Posts tagged ‘Shrinking Violet’

Action 389 – Superman turns jock, and vengeance against an unknown Legionnaire

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Leo Dorfman joins Curt Swan and George Roussos for Action 389 (June 1970).

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Clark Kent heads out to write a story about spring training for the baseball team in Metropolis, when he suddenly decides to start playing as Superman.

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Over the next few days, Superman takes up a variety of sports, always sending some piece of equipment high into the sky.  Jimmy Olsen thinks Superman is just showing off.  After all their years together, Jimmy should know better.

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What appeared to be pointless actions were actually a clever plan to forestall an alien invasion, by using the sports equipment to send false information to the alien’s sensors.

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Cary Bates takes their reins of the Legion of Super-Heroes series with this issue, joining Win Mortimer and Jack Abel.

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The story deals with a severed robotic head, seeking vengeance against the Legionnaire who decapitated him.  The best sequence is the flashback, as the robot experiences the effects of the various members’ powers, without seeing the Legionnaires themselves.

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It turns out his severed circuits are faulty.  He saw a composite formed of both Cosmic Boy and Chemical King, so he had been hunting a member who did not actually exist.  The robot tries to blow itself up in anger, but Shrinking Violet managed to get into the head and deactivate it.

Not a mind-blowing story, but decent. And it uses Chemical King, who rarely got featured.

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Action 387 – Superman at the end of time, and the Legion vs tax laws

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Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude Superman’s travel through time in Action 387 (April 1970).

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He encounters some astronauts, frozen in suspended animation for centuries, and revives them in the year 801,970.

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Travelling even further into the future, he reaches a time when the entire planet is dead and devoid of life.  If those are different.  Anyway, he cuts the planet open and terraforms it, and brings life forms, including humans, from other worlds to populate it and start the cycle again.

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There is a very unexpected attack from Lex Luthor.  He had never believed Superman dead, and left behind a weapon, powered by his eternal hate, to kill him.  It fails.

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Superman travels even further ahead, but Time Trapper loops him, and sends him back to the start. He blacks out, waking to find himself a baby in his parents arms on Krypton.  A few more blackout time jumps, and Superman is back to where he was at the start of the saga.

Which is a bit of a let-down finish, if you ask me.

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Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel share one of the oddest Legion stories.  Every single member appears.  Even the Super-Pets appear.  And I’m tagging them ALL.

And the board is also worth noting, on the first page. The Legionnaires appear in the order they joined the team.  Supergirl is located between Star Boy and Brainiac 5, while Superboy is later, between Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy.

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An evil tax man shows up, and the Legion discover that they have to get rid of one member, or have to pay taxes.  As they do not actually make money by being the Legion, I’m not sure what they would be taxed on, but it’s enough of a threat that they all start vying to be the one to leave.  Timber Wolf and Chemical King are the first to offer, being the most recent to join.

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The team attempt to hold a random draw, but it gets rigged, and then everyone starts claiming responsibility for rigging it.

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Supergirl insists that she should be the one to leave, as she attends the fewest meeting.  Brainiac 5 is not happy, and the Super-Pets all but revolt, insisting that they will disband if she leaves.

Brainiac 5 is selected by the computer as the hero who performed the fewest feats, but everyone insists his mind is worth more than just feats.

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Finally, it is Superboy who chooses to leave.  His powers are duplicated by Mon-El, and he has no romance or clinging pets, as Supergirl does.  Notice that Krypto would resign if Supergirl left, but not Superboy.

Duo Damsel is the one most upset about his departure. Luornu’s unrequited love for Superboy would be touched on again in the future.

For many of the characters, this was the last appearance they have before the end of the Legion’s run in Action Comics.  Ironically, this is also the last appearance of the full line up of the Super-Pets, as Beppo does not appear again, aside from flashbacks in comprehensive Superman origin tales.

 

Action 382 – Clark Kent, magician, and the Legion go undercover

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Dorfman, Swan and Roussos put together a fairly enjoyable Superman romp in Action 382 (Nov. 69).

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Clark Kent is writing a piece on a dead magician and friend, Presto.  He is caught by Lois Lane while flying around the room, gathering balloons, and pretends that it was one of Presto’s tricks.  Clark has fun using his powers to entertain Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, calling it magic tricks.

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They Clark him to perform at a charity function. As well as simply using his powers to pull off tricks, he also exposes a criminal in the audience, getting him to cone onstage and revealing his stolen coins.

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Other hoods grab him, thinking his powers are real, and force him to bring a Superman doll to life, to commit crimes for them.  Of course, he just becomes the doll himself.

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Shooter, Mortimer and Abel pit the Legion against super-powered androids in this story.

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A super-powered robot publicly attacks Ultra Boy.  He is referred to as the “former leader,” and Karate Kid has become the new leader, at some point during the last few stories.  Cosvarr is an industrialist selling new super-powered androids, as a defense against the dangerous robots.  Karate Kid is pretty certain Cosvarr is behind the attack on Ultra Boy, and puts together an espionage team.

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Light Lass pretends to be a buyer, while Shrinking Violet sneaks in, and Timber Wolf takes an undercover role as a factory worker.  Timber Wolf messes up, exposing the Legion’s presence, and winds up having to fight Karate Kid.  Light Lass discovers that the androids are drawing their power from a captive Superboy and Mon-El.

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But it’s really Cosvarr’s jilted girlfriend who brings down his scheme.  And his building.  Nukes them both.  That’s one angry girlfriend.

 

Action 381 – Superman on trial at the U.N., and Matter-Eater Lad on a date with Shrinking Violet

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Dorfman, Swan and Roussos conclude their Superman Revenge Squad story in Action 381 (Oct. 69).

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Superman’s belief in his criminal activity appears to have driven him insane. He now begins doing the destructive acts himself, defacing a Persian sculpture, adding his head to Mt. Rushmore, and cutting down all the flags at the U.N., making his own super-flag out of them.

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Superman allows himself to be put on trial, and offers little in the way of defense.  But the flag pole is the giveaway.  Superman has figured out the Revenge Squad’s activities, and is preparing his own attack.

Foiled again!

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A fair amount of members of the Legion of Super-Heroes appear in this story by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel, but it still manages to be small and centred on their everyday lives.  It opens after a meeting.  Brainiac 5 is left on monitor duty, and Chemical King wants to show off his new sky car, giving lifts to Matter-Eater Lad, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl.  Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl have their own romantic plans.  Karate Kid heads off by himself, so likely to work out.

Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl do not get off at the same place, and Jo mentions that he is staying with his parents.  They are usually shown, and referred to, as living on Rimbor, so we can assume they are in for a visit, and that it why Tinya did not go with him.

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Then we get to see Matter-Eater Lad at home, with his rarely-seen parents.  His father is an abusive drunk and gambler, and the mother does not seem much better.  Their primary interest is in his paycheque, and he walks out on them.

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Coming back to headquarters, he finds Shrinking Violet moping about her long-distance relationship with Duplicate Boy.  They had a date scheduled for that night, which he broke.  Tenzil decides to invite Violet out for a night on the town, and Princess Projectra helps her prepare.

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The date goes well, and there is a genuine bond of friendship that grows between the two in their conversation.  The Duplicate Boy barges in and gets all violent and threatening.  Tenzil just talks him down, that he has no interest in “stealing” Violet, and that he should spend more time with her.

The conclusion also sees Tenzil get a letter from his parents, insisting that his father will stop gambling.  I have my doubts.

Action 319 – Superman finds that innocence is irrelevant, and Supergirl gets expelled

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Hamilton, Swan and Klein conclude the Death of Luthor storyline in Action 319 (Dec. 64).

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Much of this issue is a Kafkaesque trial for Superman, as nothing he says or does has any effect on the Lexorians, who are simply going through the motions before executing him.  Their preferred method turns a person into stone.

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During the trial, Superman learns that no autopsy was performed on Luthor, at his own request.  This makes Superman suspicious enough to bust out of his cell to investigate further.

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The pills make Luthor’s plan clear.  He will be in his death-like coma for the duration of the trial, and wake up after Superman has been executed for killing him.

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Superman gets Lex out of his trance, and even reveals the pills he used, but to no avial.  Oh, the charges against him are dropped, but everyone still believes in Lex.  Superman is forced to return to Earth, while Luthor stays on Lexor with Ardora.

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Donna Storm, the villain from the previous issue, returns to plague Linda Danvers, and Supergirl, in this Dorfman and Mooney story.

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Donna feels she needs to be the best at everything, but has no prblem cheating to achieve this. She gets scientists at her father’s lab to do her chemistry work, and has a mini tape recorder in her earrings, feeding her for presentations.

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Supergirl decides to outdo her, because that is the maturest way to handle the situation.  When Donna spends a lot of money on pictures for a presentation in biology, Supergirl takes the rest of the class to Atlantis for a lesson by Lori Lemaris.

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Donna is even more upset with Linda, and her friendship with Supergirl, after this.  She steals some jewels, and plants them in Linda’s room.  They are found, and Linda gets expelled.

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But Donna Storm makes her big mistake, when Linda comes to confront her.  She admits everything, bragging to Linda about it, but her words get broadcast to the entire campus.

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Supergirl had called on the Legion of Super-Heroes for help, and Shrinking Violet had re-wired her tape recorder earrings to become a broadcast device.

Linda’s expulsion is rescinded, and Donna Storm gets the boot instead.  She never appears again.

Considering the self-esteem issues that Donna clearly has, after the public humiliation of her activities being exposed, and the, likely, forthcoming criminal charges, I expect she just killed herself.

 

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 276 – Supergirl vs the Superman Emergency Squad, and Supergirl joins the Legion of Super-Heroes

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Action 276 (May 1961) does deliver on it’s cover, though not quite in the way one might expect.

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Boring and Kaye do the art as Clark Kent shows himself far too trusting, revealing his identity to a dying philanthropist.

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Of course, the man is not actually dying, and while he is a philanthropist, that is a front for his criminal activities.  He not believes Superman to be Clark Kent, though his doctor warns him that the drug he took to simulate his near-death condition did leave him prone to hallucinations.

So it’s obvious how they will “get out” of the revelation, but at least the doctor did set that up near the top of the story.

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The man sets a kryptonite trap for Clark Kent, who calls on the Sueprman Emergency Squad to help him.  This is a small army of Kandorians, who dons Superman masks and costumes when they leave the bottle to help him.

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After saving him, they join with Supergirl in all manner of bizarre behaviour, intended to convince the bad guy that he is having hallucinations, and Clark Kent is not Superman.

Not really a “war” between Supergirl and the Emergency Squad.

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A lot of Legionnaires debut in the Siegel and Mooney Supergirl story in this issue, as she finally gets to join the team.

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Saturn Girl arrives in Supergirl’s time, along with two other members making their debuts, Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl.  Saturn Girl is wearing a lead mask in a really half-hearted attempt to conceal her identity, as part of the weird games they play with Supergirl.

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They bring her to the 30th century, where she meets some other new applicants for membership, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, and Sun Boy.

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But the far more important one for this story is Brainiac 5, the descendant of the original Brainiac, shown in flashback as he was in his first appearance, without the cool head things, and with Koko.  At this time, Brainiac was still believed to be an alien.  Brainiac 5’s relationship with him would change after his robotic state was revealed.

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Supergirl completes her initiation, and Brainiac 5 gives her a force-field belt of his creation, based on his ancestor’s force field, which protects her from kryptonite.

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And love blossoms between the temporally distanced couple.

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The ending of the story is not as good.  Returning to Earth, Supergirl heads to Atlantis to retrieve some kryptonite from Lori Lemaris and Jerro, but runs into Krypto, who thinks its fake kryptonite…blah blah, event event which  winds up destroying the force field belt.

But at least Linda has another long-distance boyfriend.

 

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