Posts tagged ‘Jor-El’

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.

 

Action 500 – the life story of Superman

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Action 500 (Oct. 79) is an oversize special, which does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive story of Superman.

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte choose a big public tour of a new Superman pavilion as the framing device for the tale.  The various rooms give focus to different parts of the story.

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There is also a machine at the exposition which draws out Superman’s memories, so that people can enjoy his grief as he recalls Jor-El and Lara, and his early life on Krypton. But a mystery villain is making use of the device, channeling the memories into a Superman duplicate he is creating.

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The creation of the Phantom Zone is referenced, as well as Krypto on a test rocket.

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The Kents are shown, finding the boy and raising him, both through his Superbaby phase, and later Superboy.

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The story often uses exact swipes of scenes and images from earlier stories.  The death of Pa Kent duplicates the first telling of the event.

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As does the farewell message from the people of Smallville.

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Clark Kent’s life in Metropolis is shown, getting the job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, and working with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Morgan Edge’s takeover is related, with Steve Lombard making an appearance.

Supergirl gets her own room in the pavilion, and a montage of her career.  Other aspects are really downplayed.  The Legion of Super-Heroes appear, in their current line-up, in the Superboy room, but are not talked about.

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Still, Lori Lemaris does make it into the triptych of his loves, along with Lois and Lana.

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The villain room is the most notable – for its absences.  Aside from Luthor and Brainiac, only the Toyman and Parasite are shown.  Brainiac has his story told in depth, as it relates to Kandor.

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The mystery villain turns out to be Lex Luthor, which is not that much of a surprise.

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And the duplicate gives himself away when he relates Luthor’s origin from Luthor’s own, very slanted, view.

As a story, this leaves something to be desired.  But as a Superman compendium, it works.

Action 390 – Superman running scared, and the Legion Espionage Squad in action

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Bates, Swan and Roussos make Superman turn chicken in Action 390 (July 1970).

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Superman gets chased by a mechanical bomb, which defies all his attempts to evade or destroy it.  He even flies through time, bringing the machine along with him to the explosion of Krakatoa, but it has no effect.

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Superman determines that the bomb is of Kryptonian origin.  Contacting the Kandorians, he discovers that it was built by Jor-El, and is attuned to his brainwaves, and capable of following him anywhere.  Eventually, Superman figures out that it is not so much a bomb, as a device designed to scare him to death.

It was designed as a weapon against alien invasion, and powered by the fear of those it pursues.  Superman had encountered it as a baby in his father’s lab, and it scared him then.  His adult reaction is a result of those memories.  All Superman has to do to deactivate the device is to stop being scared, which he does.

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The Dark Circle are behind the events in this story by Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel, although they do not appear in person.  They are behind the troubles brewing on Lahum, where rebels seek to overthrow a militaristic dictator.  The mission is handled by the Legion Espionage Squad, which is under the command of Chameleon Boy.  He selects Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Element Lad, Karate Kid and Timber Wolf as his team.  Proty II briefly appears, his final appearance until the 80s.

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The Legionnaires infiltrate both sides of the dispute.  With the rebels, they pretend to have powerful weapons that can stop the government’s android army in their tracks.  In reality, the weapons do nothing, it’s Element Lad’s powers that do all the work.

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Saturn Girl heads to the capital, to get a job at the presidential palace.  But one of the workers there recognizes her…

The story concludes in the next issue.

 

Action 387 – Superman at the end of time, and the Legion vs tax laws

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Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude Superman’s travel through time in Action 387 (April 1970).

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He encounters some astronauts, frozen in suspended animation for centuries, and revives them in the year 801,970.

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Travelling even further into the future, he reaches a time when the entire planet is dead and devoid of life.  If those are different.  Anyway, he cuts the planet open and terraforms it, and brings life forms, including humans, from other worlds to populate it and start the cycle again.

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There is a very unexpected attack from Lex Luthor.  He had never believed Superman dead, and left behind a weapon, powered by his eternal hate, to kill him.  It fails.

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Superman travels even further ahead, but Time Trapper loops him, and sends him back to the start. He blacks out, waking to find himself a baby in his parents arms on Krypton.  A few more blackout time jumps, and Superman is back to where he was at the start of the saga.

Which is a bit of a let-down finish, if you ask me.

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Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel share one of the oddest Legion stories.  Every single member appears.  Even the Super-Pets appear.  And I’m tagging them ALL.

And the board is also worth noting, on the first page. The Legionnaires appear in the order they joined the team.  Supergirl is located between Star Boy and Brainiac 5, while Superboy is later, between Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy.

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An evil tax man shows up, and the Legion discover that they have to get rid of one member, or have to pay taxes.  As they do not actually make money by being the Legion, I’m not sure what they would be taxed on, but it’s enough of a threat that they all start vying to be the one to leave.  Timber Wolf and Chemical King are the first to offer, being the most recent to join.

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The team attempt to hold a random draw, but it gets rigged, and then everyone starts claiming responsibility for rigging it.

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Supergirl insists that she should be the one to leave, as she attends the fewest meeting.  Brainiac 5 is not happy, and the Super-Pets all but revolt, insisting that they will disband if she leaves.

Brainiac 5 is selected by the computer as the hero who performed the fewest feats, but everyone insists his mind is worth more than just feats.

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Finally, it is Superboy who chooses to leave.  His powers are duplicated by Mon-El, and he has no romance or clinging pets, as Supergirl does.  Notice that Krypto would resign if Supergirl left, but not Superboy.

Duo Damsel is the one most upset about his departure. Luornu’s unrequited love for Superboy would be touched on again in the future.

For many of the characters, this was the last appearance they have before the end of the Legion’s run in Action Comics.  Ironically, this is also the last appearance of the full line up of the Super-Pets, as Beppo does not appear again, aside from flashbacks in comprehensive Superman origin tales.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

Action 365 – along the flight to cremation

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Action 365 (July 1968) contains the penultimate chapter of Dorfman, Andru and Esposito’s Virus X saga.

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Sadly, there is little that actually happens in this issue.  It begins by recapping the story so far, and then turns into a reviewof Superman’s life, as it all passes through his mind as he travels through space.  We get Jor-El and Lara sending him off from Krypton, and teh Kents finding and raising him.  Lana Lang is introduced, and the origin of LexLuthor retold.

As Superman’s body passes Lexor, the people rise in revolt against Lex for killing Superman.  Ardora tries to get the mob to calm down, but I expect she had some rough days ahead of her.  In fact, we do not see Ardora again until the 80s, although Lexor appears in World’s Finest tale in the mid-70s.

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Superman recalls his time with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later Batman and Robin, and the Justice League.  Lori Lemaris, and then his time at the Daily Planet, with Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane.

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Brainiac, Kandor and Supergirl get a page devoted to their tale.

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He passes Bizarro World, and they shower him with all the forms of kryptonite.  Just before he plunges into the heart of a star, Supergirl flies out Lois, Lana and Lori, to watch and mourn.

 

Action 314 – Superman as the Justice League, and Supergirl’s mom gets sick

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Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino explore some variations on Superman’s life in Action 314 (July 1964).

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Superman is summoned by the Justice League of America, and meets up with Batman, Aquaman, the Atom, Flash and Green Arrow.  Aquaman explains that his octopus sidekick, Topo, discovered a recording by Jor-El on the ocean floor.

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The rest of the story is Jor-El’s recording, as he recounts his simulations of what his son’s life would be like, had he sent the boy to various different worlds – and why he ultimately chose Earth.  One is a world of giants, where Superman would have been very small, and fought crime as if he were the Atom.

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And an underwater world, where he would have been that planet’s Aquaman.

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A low-tech planet, under a red sun, which would have seen him become Green Arrow.

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A world of eternal night, in which he becomes Batman.

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And lastly, a planet on which only his super-speed functioned, making him the Flash.  But Jor-El chose Earth, to give his son the maximum amount of powers.

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Dorfman and Mooney ramp up the emotions in this month’s Supergirl tale.

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Supergirl’s mother, Alura, has fallen deathly ill due to being separated from her daughter.  We get some flashbacks to their life on Argo City, when Kara was a baby.

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The Davners intercept a message from Kandor, letting Linda know how severely her mother wants her back.  They try to make her feel unwanted, so that she will willingly leave them.  But Linda is suspicious of their change in behaviour, and finds out the truth.

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Zor-El and Alura do not want Supergirl to have to give up her crime-fighting career, so they decide it the Danvers who should make all the sacrifices in this situation.  They use the exchange ray to bring one set of parents out of Kandor, and replace them with her other set.  And though there is no clear reason why Supergirl has to leave Midvale as a result of this, she nonetheless bids farewell to Dick Malverne and Lena Thorul.

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Meanwhile, in Kandor, the Danvers meet a young orphan girl, who looks identical to Linda.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Action 283 – Superman punches JFK, and Supergirl becomes a balloon

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Action 283 (Dec. 61) proudly proclaims itself an all-red kryptonite issue, and fulfills this promise.

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Swan and Kaye handle the Superman story, which sees two Durlans come to Earth and create a red kryptonite sculpture, to draw Superman’s attention.  These beings are not called Durlans in the story, but are meant to be from the same planet as Chameleon Boy, so clearly are.  The word had simply not yet been coined.

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Three different red kryptonite meteors were used, so Superman has three different effects during the course of the story.  The first allows his wishes to come true, as he discovers when Sherlock Holmes manifests to explain to the situation, a result of an inadvertent wish.

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So Superman wishes both sets of his parents back into existence, and Jor-El and Lara get to briefly meet Ma and Pa Kent, before this power wears off.  It gets replaced by flame breath, which causes Superman a bit of trouble.

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Back at the Daily Planet, current events impinge upon their reality, as Perry intends to send Lois and Clark out to cover the summit between JFK and Kruschev.  Jimmy sulks about not being picked to go.

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As he arrives for the summit, the third red kryptonite effect takes hold, giving Superman mind-reading powers.  Thanks to this, he knows the two world leaders are not real, and are being impersonated by the Durlans.  Superman knocks them both out, and frees the real men.

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Supergirl also falls prey to red kryptonite in Siegel and Mooney’s story, but this is really her own fault.

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Being immune to green kryptonite, Supergirl believes herself immune to all its variants, and rounds up six red kryptonite meteors.  But Mr. Mxyzptlk only envisioned green kryptonite when he cast his spell, and Linda falls prey to three effects during the course of the tale.

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To make matters worse, these hit while she is out on a date with Dick Malverne.  She grows to massive size, and hides by blending in with out parade balloons.

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Then she turns into a Wolfgirl, while she and Dick are at the movies.  In this guise, she does manage to stop a director, who felt he had run out of horror ideas, from killing himself.  Instead he sets out to make a Wolfgirl movie.

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When she shrinks to microscopic size, Supergirl finds this advantageous, as it allows her to assist in on operation on Dick’s father.

The story continues, with three more effects, in the next issue.

Action 281 – the doctor who went to Krypton, and Krypto shows his intelligence

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The cover story of Action 281 (Oct. 61) is an odd, and unbalanced tale by Bernstein and Plastino.

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The story begins on Paul Pratt, a thief who has a device that allows him to travel huge distances instantaneously, which he uses to create unshakable alibis for his thefts.

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He even brags to Superman about what he is doing!  Clearly, this guy will be the centre of the tale.

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Nope. Instead, it swings over to introduce an Earth doctor, who was working on a method of cross-planet communication.  He reached Jor-El, and together they devised a way to teleport him to Krypton.  Jor-El hoped to work with him to evacuate more Kryptonians to Earth. Where they would presumably rule like gods.

While he was there, baby Kal-El fell and injured his ankle, which the doctor treated.

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Then, back in the present, the man explains that he suspects Pratt is using a variation of his teleportation machine.  Superman then rounds up Pratt.  He likely could have done this anyway, without the doctor and his backstory.  The doctor never appears again.

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Lesla-Lar’s evil schemes suffer a set-back in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

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While Superman is still clueless about Lesla-Lar impersonating his cousin, Krypto figures it out the first time he encounters her – by her different scent.  Good dog!  Krypto sees that the real Supergirl is in Kandor, where she has been enlisted to play herself in a movie.

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Krypto even manages to work a ray that switches the two women back to their proper place.  Who’s a good boy?

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Superman then takes Supergirl, who once again has no powers, to the past. Her powers do return in a time period before she lost them.  For science reasons, I expect.  Anyway, Superman leaves her for a while in Salem, where he helpful actions get interpreted as witchcraft.

Superman brings her back to the present, hoping that the recharge would stick. But once again, Supergirl is left powerless.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Action 252 – Metallo debuts, Congorilla leads the attack, and Supergirl debuts

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Two major debuts in Action 252 (May 1959), and though Superman is displayed on the cover, the story represented by the image is not even his!

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Superman’s story, by Bernstein and Plastino, introduces Metallo.  There had been an earlier version, Metalo, who faced Superboy, but that character made his only appearance before the introduction of kryptonite.

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John Corben, a journalist, embezzler and thief, gets into a car accident, but is found by a benevolent doctor.

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Horribly injured, John wakes to discover that he has been given a robotic body, although on the surface he still appears normal.  He no longer has a functioning heart, and must be powered by a radioactive substance.  Uranium is keeping him alive, but the doctor refers to another thing that could be used, before collapsing.

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Corben gets a job at the Daily Planet, where he tries to romance Lois Lane.

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In the evenings, he makes the most out of the strength his robot body gives him, raiding places for the uranium he needs to stay alive.  The superhuman nature of the thefts prompt the media to give him the nickname Metallo.

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Corben happens to look identical to Clark Kent, and also Superman (obviously), a trait never ascribed again to the character.  He learns that kryptonite will also power him, and searches for it at a Superman exhibit being set up.  With the kryptonite in his “heart,” Superman is powerless to stop him

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It’s all a great set-up.  But the story ends far too abruptly, as Metallo collapses and dies.  You gotta wonder why they were so determined to prevent good villains from returning.

It was not until the 70s that Metallo came back, as Corben’s brother.  In the late 80s, when John Byrne rebooted the Superman series, he brought back John Corben, and was pretty faithful to his origin.

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Bernstein also wrote the Congorilla story in this issue, with art by Howard Sherman.  Congo Bill is leading a trek across the desert, but finds that the fort at the oasis has been taken over by people who plan to rob the passing tourists.  Apparently desert treks are really the in thing.

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Bill gets imprisoned in the fort, but uses his ring to switch bodies and become Congorilla, and leads an assault on the fort, freeing himself, and the other prisoners. One of the better Congorilla stories.

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And in the third and final spot, Supergirl’s series launches with the debut of her character, by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.

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Superman sees a rocket crash outside Metropolis, and, investigating, finds a young girl dressed in a matching outfit.  She claims to be from Krypton as well, though Superman is highly suspicious.

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She explains how a chunk of Krypton, at this point containing only “a street of homes,” was ejected intact during the planet’s destruction.  Her father lead the survivors in laying lead shielding on the ground, to prevent the kryptonite from killing them.  There is no mention of the city being domed, the atmosphere just “came along with them.”  Friendly atmosphere!  The girl was born on this floating neighbourhood, but sent away to Earth after meteors pierced the lead shielding.  Her parents had observed Kal-El, and sent her, in a matching outfit, to join him.

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Only as her tale ends does Kara actually start using names.  Her parents were Zor-El and Alura, the brother, and sister-in-law, of Jor-El.  She is Superman’s cousin.

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Having finally found a living relative, Superman does the tender thing, forcing her to adopt a disguise, and leaving her at an orphanage in a different city to be raised. I guess she should be glad he didn’t send her to a work house.  She chooses the name Linda Lee.

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Supergirl’s series would run as a back-up feature in Action Comics for more than a decade, and would see her leave the orphanage, get adopted, and move from being Superman’s “secret weapon” to a publicly acknowledged hero in her own right.

 

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