Posts tagged ‘Leo Dorfman’

Action 382 – Clark Kent, magician, and the Legion go undercover


Dorfman, Swan and Roussos put together a fairly enjoyable Superman romp in Action 382 (Nov. 69).


Clark Kent is writing a piece on a dead magician and friend, Presto.  He is caught by Lois Lane while flying around the room, gathering balloons, and pretends that it was one of Presto’s tricks.  Clark has fun using his powers to entertain Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, calling it magic tricks.


They Clark him to perform at a charity function. As well as simply using his powers to pull off tricks, he also exposes a criminal in the audience, getting him to cone onstage and revealing his stolen coins.


Other hoods grab him, thinking his powers are real, and force him to bring a Superman doll to life, to commit crimes for them.  Of course, he just becomes the doll himself.


Shooter, Mortimer and Abel pit the Legion against super-powered androids in this story.


A super-powered robot publicly attacks Ultra Boy.  He is referred to as the “former leader,” and Karate Kid has become the new leader, at some point during the last few stories.  Cosvarr is an industrialist selling new super-powered androids, as a defense against the dangerous robots.  Karate Kid is pretty certain Cosvarr is behind the attack on Ultra Boy, and puts together an espionage team.


Light Lass pretends to be a buyer, while Shrinking Violet sneaks in, and Timber Wolf takes an undercover role as a factory worker.  Timber Wolf messes up, exposing the Legion’s presence, and winds up having to fight Karate Kid.  Light Lass discovers that the androids are drawing their power from a captive Superboy and Mon-El.


But it’s really Cosvarr’s jilted girlfriend who brings down his scheme.  And his building.  Nukes them both.  That’s one angry girlfriend.



Action 381 – Superman on trial at the U.N., and Matter-Eater Lad on a date with Shrinking Violet


Dorfman, Swan and Roussos conclude their Superman Revenge Squad story in Action 381 (Oct. 69).


Superman’s belief in his criminal activity appears to have driven him insane. He now begins doing the destructive acts himself, defacing a Persian sculpture, adding his head to Mt. Rushmore, and cutting down all the flags at the U.N., making his own super-flag out of them.


Superman allows himself to be put on trial, and offers little in the way of defense.  But the flag pole is the giveaway.  Superman has figured out the Revenge Squad’s activities, and is preparing his own attack.

Foiled again!


A fair amount of members of the Legion of Super-Heroes appear in this story by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel, but it still manages to be small and centred on their everyday lives.  It opens after a meeting.  Brainiac 5 is left on monitor duty, and Chemical King wants to show off his new sky car, giving lifts to Matter-Eater Lad, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl.  Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl have their own romantic plans.  Karate Kid heads off by himself, so likely to work out.

Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl do not get off at the same place, and Jo mentions that he is staying with his parents.  They are usually shown, and referred to, as living on Rimbor, so we can assume they are in for a visit, and that it why Tinya did not go with him.


Then we get to see Matter-Eater Lad at home, with his rarely-seen parents.  His father is an abusive drunk and gambler, and the mother does not seem much better.  Their primary interest is in his paycheque, and he walks out on them.


Coming back to headquarters, he finds Shrinking Violet moping about her long-distance relationship with Duplicate Boy.  They had a date scheduled for that night, which he broke.  Tenzil decides to invite Violet out for a night on the town, and Princess Projectra helps her prepare.


The date goes well, and there is a genuine bond of friendship that grows between the two in their conversation.  The Duplicate Boy barges in and gets all violent and threatening.  Tenzil just talks him down, that he has no interest in “stealing” Violet, and that he should spend more time with her.

The conclusion also sees Tenzil get a letter from his parents, insisting that his father will stop gambling.  I have my doubts.

Action 380 – Superman’s crimes, and Duo Damsel vs Duo Damsel


Dorfman, Swan and Roussos bring back the Superman Revenge Squad in Action 380 (Sept. 69).


The pair who execute this plan actually have to win a competition first, on what appears to be a small planet full of Revenge Squad members.  It’s a popular club.  They come to Earth, and begin to mess with Superman, making him think he is performing destructive acts in his sleep.


In fact, it is the two Revenge Squad members who are doing this, while giving Clark red kryptonite induced nightmares.


The female member impersonates Supergirl, lying to Superman about a test he undergoes to see if he is being affected by red kryptonite.  Superman is left believing himself to be guilty of their crimes.

The story concludes in the next issue.


Duo Damsel is the focus of this month’s Legion of Suepr-Heroes story, by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel.


Luornu Durgo splits into her two selves, sending one on a mission, while the other hangs and relaxes with Bouncing Boy.  The one who left takes an awful long time coming back, and when she does, it is on the arms of Nam-Lor.


The second body starts using a different name, Leilith, and her behaviour has changed.  Luornu suspects something is wrong, and discusses this with Bouncing Boy.  The two wind up confronting Leilith and Nam-Lor, catching them in the middle of a theft.  Luornu finds she cannot even merge with Leilith.


The story comes to a genuinely surprising conclusion.  Leilith orders Nam-Lor to kill Bouncing Boy, but he refuses.  We discover that Nam-Lor has, among other powers, a “hyper-aura” that has driven Leilith to become a violent criminal.  he has reluctantly gone along with her, but hates the person he has turned her into. Nam-Lor leaves.

The story ends, just when it gets very interesting.  I want to see how the two Duo Damsels interact now, but it’s over.  In later years, more would be made of the “darker” body of Duo Damsel, and it’s not too long after this that she adopts a new costume, which gives each body a different colour.


Action 379 – Superman vs a phantom killer, and an impostor Legionnaire


Another story that verges on the occult, Superman faces a murderous spirit in Action 379 (Aug. 69), by Dorfman, Swan and Abel.


Clark Kent is among a group of reporters who go to the funeral of a prominent occultist, Dr. Phantas.  As Superman, he defies a curse and opens the coffin, which seems to release his vengeful spirit.


The other reporters begin dying unusual deaths, while Superman finds his dreams haunted by the ghost.  Clark does not believe this is all a curse, and discovers that the dead reporters had all travelled together a while earlier, along with one who had not yet been killed.


Clark takes that reporters place, so when the “ghost” comes to kill him, he confronts him.  It isn’t a ghost at all.  Rather, he is an alien policeman, hunting down fugitives who had taken the place of the reporters.  He used the whole curse thing so prevent the public from being afraid of killer aliens on the loose.  Killer ghosts on the loose are fine.


Superman kind of gives his ok to all of this, though he points out that the Eliminator (as the alien cop is called) could have captured the men without killing them.  But the Eliminator just takes off, and Superman stands around justifying his lack of action.


E. Nelson Bridwell scripts a decent little Legion mystery, with art by Win Mortimer that is taken up a notch by Murphy Anderson’s inks.  Ultra Boy is referred to as being the leader again, though he is off on a mission.  Mon-El, as deputy leader, is in charge as the Legion’s computer announces that one of the gathered members is an impostor.  Lightning Lad, Element Lad, Dream Girl and Shadow Lass have no time to solve this before they have to run off and deal with a villain, Sunburst.


During the fight, each of them either has their powers not work, or something unusual happen, like Lightning Lad’s hair going straight, as if from an electric charge.


Shadow Lass takes down Sunburst, but the group immediately turn on each other, firing off accusations about who is the fake.


Explanations are given for the various power failures, and Shadow Lass is exposed as the phony, not weakened at all by Sunburst’s blasts of light.  Mon-El finds the real Shadow Lass, the fake was working with Sunburst, presumably to wreak havoc within the Legion.  For some reason.


Action 376 – plots of the Anti-Superman Gang, and Supergirl ends


The Anti-Superman Gang debut in Action 376 (May 1969).  They are kind of like the Superman Revenge Squad, in that they come up with really complicated ways of killing Superman, except they are all human criminals.


Throughout this story, by Binder, Swan and Abel, they try out a number of methods of killing Superman, with very little success. So little that Superman doesn’t even notice what is going on.


The attempt to kill him using his own costume moves the story almost into farce.


Finally, a serious effort is made, with a satellite spreading kryptonite. Superman dons his old faithful anti-kryptonite suit, but the gang has planned for that, with an element-changing ray that turns his suit to glass.

The story concludes in the next issue.


Supergirl’s long run in Action Comics comes to a close with this story by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger.


Supergirl gets blamed for an accident that robs one of Stanhope’s science students of her sight.  When Supergirl is unable to cure her blindness, the student body as a whole turn on her.  But then some aliens steal the entire science department.


It turns out the aliens stole the girl’s sight, and are now planning to steal everything in her mind.  But their machine does not work, because Supergirl has taken the blind woman’s place.  She defeats the aliens, and uses their tech to restore the woman’s sight.

Not a great story, but Supergirl gets promoted anyway, moving over to become the cover feature in Adventure Comics, while the Legion of Super-Heroes get demoted, taking over her spot in Action.


Action 366 – Superman substitutes, and Supergirl meets Alpha and Beta


Dorfman, Andru and Esposito conclude the Virus X storyline in Action 366 (Aug. 68).


Superman is found by some flame beings in the sun.  He has been cured of Virus X, thanks to the white kryptonite thrown at him by the Bizarros.  That killed the virus, and the sun healed his injuries.


Returning to Earth, he finds that no one realizes he has been gone, and that there are versions of himself fighting crime all over the place.  He checks Kandor, and the Phantom Zone, but no one is missing.


The Supermen are actually his fellow Justice Leaguers, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, working alongside Supergirl.

This story was really highly regarded at the time.


Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger introduce a pair of alien villains for Supergirl in this story.


Alpha and Beta are on a mission, and want one of the Stanhope students.  They seal off the campus, which actually helps protect Supergirl’s identity, as her Linda robot is at class.


Not much is explained in this action-packed tale, which concludes next issue, but those bug eyes merited inclusion.


Action 365 – along the flight to cremation


Action 365 (July 1968) contains the penultimate chapter of Dorfman, Andru and Esposito’s Virus X saga.


Sadly, there is little that actually happens in this issue.  It begins by recapping the story so far, and then turns into a reviewof Superman’s life, as it all passes through his mind as he travels through space.  We get Jor-El and Lara sending him off from Krypton, and teh Kents finding and raising him.  Lana Lang is introduced, and the origin of LexLuthor retold.

As Superman’s body passes Lexor, the people rise in revolt against Lex for killing Superman.  Ardora tries to get the mob to calm down, but I expect she had some rough days ahead of her.  In fact, we do not see Ardora again until the 80s, although Lexor appears in World’s Finest tale in the mid-70s.


Superman recalls his time with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later Batman and Robin, and the Justice League.  Lori Lemaris, and then his time at the Daily Planet, with Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane.


Brainiac, Kandor and Supergirl get a page devoted to their tale.


He passes Bizarro World, and they shower him with all the forms of kryptonite.  Just before he plunges into the heart of a star, Supergirl flies out Lois, Lana and Lori, to watch and mourn.



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