Posts tagged ‘kryptonite’

Action 224 – Superman Island, and Congo Bill meets the Golden Gorilla

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Superman Island, the cover story for Action 224 (Jan. 57), by Boring and Kaye, is one of those stories that just leaving you shaking your head in puzzlement.

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Superman builds a giant island in the shape of himself, even colouring it appropriately, and then demands that no one set foot on it.  Of course, this is more than Lois Lane could possibly handle, and she sets out to get onto the island.

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Some thieves, who figure Superman must be hiding something of value, have also found their way onto the island.  They capture Lois when they run across her, because everyone captures Lois.  They do find a hidden secret, which Lois has already figured out.

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Superman has been gathering up all the kryptonite he could find.  It was intended to be used as a power source, but the experiment to convert it failed.  Superman tosses the island and all its kryptonite into space.  BUT  If you want to hide all the kryptonite and use it in an experiment, why build something that will attract so much attention?  Why not just put up a big sign saying SECRET STUFF HERE!

Aside from that annoying element, the important thing in this story is the amount of kryptonite shown to be on Earth. Up to now, it has been synthetic kryptonite, created by Luthor, that has been used in stories.  This tale makes it clear that there is more than enough lying around for anyone to use.

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Congo Bill and Janu meet the Golden Gorilla in this Howard Sherman story. It bears a passing resemblance to the Congorilla story a while back, as the intelligent gorilla saves Congo Bill’s life twice.

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The gorilla then embarks on a crime spree, but Bill continues to protect it.

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It turns out there are two Golden Gorillas.  The real one, and a painted fake, trained to steal by thieves.  They figured they would play on Bill’s devotion to the animal that saved his life. In fact, the Golden Gorilla winds up saving Bill and Janu at the end of the story as well, taking down the criminals.

 

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Action 210 – Superman Land

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Superman, his home world and friends, get a theme park about them in the Finger, Boring and Kaye story in Action 210 (Nov. 55).

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By and large, this story functions as an introduction to the character and his origin.  I noticed, though, that this story also opens the floodgates for the Daily Planet orb. It had appeared before, most recently in the Mr. Mxyztplk story a couple of issues ago, but had not been a regular feature on the building.  In this story, the globe appears prominently on the cover, as well as on the model of the Daily Planet building in Superman Land.

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Luthor shows up, in disguise, with another piece of synthetic kryptonite that he has made.  It’s a half-hearted attempt to kill Superman, though, and is largely there to provide some dramatic tension, and to include both Luthor and kryptonite in this overview of Superman.

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And, in an indirect way, this story also explains why, from now on, everyone seems to know of Superman’s origin, and the properties of kryptonite.

Action 142 – the world learns of kryptonite, and Tommy Tomorrow makes a wish

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A generic cover for Action 142 (March 1950).  Odd, you’d think they would have wanted to feature the kryptonite on this one, but I guess not.

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Schwartz, Boring and Kaye follow up the previous story, as a homeless man discovers the missing piece of synthetic kryptonite.  He does not know what it is, but sees the incredible effect it has on Superman.

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Oddly, it’s Superman himself who lets the police, and the press, know about the existence of kryptonite, and the deadly effect it has on him.  But then, he has to tell them something.  The man has teamed up with a group of criminals to rob the city blind, leaving Superman lying on the ground whenever he tries to stop them.

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Once again, this almost threatens to expose his identity.  The victory comes simply because the synthetic kryptonite loses its radioactive power, becoming simply a green rock by the time Lois holds it out to Clark Kent.

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Binder, Swan and Fischetti give a solid science-fiction adventure to Tommy Tomorrow in this story, which also introduces his friend and eternal sidekick, Brent Wood.

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They are pursuing a felon, who winds up wishing a world into existence, a world where anything he wishes for comes true.

act_142_006 It takes Tommy a while to figure out how to defeat this guy, who can literally wish anything into existence.  Tommy simply wishes for the planet to disappear.

Action 141 – Luthor creates kryptonite, Tommy Tomorrow on Training World, and Zatara ends

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Kryptonite is at the core of the Superman adventure in Action 141 (Feb. 50), the first, but not the last, time it appears in this book.

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Alvin Schwartz, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye start the story off like many others.  Lex Luthor kidnaps Lois Lane, yawn, and in order to free her, Superman has to fly around retrieving unusual things that Luthor wants.

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But what Luthor winds up making is a synthetic kryptonite.  The story briefly flashes back to the destruction of Krypton, and the creation of kryptonite, which had recently been told in more detail in the pages of Superman.  Although the stuff created by Luthor in this story is not real kryptonite, it’s close enough to be a major problem for Superman.

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Luthor secretly gives Lois a pair of kryptonite laced gloves.  When Clark Kent collapses, Luthor believes he has trapped Superman.  Because, you know, he did.  But Clark uses judo on the bad guy, and he and Lois wind up thinking Clark faked the fall.

A piece of the synthetic kryptonite has gone missing by the end of the story.  It’s as if to say, don’t worry!  We will be using this again!  And again.  And again.  And again and again and again.

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Tommy Tomorrow is sent to spy on some cadets about to complete their training in this Binder/Swan/Fischetti story.

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It’s pretty straightforward, but the art is very nice.  And the concept of a “training world,” parts of which duplicate the environments of various worlds the Planeteers patrol, is a good one.

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Zatara gets Joe Kubert on his final adventure, 141 issues after his series began. Since the introduction of Tommy Tomorrow, his strip had become only an occasional one, and even the end of this story implies there will be more down the line.

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He goes out on a really silly little tale. A fight breaks out between two men, and spreads to take in much of the town.  Zatara uses his magic to get people to calm the fuck down.

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In the end, the fight itself proves to be a simple misunderstanding.

Such an unexciting note to go out on.  But really, Zatara’s best days ended way back, when Guardineer left the strip.  Zatara would not appear again until the 60s, as the object of a multi-book quest by his daughter, Zatanna, in her introductory storyline.  But later down the road, he would have stories set between this point and then, as he was worked into the childhood of Superboy, in the pages of DC Comics Presents, and later, Batman, in his own book and Detective.

Despite the duration of this series, outlasting every other strip that debuted alongside Superman, Zatara would never again get a series, a one-shot, or even a solo story.  Anytime his origin is retold, it is done in conjunction with his famous daughter.

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