Posts tagged ‘Kru-El’

Action 473 – Superman vs Faora

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Bates, Swan and Blaisdel conclude the Faora story in Action 473 (July 1977).

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Supergirl gets concerned when there is no word from Superman, despite Faora running wild in Metropolis.  She finds a note in the Fortress, explaining that he has gone into the Phantom Zone, and other information that the reader is not privy to.

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Faora gets into an argument with Steve Lombard, and is about to kill him when her greater scheme kicks in, reversing the Phantom Zone, releasing all its captives, while sending everyone on Earth into the Zone.  Steve actually thinks he has died, until Jimmy Olsen explains the Zone to him.  Batman and Green Lantern are also shown to now be phantoms, while Jax-Ur, General Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox enjoy their new freedom and solidity.

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Faora takes dominance over the other Phantom Zone villains through her use of psychic bolts, but one Zone escapee is immune.  It’s Superman, who figured out her bigger plan, and took precautions, including entering the Zone himself.

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Superman is now stuck fighting against a number of similarly powered Kryptonians, and finds himself overpowered.  Faora is about to kill him when the switch happens again.  Bad timing!  Superman rigged the projector to reverse Faora’s actions, sending the prisoners back into the Zone, and releasing the humans.

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With one exception.  The old man who still, after all this, believes Faora is his dead wife Katie.  He gets to join her in the Zone.

From now on, Faora would be a regularly appearing Phantom Zone villain, almost always included when three or more are shown.  But not the old man.  We never find out what happened to him.

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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 309 – the Superman family, and the secret of Supergirl’s parents

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Edmond Hamilton gave Curt Swan and George Klein an awful lot of work in Action 309 (Feb. 64).

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I’m including the splash page of this story to give you some idea of the amount of guest stars who appear.  But this is not just trivial packing, it’s also part of the suspense of the story.

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JFK, looking awfully shadowy, tricks Superman into going to a location, which is where a “this is your life!” special about him is being broadcast.  It’s not that much of a surprise for Superman, Clark Kent received an invitation.

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But who will Superman get to be Clark?  Lois and Lana have a robot detector, as they are using the special to try to prove Clark is Superman.  Lori Lemaris reads their minds, and alerts Superman to the danger.  Lex Luthor makes a cameo, watching the show from prison, but he is the only villain really featured in the tale.

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The Super-Pets put on an impressive show under Supergirl’s command.

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Superboy’s friend Pete Ross makes his first appearance as an adult, and we see a very aged Police Chief Parker from Smallville as well.  All the usual friends are there, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, as well as representatives from Kandor.  Among them are the “Lookalike Squad”, the ones who are identical to people in Superman’s life.  This includes the Clark Kent lookalike, Van-Zee, and his Lois Lane lookalike wife, Sylvia. Even the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club show up, one of whom is dumb enough to bring a chunk of gold kryptonite as a gift.

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But then the Legion of Super-Heroes show up, and Element Lad changes the rock and saves the day.  Chameleon Boy is part of the group, eliminating him as the phony Clark Kent.

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Batman unmasks in front of Lois, but is wearing a Bizarro face.  A nice laugh on snoopy Lois, and a way to work the Bizarro image into the story.

So who is left that could possibly have been Clark Kent?

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Why, JFK of course.

Very disturbingly, this issue was released only a couple of weeks after the assassination of JFK.

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Dorfman and Mooney add yet another twist to the never-dull life of Supergirl.

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Linda is being haunted by dreams of her dead parents, Zor-El and Alura, and can’t even enjoy her dates with Dick Malverne.   She wonders if her parents might be trapped in the Phantom Zone, because of their ghostly nature.  She checks with Comet, who can telepathically sense them somewhere.

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Supergirl can find no trace of them, but does find a remorseful Kryptonian, Jer-Em.  He is willing to tell her of them, but Jax-Ur, Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox muddle his telepathy.

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In Kandor, Supergirl uses a chronoscope to review the events of Argo City, her departure for Earth and the death of her parents.  She learns that Jer-Em altered the direction of Argo City’s flight, to take them away from an empowering yellow sun, believing it was evil.  But the change in course lead to the meteor shower that ruined the city.

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She also discovers that her parents did survive, heading into a place like the Phantom Zone, but without all the yucky criminals, called the Survival Zone.

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Supergirl vows to find and free her parents!

 

 

 

 

 

Action 298 – Lex Luthor gains super-powers

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Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney make Lex Luthor’s dreams come true in Action 298 (March 1963).

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Supergirl’s attempts to get Luthor released into her custody, to help her against the Phantom Zone villains, fails.  The warden thinks it is just another of his tricks.  So when the villains offer to give him super-powers, and free Lena from Kandor, as long as he will help them kill Superman, he changes sides in a second.

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Luthor constructs a device for Jax-Ur, General Zod and Kru-El that will draw down a gold kryptonite meteor from space.  The villains plan on using it to remove Superman and Supergirl’s powers, and then kill them.  But they also intend to kill Luthor right after.

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Not realizing that Luthor could hear their plans with his super-hearing, they fall easily into his trap, as he gets Superman and Supergirl to pretend to be weakened by phony gold kryptonite.  The villains then approach them with no fear, and are quickly taken down.

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Luthor, who lost his power belt in the climactic fight, agrees to return to prison, as long as they release Lena from Kandor.

Ironically, considering that this all began with Lesla-Lar, no one else ever really learned what she was up to, or the extent of her actions.

 

Action 297 – Perry White hunts out Superman’s identity, and Lesla-Lar returns

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Leo Dorfman does double duty, scripting both stories in Action 297 (Feb. 63).

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Perry White goes undercover to seek out a jewel thief hiding out among hoboes, with art by Swan and Klein.  He gets recognized, beaten up, and winds up losing his memory.

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And though Perry has no idea who he is, he falls into the hands of a mob boss who does.  He gives Perry a phony identity, and sets him to discover who Superman is.  Perry is quite good at this, quickly getting it down to four suspects, one of whom is Clark.

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Perry even lures and exposes Clark, but only because Superman is not in any way suspicious of Perry.  Superman very cleverly restores Perry’s memory, making a statue of Julius Caesar float and speak.  Yelling “Great Caesar’s Ghost” brings back White’s mind.

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Mooney does the art on the Supergirl story, as Lena Thorul’s deceptions continue.

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Lena is revealed as being controlled by, and later replaced by, Lesla-Lar.

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Lesla passes herself off as Lena even to Supergirl, and also pretends that she has gained super-powers.  Supergirl is not suspicious, but then, she has never even been aware of Lesla’s existence.

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Lesla gets herself a sexy costume, and opens the Phantom Zone, freeing a number of villains to act as her minions, but prevents Mon-El from leaving.  Jax-Ur and General Zod are joined by a newcomer, Kru-El.  They retrieve a box of forbidden Kryptonian weapons (previously seen in the Superboy series).

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But Lesla wasted her money on that outfit, as the villains vaporize her.  She is so dead that her character does not return until the late 70s.

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Supergirl learns of this, and of Lena being trapped in Kandor, from Lori Lemaris, who had been watching the events from the ocean, along with Jerro.  Supergirl winds up having to turn to Lex Luthor for help against the rampaging villains.

The story continues in the next issue.

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