Posts tagged ‘Superman Revenge Squad’

Action 501 – the mild-mannered Superman

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The Superman Revenge Squad return in the Bates, Schaffenberger and Giella story in Action 5011 (Nov. 79).

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Clark Kent has a session with the WGBS psychiatrist, who feels that he needs to become more outgoing and dynamic.  Edge gets Clark to start wearing a Superman suit, supposedly to mock the doctor, but actually at his suggestion.

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Lois and Lana have a lot of fun dressing Clark up as Superman, and commenting on their former beliefs that the one was the other.

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The Superman Revenge Squad show up and shoot a beam at Superman, which makes his meek and cowardly, acting like Clark even when he is Superman.  Superman overcomes this by focussing on how he acts while delivering the news, how “on” he is then, and uses it to trash the eternally losing Revenge Squad.

The Revenge Squad don’t give up, though, and return in a couple of years.

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Action 445 – the return of Gregory Reed, and the hunt for Black Canary

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Gregory Reed, the actor who plays Superman, returns in Action 445 (March 1975).

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Bates, Swan and Schaffenberger open the story be re-introduing Reed, who has undergone physical and psychological therapy.  He now has a face that genuinely mirrors that of Superman, but he is fine with that, and with his new life.

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The Superman Revenge Squad are the villains in this story, and more openly incompetent than normal.  The Revenge Squad had become much more rare in their appearances, and in fact this story marks the only time they appear between 1969 and 1979.

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Their plot involves building a charge up in Superman’s body, which would eventually kill him, over ten consecutive super-feats.  But five were really done by Gregory Reed.

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Maggin and Grell continue Green Arrow’s hunt for Black Canary.  Arrow corners Cherry Noller, and tells her about the criminals she is working for, hoping that she will want to free another woman in danger.

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And Cherry does contact Green Arrow, letting him know where Dinah is being held.

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But the goons are waiting for Green Arrow.  Because Cherry is the fourth horsemen they were hunting out.  Of course, he does find Canary.  That’s a plus.

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 380 – Superman’s crimes, and Duo Damsel vs Duo Damsel

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Dorfman, Swan and Roussos bring back the Superman Revenge Squad in Action 380 (Sept. 69).

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The pair who execute this plan actually have to win a competition first, on what appears to be a small planet full of Revenge Squad members.  It’s a popular club.  They come to Earth, and begin to mess with Superman, making him think he is performing destructive acts in his sleep.

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In fact, it is the two Revenge Squad members who are doing this, while giving Clark red kryptonite induced nightmares.

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The female member impersonates Supergirl, lying to Superman about a test he undergoes to see if he is being affected by red kryptonite.  Superman is left believing himself to be guilty of their crimes.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Duo Damsel is the focus of this month’s Legion of Suepr-Heroes story, by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel.

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Luornu Durgo splits into her two selves, sending one on a mission, while the other hangs and relaxes with Bouncing Boy.  The one who left takes an awful long time coming back, and when she does, it is on the arms of Nam-Lor.

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The second body starts using a different name, Leilith, and her behaviour has changed.  Luornu suspects something is wrong, and discusses this with Bouncing Boy.  The two wind up confronting Leilith and Nam-Lor, catching them in the middle of a theft.  Luornu finds she cannot even merge with Leilith.

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The story comes to a genuinely surprising conclusion.  Leilith orders Nam-Lor to kill Bouncing Boy, but he refuses.  We discover that Nam-Lor has, among other powers, a “hyper-aura” that has driven Leilith to become a violent criminal.  he has reluctantly gone along with her, but hates the person he has turned her into. Nam-Lor leaves.

The story ends, just when it gets very interesting.  I want to see how the two Duo Damsels interact now, but it’s over.  In later years, more would be made of the “darker” body of Duo Damsel, and it’s not too long after this that she adopts a new costume, which gives each body a different colour.

Action 322 – Clark Kent, coward

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There is no significant change in the creative team on Superman in 1965, and yet pretty much none of the stories from this year are worthy of note.  Action 322 (March 1965) is one of the only ones to use any of Superman’s established villains.

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Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino are the ones behind this Superman Revenge Squad tale.  They attempt to make Superman cowardly, but only succeed at making Clark Kent cowardly.  This is not really noticible to Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, or any of Clark’s other friends.

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It is disruptive for Superman, though, as he often acts bravely, while pretending to be scared, as Clark.  He no longer has that degree of control over himself.  So he works with his friends to try to make Clark a braver man.

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It’s Supergirl who breaks him of the Revenge Squad’s effect, putting his uniform on over his Clark Kent clothes as he sleeps, so that he acts bravely as Clark without realizing it.

Another failed Revenge Squad plot.

Action 313 – Superman betrayed by his allies, and Lena Thorul learns the truth

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Al Plastino does the art on Action 313 (June 1964), as Superman’s nightmares come true.

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The story begins as Supergirl casually reveals Superman’s identity to Perry White, as per the cover image.  Superman is upset and mystified, even moreso when Batman then reveals that he is Clark Kent in front of Lois Lane.

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Later, Lori Lemaris exposes Clark in front of Jimmy Olsen.  It’s a really bad day!

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Superman gathers his friends, and talks them into voluntarily undergoing a mind-wipe of his secrets.  They participate, but it has no effect on them.  In fact, it seems to make things worse, as they begin blackmailing him.

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But this is all a huge scam by the Superman Revenge Squad, using a battery of androids.  Lois, Jimmy, Perry, Batman, Supergirl and Lori had all been captured before the events in the story began, replaced by androids. Superman became suspicious when tear gas did not affect them.  He finds his real friends, captive in a cave, and releases them, messing up another overly elaborate and somewhat aimless plot by the Revenge Squad.

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Dorfman and Mooney put Lena Thorul through a lot in this tale.  It opens as the FBI order her to write a criminology paper, as part of her application.  Lex Luthor is one of those she must question.

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Luthor has taken up raising flowers, and does his best to make a good impression on Lena, but her psychic powers reveal to her that they are siblings.

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Lena is so shocked she flies to Africa and loses her memory, living as a jungle princess for a while.

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She returns to the US, and takes on a job as a circus performer, but remains miserable.  Supergirl works with Luthor, as he gives her a bouquet of flowers, whose scent induces amnesia.  Lena loses her memory of being  Luthor’s sister, and writes a nasty report on him, insisting his flower hobby be stopped.  Oh, the irony.

 

 

 

Action 300 – Superman under a red sun, and Comet, the Super-Horse returns

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A really great cover for Action 300 (May 1963).

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The Superman Revenge Squad actually manage to pull off one of their schemes, sending Superman into the Earth’s distant future, after the planet has been abandoned, and the sun has become a red giant.  Superman’s powers are drained by the lack of yellow sun, and he is forced to navigate the dead planet as a normal human.

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Edmonf Hamilton and Al Plastino are the creative team on this somber tale.  There are robotic replicas of a number of Superman’s friends and enemies, that were constructed as eternal memorials to Superman, and give him someone to talk to.  But much of the story consists of him travelling through the hostile environment that the planet has become.

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Superman finally reaches his Fortress of Solitude, hoping to get help from the Kandorians, only to discover that, at some point, the bottle city got enlarged, and they are no longer there.  He does manage to figure out a solution, using red kryptonite to shrink himself, and an abandoned mini Kandorian rocket to make the trip back through time.

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Not the normal type of Superman story at all.  The ending is almost shocking, as he simply sits and stares out at the city, contemplating the dead world to come.

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On a much lighter note, Dorfman and Mooney bring back Comet in this Supergirl story.

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Linda sees Comet performing at a circus, but the animal still does not recognize her, or have his memory back.  When some thieves lasso him, and he tries to get away, Comet becomes aware that he has greater strength than he expected he would.

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The bad guys do manage to corral him, and use him in a theft, but Comet gets rid of them by swimming up a waterfall, which brushes them off.  Comet is then taken in by a farm family, still without his memory.

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But when an eagle attacks the baby of the family, Comet leaps skyward to get the girl, and discovers that he can fly.  This was the last twig, and Comet’s memory is restored just as Supergirl reaches him.

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