Posts tagged ‘Robin’

Action 594 – Superman vs Booster Gold

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Byrne and Williams begin a Superman/Booster Gold story in Action 594 (Nov. 87) that concludes in Booster Gold’s book the following month.

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The story opens with Superman being introduced to Robin by Batman.  And Superman presents Batman with the mysterious scrapbook he had been sent, which will eventually lead to the Dark Knight Over Metropolis storyline.

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Booster Gold holds a big public press conference to trash Superman, attacking his one-man invasion of Qurac, from a few months earlier in Adventures of Superman, but really going over the top.  Lois Lane tries to rebut, but Booster questions her impartiality when it comes to Superman.

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Superman shows up, and things turn violent.  Booster does far better against Superman than he should. Superman cannot understand why he feels so weakened.

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But before Booster Gold can kill Superman, Booster Gold shows up to stop him!

Huh?

(One of them is really a robot.)

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 556 – Superman vs Vandal Savage

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The Vandal Savage storyline is brought to a conclusion by Wolfman, Swan and Schaffenberger in Action 556 (June 1984).

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The story recaps the various attacks Savage has made on Superman, both direct and indirect.  While the hero is still alive and well, Savage’s plan to tarnish his reputation has gone much better.

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Savage uses another of his high tech machines to affect Superman’s hearing, sending him out of control.  He then sends out more of his Superman robots to bring him under control, once again making the hero look bad.

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Superman is not sure what to do against Savage, whose actions have largely been legal, if evil.  He consults with Batman, and meets Jason Todd, the new Robin.

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And as Clark Kent he has a heart-to-heart with Lana Lang, who has become so mature and compassionate that Lois seems like a cold and calculating bitch by comparison.

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In the end, it is brains, not brawn, that decide the battle between them.  Superman goes to confront Savage, who is more than happy to brag about his schemes, and how he has succeeded at turning the people of Metropolis against Superman.  But Superman has been broadcasting the entire meeting.  With his true nature exposed, all of Vandal Savage’s actions become worthless in defaming the hero.

It’s a mild let down after such along running story.

Vandal Savage is next seen in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Action 546 – Superman, the Justice League and the New Teen Titans vs Brainiac

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Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane pull out the stops for Action 546 (Aug. 83), the conclusion of the new Brainiac saga.

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Superman gathers the Justice League and , unusually, the New Teen Titans.  They were the hottest selling property DC had at the time, and Wolfman wrote their comic.  But it’s still not like Superman called on the Teen Titans from time to time.

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Anyway, both teams see a lot of action in this story.  The Atom Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna work with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Terra against the invading alien armies under Brainiac’s domination.

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Lois Lane gets one scene in the story, back on the farm of her rarely appearing parents, Sam and Ella Lane.  Superman talked her out of staying on assignment in the Middle East, and she is furious to see that Lana Lang is doing the interview she worked so long at.

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While the others deal with the armies, Superman confronts Brainiac himself.  He manages to draw out solar flares, which disrupt Brainiac’s headship, and render him vulnerable.  He retreats, to fight another day.  And once Brainiac leaves, his armies, no longer mind controlled, back down.

Yup, Brainiac is definitely more of a threat than he was before.

 

Action 536 – the Omega Men rescue Superman, and Aquaman dreams of Mera

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Marv Wolfman is joined by Paul Kupperberg on scripting the concluding half to the Superman/Omega Men team-up in Action 536 (Oct. 82), while Sal Trapani joins doing the inks on Joe Staton pencils.

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The Omega Men make a valiant effort to pummel down into the ground and follow the Mole after he steals the injured and weakened Superman, but have little success.

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The Mole intends to auction off Superman for the privilege of killing him.  Disappointingly, none of the villains seen at the auction are anyone we recognize.

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Lois Lane hunts down Cave Carson, an underground explorer not seen since his last Showcase try-out appearance in the mid-60s.  He is old and cranky now,  but gets persuaded to use his “mighty mole” to follow the Mole’s trail, bringing the Omega Men to the underground auction site.

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The Omega Men rescue Superman, and in exchange he brings them up to the JLA satellite, to help them find a way home.  This gets interrupted by the emergency signal, and Superman retrieves Raven’s soul-self, hovering outside the satellite.  Inside, Raven releases the other New Teen Titans, Robin,Kid Flash, Cyborg, Changeling and Wonder Girl.

The story continues in the next issue of New Teen Titans.

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Aquaman dreams of Mera in this story by Rozakis, Saviuk and McLaughlin.  Mera had vanished back to Xebel, her home dimension, during the battle with Atlanna, and not returned.

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Aquaman wonders if the dreams are actual messages, and has some tests done to try to figure that out.

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The tests don’t really answer his questions, but he does find a Mera lookalike as the issue ends.

The story continues in the next issue.

Action 532 – Lois Lane infiltrates the H.I.V.E., and the Atom in the parade

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Marv Wolfman, Curt Swan and Dave Hunt bring back the H.I.V.E. in Action 532 (June 1982).

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The H.I.V.E. are out to get Superman, but are not terribly good at it.  The H.I.V.E. that appears in the Superman books never seems quite as impressive as the group appearing at the same time in New Teen Titans.

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Superman heads over to Titans Tower anyway, meeting with Robin, Starfire, Kid Flash, Changeling, Cyborg and Wonder Girl, but gets no real information. Just a cheap cameo to boost sales.  Lois takes more aggressive action, impersonating a captured H.I.V.E. member.

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Lois succeeds at infiltrating the organization, and gets information about their planned attack on S.T.A.R. Labs.  Her cover gets blown, but Superman bursts in and saves her.

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Neither realize that the plans they found were a decoy, which H.I.V.E. intended Lois to find.

The story continues in the next issue.

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There is a lot more action in this second half of the Atom in Curacao story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, but its’ not a great story.

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The Atom manages to defuse the nuke, and hunts for the terrorists, who hide in the midst of a parade.

This is the last issue with a solo Atom story, although he teams up with Air Wave in the next issue.  In a year, he begins his Sword of the Atom mini-series.

Action 365 – along the flight to cremation

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Action 365 (July 1968) contains the penultimate chapter of Dorfman, Andru and Esposito’s Virus X saga.

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Sadly, there is little that actually happens in this issue.  It begins by recapping the story so far, and then turns into a reviewof Superman’s life, as it all passes through his mind as he travels through space.  We get Jor-El and Lara sending him off from Krypton, and teh Kents finding and raising him.  Lana Lang is introduced, and the origin of LexLuthor retold.

As Superman’s body passes Lexor, the people rise in revolt against Lex for killing Superman.  Ardora tries to get the mob to calm down, but I expect she had some rough days ahead of her.  In fact, we do not see Ardora again until the 80s, although Lexor appears in World’s Finest tale in the mid-70s.

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Superman recalls his time with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later Batman and Robin, and the Justice League.  Lori Lemaris, and then his time at the Daily Planet, with Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane.

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Brainiac, Kandor and Supergirl get a page devoted to their tale.

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He passes Bizarro World, and they shower him with all the forms of kryptonite.  Just before he plunges into the heart of a star, Supergirl flies out Lois, Lana and Lori, to watch and mourn.

 

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 270 – Superman gets old, again, and Supergirl enters the Batcave

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Binder and Swan are joined by John Forte on inks, as they take another journey into Superman’s old age in Action 270 (Nov. 60).

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Clark Kent pays a visit to the Midvale Orphanage, encouraging the children to write.  Linda shows him a creative writing piece she has done, envisioning her life as Supergirl.  Clark then goes to sleep, so what follows is obviously a dream.

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In the dream, Superman’s powers have faded due to repeated kryptonite exposure.  His identity is now known to the world, while Superwoman operates in his place.  Jimmy Olsen is the editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White having died, and is married to Lucy Lane, making her first appearance in Action.

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Linda works at Clark’s old job at the Planet, so her secret identity has even replaced his.  Even Lex Luthor has retired.

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Superman finds Krypto, also powerless and being taken away by the dog catcher.

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After seeing that Lana Lang has married a millionaire, Superman finally seeks out Lois Lane, who has spent her entire life alone.

One heck of a downer dream, there, Clark.  Maybe it’s trying to tell you something.  Like, don’t base your entire persona on your powers, and take love where you can find it.

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Siegel and Mooney put Supergirl through the paces in this guest-star packed story.

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Supergirl spends the day rushing from one crisis to another.  Lori Lemaris beckons her to Atlantis, where she defeats a destructive merman, Malo.  Ronal and Jerri cameo in the scene.

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Batman and Robin also call on her for help, when they are trapped in the Batcave by a cave-in.

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As it turns out, none of the emergencies were real. It was all a weird “gift” for Supergirl’s 16th birthday, which all the guests show up to attend.  A bit nicer is the tribute by the residents of Kandor.

Detective 866 – Dick Grayson solves an old case

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Denny O’Neil, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs relate a decent one-issue tale, of a mystery that has puzzled Dick Grayson for many a year.

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Dick Grayson is Batman in this story, but Bruce Wayne has returned.  Because he has launched Batman Incorporated, he is busy around the world, so there is room for both him and Dick in the role.  After fighting some hoods, Dick comes across a medallion in the refuse on a street.  He recognizes it instantly, and Nguyen changes the art to a very child-friendly style for an extended flashback.

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The Joker has stolen the medallion from the Order of St Dumas, and fights an early (but uncostumed) Azrael.  Batman gets in the middle, and the flaming sword takes precedence.

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Robin follows the Joker, and captures him, but the medallion is nowhere in sight.  The Joker had bumped into a bum, Loomis, along the way.  Loomis was arrested, along with the Joker and Azrael, but while they escaped, he went to prison for 25 years, protesting his innocence, even though the medallion was never found.

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Dick finds the dying old man, assures him that his name will be cleared, and then finds the hoods and scares them into turning themselves and the medallion in.

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Batman rushes back with the good news, only to find the Joker had been there first.

Lots of different moods in this story, and the art carries them all well.

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