Posts tagged ‘Koko’

Action 276 – Supergirl vs the Superman Emergency Squad, and Supergirl joins the Legion of Super-Heroes

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Action 276 (May 1961) does deliver on it’s cover, though not quite in the way one might expect.

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Boring and Kaye do the art as Clark Kent shows himself far too trusting, revealing his identity to a dying philanthropist.

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Of course, the man is not actually dying, and while he is a philanthropist, that is a front for his criminal activities.  He not believes Superman to be Clark Kent, though his doctor warns him that the drug he took to simulate his near-death condition did leave him prone to hallucinations.

So it’s obvious how they will “get out” of the revelation, but at least the doctor did set that up near the top of the story.

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The man sets a kryptonite trap for Clark Kent, who calls on the Sueprman Emergency Squad to help him.  This is a small army of Kandorians, who dons Superman masks and costumes when they leave the bottle to help him.

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After saving him, they join with Supergirl in all manner of bizarre behaviour, intended to convince the bad guy that he is having hallucinations, and Clark Kent is not Superman.

Not really a “war” between Supergirl and the Emergency Squad.

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A lot of Legionnaires debut in the Siegel and Mooney Supergirl story in this issue, as she finally gets to join the team.

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Saturn Girl arrives in Supergirl’s time, along with two other members making their debuts, Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl.  Saturn Girl is wearing a lead mask in a really half-hearted attempt to conceal her identity, as part of the weird games they play with Supergirl.

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They bring her to the 30th century, where she meets some other new applicants for membership, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, and Sun Boy.

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But the far more important one for this story is Brainiac 5, the descendant of the original Brainiac, shown in flashback as he was in his first appearance, without the cool head things, and with Koko.  At this time, Brainiac was still believed to be an alien.  Brainiac 5’s relationship with him would change after his robotic state was revealed.

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Supergirl completes her initiation, and Brainiac 5 gives her a force-field belt of his creation, based on his ancestor’s force field, which protects her from kryptonite.

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And love blossoms between the temporally distanced couple.

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The ending of the story is not as good.  Returning to Earth, Supergirl heads to Atlantis to retrieve some kryptonite from Lori Lemaris and Jerro, but runs into Krypto, who thinks its fake kryptonite…blah blah, event event which  winds up destroying the force field belt.

But at least Linda has another long-distance boyfriend.

 

Action 242 – Brainiac debuts

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Otto Binder and Al Plastino introduce Brainiac, one of Superman’s greatest villains, in Action 242 (July 1958), in a story that also introduces the bottle city of Kandor.

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Brainiac looks very different than he does on the cover of the issue, and I have a theory about that,which I will get to later.  In this story, he is introduced as an alien, who travels around in his spaceship, shrinking and collecting cities from different worlds. He has a pet of sorts, a white alien monkey-type creature called Koko.

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Brainiac shrinks Paris and brings it to his ship, with Superman in hot pursuit.  Brainiac puts himself into a suspended animation sleep, as he prepares to travel back to his base.  Superman takes advantage of this situation.  He finds Brainiac’s collection of bottled cities, and enters the one Brainiac seemed to value above all others.  Superman discovers that he is in the city of Kandor, stolen by Brainiac before Krypton exploded.  Professor Kimda, who had been the college roommate of Jor-El, serves as Superman’s guide as he explores the city, in which he has no powers.  Again, gravity is given as the sole explanation for his abilities.

Not very much is seen of Kandor in this story, nor are any other Kandorians brought into the tale.

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Superman returns the various bottled cities to their homeworlds, but as he cannot do that with Kandor, he brings it back to his Fortress.  Kimda uses the last re-enlarging charge on Superman, which leaves his own people stuck in their bottle.  A nice move, but probably not very popular in Kandor.

Now, as to the cover.

The image of Brainiac is so very different from that in the story, but is the way the character will look in later tales.  I have a feeling that the story was written with Brainiac intended to be a one-shot villain.  After all, it ends with him heading out into space, not due to awaken for years.  But then, they decided that this character deserved to be brought back, that his connection with Kandor was too important to just drop.  And the look of Brainiac was improved, and then used on the cover.

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