Posts tagged ‘Jim Shooter’

Action 452 – Superman slugs it out, and Davy saves the day


Shooter, Swan and Blaisdel create the Superman story in Action 452 (Oct. 75).


It’s a straightforward, but kind of blah story.  Superman faces off against a man who draws his strength off of those he fights.  So the longer he fights Superman, the stronger he becomes.


It’s not a bad idea, but not executed as well as it might be.  The man himself is a victim, to a degree, of a mad doctor’s experiments.


Wonder Woman has a sort of cameo.  I mean, it is her, but neither of the two panels she appears in show her clearly.  It was while battling her that the man discovered his energy-leeching power.

Superman imprisons the man in Kandor until he can be healed. Which I highly doubt is legal.


Maggin and Grell concludes their Davy three-parter with a high action finale.  Everyone gets something to do as Green Arrow, Black Canary and Davy face off against the global conspiracy nukers.


They succeed at blowing up the base, but Davy vanishes in the confusion.  Clearly meant to make us wonder if this is the Biblical David, it’s kind of a shame that no one ever brought this character back.




Action 451 – Superman gets beaten, and Green Arrow gets captured


Action 451 (Sept. 75) was the first issue of this book that I bought.  I must have liked something about the cover, but the story did not much grab me.


Looking at it now, the tale by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez is really quite charming.  A rural hick comes to Metropolis, following the girl he loves, who has been lured into the evils of high fashion modelling.  The hick buys the bridge from a con man, but then stuns everyone when he lifts and shrinks it.


Superman learns that the boy is actually an alien, with super-powers, though he has no idea of what he can do.  The girlfriend falls for Superman, the first super-powered person she has seen.  To win her back, the boy starts manifesting his powers, and attacks Superman.


Superman allows himself to be overcome, and makes the boy out to be the big hero, which wins back the fickle girl’s love.  Awww.


Maggin and Grell’s story made much of an impression on me, although being the middle part of a three part story, I wasn’t sure what was going on.


Davy explains to Green Arrow and Black Canary that the people he is killing are part of a global conspiracy, behind wars and assassinations.  He claims to have been around for hundreds of years, fighting them.


But he doesn’t prove terribly useful when the bad guys show up.  All three heroes are captured, and kept bound next to some nukes.

Action 384 – Superman wears the Killer Costume, and Mon-El dies


Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude the Killer Costume story in Action 384 (Jan. 70).


Superman follows the costumes to the Fortress of Solitude.  He puts them on two of his robots, and watches them fight until they destroy each other.  Superman refuses to put either costume on.  The evil costume then follows him back to the Daily Planet, and wants to advertise itself.  It uses Perry White, and goads Clark into putting it on.He does, not realizing that he will not be able to remove it.


The costume forces him to go on a destructive rampage.  He manages to put his own suit on over it, but that has no effect.


Perry White proves the big hero.  He puts on the other costume, and comes to rescue Superman.  Suprrman dons both costumes, and while they struggle to control him, he flies to a planet with an orange sun.  Weakened, the costumes can be removed, and dropped into the sun to burn up.

Gotta admit it, the story is definitely better than the covers would imply.


Shooter, Mortimer and Abel tell a very unusual story in this issue.


Dream Girl sees a vision of Mon-El dying, out on a deserted asteroid.


Taking her prophecy seriously, Mon-El takes extra doses of his anti-lead formula, so that he cannot run out.


Mon-El demands to be sent on a mission to Daxam instead of Ultra Boy.  Karate Kid agrees, though Shadow Lass is furious that he sent her boyfriend away, with the prophecy hanging over him.


The day the vision forecast arrives, and Mon-El shows up to help the rest of the team battle some alien raiders.  But it’s not Mon-El, it’s Eltro Gand, a relative.  The news of Mon-El’s forecast death had spread to Daxam, and he took the place of his relative, to keep him safe.


In fact, his actions doomed Mon-El to the very death that Dream Girl saw.  Horrified at what he had done, Eltro grabs the body and brings it to the kind of death-transfer machine that was used on Lightning Lad.  He sacrifices his life, and brings Mon-El back.  Poor Mon-El has no idea what was going on.  When he sees Eltro Gand, he doesn’t even know who the guy was.

Eltro Gand is not mentioned again for a very long time.  But come the 70s and 80s, Mon-El would go from a stable and reliable character, to one noted for his outbursts and mood swings.  In the series from the 90s, it would be revealed that this was the Eltro Gand personality, lying dormant but troubled in Mon-El’s psyche.

Action 382 – Clark Kent, magician, and the Legion go undercover


Dorfman, Swan and Roussos put together a fairly enjoyable Superman romp in Action 382 (Nov. 69).


Clark Kent is writing a piece on a dead magician and friend, Presto.  He is caught by Lois Lane while flying around the room, gathering balloons, and pretends that it was one of Presto’s tricks.  Clark has fun using his powers to entertain Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, calling it magic tricks.


They Clark him to perform at a charity function. As well as simply using his powers to pull off tricks, he also exposes a criminal in the audience, getting him to cone onstage and revealing his stolen coins.


Other hoods grab him, thinking his powers are real, and force him to bring a Superman doll to life, to commit crimes for them.  Of course, he just becomes the doll himself.


Shooter, Mortimer and Abel pit the Legion against super-powered androids in this story.


A super-powered robot publicly attacks Ultra Boy.  He is referred to as the “former leader,” and Karate Kid has become the new leader, at some point during the last few stories.  Cosvarr is an industrialist selling new super-powered androids, as a defense against the dangerous robots.  Karate Kid is pretty certain Cosvarr is behind the attack on Ultra Boy, and puts together an espionage team.


Light Lass pretends to be a buyer, while Shrinking Violet sneaks in, and Timber Wolf takes an undercover role as a factory worker.  Timber Wolf messes up, exposing the Legion’s presence, and winds up having to fight Karate Kid.  Light Lass discovers that the androids are drawing their power from a captive Superboy and Mon-El.


But it’s really Cosvarr’s jilted girlfriend who brings down his scheme.  And his building.  Nukes them both.  That’s one angry girlfriend.


Action 381 – Superman on trial at the U.N., and Matter-Eater Lad on a date with Shrinking Violet


Dorfman, Swan and Roussos conclude their Superman Revenge Squad story in Action 381 (Oct. 69).


Superman’s belief in his criminal activity appears to have driven him insane. He now begins doing the destructive acts himself, defacing a Persian sculpture, adding his head to Mt. Rushmore, and cutting down all the flags at the U.N., making his own super-flag out of them.


Superman allows himself to be put on trial, and offers little in the way of defense.  But the flag pole is the giveaway.  Superman has figured out the Revenge Squad’s activities, and is preparing his own attack.

Foiled again!


A fair amount of members of the Legion of Super-Heroes appear in this story by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel, but it still manages to be small and centred on their everyday lives.  It opens after a meeting.  Brainiac 5 is left on monitor duty, and Chemical King wants to show off his new sky car, giving lifts to Matter-Eater Lad, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl.  Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl have their own romantic plans.  Karate Kid heads off by himself, so likely to work out.

Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl do not get off at the same place, and Jo mentions that he is staying with his parents.  They are usually shown, and referred to, as living on Rimbor, so we can assume they are in for a visit, and that it why Tinya did not go with him.


Then we get to see Matter-Eater Lad at home, with his rarely-seen parents.  His father is an abusive drunk and gambler, and the mother does not seem much better.  Their primary interest is in his paycheque, and he walks out on them.


Coming back to headquarters, he finds Shrinking Violet moping about her long-distance relationship with Duplicate Boy.  They had a date scheduled for that night, which he broke.  Tenzil decides to invite Violet out for a night on the town, and Princess Projectra helps her prepare.


The date goes well, and there is a genuine bond of friendship that grows between the two in their conversation.  The Duplicate Boy barges in and gets all violent and threatening.  Tenzil just talks him down, that he has no interest in “stealing” Violet, and that he should spend more time with her.

The conclusion also sees Tenzil get a letter from his parents, insisting that his father will stop gambling.  I have my doubts.

Action 380 – Superman’s crimes, and Duo Damsel vs Duo Damsel


Dorfman, Swan and Roussos bring back the Superman Revenge Squad in Action 380 (Sept. 69).


The pair who execute this plan actually have to win a competition first, on what appears to be a small planet full of Revenge Squad members.  It’s a popular club.  They come to Earth, and begin to mess with Superman, making him think he is performing destructive acts in his sleep.


In fact, it is the two Revenge Squad members who are doing this, while giving Clark red kryptonite induced nightmares.


The female member impersonates Supergirl, lying to Superman about a test he undergoes to see if he is being affected by red kryptonite.  Superman is left believing himself to be guilty of their crimes.

The story concludes in the next issue.


Duo Damsel is the focus of this month’s Legion of Suepr-Heroes story, by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel.


Luornu Durgo splits into her two selves, sending one on a mission, while the other hangs and relaxes with Bouncing Boy.  The one who left takes an awful long time coming back, and when she does, it is on the arms of Nam-Lor.


The second body starts using a different name, Leilith, and her behaviour has changed.  Luornu suspects something is wrong, and discusses this with Bouncing Boy.  The two wind up confronting Leilith and Nam-Lor, catching them in the middle of a theft.  Luornu finds she cannot even merge with Leilith.


The story comes to a genuinely surprising conclusion.  Leilith orders Nam-Lor to kill Bouncing Boy, but he refuses.  We discover that Nam-Lor has, among other powers, a “hyper-aura” that has driven Leilith to become a violent criminal.  he has reluctantly gone along with her, but hates the person he has turned her into. Nam-Lor leaves.

The story ends, just when it gets very interesting.  I want to see how the two Duo Damsels interact now, but it’s over.  In later years, more would be made of the “darker” body of Duo Damsel, and it’s not too long after this that she adopts a new costume, which gives each body a different colour.

Action 378 – Superman vs the Devil, and Legion of Super-Heroes begins


Jim Shooter introduces a new villain, and tries to introduce a new supporting character, in Action 378 (July 1969), with art by Swan and Abel.


An alien travelling towards Earth gets captured by another alien, who calls himself the Marauder.  The Marauder wants vengeance against Superman, for some previous defeat, though this is the first time we have seen this villain.  He brainwashes the alien into believing that he is the Devil, and gives him a trident with kryptonite.


The character seems supernatural when he attacks Superman, though the kryptonite gives the game away to some degree.


Superman tries and fails to break the “devil’s” programming, but fails at that.  To his good fortune, as the “devil” moves in for the kill, his own mind takes control.  He is, in reality, Superman’s godfather, having visited Krypton shortly before it exploded, and made friends with Jor-El.


It’s funny that the end of the story insists that this character, Rol-Nac, will return soon, and be a new regular supporting character.  He never appears again, but the Marauder, so forgettable in this tale, does come back in the early 70s.


Jim Shooter also pens the Legion of Super-Heroes story, with art by Win Mortimer and Mike Esposito, as the super-team begin their run in this book.

While none of the Legion stories from this period in Action would be considered great stories, one has to credit how well the strip handled the savage decrease of pages.  Instead of large, cosmic adventures with the bulk of the team, the stories now would often focus on only a few of the Legionnaires, and on smaller, more personal events.

This story stars Timber Wolf and Light Lass, and gives Brin Londo a sort of drug addiction, although it’s to a lotus fruit.


His addiction is messing up his hero-ing, as well as his relationship with Light Lass.  She figures out the root of the problem, and tries to talk to Brin about it, but he just pushes her away.


Lightning Lad has a cameo, as Ayla opens up to her twin about her concerns.


We see that the lotus plant gives Timber Wolf some hallucinatory effects, though the art team doesn’t make it look particularly exciting. Light Lass forces Brin to choose between her and the lotus plant, and although his addiction makes him struggle, he does pick Light Lass.

While this story is never directly referred to, later tales would make reference to Light Lass devoting a lot of time and energy to Timber Wolf’s problems.


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