Posts tagged ‘Saturn Queen’

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.

 

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Action 332 – Ardora learns the truth, and Superwoman trains Superboy

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An Imaginary Story featuring Supergirl(woman) gets the cover of Action 332 (Jan. 66), but not the lead story.

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Dorfman and Plastino begin a multi-part Superman saga in this issue.

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The story opens on Luthor, in exile on an alien prison planet, along with Brainiac, as well as Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen of the Legion of Super-Villains.  They had been sent there a few months earlier, at the end of a battle with Superman in the pages of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

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Luthor escapes, and Superman expects that he will head to Lexor.  A scientist has devised a teleportation ray, which Superman uses, getting to Lexor ahead of Lex.  He is interrupted by Ardora, and barely gets away before she attacks him with deadly flowers.  But Superman has opened a secret vault, containing Lex’s tapes.  Ardora listens to them, and discovers that her husband really is the criminal Superman made him out to be.

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Lex is furious with Superman for damaging his idyllic life on Lexor, and returns to Earth.  Perversely, he then rescues Superman a number of times.  Superman has no idea why Lex is doing this.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Dorfman and Mooney then begin a 2-part Imaginary Story with Supergirl, switching the origins of her and Superman.  Zor-El and Alura come to Earth on a rocket with their baby girl, while Jor-El remains on Argo City.  Zor-El and Alura lose their powers after exposure to gold kryptonite, but Supergirl is not with them at the time, and so begins her career as a hero.

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She winds up with the plain Jane alternate identity, Carole Zorelles, and is the one to discover her younger cousin, as his rocket lands on Earth after the destruction of Argo City.

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The story parallels the Supergirl series, down to having Dick Wilson (at the orphanage, before he gets adopted and becomes Dick Malverne) suspicious of young Cal Ellis and trying to prove he is Superboy.

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Superboy proves a handful for Superwoman to deal with.  He claims to have lost his powers to gold kryptonite at the end of this issue, but the reader is informed that he is lying.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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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