Posts tagged ‘Pete Ross’

Action 591 – Superman vs Superboy

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Keith Williams joins John Byrne on Action 591 (Aug. 87), the third part of a four-part story that clarifies the relationship between the Superboy from Legion of Super-Heroes, and Superman.

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The story picks up from the previous issue of Superman, as Superboy freezes Blok, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid and Sun Boy, taking them to the Time Trapper, but leaving Superman free.

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We have the story of Superboy and the Legion explained a different way, by the Time Trapper.  The Trapper took a small slice of the newly-formed universe, and molded it to his own liking.  When the Legion believed they were travelling back in time to meet Superboy, they were really travelling into the Time Trapper’s pocket universe, and meeting the Superboy he had created.

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Superman winds up in the pocket universe, and is discovered by Pete Ross.  He thinks this is Superboy under the influence of red kryptonite, and brings him back to the Kent home, where Superman meets two people who are the Kents, but not his parents.

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Superboy shows up, and a fight breaks out, with Krypto getting into the fray. Superman notes how much more powerful Superboy is, with the plus of an invulnerable cape.

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Krypto sacrifices his powers and intelligence to retrieve some gold kryptonite, in a failed attempt to save his master from the evil Superman.

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Pa Kent tries every kryptonite there is against Superman, but they are powerless on his physiology, being from a different universe.  Superboy admits that he wanted Superman to beat him, hoping that together they could defeat the Time Trapper.

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But in the end, the Legionnaires convince Superman not to come along with them for their final battle with the Time Trapper.

This sets the new relationship between Superman and the Legion, which will exist, with some minor modifications, until Zero Hour.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 457 – Jon Ross debuts, and the Nutty Kid revealed

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Not even going to talk about the cover of Action 457 (March 1976). Shooting fish in a barrel.

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A villain and a supporting cast member are both introduced in this story, by Gerry Conway, Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdel.  Whirlcaine, with the powers of a whirlwind and a hurricaine, proves to be an interesting, if minor, villain over the next few years,  Jon Ross would be a much more significant player than this story implies.

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The boy is introduced as dying of some ridiculous disease that has no symptoms, and can be cured by Superman revealing his identity.  There is a story from the 1940s with a similar premise. But that was the 1940s.  Pete Ross, his old high school buddy, is Jon’s father, and asks Superman to reveal his identity.  The great irony, although not explained till the end of the story, is that Pete Ross has known Clark was Superboy(man) since they were kids, but Clark never knew.

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Superman reveals that he is Clark Kent, but Jon Ross does not believe him.

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In the story’s best scene, he tries to prove it by taking Jon to the WGBS office, and showing him how everyone believes that he is Clark.  But Steve Lombard overhears, and misunderstands, the plan, and exposes Superman.

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I alos love the intelligent touch in having Superman wrap Jon in his invulnerable cape when he winds up having fight, and defeat Whirlcaine.

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In the end, Jon proves to himself that Clark is Superman, by the lack of normal bathroom crap.  Lazy, Clark.  You should have known better.

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Maggin and Grell have the middle chapter of their Nutty Kid story, and it largely belongs to Black Canary.  She had disguised herself as a clown to get on the helicopter with the kidnappers.  Her identity gets exposed, and she id forced to fight them while still in the air.

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Green Arrow is racing to reach her, but Dinah has already beaten the bad guys, when she “saves” the Nutty Kid, who turns out to be Lex Luthor in disguise.

 

Action 309 – the Superman family, and the secret of Supergirl’s parents

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Edmond Hamilton gave Curt Swan and George Klein an awful lot of work in Action 309 (Feb. 64).

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I’m including the splash page of this story to give you some idea of the amount of guest stars who appear.  But this is not just trivial packing, it’s also part of the suspense of the story.

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JFK, looking awfully shadowy, tricks Superman into going to a location, which is where a “this is your life!” special about him is being broadcast.  It’s not that much of a surprise for Superman, Clark Kent received an invitation.

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But who will Superman get to be Clark?  Lois and Lana have a robot detector, as they are using the special to try to prove Clark is Superman.  Lori Lemaris reads their minds, and alerts Superman to the danger.  Lex Luthor makes a cameo, watching the show from prison, but he is the only villain really featured in the tale.

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The Super-Pets put on an impressive show under Supergirl’s command.

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Superboy’s friend Pete Ross makes his first appearance as an adult, and we see a very aged Police Chief Parker from Smallville as well.  All the usual friends are there, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, as well as representatives from Kandor.  Among them are the “Lookalike Squad”, the ones who are identical to people in Superman’s life.  This includes the Clark Kent lookalike, Van-Zee, and his Lois Lane lookalike wife, Sylvia. Even the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club show up, one of whom is dumb enough to bring a chunk of gold kryptonite as a gift.

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But then the Legion of Super-Heroes show up, and Element Lad changes the rock and saves the day.  Chameleon Boy is part of the group, eliminating him as the phony Clark Kent.

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Batman unmasks in front of Lois, but is wearing a Bizarro face.  A nice laugh on snoopy Lois, and a way to work the Bizarro image into the story.

So who is left that could possibly have been Clark Kent?

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Why, JFK of course.

Very disturbingly, this issue was released only a couple of weeks after the assassination of JFK.

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Dorfman and Mooney add yet another twist to the never-dull life of Supergirl.

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Linda is being haunted by dreams of her dead parents, Zor-El and Alura, and can’t even enjoy her dates with Dick Malverne.   She wonders if her parents might be trapped in the Phantom Zone, because of their ghostly nature.  She checks with Comet, who can telepathically sense them somewhere.

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Supergirl can find no trace of them, but does find a remorseful Kryptonian, Jer-Em.  He is willing to tell her of them, but Jax-Ur, Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox muddle his telepathy.

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In Kandor, Supergirl uses a chronoscope to review the events of Argo City, her departure for Earth and the death of her parents.  She learns that Jer-Em altered the direction of Argo City’s flight, to take them away from an empowering yellow sun, believing it was evil.  But the change in course lead to the meteor shower that ruined the city.

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She also discovers that her parents did survive, heading into a place like the Phantom Zone, but without all the yucky criminals, called the Survival Zone.

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Supergirl vows to find and free her parents!

 

 

 

 

 

Action 286 – kryptonite ketchup, and Lex Luthor kills himself

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Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and George Klein tell a story in Action 286 (March 1962) about a group of villains, but not the ones you expect.  Electro makes his second and last cover appearance.

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The Superman Revenge Squad make their first adult appearance, following their debut two months earlier as the Superboy Revenge Squad in Superboy.  These are a group of aliens who spend an awful lot of time coming up with ridiculously complex methods of exacting this revenge.

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In this story, they capture Krypto, and try out a variety of red kryptonite meteors on him, until they find one that induces nightmares.  In Krypto’s case, being tormented by Streaky and Titano.

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So the leader uses an invisibility ray on himself, comes to Earth, and puts the red kryptonite into a bottle of ketchup.  Yes, he does.  Because Clark, Lois and Jimmy all ordered the exact same lunch.  So Superman eats his kryptonite burger, and starts getting nightmares.

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The Revenge Squad are monitoring all of this.  Their monitors are truly amazing.  Not only can they see anywhere on Earth, they can even broadcast Superman’s dreams.  Jimmy is staying overnight at the Fortress of Solitude.  For some reason, he is sleeping directly in front of the door to his room.  Perhaps he really wanted to sleep under the big statue of himself.  But couldn’t Superman have provided something better than fold-up cots?  Anyway, I’ll just leave the mention of Superman quivering.

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So Superman has his first nightmare, meeting descendants of Lana Lang and Pete Ross, who have gotten married, and lead an attack on him.

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Superman’s second dream is even better, with the villains from the cover – Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Electro, Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen pitting him against Supergirl.

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Supergirl gets sent to the Phantom Zone, and earth gets destroyed, Superman wakes up freaking out and upset.

While it’s true that the cover image is “just a dream,” at least the story never pretends otherwise, and the dreams are actually part of the plot against him.

The story concludes in the next chapter.

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Supergirl begins a new phase of her career, operating in public, in this Siegel and Mooney story.

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After some pleasant homey stuff, as Linda and Dick Malverne watch tv together while the Danvers look on approvingly, the story shifts over to Lex Luthor, who escapes from prison.  While the story does not directly address the Lesla-Lar Supergirl that Lex had met, his certainty that Supergirl is really a robot seems to be the conclusion he has drawn from this.

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He intentionally draws out Supergirl, but she proves to not be a robot, and Luthor winds up fleeing.  He has a death-ray, which he winds up shooting at himself when the car swerves.

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After a somewhat obligatory stop in Atlantis, with Lori Lemaris and Jerro floating around, Supergirl picks up some rare elements, and brings Luthor back to life.  He is not grateful.

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