Posts tagged ‘Professor Hyatt’

Action 523 – Steve Lombard – alien, and the Atom saves his parents

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Conway, Swan and Chiaramonte weave a story that repelled me enough that I stopped buying this series after this issue.

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It’s not really that bad a story, so I’m not sure why I hated it so much.  It opens with the Daily Planet staff playing baseball.  There are enjoyable bits for Lois and Lana, Perry and Jimmy.  Clark gets picked on by Steve Lombard, but he is also going crazy, playing with people who were not professional athletes.  Then a goofy looking alien shows up, claiming to be his brother.

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We, and Steve, learn that he was adopted, and there is circumstantial evidence to back up the alien’s claim.  The alien is a shape-shifter, who can take Steve’s form.

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But that all turns out to be a lie.  The alien is part of a race of really competitive athletes, who steal the forms and skills of people from a variety of planets.  He stole Steve’s form and skills, but the real prize is Superman.

But Superman was suspicious, and resisting their energy drain, and beats them.

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Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta continue the Atom’s battle with the Calculator, although most of the story is spent in the past Ray Palmer escaped to in the Time Pool.

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He saves a young couple in a storm, who will one day become his parents.

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Returning, he stays small and out of sight, but tells Professor Hyatt what to do in order to defeat the Calculator.

But as with many Calculator stories, it seems finished, but continues next issue.

Action 522 – Superman vs the Clockwork Man, and Atom vs the Calculator

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Conway, Swan and Chiaramonte go retro with Action 522 (Aug. 81).

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A scientist creates an old-fashioned Clockwork Man, inspired by the tales of Burroughs and Baum.

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The mechanical man wants to help his chronically late creator, and so speeds everyone up.  It takes Clark a surprisingly long time to notice that everyone around him is moving at super-speed.

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The Clockwork Man is simply too determined to “help,” and really capable of reason, so Superman has to trash it.

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The Calculator returns to fight the Atom, the first foe he faced, in this story by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta.  It’s the first time the villain had appeared since his introductory arc in Detective Comics in 1978, and those stories are recapped at the start of this tale.

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Calculator’s immunity to any hero who had previously beat him holds true in this story, and I was glad that the Atom did not try turning into Ray Palmer, which he had tried and failed in Detective.  This time around, he tries increasingly indirect attacks, but with no success.

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But the Calculator attacked while he was at Professor Hyatt’s, and the Atom makes his escape by diving into the Time Pool.

The story continues next issue.

Action 442 – faster than a speeding bullet, and the Martian Atom?

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Action 442 (Dec. 74) has a perfect cover, and the story is exactly suited to it.

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The Johnny Nevada Show is the location of this story by Bates, Swan and Schaffenberger.  But Johnny is nowhere in sight, and Steve Lombard is struggling through as the guest host.  Clark Kent is one of the guests for the evening, although he spends a lot of time super-speeding around.

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Johnny Nevada had been kidnapped earlier in the day, and the ransom demand included the airing of a certain commercial during Nevada’s show, to tell the kidnappers that the ten million dollar ransom was ready.  Inspector Bill Henderson is introduced in this story.  Henderson was the policeman on the old Adventures of Superman tv series, but not used in the comics until now.

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The story has an excellent climax. Unable to find the kidnappers, Superman goes on the Nevada show, to Lombard’s delight, but unmasks to reveal that he is Johnny Nevada, having traded places with Superman the previous day.  The kidnappers don’t know what to think, but decide to kill the guy they have.

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Which is exactly what Superman counted on.  He listens for the click of the gun, and then flies, literally, faster than a speeding bullet, getting there in time to stop it hitting Nevada. Rounding up the bad guys is almost an afterthought.

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The Atom story is also pretty good this month, using Professor Hyatt’s Time Pool.  Pasko and Grell tell this story, in which a huge endowment to Ivy University relies on finding a missing page from the donor’s diary.

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The Atom travels back to the late 30s, and finds that people think he is a Martian invader.

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This was right after Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” hysteria.  The scientist is embarrassed that he got caught up in it, and tears out the diary page in which he wrote about it, which is retrieved by his cleaning lady.  Returning to the present, Ray pushes Jean in the right direction, and they get the page, and the endowment.

The one really dorky thing about this is that it was the man himself who tore out his diary page, and then made the endowment dependent on finding it.

 

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