Posts tagged ‘Mr Mxyzptlk’

Action 583 – “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” concludes

act_583

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.

act_583_one

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.

act_583_001

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.

act_583_002

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.

act_583_003

Lana and Jimmy both fall to the Legion of Super-Villains, while Krypto sacrifices himself to take out the Kryptonite Man.

act_583_004

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.

act_583_005

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.

act_583_006

Superman winds up using the Phantom Zone projector to rip the 5th dimensional being in half, but he has knowingly, and willingly killed.

act_583_007

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.

act_583_008

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 563 – Ambush Bug loses his suit, Mr. Mxyzptlk wants his own show, and Jimmy Olsen becomes a blob

act_563

Three stories in Action 563 (Jan.85), all represented in Giffen’s great cover.

act_563_001

Ambush Bug gets the lead story in the issue, by Giffen, Fleming and Oskner.  Clark Kent is around, in his newscaster guise, and as Superman, but Bethany Snow, from New Teen Titans, and Jack Ryder, better known as the Creeper, also cameo on the first page.  Ted Baxter, from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, almost appears.

act_563_002

There is some degree of story in this one, as Ambush Bug works on his suit, and shorts it out.

act_563_003

A running gag with the character is the origin story, which always involves a person named Irwin Schwab, but otherwise is a pastiche of other heroes origins.  Ambush Bug relates one of these absurd stories to Superman.

act_563_004

Superman dismisses it as nonsense, until he realizes Ambush Bug just told him his own origin.

act_563_005

E. Nelson Bridwell, Alex Saviuk and Dennis Jensen give Mr. Mxyzptlk a yen for the boob tube in the second story in this issue.  The 5th dimensional imp demands his own television show on WGBS, but Morgan Edge refuses.

act_563_006

So Mr. Mxyzptlk wreaks havoc with the networks programming.  Although the story posits this as a bad thing, in reality I’m sure the ratings went through the roof, as everyone tuned in to see what crazy shit was going to happen.  Anyway, Mxyzptlk has made saying, or even writing, his name backwards impossible for anyone.

act_563_007

Superman gets around this by thinking of his Bizarro World counterpart, Kltpzyxm, when setting up his trap.

act_563_008

The issue is rounded out by a Jimmy Olsen adventure, by Craig Boldman, Howard Bender and Pablo Marcos.

act_563_009

Hoping to save a falling girl, Jimmy drinks from an old vial of his Elastic Lad serum, but it turns him into a big blob instead.

act_563_010

He is unable to speak, and is treated as a monster, even by his date for the evening.  Superman figures out what has happened, the serum was corrupted by a radioactive substance it sat next to.  He cures Jimmy in time to still have his planned date, but the girl’s reaction, freaking out just because he metamorphosized, makes it clear this woman is not up to Jimmy Olsen’s speed.

Action 467 – Superman goes boom, and Krypto vs Mr Mxyzptlk

act_467

An unappealing cover on Action 467 (Jan. 77), and the Superman story inside isn’t great, either.

act_467_001

Superman’s sonic booms are the key element to this story by Conway, Swan and Blaisdel, as two men in an orbiting capsule plan to steal the energy from them.

act_467_002

The best scene in the story has Clark getting an alert while giving a live broadcast, and how he manages to get out of the studio without disrupting the show.  There is a mention of Black Lightning battling the 100, a subtle plug for the new book.

act_467_003

When Superman tries to use a sonic boom to weaken a tidal wave, he discovers that they are not “functioning,” and follows the energy trail up to the capsule.

act_467_004

It was all a plot to rule the world.  And it must have cost a lot to put into operation, what with the space capsule and all.  Millions.  Stupid guy probably could have lived happily for the rest of his life on the money he spent trying to conquer the Earth.

act_467_005

The back-up story, by Rozakis, Swan and Blaisdel, which pits Krypto against Mr. Mxyzptlk, is far more entertaining.

act_467_006

With Superman not around, and the 5th dimensional imp erasing Metropolis, it is up to Krypto to stop him.  He does this in canine fashion, nipping at Mxyzptlk.

act_467_007

It’s really Mr. Mxyzptlk’s bad choice of a hiding place that does him in – disguising himself as a dog biscuit.

Action 460 – Steve Lombard is Superman?, and a Mr. Mxyzptlk tale

act_460

Action 460 (June 1976) was the third issue of the series that I bought.  It is the beginning of a four-part story, which made me buy the next three issues, and got me buying the series regularly.

act_460_001

The story, by Bates, Swan and Blaisdel, begins in a very low-key manner, with Clark Kent riding the bus to work.  Steve Lombard winds up in the same coach, his sports car in the shop.  But neither man is prepared when a glowing alien being suddenly shows up in the back of the bus.

act_460_002

This creature is clearly none too find of Superman, and appears almost equally matched in strength.  He vanishes in the middle of the fight, and Superman is pretty sure that he turned back into whatever human guise he had been using on the bus, before he transformed.

act_460_003

Superman is dead on about that.  This is Karb-Brak, from a planet in the Andromeda galaxy.  He is fatally allergic to all of his people, and was sent to live on Earth, just in order to survive.  His human guise is a construction worker, Andrew Meda.  Superman evokes the same allergic reaction that Andromedans did, so Brak decides he must kill Superman to save himself.

act_460_004

He tracks the energy, and sees Clark Kent and Steve Lombard working out together in the WGBS gym.  He starts to transform, but does not notice Clark take off and become Superman.  Assuming Lombad must be Superman, he breaks in to kill him.

act_460_005

Though this is billed as a Mr. Mxyzptlk story, the real star of it is the recently introduced Jon Ross, whom Mxyzptlk chooses to pester.

act_460_006

Jon has heard about the imp.  After Mxyzptlk turns Pete Ross into a statue, Jon decides to play along with him, pretending to enjoy it all, and bide his time.

act_460_007

Mr. Mxyzptlk genuinely enjoys having a partner in his lunacy, and is unprepared when Jon traps him in a creation of his own making, which he cannot escape from, short of returning to his home dimension.

So this is kind of like a “private life of Jon Ross.”

Action 388 – Sgt. Rock fights Superman over Lois Lane

act_388

Bates, Swan and Roussos attempt to re-capture the joyous insanity of the early 60s Superman stories in Action 388 (May 1970).

act_388_001

The story, such as it is, has Superman come back to Earth after a mission in space, and find that everything has turned crazy.  Sgt. Rock is his romantic rival for Lois Lane.  Every panel holds bizarre details, which are occasionally humourous.  There are also a few cameos – note Enemy Ace flying by in the last panel above.

act_388_002

Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bizarro all appear in the tale, though none are the villain of the story.

act_388_003

The Legion make a cameo, in probably the most serious couple of panels, as Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl warn Superman that Lois Lane is an idiot.

act_388_004

There is an explanation, of sorts. Superman has wound up on a weird mirror-world, thanks to a bumbling scientist.  They both return to the real Earth at story’s end.

It’s not a bad story. It’s not as funny as they would have liked.  If anything, it shows what an achievement the early 60s Superman stories were.

Action 368 – Superman is bored, and Supergirl needs help

act_368

Superman finds himself out of work in Action 368 (Oct. 68), in a story by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Jack Abel.

act_368_001

Superman has been off in space, on a replica world of Krypton, bemoaning how Earth makes so many demands on him.  But when he comes back to Earth, he finds it a different situation entirely. There is no crime, no emergencies.  Superman flies around trying to help, but there is nothing for him to do.

act_368_002

When Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up, Clark is convinced the imp is at the root of all this peace and goodwill.  But Mxyzptlk has been changed as well, and now wants only to spread fun and happiness.

act_367_005

Even Jax-Ur, no longer in the Phantom Zone, has reformed, and spends his time in space protecting the planet from meteors.

act_368_003

Superman is approached by a glowing giant molecule thing, which calls itself a Sentinel.  They have brought peace and stability to the planet, but Superman threatens to undo their good works, with his propensity towards violence.  The Sentinel convinces Superman to leave Earth and head to a planet that orbits a red sun.

The story concludes in the next issue.

act_368_004

Supergirl finishes her battle with Alpha and Beta in this Bates and Schaffenberger story.

act_368_005

Those googly eye things in the first part of the story really were the best thing about this tale, which comes to a really simple conclusion.  The boy Supergirl is protecting takes a look at the bomb keeping everyone out of Stanhope, and realizes its a fake.  Sueprgirl had managed to flag away Superman before he broke the dome, but now realizes that was not necessary.

act_368_006

Some future cops come to round up Alpha and Beta.  Supergirl discovers that she still has her powers, as the future cops also shielded her from the gold kryptonite exposure.

Probably shouldn’t have fallen for the eyes and just skipped this three-parter.

Action 362 – the Head of Hate, and Supergirl on trial in the future

act_362

Leo Dorfman is joined by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, as a long-running story sets off in Action 362 (April 1968).  It is amazing that, even with Neal Adams doing the cover, that huge head still looks awful.

act_362_001

The villain in this tale is a ventriloquist. His brother was captured by Superman but died in prison.  He has a dummy of his dead brother carried around by his men, and refuses to acknowledge that he is dead.

act_362_002

The Ventriloquist’s plan is to use one of Superman’s friend to kill him – and has Clark Kent kidnapped.  He has built a hypnosis machine out of a broken Superman robot – the huge head.

act_362_003

To further induce Clark to kill Superman, he shows him the supposed corpses of Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, and claims that Superman killed them.  Of course, these are just more dummies.  But Clark behaves, as the story reaches its ending, as if he is ready and willing to kill.

act_362_004

Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger have Linda become an exchange student in this story.

act_362_005

To Linda’s surprise, she winds up being sent to the 40th century. I wish the story followed the 40th century resident who was exchanged for her, but it doesn’t.

Supergirl is considered a great villain in this era, and she winds up arrested and put on trial.  Robin shows up to act as her defense, with a really lame explanation of how he got there.

act_362_006

But that’s ok, it’s not really Robin.  It’s a descendant of Mr. Mxyzptlk, who drew Linda to his century, and made everyone think she was a villain, all for his own amusement. But Linda had caught on, when he flew as Robin.  Exactly how that convinced her that this was a descendant of Mr. Mxyzptlk is not clear, but she does trick him into saying his name backwards.

 

Action 291 – Superman changes vulnerabilities, and Supergirl heads to the altar with Mr. Mxyzptlk

act_291

Bernstein and Plastino remove Superman’s kryptonite weakness in Action 291 (Aug. 62).

act_291_001

We see a suspiciously coloured red ray hit Clark Kent, just before Lois tosses him a chunk of kryptonite.  To his surprise, it has no effect on him at all.

act_291_002

As the story goes on, he finds himself weakened by diamonds, and later gold.  His vulnerability keeps changing.  Eventually the red ray is revealed as having shot red kryptonite at him, which had the effect of altering his weakness.

A bit too much red kryptonite this year.

act_291_003

Mr. Mxyzptlk sets his sights on Supergirl in this Siegel and Mooney story.

act_291_004

Supergirl comes to the aid of a crashing airforce jet, only to have the pilots turn into Bizarros.  This is due to Mr. Mxyzptlk, who further amuses himself by turning all of Midvale into Bizarros.

act_291_005

When Mr. Mxyzptlk’s romantic gestures towards Supergirl are rebuffed, he attempts to win her over by bringing her parents back to life. Zor-El and Alura seem to be genuinely there, not just apparitions created by the imp.  To Supergirl’s horror, Zor-El givse his permission for the marriage.

act_291_006

Supergirl is at the altar when her father proposes a pre-wedding toast.  He has spiked the drink with truth serum, and forces Mxyzptlk to say his name backwards.  This causes him to vanish, along with the effects of his magic – specifically, Zor-El and Alura.

But were they really dead?  The story never clearly states that.  Laying the groundwork for what is to come.

Action 283 – Superman punches JFK, and Supergirl becomes a balloon

act_283

Action 283 (Dec. 61) proudly proclaims itself an all-red kryptonite issue, and fulfills this promise.

act_283_001

Swan and Kaye handle the Superman story, which sees two Durlans come to Earth and create a red kryptonite sculpture, to draw Superman’s attention.  These beings are not called Durlans in the story, but are meant to be from the same planet as Chameleon Boy, so clearly are.  The word had simply not yet been coined.

act_283_002

Three different red kryptonite meteors were used, so Superman has three different effects during the course of the story.  The first allows his wishes to come true, as he discovers when Sherlock Holmes manifests to explain to the situation, a result of an inadvertent wish.

act_283_004

So Superman wishes both sets of his parents back into existence, and Jor-El and Lara get to briefly meet Ma and Pa Kent, before this power wears off.  It gets replaced by flame breath, which causes Superman a bit of trouble.

act_283_003

Back at the Daily Planet, current events impinge upon their reality, as Perry intends to send Lois and Clark out to cover the summit between JFK and Kruschev.  Jimmy sulks about not being picked to go.

act_283_005

As he arrives for the summit, the third red kryptonite effect takes hold, giving Superman mind-reading powers.  Thanks to this, he knows the two world leaders are not real, and are being impersonated by the Durlans.  Superman knocks them both out, and frees the real men.

act_283_006

Supergirl also falls prey to red kryptonite in Siegel and Mooney’s story, but this is really her own fault.

act_283_007

Being immune to green kryptonite, Supergirl believes herself immune to all its variants, and rounds up six red kryptonite meteors.  But Mr. Mxyzptlk only envisioned green kryptonite when he cast his spell, and Linda falls prey to three effects during the course of the tale.

act_283_008

To make matters worse, these hit while she is out on a date with Dick Malverne.  She grows to massive size, and hides by blending in with out parade balloons.

act_283_009

Then she turns into a Wolfgirl, while she and Dick are at the movies.  In this guise, she does manage to stop a director, who felt he had run out of horror ideas, from killing himself.  Instead he sets out to make a Wolfgirl movie.

act_283_010

When she shrinks to microscopic size, Supergirl finds this advantageous, as it allows her to assist in on operation on Dick’s father.

The story continues, with three more effects, in the next issue.

Action 282 – adventures of a Superman robot, and Supergirl heads to the future

act_282

Bill Finger and Al Plastino split the cover story for Action 282 (Nov. 61) between Superman and one of his robots.

act_282_001

Superman is too busy to be Clark Kent, so he has one of robots fill in for him, working alongside Lois.  The robots metallic hands get exposed early on, and he has to resort to a variety of methods to conceal them.

act_282_002

This completely steals the show.  Superman’s feats are big and showy, but it’s the robot for whom the stakes are high.

act_282_003

Superman does come to the aid of his creation, fashioning new skin for his hands split seconds before the Clark Kent robot must shake hands.

act_282_004

Supergirl makes another effort to restore her powers in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

act_282_005

Since heading into the past did not work, Superman sends his cousin to the distant future.  You have to kind of wonder why he didn’t send her to the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so she would have people to hang out with.  Lesla-Lar is displeased, as her monitors cannot broadcast from the future.

act_282_006

Supergirl winds up in a totalitarian era, with a tyrant who denies people the freedom to read and be educated, and helps overthrow his regime.

act_282_007

But her trip to the future has no more success than the one to the past.  Back in the present, Linda runs into Dick Wilson, now adopted, and with the last name Malverne.  They go swimming, and Linda reflects that, even is she had her powers, she would let him win, because men “enjoy” feeling superior to women.

act_282_008

And though Supergirl still has no idea she exists, Lesla-Lar gets arrested for illegal experiments, while Luthor wait and wonders what has happened to Supergirl.

act_282_009

The story ends as Supergirl’s powers miraculously return, as well as an invulnerability to kryptonite.  This weird change of events is due to Mr. Mxyzptlk’s magic.

The story continues in the next issue.

Tag Cloud