Posts tagged ‘Supergirl’

Action 555 – Superman vs the Parasite, but where is Supergirl?

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Action 555 (May 1984) sure looks like a story between Superman and Supergirl, with the Parasite being involved to a lesser degree.  That’s what the cover implies.

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But it is not in any way what Kupperberg, Swan and Hunt deliver.  The Parasite does return, and can still track Superman as Clark Kent.  The Parasite drains his energy and they fight and fight.  Parasite traps Superman to use him as a battery, but Superman breaks free and gets the best of the monster.  And all the while one keeps waiting for Supergirl to show up.

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She finally does, at the very end.  She does have a brief cameo earlier in the story, I will admit that.  And the Parasite story, and the Superman/Supergirl team-up does continue into the following issue of Supergirl.

This is a perfect example of the kind of covers I hate, that completely misrepresent a story, and really ought to be the cover for the next chapter of the tale.

Action 502 – Superman, Supergirl and the Star-Child

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte bring back the Galactic Golem in Action 502 (Dec. 79).

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The story has Superman and Supergirl discover an alien infant, the Star-Child.  It will grow to maturity in a day, and they have been asked to oversee that.  Superman brings the rapidly aging child to the Fortress of Solitude.  They need to teach it what it is to be human, as it will be an extremely powerful being when fully mature.

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The Galactic Golem, last seen in the early 70s in the pages of Superman, is drawn back to Earth, and Superman heads out to battle it.  Supergirl stays with the Star-Child.

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They see the Golem defeat Superman, and the Parasite emerge from its body.  Supergirl theorizes that the Parasite drew the Golem here, and merged with it to drain Superman.

Good guess, but totally wrong.  It was all a ruse by Superman, to evoke emotions from the child.  The only way he could figure out how to teach him emotions was to traumatize him.  Fortunately, the Star-Child is fully grown by the end, and leaves for a less stressful life.

 

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.

Action 496 – a plague from Kandor

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte fulfill exactly what the cover of Action 496 (June 1979) proclaims. Superman brings a plague from Kandor to Earth, endangering everyone on the planet.

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For the first time we see that he does take precautions, sterilizing his body when he emerges from Kandor.  But it just wasn’t enough this time.

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Superman tries to seek out help to find a cure, or a solution. But when he approaches the JLA satellite is vanishes, and the same thing happens to Supergirl when he seeks her out.

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The Kandorians are actually behind these illusions.  When they informed Superman about the infection, they also shot an antidote into him.  He emits it, without being aware, and the more stress he is under, the more he gives off, curing himself, and everyone else. Kind of manipulative of them.

Action 489 – Krypton’s destruction comes to Earth, and the Atom ends

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte begin a three-part story in Action 489 (Nov.78), as the force from Krypton’s explosion arrives at Earth so many years later.

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It’s big news, everyone is aware of it.  Morgan Edge is preparing a WGBS special, and broadcasting the view live, with Lana Lang, Lois Lane and Steve Lombard all part of the show.  Clark Kent is meant to be there, but he is busy with the Justice League.  They have noticed that he has been running himself ragged over the past couple of days, but Superman refuses to tell Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkman and Wonder Woman what is going on, simply advising them that he can take care of things.

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The Kandorians are having a special memorial because of the event, and are upset that Superman is not with him.  But to them, Supergirl explains the reason – Brainiac is back.  He has demanded a one-on-one battle with Superman.  In case he does not survive, Superman has been trying to get as much done as possible, and Brainaic has also blackmailed him, though the use of bombs, into keeping the Justice League out of it.

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Brainiac traps Superman on the roof of his ship, and forces him to watch the explosion of Krypton.

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The Atom’s series, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta, comes to an abrupt end with the DC Implosion.

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The story is an entertaining one, with Jean Loring being the executor of a will, and the heirs unhappy with the distribution.  Some seemingly low value bequests get stolen, and the Atom gets onto the case.

act_489_006 It’s a good little mystery, with an interesting conclusion, as mementos prove more important than money to one man. The Atom’s series, like Air Wave’s, returns in a little over a year.

Action 473 – Superman vs Faora

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Bates, Swan and Blaisdel conclude the Faora story in Action 473 (July 1977).

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Supergirl gets concerned when there is no word from Superman, despite Faora running wild in Metropolis.  She finds a note in the Fortress, explaining that he has gone into the Phantom Zone, and other information that the reader is not privy to.

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Faora gets into an argument with Steve Lombard, and is about to kill him when her greater scheme kicks in, reversing the Phantom Zone, releasing all its captives, while sending everyone on Earth into the Zone.  Steve actually thinks he has died, until Jimmy Olsen explains the Zone to him.  Batman and Green Lantern are also shown to now be phantoms, while Jax-Ur, General Zod, Kru-El and Professor Vakox enjoy their new freedom and solidity.

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Faora takes dominance over the other Phantom Zone villains through her use of psychic bolts, but one Zone escapee is immune.  It’s Superman, who figured out her bigger plan, and took precautions, including entering the Zone himself.

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Superman is now stuck fighting against a number of similarly powered Kryptonians, and finds himself overpowered.  Faora is about to kill him when the switch happens again.  Bad timing!  Superman rigged the projector to reverse Faora’s actions, sending the prisoners back into the Zone, and releasing the humans.

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With one exception.  The old man who still, after all this, believes Faora is his dead wife Katie.  He gets to join her in the Zone.

From now on, Faora would be a regularly appearing Phantom Zone villain, almost always included when three or more are shown.  But not the old man.  We never find out what happened to him.

Action 411 – the Fortress of Solitude discovered

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Superman’s Fortress of Solitude is the centre of attention again, in Action 411 (April 1972).

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Superman discovers that the oil explorers have found the door to his Fortress, although they have no idea what it is.  They are working to open it.

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The head of the company insists that his lease on the area gives him the rights to whatever is found, and he seals off access to the Fortress, while trying a variety of methods to penetrate it.

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Both Superman and Supergirl, who has her own wing there, are worried about their secrets being exposed, and so they sabotage the oil exploration rigs and boats, until staying becomes such a financial loss that the company just leaves.

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Superman does offer to open the door for them before they go, and reveals a plaque on an ice wall.  Enough to satisfy the people, but nor enough to maintain interest.  Superman constructed this fake door and wall directly in front of the real one during the night.

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From now on, the door and key are both concealed behind a hologram of ice.

A really acceptable update, with the increased activity in the far north by the time this story was written.

Action 395 – an alien romance for Superman, and Superman’s magical power loss

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There were some major changes in the Superman line in 1970, although that was barely reflected in Action Comics.  On the whole, this book simply saw an absence of the usual villains, but otherwise little change.  Leo Dorfman and Curt Swan were joined by Murphy Anderson on the inks, though, which makes these stories visually exeptional.

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The first of the two stories in this issue sees Superman take Jimmy to his Fortress of Solitude. Jimmy discovers a room that Superman has forbidden him entrance to.

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The room contains the robes of a woman called Althera, whose story comprises the rest of this tale.

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Early in his career, Superman encountered an alien matriarchal race.  They use their advanced technology to enslave others, which puts Superman on the opposing side.

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A romance almost blooms between Superman and their leader, Althera.  She believes that they come from the same race, but she is wrong.  Her people evolved from birds, and there is no chance of Superman being able to pass on his power of flight to them.

And apparently he spent years being upset about this.  So much so that he kept her dress.  Umm.  Ok.

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The back-up story, by the same creative team, is not much better.  Superman has his fortune told, and is given a card for three wishes.

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Superman finds his powers disappearing at inconvenient times, but wishing on the card restores them.

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Absurdly, this is all a ruse by Supergirl, who wanted to see if Superman could be hypnotized into acting against his will.  You likely think I am leaving a lot out in my summary, as it makes little sense. I’m not, not really.  The only thing that makes this issue worthwhile is the art, not the stories.

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 376 – plots of the Anti-Superman Gang, and Supergirl ends

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The Anti-Superman Gang debut in Action 376 (May 1969).  They are kind of like the Superman Revenge Squad, in that they come up with really complicated ways of killing Superman, except they are all human criminals.

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Throughout this story, by Binder, Swan and Abel, they try out a number of methods of killing Superman, with very little success. So little that Superman doesn’t even notice what is going on.

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The attempt to kill him using his own costume moves the story almost into farce.

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Finally, a serious effort is made, with a satellite spreading kryptonite. Superman dons his old faithful anti-kryptonite suit, but the gang has planned for that, with an element-changing ray that turns his suit to glass.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Supergirl’s long run in Action Comics comes to a close with this story by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger.

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Supergirl gets blamed for an accident that robs one of Stanhope’s science students of her sight.  When Supergirl is unable to cure her blindness, the student body as a whole turn on her.  But then some aliens steal the entire science department.

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It turns out the aliens stole the girl’s sight, and are now planning to steal everything in her mind.  But their machine does not work, because Supergirl has taken the blind woman’s place.  She defeats the aliens, and uses their tech to restore the woman’s sight.

Not a great story, but Supergirl gets promoted anyway, moving over to become the cover feature in Adventure Comics, while the Legion of Super-Heroes get demoted, taking over her spot in Action.

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