Posts tagged ‘Kandor’

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.

 

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Action 369 – Superman screws up big time

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Binder, Swan and Abel conclude Superman’s troubles with the peace-bringing Sentinels in Action 369 (Nov. 68).

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Superman discovers his world of exile is somewhat medieval, and definitely hostile.  Things go from bad to worse for him, until the sun rotates.  It’s half red, half yellow, in some physics defying situation.  When the yellow side faces him, Superman regains his powers, and flies back to Earth.

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There, he discovers that the Sentinels have sealed off the Fortress of Solitude, and Superman worries that they will destroy Kandor.  When he sees that the Sentinels are mechanical, Superman becomes certain that they are part of some plot against him, and travels the world, seeking out and destroying the devices.

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Only then does he learn that they were really working for the good of mankind.  They knew Superman would suspect them, so got him off planet on purpose.  They were working to enlarge Kandor when they sealed the Fortress.  Had Superman not destroyed them, the Sentinels would have left Earth peaceful and safe.

Oops.

Not a bad story, could have had more impact, though.  I don’t understand the purpose of having Jack Abel drown Curt Swan’s pencils with his inks.

Action 366 – Superman substitutes, and Supergirl meets Alpha and Beta

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Dorfman, Andru and Esposito conclude the Virus X storyline in Action 366 (Aug. 68).

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Superman is found by some flame beings in the sun.  He has been cured of Virus X, thanks to the white kryptonite thrown at him by the Bizarros.  That killed the virus, and the sun healed his injuries.

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Returning to Earth, he finds that no one realizes he has been gone, and that there are versions of himself fighting crime all over the place.  He checks Kandor, and the Phantom Zone, but no one is missing.

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The Supermen are actually his fellow Justice Leaguers, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, working alongside Supergirl.

This story was really highly regarded at the time.

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Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger introduce a pair of alien villains for Supergirl in this story.

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Alpha and Beta are on a mission, and want one of the Stanhope students.  They seal off the campus, which actually helps protect Supergirl’s identity, as her Linda robot is at class.

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Not much is explained in this action-packed tale, which concludes next issue, but those bug eyes merited inclusion.

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 364 – no cure for Superman

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Another Adams cover on Action 364 (June 1968), as Dorfman, Andru and Esposito continue the Virus X saga.

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Superman gets out of the cliffhanger from last episode, simply by doffing his clothes, and appearing to Lois as Superman.

Luthor announces that he is able to cure Superman’s disease.   He was the one who created it, after all.  His men produce the infected cat, which Luthor’s cure works on.  He demands a million dollars.

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Luthor gets his money, but it’s all a scam.  It was not the same cat.  Luthor just wanted to hold out the cure, and then laugh in Superman’s face.  Asshole.

Supergirl plans to send Superman into the Phantom Zone.  Jax-Ur and Professor Vakox protest, not knowing if the plague would spread to them and others in the Zone.  Superman agrees, and tricks Supergirl into entering Kandor, and then seals her in.

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Feeling death approaching, Superman makes a farewell speech, wearing a mask to look the way he wants to be remembered.  Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are at the funeral, but neither had major roles in this tale.  Superman is fired into space to die.

The story continues in the next issue.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 320 – Superman vs Hercules, Samson and Atlas

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Superman displays an astounding lack of foresight in Action 320 (Jan. 65).

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Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are going to spend three days sealed up in an underground bunker, to do a story on it for the Daily Planet, in this Binder and Plastino story.  Superman has taken no steps to ensure someone will be there to protect the city if anything happens during this period.

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So guess what, an organized gang attack the city.  Superman cannot make stable communication with Kandor, and even his attempts to contact the Legion of Super-Heroes fail.  He does reach through to the past, and pulls Hercules, Samson and Atlas to the present.

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They do half-assed attempts as disguising themselves as Superman, but do get rid of the bad guys.  But then they decide to rule themselves.  They also display a variety of powers that the “real” version never had – lightning blasts, induing the “sleep of Morpheus,” and rising the ocean level.

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The last is somewhat helpful, as the Planet reporters must flee the flooding bunker, and Superman can go into action.  He takes on a different identity though, to confuse the mythological heroes about his powers.  He makes them his slaves, but leaves them a way to get back to their own times, which they eagerly do.

In the end, he finds out from the Kandorians that these were not the ones from our universe and history.  Superman had reached into the past of a parallel dimension of evil beings, and an earlier Superboy story is cited as the same universe.  To me, this is obviously Earth-3. This story negates nothing already established about that world, and just fills in its past more clearly.

 

 

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