Posts tagged ‘Lana Lang’

Action 597 – Lois Lane meets Lana Lang

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The two main women in Superman’s life meet for the first time in this post-Crisis universe in the Byrne, Willaims and Leonard Starr story in Action 597 (Feb. 88).

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Lois Lane is on the trail of the mysterious woman who showed up at the Daily Planet, accosted Clark Kent, and then flew out the window.  Knowing that Lana was also from Smallville, Lois heads there, and immediately hears about the Manhunters and the near-deaths of everyone.

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Snooping further, she comes to Lana’s house.  Oops.

Seriously, I love the “Oh” panel.  The reactions are real, the situation memorably awkward.

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I’m less fond of the inevitable sizing each other up scene, but it does play out far better as the story goes on.

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Clark and Lana do their best to answer Lois’ questions, but she is getting very suspicious, and accuses Clark of being Superman.  It’s Ma and Pa Kent who save the day, explaining the truth, but adding in a baby Clark to the mix, making Clark Kent and Kal-El pseudo-brothers.

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It’s a really good save, identity-wise, but infuriates Lois, when it comes to her relationship(s) with the men(man), neither of whom she trusts.

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Lana does her best to make Lois understand that Clark is a good person, and that he is in love with Lois, while admitting her unrequited love for him.

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Superman catches up with Lois as she catches up with Jose Delgado, severely wounded fighting against one of Luthor’s pawns during Millenium.

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Things are just as icy there.

An excellent story. One of my favourites of John Byrne’s run.  No big action, but some real human drama with big consequences.

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Action 596 – Superman and Spectre and the ghosts of Smallville

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Action 596 (Jan. 88) is a Millenium crossover (Week 4), by Byrne and Williams, but also a chapter in the Superman story arc running within the larger crossover.  Superman had discovered that the people he grew up with in Smallville were all implanted and controlled by the Manhunters.  The previous issue of Adventures of Superman ended with him defeating the Manhunter robot in charge, which left all the residents dead.

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The Spectre is drawn to the scene.  Something is not right about it, but he cannot see what is wrong.

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He transports Superman to the astral plane, where they “see” the imagined Smallville of the people, newly dead but in denial.  According to Spectre, not a rare thing, but never so large, or lasting so long.

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In fact, the whole astral plane is a fake, all conjured by the supposedly dead Manhunter in some way that has never made sense to me, so I don’t think about it too much.  It’s more fun to look at the page of him, under the Spectre’s control, ripping himself open.

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There is also a great page of the Spectre scaring kids planning to pull a prank on Lana’s house.

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 578 – everyone hates Superman

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Boldman and Schaffenberger sap Superman’s self-esteem in Action 578 (April 1986).

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Superman attends a charity function, and meets a drifter, Joe Blohe.  Their meeting is brief and undramatic, they shake hands, nothing more. But it spells disaster for Superman.

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Immediately afterwards, Superman finds that people have become nasty, critical, and openly insulting towards him.  It happens to him both as Superman, and as Clark.

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At the same time, Joe is becoming outrageously popular.  Lana Lang ignores Superman completely, and wants to put Joe on television.

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It takes a while, but Superman finally figures out who Blohe is, and exposes him on live tv.  He is the Parasite, in disguise, who has used his leeching powers to steal Superman’s popularity, and self-esteem.  Even with his identity revealed, the crowd is still on his side.

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The Parasite makes the most of this, but now that Superman knows exactly what has happened, he knows how to overcome it.  By focussing on the love and support he had been given by his parents, Superman’s confidence is restored, and the Parasite gets defeated.

The Parasite sort of slips through the Crisis net, and returns in a year or so to fight Firestorm.

 

Action 574 – Superman competes for the glory, and Mr. Mxyzptlk has a son

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Action 574 (Dec. 85) has a great cover, although the art on Boldman’s story itself, by Schaffenberger and Hunt, is not as evocative.

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Superman receives a challenge from the champion of Ostok, a planet that used to hold regular athletic competitions with Krypton.

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It’s all really friendly, and Lana Lang broadcasts the meeting of the two planetary champions, and is later allowed to go along and cover the games themselves.  The hero looks identical to the one who was involved in the last, undecided, games, but claims to be someone else entirely.  He is the same.  It’s so obvious.

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Anyway, the games go on, and each one is very close.  Jenet Klyburn, who is with Jimmy Olsen, running tests throughout, determines that the champion from Ostok is giving off an odd radiation, but it doesn’t seem to be a threat or attack.

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Superman loses the games, and the champion returns home, and dies.  He had made himself young again in order to finish the competition from so long ago.  Klyburn realizes the radiation affected the timing monitors, and that Superman really won.

The best panel in this is the last, in which he expresses sorrow that he won, as it was just another victory, not as special a one as it was for the man from Ostok.

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Mr. Mxyzptlk returns in a story by Robert Greenberger and Barbara Kesel, with art by Bender and Hunt.

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Mr. Mxyzptlk has had a baby boy, and comes to Earth to celebrate.

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He throws a party at the Daily Planet, with cigars for everyone.  I love the personalized bibs for Perry, Jimmy and Lois.  Lana and Clark get flowers, perhaps to reflect their relationship.  Mxyzptlk is enjoying the day so much he wants it to last forever, until Clark makes him realize that he will never enjoy his son growing up if he does that.  Mxyzptlk agrees, and goes home without being tricked.

 

Action 562 – Queen Bee meets King Alexander

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Alexander the Great, aka the Planeteer returns, now calling himself King Alexander, in the Rozakis, Schaffenberger and Hunt story in Action 562 (Dec. 84).

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The story has a subplot about Steve Lombard,who was fired from WGBS by Morgan Edge in the pages of Superman.  He is starring in a production of Damn Yankees, and has sent opening night tickets to Clark, Lana, Jimmy and Perry White.  Perry actually winds up stopping a pair of robbers during the show, and his wife Alice gets a small role.

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Queen Bee gets most of the attention in the story.  She has been causing magnetic anomalies throughout Metropolis.  She has found an immortality serum that needs a constant recharge of magnetic energy to allow her to stay mobile.

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And who should also be back in Metropolis but the magnetically powered Alexander?

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They hit it off, and Alexander thinks its true love and world conquest, unaware that he is being drugged, and his power drained, by Zazzala.

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Mind you, even when Superman explains to him what is going on, he just chooses not to believe it.  He has fallen hard.  Superman uses the couple’s magnetism against them.

This is the final appearance of Alexander the Great aka Planeteer aka King Alexander, and the Queen Bee is next seen in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

And Steve Lombard’s revival of Damn Yankees closes after one night.

Action 557 – Terra-Man gets bored

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Kupperberg, Swan and Hunt give Terra-Man his last major pre-Crisis appearance in Action 557 (July 1984).

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The story begins with a wild west showdown between Terra-Man and Superman, although we learn that this is just a robot in a robot town, which Terra-Man uses to amuse himself.  But he is bored, and comes to Earth to perform a series of pointless robberies, stealing the same paintings over and over, just to bait Superman.

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Terra-Man leaves word as to where the paintings are located, and then, while Lana Lang broadcasts their retrieval by Inspector Henderson, Terra-Man bursts in to steal them again, live on tv.

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The mid-air robbery is fun, and I wouldn’t have minded this sequence extended to be a story unto itself.  At least it serves as the climax to this tale.

Terra-Man has only cameos between now and the reboot of Superman.  And despite a couple of efforts at re-booting this character, the original remains the best.

 

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