Posts tagged ‘Parasite’

Action 578 – everyone hates Superman

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Boldman and Schaffenberger sap Superman’s self-esteem in Action 578 (April 1986).

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Superman attends a charity function, and meets a drifter, Joe Blohe.  Their meeting is brief and undramatic, they shake hands, nothing more. But it spells disaster for Superman.

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Immediately afterwards, Superman finds that people have become nasty, critical, and openly insulting towards him.  It happens to him both as Superman, and as Clark.

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At the same time, Joe is becoming outrageously popular.  Lana Lang ignores Superman completely, and wants to put Joe on television.

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It takes a while, but Superman finally figures out who Blohe is, and exposes him on live tv.  He is the Parasite, in disguise, who has used his leeching powers to steal Superman’s popularity, and self-esteem.  Even with his identity revealed, the crowd is still on his side.

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The Parasite makes the most of this, but now that Superman knows exactly what has happened, he knows how to overcome it.  By focussing on the love and support he had been given by his parents, Superman’s confidence is restored, and the Parasite gets defeated.

The Parasite sort of slips through the Crisis net, and returns in a year or so to fight Firestorm.

 

Action 555 – Superman vs the Parasite, but where is Supergirl?

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Action 555 (May 1984) sure looks like a story between Superman and Supergirl, with the Parasite being involved to a lesser degree.  That’s what the cover implies.

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But it is not in any way what Kupperberg, Swan and Hunt deliver.  The Parasite does return, and can still track Superman as Clark Kent.  The Parasite drains his energy and they fight and fight.  Parasite traps Superman to use him as a battery, but Superman breaks free and gets the best of the monster.  And all the while one keeps waiting for Supergirl to show up.

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She finally does, at the very end.  She does have a brief cameo earlier in the story, I will admit that.  And the Parasite story, and the Superman/Supergirl team-up does continue into the following issue of Supergirl.

This is a perfect example of the kind of covers I hate, that completely misrepresent a story, and really ought to be the cover for the next chapter of the tale.

Action 500 – the life story of Superman

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Action 500 (Oct. 79) is an oversize special, which does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive story of Superman.

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte choose a big public tour of a new Superman pavilion as the framing device for the tale.  The various rooms give focus to different parts of the story.

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There is also a machine at the exposition which draws out Superman’s memories, so that people can enjoy his grief as he recalls Jor-El and Lara, and his early life on Krypton. But a mystery villain is making use of the device, channeling the memories into a Superman duplicate he is creating.

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The creation of the Phantom Zone is referenced, as well as Krypto on a test rocket.

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The Kents are shown, finding the boy and raising him, both through his Superbaby phase, and later Superboy.

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The story often uses exact swipes of scenes and images from earlier stories.  The death of Pa Kent duplicates the first telling of the event.

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As does the farewell message from the people of Smallville.

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Clark Kent’s life in Metropolis is shown, getting the job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, and working with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Morgan Edge’s takeover is related, with Steve Lombard making an appearance.

Supergirl gets her own room in the pavilion, and a montage of her career.  Other aspects are really downplayed.  The Legion of Super-Heroes appear, in their current line-up, in the Superboy room, but are not talked about.

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Still, Lori Lemaris does make it into the triptych of his loves, along with Lois and Lana.

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The villain room is the most notable – for its absences.  Aside from Luthor and Brainiac, only the Toyman and Parasite are shown.  Brainiac has his story told in depth, as it relates to Kandor.

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The mystery villain turns out to be Lex Luthor, which is not that much of a surprise.

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And the duplicate gives himself away when he relates Luthor’s origin from Luthor’s own, very slanted, view.

As a story, this leaves something to be desired.  But as a Superman compendium, it works.

Action 361 – the Parasite returns, and Supergirl dates a Kryptonian?

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Jim Shooter and Al Plastino bring back the Parasite in Action 361 (March 1968).

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An alien geographer exploring the Earth finds an unusual cloud, which registers as a life-form.  He brings it aboard his ship, and concentrates it, which restores the Parasite back to life.  The Parasite drains the geographer, and heads down to Earth.

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The Parasite still is aware that Superman is Clark Kent.  He takes on the identity of a reporter, drawing the needed skills and abilities from Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, even from Perry White as he hires the man for the Daily Planet.  The Parasite sticks close to Clark, but only draws his energy from him as the Parasite.

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This plan works extremely well.  The Parasite never lets his presence be known, so Superman has no idea what is weakening him.

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When the Parasite has drained Superman sufficiently, he goes on the attack.  And Superman has been weakened so much that the Parasite should have won this fight.  But the geographer recovered, and comes up form behind, trapping Parasite in the device he used to gather him as a cloud int he first place.

Surprisingly, after two great appearances the Parasite is not seen again until the mid-70s.

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Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger explore the wonders of computer dating in this story.

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Linda gets matched with a boy who seems to have super-powers, speak Kryptonian, and know that she is Supergirl. She is wary enough to not reveal anything, but also intrigued.

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When she comes to his aid as Supergirl, he rudely rebuffs her, claiming to have interest only in Linda.  This really throws her.

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He finally tries to prove Linda is Supergirl, at the risk of her life.  She gets out of it, and he confesses that the he faked his Kryptonian stuff, thinking she really was Supergirl.

And we are meant to laugh as he winds up matched with an ugly girl.

But he was right.  And although he lied about who he was, Linda also lies about who she is.

I think they were better suited to each other than Linda thought.  No wonder she never gets a stable boyfriend, and is content with her dalliances with a merboy, a horse, and an alien living in the distant future.

 

Action 340 – the Parasite debuts

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James Shooter and Al Plastino introduce the Parasite in Action 340 (Aug. 66).

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Jensen, the man who will become the Parasite, gets only the briefest introduction.  He doesn’t even get a first name (or possibly a last, hard to tell.)  All we really know of him is that he is a lazy lab assistant, who doesn’t pay attention to warnings.

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In his fourth panel, he just opens a container of radioactive materials.  Why not?  What could happen?  Aside from turning into a purple, skull-faced, energy draining monster.

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The Parasite can draw energy off of anyone, although the story never makes it clear if those people he drains are left dead.I’m fairly certain that they are.  But the energy of a human does not last very long, and the Parasite weakens.  When Superman flies near, he gets a big energy burst, and realizes that Superman is the meal he needs.

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To his good fortune, the Parasite happens to be on the street as Clark Kent and Lois Lane are passing.  The Parasite feels the energy boost again, as Clark collapses. Parasite now knows who Superman is.

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The information does not prove very useful, though.  The Parasite’s plan to use his knowledge as a threat does not take into account that anyone close enough to hear him has already been rendered unconscious by his draining.  Superman has a very hard time with the creature, as he loses not only his strength to him, but vision powers as well, finding himself on the receiving end of heat vision.

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In the end, Superman does not even defeat the Parasite, except in a very passive way.  His energy is so great, it’s more than the Parasite can absorb, and the creature explodes.

That’s far from the end for this character.  The Parasite returns a couple of years down the road.

 

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