Posts tagged ‘Krypto’

Action 387 – Superman at the end of time, and the Legion vs tax laws

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Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude Superman’s travel through time in Action 387 (April 1970).

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He encounters some astronauts, frozen in suspended animation for centuries, and revives them in the year 801,970.

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Travelling even further into the future, he reaches a time when the entire planet is dead and devoid of life.  If those are different.  Anyway, he cuts the planet open and terraforms it, and brings life forms, including humans, from other worlds to populate it and start the cycle again.

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There is a very unexpected attack from Lex Luthor.  He had never believed Superman dead, and left behind a weapon, powered by his eternal hate, to kill him.  It fails.

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Superman travels even further ahead, but Time Trapper loops him, and sends him back to the start. He blacks out, waking to find himself a baby in his parents arms on Krypton.  A few more blackout time jumps, and Superman is back to where he was at the start of the saga.

Which is a bit of a let-down finish, if you ask me.

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Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel share one of the oddest Legion stories.  Every single member appears.  Even the Super-Pets appear.  And I’m tagging them ALL.

And the board is also worth noting, on the first page. The Legionnaires appear in the order they joined the team.  Supergirl is located between Star Boy and Brainiac 5, while Superboy is later, between Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy.

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An evil tax man shows up, and the Legion discover that they have to get rid of one member, or have to pay taxes.  As they do not actually make money by being the Legion, I’m not sure what they would be taxed on, but it’s enough of a threat that they all start vying to be the one to leave.  Timber Wolf and Chemical King are the first to offer, being the most recent to join.

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The team attempt to hold a random draw, but it gets rigged, and then everyone starts claiming responsibility for rigging it.

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Supergirl insists that she should be the one to leave, as she attends the fewest meeting.  Brainiac 5 is not happy, and the Super-Pets all but revolt, insisting that they will disband if she leaves.

Brainiac 5 is selected by the computer as the hero who performed the fewest feats, but everyone insists his mind is worth more than just feats.

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Finally, it is Superboy who chooses to leave.  His powers are duplicated by Mon-El, and he has no romance or clinging pets, as Supergirl does.  Notice that Krypto would resign if Supergirl left, but not Superboy.

Duo Damsel is the one most upset about his departure. Luornu’s unrequited love for Superboy would be touched on again in the future.

For many of the characters, this was the last appearance they have before the end of the Legion’s run in Action Comics.  Ironically, this is also the last appearance of the full line up of the Super-Pets, as Beppo does not appear again, aside from flashbacks in comprehensive Superman origin tales.

 

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 290 – Superman loses half his invulnerability, and Supergirl spreads super-kisses

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Action 290 (July 1962) is another all red-kryptonite issue, but not as good as the previous one.

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Superman and Krypto fly through a red kryptonite cloud in this Swan and Klein story, and wind up losing the invulnerability in half their bodies.

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Superman does manage to pull off his normal super-feats, in more complex ways, to cover this loss of power.  Lois Lane is hot on his trail, though, dragging Jimmy Olsen along with her, as she tries to find a way to exploit the situation and prove Clark is Superman.

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Some backwards clothing, and a really uncomfortable position on the couch, are all that are needed to fool her again.

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The Supergirl story, by Siegel and Mooney, is more interesting.

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Phantom Girl presents Supergirl with a statue of herself for her birthday.  The statue turns out to be made of red kryptonite.  This is supposedly an accident.  Really?  Phantom Girl just happened to find a piece of red kryptonite and carved it into a statue of Supergirl?  I think not.

At any rate, the red kryptonite has the effect of passing super-powers on to anyone Supergirl kisses.  And as it’s her birthday, she planted kisses on her mom, Dick Malverne, and Jerro.

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When Edna Danvers manifests super-speed, Linda figures out what is going on. She goes to check on Dick Malverne, who shows off his new abilities by taking her flying.

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Jerro has also taken to the air, and the rivals wind up meeting.  But they do not immediately begin fighting, as I was expecting them to do.  Lois and Lana would be at each others throats by now.  But the boys get along, and work together,until their powers wear off, leaving them in danger.

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The Supergirl Emergency Squad have their debut, coming out of Kandor to rescue the two boys.  Supergirl is just thrilled to have her own mini-army of devoted followers, and glad that the boys powers have worn off.

So you have to wonder, what was Phantom Girl up to?  Coming from the future, she must have known the properties of this version of red kryptonite. Why give Brainiac 5’s rivals for Supergirl’s attention powers?  Perhaps to show Supergirl that they cannot handle them well, unlike Brainiac 5?

Action 288 – tracking Superboy’s secrets, and collecting Supergirl’s tears

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Superman heads back to Smallville in the Swan/Klein story in Action 288 (May 1962).

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An ex-con begins a new career as a tv host, and puts together a show about Superman, using that as a cover to hunt out as much information as he can about the hero.  The show is filmed in Smallville, where he interviews those who knew him as Superboy.

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Lana Lang is one of the guests, and shares her youthful suspicions that Superboy was Clark Kent.

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After finding some tunnels under the Kent house, the bad guy confronts Clark, determined to prove on tv that he is Superman, using a bomb.  With the help of a robot, and allowing Clark to show some backbone, he defeats then man. Krypto is used to explain the tunnels. Average.

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Supergirl’s adoptive father turns cruel in this story by Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney.

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It begins as Fred Danvers suddenly begins manifesting psychic powers, able to read the mind of a thief and killer who comes to their house pretending to be in need of help.

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The “powers” then begin giving him commands, that he is to collect Supergirl’s tears.  He uses a variety of methods to make Linda cry.

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It’s a very odd story, but the resolution does make some sense of it.  Fred Danvers’ “powers” were really telepathic messages he was receiving from Jax-Ur and Professor Vakox in the Phantom Zone.  They have been using Danvers to create an escape from the Phantom Zone. Mon-El tries to stop them, but they toss him out into our toxic environment.  Mon-El manages to find some kryptonite before the lead gets to him, and forces the escapees back into the Zone.

Action 286 – kryptonite ketchup, and Lex Luthor kills himself

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Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and George Klein tell a story in Action 286 (March 1962) about a group of villains, but not the ones you expect.  Electro makes his second and last cover appearance.

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The Superman Revenge Squad make their first adult appearance, following their debut two months earlier as the Superboy Revenge Squad in Superboy.  These are a group of aliens who spend an awful lot of time coming up with ridiculously complex methods of exacting this revenge.

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In this story, they capture Krypto, and try out a variety of red kryptonite meteors on him, until they find one that induces nightmares.  In Krypto’s case, being tormented by Streaky and Titano.

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So the leader uses an invisibility ray on himself, comes to Earth, and puts the red kryptonite into a bottle of ketchup.  Yes, he does.  Because Clark, Lois and Jimmy all ordered the exact same lunch.  So Superman eats his kryptonite burger, and starts getting nightmares.

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The Revenge Squad are monitoring all of this.  Their monitors are truly amazing.  Not only can they see anywhere on Earth, they can even broadcast Superman’s dreams.  Jimmy is staying overnight at the Fortress of Solitude.  For some reason, he is sleeping directly in front of the door to his room.  Perhaps he really wanted to sleep under the big statue of himself.  But couldn’t Superman have provided something better than fold-up cots?  Anyway, I’ll just leave the mention of Superman quivering.

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So Superman has his first nightmare, meeting descendants of Lana Lang and Pete Ross, who have gotten married, and lead an attack on him.

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Superman’s second dream is even better, with the villains from the cover – Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Electro, Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen pitting him against Supergirl.

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Supergirl gets sent to the Phantom Zone, and earth gets destroyed, Superman wakes up freaking out and upset.

While it’s true that the cover image is “just a dream,” at least the story never pretends otherwise, and the dreams are actually part of the plot against him.

The story concludes in the next chapter.

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Supergirl begins a new phase of her career, operating in public, in this Siegel and Mooney story.

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After some pleasant homey stuff, as Linda and Dick Malverne watch tv together while the Danvers look on approvingly, the story shifts over to Lex Luthor, who escapes from prison.  While the story does not directly address the Lesla-Lar Supergirl that Lex had met, his certainty that Supergirl is really a robot seems to be the conclusion he has drawn from this.

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He intentionally draws out Supergirl, but she proves to not be a robot, and Luthor winds up fleeing.  He has a death-ray, which he winds up shooting at himself when the car swerves.

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After a somewhat obligatory stop in Atlantis, with Lori Lemaris and Jerro floating around, Supergirl picks up some rare elements, and brings Luthor back to life.  He is not grateful.

Action 284 – Superman becomes a baby, and Supergirl becomes a mermaid

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Bernstein, Swan and Kaye have Superman intentionally regress to being a baby in Action 284 (Jan. 62).

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The story opens as Clark Kent reports on a phony medium.  But he is surprised when a hand leaves a ghostly message for him.

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Because of this message, which the reader does not see, Superman uses some red kryptonite to revert to being a baby.  He retains his adult intelligence and speech, though.  A few pages are spent as he continues to act as Superman, having to prove that he really is who he claims to be.

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Eventually we discover that Mon-El sent the message, warning Superman about a gap opening in the Phantom Zone, which gets a long explanation/introduction in this story.  Jax-Ur and Professor Vakox appear.  Jax-Ur had been introduced in the pages of Adventure Comics a few months earlier, while this is the first appearance of Vakox, as well as the first time the Phantom Zone has been shown in Superman’s time period, as opposed to Superboy’s.

Superman had to reduce to infant size in order to penetrate the Zone through the gap.  With the help of Supergirl and Krypto, they seal it.

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Supergirl’s red kryptonite transformations continue, in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

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Linda winds up with two heads, but spends her time at a carnival, where she passes as one of the freaks.

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After a brief red kryptonite induced hallucination, in which she gains death-vision, Supergirl undergoes her third and final transformation, into a mermaid.  That has its advantages, as she heads down to Atlantis to spend time with Jerro.  This story also introduces Lenora, Lori Lemaris’s sister, who is in love with Jerro, although he has no interest in her.

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When the mermaid effect passes, Supergirl is surprised to discover that her immunity to kryptonite has also vanished.  Superman explains that it was all part of one of Mr. Mxyzptlk’s spells, which faded when he went back to his home dimension.

But more importantly, Superman informs her that he is finally ready to reveal her existence to the world.

The story concludes next issue.

Action 281 – the doctor who went to Krypton, and Krypto shows his intelligence

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The cover story of Action 281 (Oct. 61) is an odd, and unbalanced tale by Bernstein and Plastino.

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The story begins on Paul Pratt, a thief who has a device that allows him to travel huge distances instantaneously, which he uses to create unshakable alibis for his thefts.

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He even brags to Superman about what he is doing!  Clearly, this guy will be the centre of the tale.

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Nope. Instead, it swings over to introduce an Earth doctor, who was working on a method of cross-planet communication.  He reached Jor-El, and together they devised a way to teleport him to Krypton.  Jor-El hoped to work with him to evacuate more Kryptonians to Earth. Where they would presumably rule like gods.

While he was there, baby Kal-El fell and injured his ankle, which the doctor treated.

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Then, back in the present, the man explains that he suspects Pratt is using a variation of his teleportation machine.  Superman then rounds up Pratt.  He likely could have done this anyway, without the doctor and his backstory.  The doctor never appears again.

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Lesla-Lar’s evil schemes suffer a set-back in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

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While Superman is still clueless about Lesla-Lar impersonating his cousin, Krypto figures it out the first time he encounters her – by her different scent.  Good dog!  Krypto sees that the real Supergirl is in Kandor, where she has been enlisted to play herself in a movie.

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Krypto even manages to work a ray that switches the two women back to their proper place.  Who’s a good boy?

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Superman then takes Supergirl, who once again has no powers, to the past. Her powers do return in a time period before she lost them.  For science reasons, I expect.  Anyway, Superman leaves her for a while in Salem, where he helpful actions get interpreted as witchcraft.

Superman brings her back to the present, hoping that the recharge would stick. But once again, Supergirl is left powerless.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

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