Posts tagged ‘Smallville’

Action 596 – Superman and Spectre and the ghosts of Smallville

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Action 596 (Jan. 88) is a Millenium crossover (Week 4), by Byrne and Williams, but also a chapter in the Superman story arc running within the larger crossover.  Superman had discovered that the people he grew up with in Smallville were all implanted and controlled by the Manhunters.  The previous issue of Adventures of Superman ended with him defeating the Manhunter robot in charge, which left all the residents dead.

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The Spectre is drawn to the scene.  Something is not right about it, but he cannot see what is wrong.

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He transports Superman to the astral plane, where they “see” the imagined Smallville of the people, newly dead but in denial.  According to Spectre, not a rare thing, but never so large, or lasting so long.

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In fact, the whole astral plane is a fake, all conjured by the supposedly dead Manhunter in some way that has never made sense to me, so I don’t think about it too much.  It’s more fun to look at the page of him, under the Spectre’s control, ripping himself open.

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There is also a great page of the Spectre scaring kids planning to pull a prank on Lana’s house.

Action 500 – the life story of Superman

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Action 500 (Oct. 79) is an oversize special, which does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive story of Superman.

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte choose a big public tour of a new Superman pavilion as the framing device for the tale.  The various rooms give focus to different parts of the story.

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There is also a machine at the exposition which draws out Superman’s memories, so that people can enjoy his grief as he recalls Jor-El and Lara, and his early life on Krypton. But a mystery villain is making use of the device, channeling the memories into a Superman duplicate he is creating.

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The creation of the Phantom Zone is referenced, as well as Krypto on a test rocket.

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The Kents are shown, finding the boy and raising him, both through his Superbaby phase, and later Superboy.

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The story often uses exact swipes of scenes and images from earlier stories.  The death of Pa Kent duplicates the first telling of the event.

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As does the farewell message from the people of Smallville.

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Clark Kent’s life in Metropolis is shown, getting the job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, and working with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Morgan Edge’s takeover is related, with Steve Lombard making an appearance.

Supergirl gets her own room in the pavilion, and a montage of her career.  Other aspects are really downplayed.  The Legion of Super-Heroes appear, in their current line-up, in the Superboy room, but are not talked about.

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Still, Lori Lemaris does make it into the triptych of his loves, along with Lois and Lana.

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The villain room is the most notable – for its absences.  Aside from Luthor and Brainiac, only the Toyman and Parasite are shown.  Brainiac has his story told in depth, as it relates to Kandor.

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The mystery villain turns out to be Lex Luthor, which is not that much of a surprise.

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And the duplicate gives himself away when he relates Luthor’s origin from Luthor’s own, very slanted, view.

As a story, this leaves something to be desired.  But as a Superman compendium, it works.

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