She is flattered by the attention, and agrees to enter a competition.  Dick has a charmingly cute nightmare about Linda becoming successful and leaving him in the dust.


Linda wins pageant after pageant, eventually making it into the finals of the Miss Universe competition.  She has no problem sabotaging the other contestants to ensure her victory.


After being crowned, Linda finds herself being transported into space for the real finals of the real Miss Universe pageant – exactly as she had planned. She had discovered that the previous winners had vanished, and never returned.


Once again she wins, although this time as Supergirl.  But the “prize” is a transformation into a hideous monster.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action 333 – Lex Luthor’s revenge, and Superwoman vs Superboy


Lex Luthor’s vengeance plot proceeds apace in Action 333 (Feb. 66), in a story that is so much better than the cover would make you expect.


Dorfman and Plastino have Lex continue to play with Superman, rescuing him again, but also causing him to change into a dinosaur-type monster.  Superman is not sure if this effect is visible to others, or just him. And not sure whether it is the result of red kryptonite, or something else.


Luthor then asks for Superman’s help, disposing of a train full of toxic waste.  By now, Superman believes in Lex, and so goes along with it – and winds up kidnapping a train full of police, for which he is savaged in the press.


By the end of the issue, Superman is not sure if he can trust anyone, or even his own senses, and is incapable of taking decisive action, all to Luthor’s glee.

The story concludes the issue after next.  The following issue is an 80 page giant, reprinting Supergirl stories.


Superwoman and Superboy have it out in the concluding half of this Imaginary Story by Dorfman and Mooney.


Superboy wears a blond wig in his disguise as Cal Ellis.  Although ordered not to be adopted, like Linda was, he actively sabotages other kids chances to get chosen, and ensures that he is picked by a scientist and his wife.He immediately begins experimenting with kryptonite.


Superwoman does not believe that he really lost his powers, and enlists her best friend, Jimmy Olsen, in laying a trap for him.  Superboy takes the bait, trying to send Superwoman into the Phantom Zone.  But she and Jimmy get the best of Superboy.  They take away not only his powers, but also his memory, and return him to the orphanage, where he will grow up like any other human.


Action 332 – Ardora learns the truth, and Superwoman trains Superboy


An Imaginary Story featuring Supergirl(woman) gets the cover of Action 332 (Jan. 66), but not the lead story.


Dorfman and Plastino begin a multi-part Superman saga in this issue.


The story opens on Luthor, in exile on an alien prison planet, along with Brainiac, as well as Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen of the Legion of Super-Villains.  They had been sent there a few months earlier, at the end of a battle with Superman in the pages of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.


Luthor escapes, and Superman expects that he will head to Lexor.  A scientist has devised a teleportation ray, which Superman uses, getting to Lexor ahead of Lex.  He is interrupted by Ardora, and barely gets away before she attacks him with deadly flowers.  But Superman has opened a secret vault, containing Lex’s tapes.  Ardora listens to them, and discovers that her husband really is the criminal Superman made him out to be.


Lex is furious with Superman for damaging his idyllic life on Lexor, and returns to Earth.  Perversely, he then rescues Superman a number of times.  Superman has no idea why Lex is doing this.

The story continues in the next issue.


Dorfman and Mooney then begin a 2-part Imaginary Story with Supergirl, switching the origins of her and Superman.  Zor-El and Alura come to Earth on a rocket with their baby girl, while Jor-El remains on Argo City.  Zor-El and Alura lose their powers after exposure to gold kryptonite, but Supergirl is not with them at the time, and so begins her career as a hero.


She winds up with the plain Jane alternate identity, Carole Zorelles, and is the one to discover her younger cousin, as his rocket lands on Earth after the destruction of Argo City.


The story parallels the Supergirl series, down to having Dick Wilson (at the orphanage, before he gets adopted and becomes Dick Malverne) suspicious of young Cal Ellis and trying to prove he is Superboy.


Superboy proves a handful for Superwoman to deal with.  He claims to have lost his powers to gold kryptonite at the end of this issue, but the reader is informed that he is lying.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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