Posts tagged ‘Monitor’

Action 564 – Superman trapped in a new life

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Kupperberg and Saviuk are joined by Mike DeCarlo as the Master Jailer pulls off a devious attack in Action 564 (Feb. 85).

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The Master Jailer had been introduced in the late 70s, and appeared a few times, but this marks his first time in the pages of Action.  Carl Draper usually has a psychological element to his attacks on Superman, as well as the physical side, and this time he traps him in a completely different identity, Mike Barton, with no awareness of being Superman, or even Clark Kent.

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The Monitor and Harbinger appear, as Draper got the tech for his attack through them.  The Monitor warns Master Jailer that Superman’s memory might return if he sees anything familiar.  Draper keeps the costume, and thinks that everything will be fine – but of course we already see the story’s “out.”

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But for a while, Superman enjoys the simple, blue collar life of Mike Barton, while Master Jailer runs wild, with the invulnerable costume under his.  Must be sooo hot in all that.

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The scene eventually comes in which “Mike” has to wear a Superman costume.  As soon as its on, he remembers everything, and takes out Master Jailer.

This is the final appearance of the villain.  There were a few post-Crisis attempts to revive him, but like Terra-Man, he failed to gain the status he had at this time.

 

Action 560 – Superman vs John Doe, and Ambush Bug begins

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Ambush Bug steals the Giffen cover of Action 560 (Oct. 84).  Oh, go and sulk, Superman, it’s not as if you have a minimum of three other cover appearances this month.

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The Superman story in the issue, by Kupperberg, Saviuk and Hunt, is decent enough.  John Doe is a former prisoner, who feels he was wrongfully jailed.  It sounds good at the start, but as the tale progresses we get the sense that he was guilty, and just refuses to take responsibility.

At any rate, with some nifty energy cuffs he is able to destroy the buildings of the justice system, and send Superman flying.

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John Doe has acquired these through the Monitor, one of his many cameos in the months leading up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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Of course, once Superman is prepared for the effect of the cuffs, he is able to withstand it, and shatter them.

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But who cares about that story?  Ambush Bug steals the interior, the same way he stole the cover, in this story by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming and Bob Oskner.  This is Ambush Bug’s first solo outing, although Superman appears throughout the story, an follows his appearance in Supergirl a few months earlier.

Ambush Bug has opened a detective agency in Metropolis, and Superman comes to check it out, as Clark Kent.

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Ambush Bug sees through that disguise right away, although he doesn’t actually deduce that Clark Kent is his secret identity.  The story strikes just the perfect notes of chaos and comedy.

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And though Superman is the butt of much of the humour, the story is not demeaning to the character at all.

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Ambush Bug makes his first appearance as Ginsu the ninja as this debut installment comes to a close.

Ambush Bug gets two more back-up stories in Action Comics within the year.

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