Posts tagged ‘Ray Palmer’

Action 453 – Superman loses face, and the Atom’s wishes come true


Action 453 (Nov.75) has a more accurate cover than one would expect for the story by Bates, Swan and Blaisdel.


The story is, again, pretty straightforward. Clark Kent is shocked to discover that he has another man’s face.


The man stole Clark’s face as part of his plan to murder Superman, taking the face of a man he knows to be Superman’s friend.  Superman winds up having to wear a rubber mask of his own face.


The best sequence is a bit of a throwaway scene.  The man, now in Clark’s apartment, answers the phone.  It’s Batman on the other side, though he only refers to himself as Bruce Wayne. He explains that he cannot impersonate Clark the next day.  It puzzles the man, but does not lead him into making any conclusions.


Superman attacks the impersonator as he is onstage, accepting an award as Clark.  But then he doffs the mask, and changes to normal clothes, and makes the man think that Clark Kent is so tough he can beat the man up himself.  Once the man is sufficiently terrorized, he gives Clark his face back.


Marty Pasko and Jose Delbo begin a two-part Atom story that will conclude the characters run in Action.


The story deals with a machine called the Actualizer.  This device is claimed to make ones wishes come true, although Ray Palmer does not believe this is possible.  He changes his mind when a random thought makes his car go out of control.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Action 439 – Captain Strong returns, and Atom vs the Two-Dimensional Man


Bates, Swan and Oskner bring back Captain Strong in Action 439 (Sept. 74).


The Popeye-like captain now has a girlfriend, Olivia, and a Bluto-like opponent, Carnax.  Captain Strong comes to Clark Kent, asking him to contact Superman for help.  He is sure Carnax is after Olivia.


Olivia does not much resemble Olive Oyl, but the connection is obvious within the story.


In an entertaining twist, Carnax turns into a Sweepea like baby.  He was an alien traveller, infected with a gigantism disease when he landed on the planet.

Captain Strong returns in a couple of years.


Pasko, Dillin and Blaisdel bring back Professor Myles Adrian, and reveal his power to turn two-dimensional, in this follow-up story.


Myles is still pursuing the Atom, and manages to steal his size-control belt.  But the belt will not work on anyone else.  The Atom gets free, and Mysles turns two-dimensional to escape.  But the Atom simply gets smaller, so even a two-dimensional man is wide enough to hit.


Action 438 – Lois Lane – monster, and the Atom and the shrinking scientist


Lois Lane has a really bad day in Action 438 (Aug. 74), thanks to Bates, Swan and Bob Oskner.


Clark Kent gives Lois Lane a necklace as a birthday present.  She happens to have a cold, and the necklace he gives her is an alien gemstone.  The combination of the two turns Lois into a rampaging beast woman.


This story also marks the first appearance of Lola Barnett in Action Comics.  Recently introduced in the pages of Superman, Lola is an entertainment reporter for WGBS, and her name derived from an actual tv reporter from the time, Rona Barret.  She suspects that the monster people are hunting is really Lois Lane.  Clark tries to cover for Lois, but Lola roots out the story and broadcasts it.


Superman pretends that he, too, has become a monster, believing that this will draw Lois out, which is does.  A simple ray beam is all that it takes to re tore her, and Lois is left with no memory of the event.


The Atom faces a new enemy in this story, by Marty Pasko, Dick Dillin and Tex Blaisdel.


Professor Myles Adrian has kidnapped Jean Loring to draw out the Atom.  A short scientist, he had been working off of Ray Palmer’s notes on his size ray, in hopes of making himself bigger.  But his experiment went very wrong, and now he finds himself shrinking, with no end in sight.  He wants the Atom to share his growth tech with him, unaware that the Atom is actually Ray Palmer.


The Atom defeats the man pretty easily, but as the story closes we see that Adrian is not upset by this at all, and is proceeding with the next part of his scheme, which is detailed in the following issue.


Action 427 – a reverse Back to the Future, and the Atom vs Chronos


Bates, Swan and Anderson spin a really odd story in Action 427 (Sept. 73).


It opens in the distant future, with a man trained from childhood as a living weapon for assassination. Not wanting to fulfill this, he sends his mental energies into the past, to contact an ancestor.


This ancestor is a prisoner, who abruptly turns into a flying goblin, getting into a fight with Superman.


There is a doctor at the hospital, who was falling in love with the guy…oh oh.  Now I see where this is going.


The guy from the future has turned his ancestor into this monstrous creature, to repulse the woman who was interested in him.  He wants to prevent them from ever falling in love!


He succeeds, triumphantly ceasing to exist.  A very disturbing story, and such a weird twist on Back to the Future, it’s hard to believe it preceded it by more than a decade.


Maggin, Dillin and Giordano provide a less than impressive outing for the Atom.  The news alerts him that David Clinton, Chronos, has escaped from prison.  And then Chronos thoughtfully sends the Atom a message alerting him to his crime.


So the Atom shows up and stops him.  And that’s about it.  No cool time gadgets.  Ray has a brief scene with Jean Loring, but there is absolutely nothing special here.

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