Posts tagged ‘Superwoman’

Action 583 – “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” concludes

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Action 583 (Sept. 86) brings to a close the era of the Pre-Crisis Superman, with the concluding half of an Imaginary Story by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.

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The entire story is one of dark foreboding, and is related by Lois Lane, now married and with a son, to a reporter, writing a story about the last days of Superman.  Many of Superman’s friends and enemies appeared in the first half of the story, and most of the villains have died.  Superman has brought Lois, Lana, Jimmy, Perry White and his wife to the Fortress of Solitude.  Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen have come from the future, knowing that this was the end of Superman, to join in the fun.  They find the Kryptonite Man, as well as a disturbing union of Luthor and Brainiac.

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Many of Superman’s friends are shown throughout the issue, trying to get through the force-field surrounding the Fortress.  Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter are shown, along with Vartox, and pre-Crisis Superwoman.

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The story is filled with heart-wrenching sequences.  Jimmy takes his Elastic Lad serum, and Lana bathes in the pool that gives her super-powers, so they can join the fight against the assembling villains.  Her super-hearing allows Lana to hear Superman explain to Perry White that it is Lois that he truly loves, but he cared too much for Lana to ever let her know.

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Lana and Jimmy both fall to the Legion of Super-Villains, while Krypto sacrifices himself to take out the Kryptonite Man.

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This is all turning far too bloody and dangerous for the villains from the future, and they flee in their time bubble.  Luthor and Brainiac are the last, but perish in the snow.

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Who was the villain that brought this all about?  Mr. Mxyzptlk, the most powerful adversary Superman has, who chose to be a pest, but has now chosen to be a destroyer.

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Superman winds up using the Phantom Zone projector to rip the 5th dimensional being in half, but he has knowingly, and willingly killed.

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Though Lois gives him all manner of justifications, Superman has violated his own code.  He enters a chamber of gold kryptonite, which permanently removes his powers, and is never seen again.

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The reporter leaves.  I was teary eyed and emotionally drained by this point when I read this the first time, but so thrilled at the end, as the baby turns a lump of coal into a diamond.  And then I really looked at the face of Lois’ husband.

I believe Alan Moore has now dismissed this story as garbage, as he is wont to do.

I don’t care what he thinks.  This is the crowning gem of the first 50 years of the character.

 

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Action 333 – Lex Luthor’s revenge, and Superwoman vs Superboy

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Lex Luthor’s vengeance plot proceeds apace in Action 333 (Feb. 66), in a story that is so much better than the cover would make you expect.

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Dorfman and Plastino have Lex continue to play with Superman, rescuing him again, but also causing him to change into a dinosaur-type monster.  Superman is not sure if this effect is visible to others, or just him. And not sure whether it is the result of red kryptonite, or something else.

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Luthor then asks for Superman’s help, disposing of a train full of toxic waste.  By now, Superman believes in Lex, and so goes along with it – and winds up kidnapping a train full of police, for which he is savaged in the press.

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By the end of the issue, Superman is not sure if he can trust anyone, or even his own senses, and is incapable of taking decisive action, all to Luthor’s glee.

The story concludes the issue after next.  The following issue is an 80 page giant, reprinting Supergirl stories.

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Superwoman and Superboy have it out in the concluding half of this Imaginary Story by Dorfman and Mooney.

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Superboy wears a blond wig in his disguise as Cal Ellis.  Although ordered not to be adopted, like Linda was, he actively sabotages other kids chances to get chosen, and ensures that he is picked by a scientist and his wife.He immediately begins experimenting with kryptonite.

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Superwoman does not believe that he really lost his powers, and enlists her best friend, Jimmy Olsen, in laying a trap for him.  Superboy takes the bait, trying to send Superwoman into the Phantom Zone.  But she and Jimmy get the best of Superboy.  They take away not only his powers, but also his memory, and return him to the orphanage, where he will grow up like any other human.

Downer.

Action 332 – Ardora learns the truth, and Superwoman trains Superboy

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An Imaginary Story featuring Supergirl(woman) gets the cover of Action 332 (Jan. 66), but not the lead story.

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Dorfman and Plastino begin a multi-part Superman saga in this issue.

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The story opens on Luthor, in exile on an alien prison planet, along with Brainiac, as well as Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen of the Legion of Super-Villains.  They had been sent there a few months earlier, at the end of a battle with Superman in the pages of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

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Luthor escapes, and Superman expects that he will head to Lexor.  A scientist has devised a teleportation ray, which Superman uses, getting to Lexor ahead of Lex.  He is interrupted by Ardora, and barely gets away before she attacks him with deadly flowers.  But Superman has opened a secret vault, containing Lex’s tapes.  Ardora listens to them, and discovers that her husband really is the criminal Superman made him out to be.

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Lex is furious with Superman for damaging his idyllic life on Lexor, and returns to Earth.  Perversely, he then rescues Superman a number of times.  Superman has no idea why Lex is doing this.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Dorfman and Mooney then begin a 2-part Imaginary Story with Supergirl, switching the origins of her and Superman.  Zor-El and Alura come to Earth on a rocket with their baby girl, while Jor-El remains on Argo City.  Zor-El and Alura lose their powers after exposure to gold kryptonite, but Supergirl is not with them at the time, and so begins her career as a hero.

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She winds up with the plain Jane alternate identity, Carole Zorelles, and is the one to discover her younger cousin, as his rocket lands on Earth after the destruction of Argo City.

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The story parallels the Supergirl series, down to having Dick Wilson (at the orphanage, before he gets adopted and becomes Dick Malverne) suspicious of young Cal Ellis and trying to prove he is Superboy.

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Superboy proves a handful for Superwoman to deal with.  He claims to have lost his powers to gold kryptonite at the end of this issue, but the reader is informed that he is lying.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action 270 – Superman gets old, again, and Supergirl enters the Batcave

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Binder and Swan are joined by John Forte on inks, as they take another journey into Superman’s old age in Action 270 (Nov. 60).

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Clark Kent pays a visit to the Midvale Orphanage, encouraging the children to write.  Linda shows him a creative writing piece she has done, envisioning her life as Supergirl.  Clark then goes to sleep, so what follows is obviously a dream.

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In the dream, Superman’s powers have faded due to repeated kryptonite exposure.  His identity is now known to the world, while Superwoman operates in his place.  Jimmy Olsen is the editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White having died, and is married to Lucy Lane, making her first appearance in Action.

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Linda works at Clark’s old job at the Planet, so her secret identity has even replaced his.  Even Lex Luthor has retired.

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Superman finds Krypto, also powerless and being taken away by the dog catcher.

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After seeing that Lana Lang has married a millionaire, Superman finally seeks out Lois Lane, who has spent her entire life alone.

One heck of a downer dream, there, Clark.  Maybe it’s trying to tell you something.  Like, don’t base your entire persona on your powers, and take love where you can find it.

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Siegel and Mooney put Supergirl through the paces in this guest-star packed story.

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Supergirl spends the day rushing from one crisis to another.  Lori Lemaris beckons her to Atlantis, where she defeats a destructive merman, Malo.  Ronal and Jerri cameo in the scene.

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Batman and Robin also call on her for help, when they are trapped in the Batcave by a cave-in.

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As it turns out, none of the emergencies were real. It was all a weird “gift” for Supergirl’s 16th birthday, which all the guests show up to attend.  A bit nicer is the tribute by the residents of Kandor.

Action 156 – Lois Lane becomes Superwoman, Tommy Tomorrow meets the Metal Men, and the Rainbow Man lights up the sky

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Lois Lane takes on the identity of Superwoman, but the appearance of Supergirl, in the Al Plastino story in Action 156 (May 1951).

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The story begins as Lois displays her usual respect for authority, heading right through a door labelled “no admittance, ” and turning on a machine whose function she has no idea of.  But you have to give her credit.  When all the electrical charges start blasting her she neither screams nor runs, just wonders what the effect will be.

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Of course, it endows Lois with powers much like Superman, so she adopts the identity of Superwoman again.  This time, she dons a blond wig, in the hopes of keeping her identity a secret.

Before the actual introduction of Supergirl at the end of the 1950s, there would be quite a few try-out variations of the character, such as this story.

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Luthor has been spying on Lois, and discovers that she is Superwoman.  He uses his machine to give one of his men powers, and dresses him up as Superman, using him to lure Lois into a trap.

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It’s a complicated but entertaining story, with all the fakes and phony identities.  Luthor doesn’t get a lot to do, but Lois is clearly the star of the story.  Superman reveals how he knew her identity – the scent of her perfume.  That’s almost romantic.

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Years before the introduction of the Metal Men, the name would be used in this Tommy Tomorrow story, by Swan and Fischetti, for the inhabitants of a planet populated by robots.

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When rumour reaches the Planeteers of this robot world, Tommy is sent out to investigate, as they fear an invasion of killer robots.  Tommy finds the world, without much difficulty.  The robots consider Tommy, and other humans, as weak and inferior creations.

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But as the story progresses, Tommy and the robots work together, and gain mutual admiration and respect for each other.  In fact, as the story ends, Tommy lies to his superiors, keeping the robot world off the charts, in order to protect them from his own people.

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The Rainbow Man is back again, in a story by Bob Brown, which puts the villain back in the urban setting he is more suited to.

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The colour wheel seems to short out, sending a kaleidoscope of colours into the sky, neatly warning Vigilante that his old enemy is back.  Kind of like a reverse Bat-Signal, announcing a villain’s intent.

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The story isn’t bad, but neither Vigilante nor Stuff is given anything great to do – the Vigilante-cycle gets to star.

Action 60 – Lois Lane – Superwoman, the Rainbow Man’s toy train deathtrap, and the Three Aces in the Philippines

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Superman is busy delivering care packages to soldiers on the cover of Action 60 (May 1943), but that’s ok, as he is not really the lead in his story this month anyway.

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Lois Lane gets a chance to shine in the first of many, many, many stories that will see her adopt a Superwoman identity.

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Jerry Siegel and George Roussos helm this tale, which opens with Lois getting hit by a car.  She is in critical condition, and Superman flies off to get the best surgeon in the world. And maybe delivers care packages to soldiers on the way?  It’s really not hard to tell that the story transitions into a dream sequence, with Superman giving Lois a blood transfusion, which results in her gaining super-powers.

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No one believes her when she announces she moved a huge filing cabinet on her own, and jumping on a chair at the sight of a mouse just further convinces the men that she is lying.  It’s a weird scene, frankly, and out of character for her.

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Once Lois discovers that she can fly, she whips herself up a Superwoman outfit and goes out to fight crime.

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Who does she happen to run into but Clark Kent.  Kent recognizes her, so she flies him around, threatening to drop him if he ever reveals her identity.

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Lois finds Superman, and as they now equals, proposes marriage and he accepts. And then, of course, she wakes up.

It’s not a terrible story, and the dream sequence is cued enough to not be a lame cop-out.  But there would be far too many variants on this theme.

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The Rainbow Man returns to plague the Vigilante in this story by Meskin and Paris.

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This time round the Rainbow Man is using models of the city to plan out his gang’s crimes.  Among the crimes is stealing the things needed to build models of the city, so it’s a bit of a circular thing.

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What really makes this story notable is the deathtrap, worthy of the 60s Batman tv show.  The Vigilante and Stuff are tied to toy train tracks, and trains with poisoned needles are approaching them.  Vigilante’s escape from the trap is reasonable, and plays out beautifully.  Better than the rest of the story.

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The Three Aces are in the Philippines for this tale, which also serves as a handy guide to Pidgin English.  I had no idea “chop-chop” for “in a hurry” was Pidgin.

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The Three Aces are sent out to aid a lieutenant, who turns out to be a woman, Betty Allardyce. Though the men are surprised by her gender, at no point is she made out to be any less of a competent officer because of it.

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