Posts tagged ‘Marauder’

Action 418 – the destructive ghosts of Superman, and Metamorpho ends

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Dorfman, Swan and Anderson conclude the Crime Lords story in Action 418 (Nov. 72).

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Superman works alongside Luthor, Brainiac, Grax and the Marauder, but they have little success against the destructive phantoms Superman gives off, particularly as it keeps happening whenever Superman does anything.

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They want Superman to bring them to the Fortress to work on a solution.  He refuses, but does accompany them to their own lair, where the Marauder promptly gets him into a trap.  Indeed, they were behind this all along, the destructive phantoms were their plan, and are controlled by the Marauder’s helmet.

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Luthor also gets betrayed by the villains.  They were telling the truth when they said the phantoms would destroy the world.  That had been their goal, which they kept from Lex.  Imprisoned alongside Superman, Luthor has little trouble changing sides, and helping his former foe against his former allies.  Superman gets Marauder’s helmet, and turns the phantoms on the villains, making them flee.

This is the final appearance of the Marauder.  I guess he was too scared to ever try to get his helmet back.  Grax does make a return, in the pages of Super Friends.  Luthor and Brainiac are back within the year.

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Metamorpho’s series in Action ends with this story by Haney and Calnan.  Simon Stagg is dying, and Rex, Java and Sapphire gather to hear his will.  One really would expect Randall to be around for this, so he is clearly gone.

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Metamorpho is to receive a million dollars, but only on the condition that he brave a kraken to recover a rare mineral.

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He does complete the task, but is suspicious about the situation.  Sure enough, Stagg is not dead.  He faked it just to get Metamorpho to complete the task he required.

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That’s a pure Simon Stagg move, and the only think in this brief run that feels like its part of a Metamorpho story.  Although the ending is good as well, when Stagg finds that the minerals are also useless.

The subscript informs the reader that the Metamorpho series is moving to the pages of Superman’s Friend,Jimmy Olsen, but in fact it returns in the pages of World’s Finest in a couple of months.

Action 417 – the Crime Lords, and Metamorpho breaks the spell

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Grax and the Marauder, both introduced in these pages within the last couple of years, return alongside Lex Luthor and Brainiac to form the Crime Lords in Action 417 (Oct. 72).

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The four villains hate Superman so much they spend their spare time destroying robots of him.  We also get it confirmed that Brainiac’s supposed disintegration of him and Luthor at the end of their last appearance was just a teleport device.

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They do actually put a plan into action, not content with trashing robots.  We do not know exactly what they are up to, but it appears to cause wild, random disasters, which keep Superman hopping.

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But the villain abruptly sue for peace.  When Superman goes to see them, Luthor explains that their plan did not really work.  They hit him with a ray, the result of which was that every time he performs a super-feat, Superman emits a ghost-self, which goes around being destructive.  Unless they can find a way to stop this, the whole world will get destroyed.

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So Superman teams up with the Crime Lords to fight his ghostly emissions.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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I don’t care that much for the Metamorpho run in this book.  The stories by Haney and Calnan are not bad, they just feel more like run of the mill adventures that Metamorpho was dropped into, rather than the character’s own bizarre style of tale.  But this one gets included, as it introduces Simon Stagg’s nephew, Randall.

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Metamorpho shows little of his wild body changes in the scene where he entertains the boy.  Shameful the opportunities missed in this scene, although it does introduce the secret experiment Stagg is working on.

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Metamorpho discovers that the boy is spying on the experiment, but not of his own volition.  He has been programmed to do this, against his will.

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Rex breaks the kid’s programming, and they take down the bad guys.  Sapphire and Java are around, but do little.  And though the end of the story implies that Randall will continue as a supporting character, we never see him again.  Simon Stagg does not like spies, programmed or not.

 

 

Action 378 – Superman vs the Devil, and Legion of Super-Heroes begins

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Jim Shooter introduces a new villain, and tries to introduce a new supporting character, in Action 378 (July 1969), with art by Swan and Abel.

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An alien travelling towards Earth gets captured by another alien, who calls himself the Marauder.  The Marauder wants vengeance against Superman, for some previous defeat, though this is the first time we have seen this villain.  He brainwashes the alien into believing that he is the Devil, and gives him a trident with kryptonite.

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The character seems supernatural when he attacks Superman, though the kryptonite gives the game away to some degree.

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Superman tries and fails to break the “devil’s” programming, but fails at that.  To his good fortune, as the “devil” moves in for the kill, his own mind takes control.  He is, in reality, Superman’s godfather, having visited Krypton shortly before it exploded, and made friends with Jor-El.

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It’s funny that the end of the story insists that this character, Rol-Nac, will return soon, and be a new regular supporting character.  He never appears again, but the Marauder, so forgettable in this tale, does come back in the early 70s.

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Jim Shooter also pens the Legion of Super-Heroes story, with art by Win Mortimer and Mike Esposito, as the super-team begin their run in this book.

While none of the Legion stories from this period in Action would be considered great stories, one has to credit how well the strip handled the savage decrease of pages.  Instead of large, cosmic adventures with the bulk of the team, the stories now would often focus on only a few of the Legionnaires, and on smaller, more personal events.

This story stars Timber Wolf and Light Lass, and gives Brin Londo a sort of drug addiction, although it’s to a lotus fruit.

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His addiction is messing up his hero-ing, as well as his relationship with Light Lass.  She figures out the root of the problem, and tries to talk to Brin about it, but he just pushes her away.

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Lightning Lad has a cameo, as Ayla opens up to her twin about her concerns.

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We see that the lotus plant gives Timber Wolf some hallucinatory effects, though the art team doesn’t make it look particularly exciting. Light Lass forces Brin to choose between her and the lotus plant, and although his addiction makes him struggle, he does pick Light Lass.

While this story is never directly referred to, later tales would make reference to Light Lass devoting a lot of time and energy to Timber Wolf’s problems.

 

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