Posts tagged ‘Lena Thorul’

Action 486 – Superman’s time trip troubles, and Luthor gets a birthday present for Val


I don’t much care for the cover of Action 486 (Aug. 78), or the Superman story by Conway, George Tuska and Vince Colletta, but the back-up story makes this an issue I have to include.


Superman travels through time to the far future, and winds up stuck on Earth under a red sun, with no powers.  The people live in squalor, and under the dominance of an alien race who have encircled the Earth.


Superman eventually realizes that their shelters are actually very old rocket ships. He gets them functional again, blasting through the alien ring of ships, freeing the Earth.  He uses the ship to get far enough away to regain his powers, and heads back home.


But the story I want to talk about is the Lex Luthor tale, by Elizabeth Smith, Kurt Schaffenberger and Frank McLaughlin.


The story features his sister Lena, who had last appeared in the early 70s in Superman Family, and returns in that book in a few more years.  Val Colby also makes an extremely rare appearance, Lena’s son, and Luthor’s nephew.  It’s Val’s birthday, and Lex breaks out of prison to deliver his gift.  He even ensures he gets caught, to get away before Lena or Val spot him.


This is probably the most pleasant and selfless Lex Luthor story ever.




Action 317 – Superman shows his emotions, and Supergirl steals Lena’s boyfriend


Superman goes through an emotional roller-coaster in Action 317 (Oct. 64), and all of it shows on his face.


Superman gets exposed to red kryptonite (wow, that NEVER happens), and it has the effect of making his face colour brightly when he experiences emotional reactions, in this story by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.

Though he spends the day largely as Clark Kent, in the company of Lois Lane, he watches from a distance as his Kandorian friend, the scientist Nor-Kan, sickens, dies, and is buried, all in (apparently) quick succession.


At one point, green with envy, he moves a restaurant called the Green Lantern into a new location, to shine green light on Lois’ face as well.  This restaurant will return in the pages of Superman comics in the early 70s.  Am I a geek or what?


The effects wear off by the end of the story, and Nor-Kan is buried, with a memorial.  Despite this, Nor-Kan appears again in a number of Superman stories in the 70s.

Lena Thorul falls in love in this story by Dorfman and Mooney.


Her boyfriend is Jeff Colby, whom she happily introduces to Dick Malverne and Linda Danvers.  Linda had just helped him survive a plane crash, as Supergirl, and when he makes no mention of that, or burying his parachute, she becomes suspicious.


Spying on Jeff, she sees the he is working with organized crime, who operate from a sea base in international waters.


Lex Luthor has also been watching Lena on his own monitor, and is shocked when he sees Jeff Colby.


Supergirl does not want to be honest with Lena, and tell her what she knows of Jeff, so instead she butts in at a dance, and hypnotizes Jeff into falling for her, humiliating Lena in public.  Jeff remembers none of what happened, but Lena calls off their engagement.


The Supergirl discovers that Jeff is actually an FBI operative, and was working undercover, infiltrating the organization.  Oops!  She helps him take them down, and then builds a robot of Jeff and programs it to tell a ridiculous lie, all to cover her own, unfounded actions.


Lena and Jeff marry at the end of the story.  We learn that Jeff had arrested Luthor, which seems to be setting up some later story, but doesn’t.

In fact, this is not only the final appearance of Lena Thorul in Supergirl’s run in Action Comics, it’s the one and only appearance of Jeff Colby.  When next we see Lena, in Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics in the early 70s, she is a widow and single mother.


Action 316 – Zigi and Zagi make trouble for Superman, and Zor-El makes a decision


Supergirl’s story gets the cover spot on Action 316 (Sept. 64), but Superman still has the lead spot.  Once again, both stories are by Dorfman and Mooney.


Learning of the escaped con aboard the spaceship, Superman flies out to Zigi and Zagi’s homeworld.  The crook gets knocked unconscious during the landing, but at least that alerts the boys that he is there.  Thay make him invisible for a while, to taunt Superman, but eventually send him back to Earth.


The story then becomes about Zigi and Zagi trying to matchmake Superman with their sister, Zyra.


Superman gets out of this by finding Zyra’s lost fiancee, re-uniting the couple.

Although Zigi and Zagi do not return, I am certain I have read something, likely by Grant Morrison, playing with the concept of these two.


Supergirl, living with Zor-El and Alura on Earth, is depressed by the absence of her adoptive parents.


Zor-El uses a time viewer to explore how their lives on Earth will play out.  It displays a future in which the Zygor, an alien monster, comes to Earth seeking vengeance on Zor-El, who had driven it away from Argo City.


The Zygor has the power to control the minds of Kryptonians, after eating a lot of red kryptonite (?), and forces Supergirl to choose between killing Superman or Zor-El.


Zor-El insists that they cannot possibly let this future come to pass, that he and Alura must return to Kandor, so the Zygor will never find them.  This allows the Danvers to come back, and Linda is also re-united with Dick Malverne and Lena Thorul.


At the end, we discover that the Zygor was actually captured by Zor-El many years ago, and died in captivity.  So the whole thing was a lie.  Alura agrees to keep Zor-El’s lie, as they will “all be happier that way.”

Which is likely the best she could make of things, after being so rejected by her own daughter, who prefers the psychotic Earthling Edna Danvers.

I am also fairly certain that the Zygor returns in a later story.

Action 314 – Superman as the Justice League, and Supergirl’s mom gets sick


Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino explore some variations on Superman’s life in Action 314 (July 1964).


Superman is summoned by the Justice League of America, and meets up with Batman, Aquaman, the Atom, Flash and Green Arrow.  Aquaman explains that his octopus sidekick, Topo, discovered a recording by Jor-El on the ocean floor.


The rest of the story is Jor-El’s recording, as he recounts his simulations of what his son’s life would be like, had he sent the boy to various different worlds – and why he ultimately chose Earth.  One is a world of giants, where Superman would have been very small, and fought crime as if he were the Atom.


And an underwater world, where he would have been that planet’s Aquaman.


A low-tech planet, under a red sun, which would have seen him become Green Arrow.


A world of eternal night, in which he becomes Batman.


And lastly, a planet on which only his super-speed functioned, making him the Flash.  But Jor-El chose Earth, to give his son the maximum amount of powers.


Dorfman and Mooney ramp up the emotions in this month’s Supergirl tale.


Supergirl’s mother, Alura, has fallen deathly ill due to being separated from her daughter.  We get some flashbacks to their life on Argo City, when Kara was a baby.


The Davners intercept a message from Kandor, letting Linda know how severely her mother wants her back.  They try to make her feel unwanted, so that she will willingly leave them.  But Linda is suspicious of their change in behaviour, and finds out the truth.


Zor-El and Alura do not want Supergirl to have to give up her crime-fighting career, so they decide it the Danvers who should make all the sacrifices in this situation.  They use the exchange ray to bring one set of parents out of Kandor, and replace them with her other set.  And though there is no clear reason why Supergirl has to leave Midvale as a result of this, she nonetheless bids farewell to Dick Malverne and Lena Thorul.


Meanwhile, in Kandor, the Danvers meet a young orphan girl, who looks identical to Linda.

The story continues in the next issue.



Action 313 – Superman betrayed by his allies, and Lena Thorul learns the truth


Al Plastino does the art on Action 313 (June 1964), as Superman’s nightmares come true.


The story begins as Supergirl casually reveals Superman’s identity to Perry White, as per the cover image.  Superman is upset and mystified, even moreso when Batman then reveals that he is Clark Kent in front of Lois Lane.


Later, Lori Lemaris exposes Clark in front of Jimmy Olsen.  It’s a really bad day!


Superman gathers his friends, and talks them into voluntarily undergoing a mind-wipe of his secrets.  They participate, but it has no effect on them.  In fact, it seems to make things worse, as they begin blackmailing him.


But this is all a huge scam by the Superman Revenge Squad, using a battery of androids.  Lois, Jimmy, Perry, Batman, Supergirl and Lori had all been captured before the events in the story began, replaced by androids. Superman became suspicious when tear gas did not affect them.  He finds his real friends, captive in a cave, and releases them, messing up another overly elaborate and somewhat aimless plot by the Revenge Squad.


Dorfman and Mooney put Lena Thorul through a lot in this tale.  It opens as the FBI order her to write a criminology paper, as part of her application.  Lex Luthor is one of those she must question.


Luthor has taken up raising flowers, and does his best to make a good impression on Lena, but her psychic powers reveal to her that they are siblings.


Lena is so shocked she flies to Africa and loses her memory, living as a jungle princess for a while.


She returns to the US, and takes on a job as a circus performer, but remains miserable.  Supergirl works with Luthor, as he gives her a bouquet of flowers, whose scent induces amnesia.  Lena loses her memory of being  Luthor’s sister, and writes a nasty report on him, insisting his flower hobby be stopped.  Oh, the irony.




Action 301 – Superman murders Clark Kent, and Comet’s story gets even more complicated


Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino craft a really interesting Superman tale in Action 301 (June 1963).


Clark Kent and Lois Lane are on the track of a gang of thieves.  The bad guys find the reporters,and are out to kill them, but Clark changes to Superman, and throws Clark Kent to his death.  What?  The body is not found, but Superman is arrested anyway, though the police, and Lois Lane, and even the reader, is mystified at this turn of events.


Though no one wants to betray Superman, and many people testify to his long record of selfless service, Lois Lane is forced by the prosecution to admit that Clark kissed her just before Superman “killed” him, and lay the groundwork for a motive of jealousy.


Things clear up as the story reaches its conclusion.  Superman wanted to be in the prison, so he would be in the right place to stop the gang of thieves master plan.  The murder trial is called off when people discover Clark Kent in the cell.  He claims to have been there all along, just disguised as Superman.  A pretty clever way out.


Dorfman and Mooney add another level of complexity to the Super-Horse saga in this issue.


Comet accompanies Supergirl to Zerox, the Sorceror’s World, a location that returns many times throughout the years in the Legion of Super-Heroes series.  On Zerox, Comet finds a wizard, Endor, who gives Comet the power to transform into a human, when in the view of an actual comet.  Comet, in human guise, gets to rescue Supergirl, though he does not reveal his identity, and their meeting on Zerox is brief.


Returning to Earth, Comet winds up turning human again, and takes on the identity of Bronco Bill Starr, a rodeo rider, with a strong bond with horses.  Oh, I should have mentioned that in human form, he loses all his powers.  Supergirl cannot contact him telepathically, and goes to see Lena Thorul for help.  She can only get an image of Bronco Bill, with no explanation.


Supergirl heads to the rodeo, and hit it off with Bronco Bill Starr right away.  She sees that he has the same comet shaped mark that her horse has, but does not suspect any connection between them.  She does notice the similarity between the rodeo rider and her rescuer on Zerox, but writes that off to coincidence.

You can’t really blame Supergirl.  With all the twists and turns in Comet’s origin, who could ever guess at it?

Action 298 – Lex Luthor gains super-powers


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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