Posts tagged ‘Super-Horse’

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.

 

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Action 336 – a Phantom Zone ex-con, and Supergirl with melty face

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There is a really great story in Action 336 (April 1966), but it’s not the one on the cover.

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Superman is the titular star of this story by Hamilton, Swan, and Klein, but the real star is Ak-Var.

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As a youth, back on Krypton, Ak-Var had stolen the sun-stone as a prank.  But he was captured, and sentenced to thirty years in the Phantom Zone.  In the intervening time, Krypton exploded.  Superman comes to Kandor as Ak-Var is released, having completed his sentence.  Phantom Zone regulars Jax-Ur, General Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox all cameo.

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Ak-Var wants to stay on Earth, and use his powers, just like Superman.  But the rules are that anyone released from the Zone must take up residence in Kandor – although the Kandorians are none too pleased to have him around.  In fact, the story almost seems to imply that Ak-Var is one of the only people ever released.  He does run into his old gang, and his former girlfriend, all of whom have aged, while he stayed ageless in the Zone.

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This story gives a lot of detail about life in Kandor.  Van-Zee, the double of Superman, takes a liking to Ak-Var, and introduces him to his niece, Thara.

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Ak-Var former gang friends launch a crime spree, and frame Ak-Var.  Being only recently released from the Zone, no one believes him innocent, except Superman, Van-Zee and Thara.

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Together, they expose the gang members as the real criminals.  Ak-Var becomes Van-Zee’s lab assistant.

Van-Zee is not seen again for a decade, returning for a story in World’s Finest Comics.  Ak-Var and Thara have to wait even longer, coming back in the Nightwing and Flamebird series in Superman Family in the late 70s.

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Supergirl comes back to Earth with her transformed face in the concluding half of this Binder and Mooney story.  Superman tries to help restore her features, but with no success.  Comet doesn’t care about her looks (he’s a horse after all), but notices her way of thinking has changed, and doesn’t like that.

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She feels like a freak, and takes off for Bizarro World, thinking to fit in there.  Wanting to fit in on Bizarro World is a pretty dumb idea.

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Linda is stuck wearing a mask over her real face, but discovers that , somehow, her original appearance returned.  She learns that the man who caused it was so grief stricken by his actions, that he changed her back.  And so she ends, happily dancing with Dick Malverne.

An easy out.

 

Action 318 – Superman kills Luthor, and Supergirl goes to university

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Much of the story in Action 318 (Nov. 64), by Hamilton, Swan and Klein, takes place on the planet Lexor, a world where Lex Luthor is hailed as a great hero, which had been introduced in the pages of Superman, and now makes its first appearance in this book.

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Luthor escapes from prison on Earth, and takes a rocket to Lexor, where he is given a parade, because, wouldn’t you?

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Lex even has a girlfriend on Lexor, Ardora, who he marries in this issue.  They both know Superman will be coming for Lex eventually, and she begs him not to kill the man.

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Lex goes out to confront Superman when arrives on Lexor.  The planet orbits a red sun, so Superman has no powers there.  As they fight, Superman knocks Lex against a pillar, which cracks his head open and kills him.

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Superman is immediately hauled away, risking an all-out lynching.  Lex Luthor’s funeral draws a huge crowd, even Brainiac shows up to attend.

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No one believes that the death was accidental, not even the lawyers appointed for Superman, who does not look happy about waiting till next issue for the resolution to the story.

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Supergirl graduates from high school, and moves away to attend Stanhope University in this Dorfman and Mooney story.  It’s kind of weird, as the last year or so of Supergirl stories have placed so much emotional weight on which parents get to raise her, and now she’s off on her own.

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Of course, the first order of business is joining a sorority.  Linda sees one, Alpha Lamba, where Donna Storm treats the pledges appallingly.  So that’s the one she intends to join.  Because.  Umm.  Ok.

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So Linda is assigned a variety of humiliating tasks, which she turns into popular triumphs.  When she is tricked into having to kiss a monkey in public, the monkey turns out to be Beppo.

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When she has to find a last minute mascot, Super-Horse steps in.  Dick Malverne does have a cameo, but we learn he is attending a different school.

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The super-pets raise Donna’s suspicions about knowing, or being, Supergirl.  She drives her car off a cliff, in an attempt to prove that Linda is the heroine, but she tricks Donna into thinking the car landed safely.  Remorseful, Donna agrees to stop tormenting the pledges, and becomes Linda’s friend.  Hoping to suck up to Supergirl, I expect.

 

 

Action 311 – Superman – King of the World, and Supergirl and Super-Horse start dating

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From the cover of Action 311 (Action 1964), I was fully expecting the Swan/Klein story to be an “Imaginary Story,” but it isn’t.  Superman really does take over the world.

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Red kryptonite splits Superman and Clark Kent into different people.  This had happened before, though creating an evil Clark and Good Superman.  Red kryptonite can never have the same effect twice, so in this variation, Clark is good, and Superman is evil.

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Superman heads to the United Nations, and demands that all the countries on Earth turn themselves over to his rule.  There is some debate among nations, but Superman shows what he will do to anyone who defies him,and everyone gives in.

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Superman builds himself a big castle.

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Dismayed at his behaviour, Clark forms an underground movement to overthrow him, consisting of Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Supergirl has a busy Valentine’s Day, thanks to Dorfman and Mooney.

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Dick Malverne gives her candy.  Boooring.  Jerro tops that with a display of glowing fish. Comet watches, getting all jealous.

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Comet travels back in time and begs Circe to make him human.  She warns him that she sees him regretting this choice, but begins a spell which will do just that.  It’s time-delayed, allowing him to make it back to his time period, before he changes and his powers fade.  But before he tranforms, Comet is found by a masked thief, and used in his robberies.

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The thief changes clothes and takes off with his loot, just as Comet takes on human form again. He puts on the thief’s clothes – so you can see exactly where this is going to go.

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For a few pages, Linda is re-united with Bronco Bill Starr, and they spend some loving, quality time together.  Just a girl and her horse, making out in front of a waterfall.

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But then Bill gets accused of being the masked thief.  Supergirl is devastated, but chases him, convinced that he has also kidnapped Super-Horse.  Circe takes pity on him, and changes him back into his Super-Horse form.  The actual masked thief is caught, clearing Bill’s name, but too late.  He’s a horse again.

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 304 – Superman’s alien Olympics, and Black Flame debuts

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Dorfman, Swan and Klein send Superman to an intergalactic competition in Action 304 (Sept. 63).

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Clark Kent gets sucked into the sky by a force beyond his control, changing to Superman along the way. Lana Lang sees him while flying in a tv helicopter.  She winds up getting dragged along with him.  The fear the worst, but are relieved to discover that Superman was merely being “recruited” to represent the Earth in an Interplanetary Olympics.  Lana is outright thrilled to be able to cover the event.

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Lana’s pleasure turns to dismay as Superman loses event after event.

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But Superman was winning a different game.  He had figured out that the competition was all a giant ruse to get him to use his powers, which the “trophy” was designed to drain. By losing, he denied the aliens his energy to use.

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Supergirl gets a new enemy in this story by Dorfman and Mooney.

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Dick Malverne gets a small role at the start of this story, on a date with Linda, but she has to take off to become Supergirl when Comet starts going on a rampage.  He is now under the control of Black Flame.

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Black Flame does not try to hide from Supergirl.  Far from it, she is pleased to find her, and share a mind-tape of her origin.  She is from the far future, and a super-powered descendant of Supergirl, who has become a notorious space pirate.

Supergirl does not believe her at first.  Suspecting she might be a Kandorian, she visits the bottle city.  She learns of an identical woman, Zora, who had been Lesla-Lar’s assistant, but Zora is still in Kandor.

To prevent Black Flame from ever inheriting her powers, Supergirl decides to expose herself to gold kryptonite, which permanently removes a Kryptonian’s powers.

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Triumphant, Black Flame shows up to gloat.  She really is Zora, and it was a robot replacement that Supergirl saw in Kandor.  She enlarged herself using the same red krpytonite “wishing” cloud that Superman had used to gain the ant head.

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But nope, the joke is on you, Black Flame.  Supergirl was faking her power loss.  She saw that Black Flame had dental fillings, which she wouldn’t if truly invulnerable.  Supergirl does use gold kryptonite, but on Zora, permanently stealing her powers.

Black Flame would return, but not for many years, having second appearance in Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics in 1970.

 

Action 302 – Perry White is Superman, and Super-Horse goes berserk

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Al Plastino draws another off-beat Superman adventure in Action 302 (July 1963).

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Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are hanging out in Perry White’s office one day, when the Daily Planet globe comes crashing through the ceiling.  Perry catches the globe, and admits to really being Superman.  We get the backstory on this right away.  Perry has been targeted by criminals whose activities he exposed.  Superman has taken Perry’s place, expecting an attack. But he carries on the lie that Perry really is Superman.

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Both Lois Lane and Lana Lang are dismayed to discover that Superman is really the long-married Perry White, and angry with him for toying with their emotions.  Jimmy Olsen thinks that this will make life easier for him, but Perry White continues to be a hard ass with him.

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The real Perry White has been being kept safely at the Fortress of Solitude, but upon seeing the news that people think he is Superman, he steals a flight belt and comes back to Metropolis.  He enjoys the attention of people who think he is the big hero, but also proves himself, bluffing a criminal into submission.

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Superman clears everything up at the end, after capturing the hoods trying to kill him.  Perry’s wife Alice, rarely seen at this time, makes a cameo in the final panel.

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Sueprgirl’s bizarre love life remains the focus of her series in this Dorfman and Mooney tale.

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A renegade Atlantean, Vostar, tries to kill Lori Lemaris and Jerro, but they get rescued by Supergirl and Comet.

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I really love the above panel, when taken completely out of context. Even knowing the context doesn’t make it any less disturbing, really.

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Vostar takes mental control of Comet, sending him on a destructive rampage, which is assumed to be jealousy.

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The story gets as overly complicated as only a Comet story can.  He travels back in time, passing through a year that saw Halley’s Comet, which starts to change him to human form.  He makes it back to the present before he changes completely, and loses his powers.  Then he takes over the role of Mysto, a fortune teller, and gives Supergirl the vital information she needs, when she visits him as Linda, on a date with Dick Malverne.

Vostar gets defeated, but Supergirl discovers that the real Mysto is not the one who told her fortune.  But the guy did look just like Bronco Bill Starr.  Hmmm.

 

 

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