Posts tagged ‘Justice League of America’

Action 595 – Superman’s ghost vs the Silver Banshee

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Byrne and Williams introduce a new villain for Superman, and a mysterious ghost star, in Action 595 (Dec. 87).

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Maggie Sawyer, the head of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, and her second in command, Dan Turpin, had both been introduced in the pages of Superman in the last year, and have their first appearances in Action as they pursue the Silver Banshee, a woman who appears to be able to kill with her touch, as she searches bookstores in the city.

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Superman’s attention gets drawn.  The Banshee is unable to kill a man who she thought she had already attacked, an important clue to the nature of her powers.  She has no such trouble with Superman.

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And leaves him lying dead on the ground.  It’s not her touch that is fatal, it’s her voice.  Which is kind of obvious, if you know her name is Silver Banshee.

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Lois Lane and Lex Luthor are both shocked to hear about Superman’s death.  Lois actually handles it better, Lex is so jealous that he did not kill him.  The Justice League are mournful, and we see Batman, Black Canary and the Martian Manhunter.

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Perry White chokes on his words as Superman’s ghost visibly rises from his coffin during the funeral.

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Superman’s ghost fares much better than Superman did against the Silver Banshee.

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Her frustration leads to a scream that seems to destroy her, but there is clearly much more to this villain, and she returns in the pages of Superman within the year.

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The Martian Manhunter was really the ghost.  Superman was almost killed by the Banshee.  Her power seemed cued to identity, the reason she was not able to kill the man she thought she had met before. The Martian Manhunter could not be killed by Banshee, as she thought she was trying to kill Superman’s ghost.

A good intro for the villain.  Showing Martian Manhunter early on made it easy to figure out though.

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Action 546 – Superman, the Justice League and the New Teen Titans vs Brainiac

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Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane pull out the stops for Action 546 (Aug. 83), the conclusion of the new Brainiac saga.

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Superman gathers the Justice League and , unusually, the New Teen Titans.  They were the hottest selling property DC had at the time, and Wolfman wrote their comic.  But it’s still not like Superman called on the Teen Titans from time to time.

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Anyway, both teams see a lot of action in this story.  The Atom Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna work with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Terra against the invading alien armies under Brainiac’s domination.

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Lois Lane gets one scene in the story, back on the farm of her rarely appearing parents, Sam and Ella Lane.  Superman talked her out of staying on assignment in the Middle East, and she is furious to see that Lana Lang is doing the interview she worked so long at.

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While the others deal with the armies, Superman confronts Brainiac himself.  He manages to draw out solar flares, which disrupt Brainiac’s headship, and render him vulnerable.  He retreats, to fight another day.  And once Brainiac leaves, his armies, no longer mind controlled, back down.

Yup, Brainiac is definitely more of a threat than he was before.

 

Action 535 – Superman meets the Omega Men, and Air Wave ends

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Superman is at half power, having been split into two people in the previous issue, in the Wolfman, Staton and Marcos story in Action 535 (Sept. 82).

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Superman finds himself cast back to Earth abruptly, and runs into the Omega Men, a group of aliens on the run, last seen in their introductory story arc in the pages of Green Lantern the previous year.  Primus, Kalista, Broot, Nimbus and Harpis explain their story to Superman.

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They prove to be some help as a villain called the Mole attacks various buildings in Metropolis from underground, including the Daily Planet.  Superman is not used to his power loss, and overestimates his invulnerability. The Omega Men bring him to a hospital, and Kalista brings Lois Lane, who he has been calling for.

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But the Mole and his men think that even a powered down Superman is a prize to be had, and break into the hospital to steal him.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Air Wave concludes his final solo story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, as he spies on his high school science teacher, who seems to bean alien.

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Air Wave doesn’t fare too well against the man himself, he manages to escape capture.  But Hal does prevent the man’s bomb from going off, taking it high into space, which neutralizes the explosion.

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In the end, Air Wave is called to the Justice League satellite, where he is lauded by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Atom, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Hawkman for his quick thinking.  They even tell the boy that one day he might become a member of the Justice League himself.

Sadly, this is really the high point of Air Wave’s career.  He returns in a couple of months in an issue of DC Comics Presents, and will pop up occasionally over the next couple of decades, but never again carry his own series.

 

Action 489 – Krypton’s destruction comes to Earth, and the Atom ends

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte begin a three-part story in Action 489 (Nov.78), as the force from Krypton’s explosion arrives at Earth so many years later.

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It’s big news, everyone is aware of it.  Morgan Edge is preparing a WGBS special, and broadcasting the view live, with Lana Lang, Lois Lane and Steve Lombard all part of the show.  Clark Kent is meant to be there, but he is busy with the Justice League.  They have noticed that he has been running himself ragged over the past couple of days, but Superman refuses to tell Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkman and Wonder Woman what is going on, simply advising them that he can take care of things.

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The Kandorians are having a special memorial because of the event, and are upset that Superman is not with him.  But to them, Supergirl explains the reason – Brainiac is back.  He has demanded a one-on-one battle with Superman.  In case he does not survive, Superman has been trying to get as much done as possible, and Brainaic has also blackmailed him, though the use of bombs, into keeping the Justice League out of it.

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Brainiac traps Superman on the roof of his ship, and forces him to watch the explosion of Krypton.

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The Atom’s series, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta, comes to an abrupt end with the DC Implosion.

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The story is an entertaining one, with Jean Loring being the executor of a will, and the heirs unhappy with the distribution.  Some seemingly low value bequests get stolen, and the Atom gets onto the case.

act_489_006 It’s a good little mystery, with an interesting conclusion, as mementos prove more important than money to one man. The Atom’s series, like Air Wave’s, returns in a little over a year.

Action 483 – Amazo keeps people awake

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte conclude the Amazo saga in Action 483 (May 1978).

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Both the Leaguers trapped on the satellite, and an exhausted Lana Lang broadcasting, are used to get the audience up to speed.  Superman has regained his powers and returned to Earth, so has Amazo, determined to kill his creator, Professor Ivo.  Amazo has made it so that no one can fall asleep, leaving everyone burned out and draggy.

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Sadly, I find this the weakest of the four issues.  Superman frees the rest of the Justice League, and there is a massive battle with Amazo, in which everyone gets to take part.  They do manage to defeat him, but frankly, the Justice League usually has more difficulty with the android, and teaming up rarely works against him.

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It’s also kind of odd that Ivo is consistently treated as a hapless victim throughout the story, and the ending really plays him this way, instead of as the dangerous mad scientist that he is.

All in all, this really could have, and should have, ended with the previous issue.

Action 481 – the Supermobile!

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte introduce the Supermobile in Action 481 (March 1978).

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Superman uses a teleportation ray to get him and Professor Ivo away from Amazo, and to the Fortress of Solitude.  Superman mentions Kandor to Ivo, and he disappears from the story for a while.  Superman unleashes a creature from his Interplanetary Zoo to fight Amazo,and provide some interesting visuals.

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Superman takes advantage of the diversion to get to the Supermobile, a weaponized vehicle designed to duplicate his powers.

Oh, also, Ivo and Superman have figured out that a wave a red sun energy passed the satellite, stealing Superman’s powers, but waking Amazo.  Neither of them were aware of it when it happened.

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The Justice League, watching this from their satellite, also recap this information, and Batman explains that the vehicle is made of Supermanium, a substance almost as strong as the hero.

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The fight in the Supermobile is fun.  Yes, this is clearly a toy tie-in, but it works well in the story.

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The Supermobile proves enough of a problem for Amazo that he threatens to kill Superman’s friend, who all just happen to be neatly lined up, watching the fight.

Action 480 – Amazo attacks

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Bates, Swan and Chairamonte begin a four-part story that pits Superman against Amazo, the one-man Justice League in Action 480 (Feb. 78).

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The story gets bang into the action, with little build-up.  Superman is relaxing on the Justice League satellite, when Amazo suddenly bursts out of his cell and through the floor, getting into a fight with Superman that blasts them out of the satellite and into space.

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The Justice League alert goes off, and the whole team show up.  This is not such a good thing, as Aquaman, Atom, Batman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Red Tornado all wind up trapped in the satellite by Amazo, giving him free reign against Superman.

A mysterious “Professor Ives” is also brought in to the story.

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With Amazo on the loose, and his own powers waning, Superman needs a way to get Clark out of the way, and leave him free.  Morgan Edge is holding a draw to see who goes on a particular assignment out of town, and Clark hypnotizes everyone to think he was chosen.  As well as Lois, Jimmy and Steve Lombard, Lana Lang is part of the draw, having recently been hired to WGBS in the pages of Superman.

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Professor Ives turns out to be Professor Ivo, who Amazo hates for having created him.  Superman desperately fights to save Ivo as his powers fade before Amazo.

Throughout this storyline there is nothing of Ivo’s usual two qualities, his quest for immortality, and disfigurements caused by the quest.

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