Posts tagged ‘Krypto’

Action 591 – Superman vs Superboy

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Keith Williams joins John Byrne on Action 591 (Aug. 87), the third part of a four-part story that clarifies the relationship between the Superboy from Legion of Super-Heroes, and Superman.

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The story picks up from the previous issue of Superman, as Superboy freezes Blok, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid and Sun Boy, taking them to the Time Trapper, but leaving Superman free.

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We have the story of Superboy and the Legion explained a different way, by the Time Trapper.  The Trapper took a small slice of the newly-formed universe, and molded it to his own liking.  When the Legion believed they were travelling back in time to meet Superboy, they were really travelling into the Time Trapper’s pocket universe, and meeting the Superboy he had created.

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Superman winds up in the pocket universe, and is discovered by Pete Ross.  He thinks this is Superboy under the influence of red kryptonite, and brings him back to the Kent home, where Superman meets two people who are the Kents, but not his parents.

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Superboy shows up, and a fight breaks out, with Krypto getting into the fray. Superman notes how much more powerful Superboy is, with the plus of an invulnerable cape.

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Krypto sacrifices his powers and intelligence to retrieve some gold kryptonite, in a failed attempt to save his master from the evil Superman.

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Pa Kent tries every kryptonite there is against Superman, but they are powerless on his physiology, being from a different universe.  Superboy admits that he wanted Superman to beat him, hoping that together they could defeat the Time Trapper.

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But in the end, the Legionnaires convince Superman not to come along with them for their final battle with the Time Trapper.

This sets the new relationship between Superman and the Legion, which will exist, with some minor modifications, until Zero Hour.

 

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Action 583 – “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” concludes

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Action 583 (Sept. 86) brings to a close the era of the Pre-Crisis Superman, with the concluding half of an Imaginary Story by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.

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The entire story is one of dark foreboding, and is related by Lois Lane, now married and with a son, to a reporter, writing a story about the last days of Superman.  Many of Superman’s friends and enemies appeared in the first half of the story, and most of the villains have died.  Superman has brought Lois, Lana, Jimmy, Perry White and his wife to the Fortress of Solitude.  Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen have come from the future, knowing that this was the end of Superman, to join in the fun.  They find the Kryptonite Man, as well as a disturbing union of Luthor and Brainiac.

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Many of Superman’s friends are shown throughout the issue, trying to get through the force-field surrounding the Fortress.  Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter are shown, along with Vartox, and pre-Crisis Superwoman.

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The story is filled with heart-wrenching sequences.  Jimmy takes his Elastic Lad serum, and Lana bathes in the pool that gives her super-powers, so they can join the fight against the assembling villains.  Her super-hearing allows Lana to hear Superman explain to Perry White that it is Lois that he truly loves, but he cared too much for Lana to ever let her know.

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Lana and Jimmy both fall to the Legion of Super-Villains, while Krypto sacrifices himself to take out the Kryptonite Man.

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This is all turning far too bloody and dangerous for the villains from the future, and they flee in their time bubble.  Luthor and Brainiac are the last, but perish in the snow.

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Who was the villain that brought this all about?  Mr. Mxyzptlk, the most powerful adversary Superman has, who chose to be a pest, but has now chosen to be a destroyer.

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Superman winds up using the Phantom Zone projector to rip the 5th dimensional being in half, but he has knowingly, and willingly killed.

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Though Lois gives him all manner of justifications, Superman has violated his own code.  He enters a chamber of gold kryptonite, which permanently removes his powers, and is never seen again.

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The reporter leaves.  I was teary eyed and emotionally drained by this point when I read this the first time, but so thrilled at the end, as the baby turns a lump of coal into a diamond.  And then I really looked at the face of Lois’ husband.

I believe Alan Moore has now dismissed this story as garbage, as he is wont to do.

I don’t care what he thinks.  This is the crowning gem of the first 50 years of the character.

 

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 467 – Superman goes boom, and Krypto vs Mr Mxyzptlk

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An unappealing cover on Action 467 (Jan. 77), and the Superman story inside isn’t great, either.

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Superman’s sonic booms are the key element to this story by Conway, Swan and Blaisdel, as two men in an orbiting capsule plan to steal the energy from them.

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The best scene in the story has Clark getting an alert while giving a live broadcast, and how he manages to get out of the studio without disrupting the show.  There is a mention of Black Lightning battling the 100, a subtle plug for the new book.

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When Superman tries to use a sonic boom to weaken a tidal wave, he discovers that they are not “functioning,” and follows the energy trail up to the capsule.

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It was all a plot to rule the world.  And it must have cost a lot to put into operation, what with the space capsule and all.  Millions.  Stupid guy probably could have lived happily for the rest of his life on the money he spent trying to conquer the Earth.

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The back-up story, by Rozakis, Swan and Blaisdel, which pits Krypto against Mr. Mxyzptlk, is far more entertaining.

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With Superman not around, and the 5th dimensional imp erasing Metropolis, it is up to Krypto to stop him.  He does this in canine fashion, nipping at Mxyzptlk.

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It’s really Mr. Mxyzptlk’s bad choice of a hiding place that does him in – disguising himself as a dog biscuit.

Action 462 – Superman beats on a dying man, and Krypto eats the can

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It’s part three of the Karb-Brak story in Action 462 (Aug. 76), by Bates, Swan and Blaisdel.

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Superman is not sure what to do about the very allergic alien, but he isn’t going to leave Earth because of him.  The disease moves into its second phase, and begins causing warping of people and matter around him.

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The next phase reduces Karb-brak to a clump of flying blobs, as he approaches death.  He does manage to get Superman spinning around, and adds to his momentum, which removes Superman from this time period.

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Karb-Brak doesn’t much care where Superman is, as long as he is fine.  But we see Clark on the streets of revolutionary Philadelphia.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Bridwell, Swan and Al Milgrom give Krypto his first solo story in about five years in this issue.

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Krypto comes to Earth, searching for Superman, who has called for him.  He finds a phony, working as muscle in a protection racket, but gets rid of him.

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Krypto has been asked to be in a dog food ad, with the proceeds going to charity, so Superman called for him.  Pimping our your dog, ok.  Krypto prefers the can to the food, in a moment I liked.

 

Action 441 – Superman vs Weather Wizard, and Green Arrow and Black Canary and a little white dog

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Action 441 (Nov. 74) had a cover that annoyed many readers, who took to the letter column about it.

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WGBS weatherman Oscar Asherman, introduced a while earlier in the pages of Superman, gets a major role in this Bates, Swan and Oskner story.  He predicts a blue tornado the following day, in the centre of the business district.  Morgan Edge is furious with Asherman, but that changes when the blue tornado manifests.

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Asherman’s bizarre predictions continue to come true, and Superman puts a lot of effort into diminishing their effects.

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Clark talks to Asherman, and some hints he gives leads Superman to the Flash, and together they go to see Mark Mardon, the Weather Wizard, in prison. It’s all told really well, and would have been an interesting twist, had not the cover revealed not only the Flash, but also the Weather Wizard.  With that information, the reader is so far ahead of the story it just drags.

Anyway, Mardon attacks Superman, but he and the Flash had traded costumes, and the “black lightning” has no effect.

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Maggin and Grell conclude the story of the lost dog in this issue.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary go on the trail of the hoods with the high tech weaponry.  The dog comes along, despite their efforts to make him stay.  It’s a good thing, too, because when the big bad guy uses an aging ray on Oliver and Dinah, a ray so powerful that it even ages the wig Canary wears, the dog uses super strength to burst in and break the machine.

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It’s the villain who solves the mystery, when he comments on the “super dog.”  Arrow and Canary realize that the dog has suffered some memory loss.  The dog has taken off, but Oliver calls Clark to let him know what has happened to Krypto.

 

 

Action 440 – Superman haunted by his parents, and Green Arrow finds a lost dog

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Great cover for Action 440 (Oct. 74), but the story, by Maggin, Swan and Oskner, is not really up to par, and if it weren’t for the back-up story, I probably would have skipped over this issue.

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Coram is the villain in this issue, the leader of a think-tank of criminals.  More disturbingly, he lures the two kids above, presumably into a life of crime, but who knows?  We never see them again.

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The story jumps around a little.  Some interplay with Steve Lombard, as Clark gets humiliated, and subtly takes revenge.  Bruce Wayne has a cameo, as we discover that he is a part owner of Morgan Edge’s Galaxy Communications, which owns both WGBS and the Daily Planet.

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Coram creates the illusion seen on the cover, of Superman’s parents expressing disappointment with him.  But Superman sees through it right away, and only pretends to follow their wishes to create a new Krypton.  He takes Coram and his head scientist to “populate” this new planet, effectively scaring them into a confession.

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More entertaining is this first chapter of the Green Arrow story, by Maggin and Mike Grell.  Green Arrow is on the trail of some ordinary thugs, and attracts the attention of a lost, white dog.

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Oliver brings the dog home with him, to Dinah’s delight.  But also some of the unusual tech he found with the hoods, which seems way above their playing level.

The story continues in the next issue.

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