Posts tagged ‘Vince Colletta’

Action 523 – Steve Lombard – alien, and the Atom saves his parents


Conway, Swan and Chiaramonte weave a story that repelled me enough that I stopped buying this series after this issue.


It’s not really that bad a story, so I’m not sure why I hated it so much.  It opens with the Daily Planet staff playing baseball.  There are enjoyable bits for Lois and Lana, Perry and Jimmy.  Clark gets picked on by Steve Lombard, but he is also going crazy, playing with people who were not professional athletes.  Then a goofy looking alien shows up, claiming to be his brother.


We, and Steve, learn that he was adopted, and there is circumstantial evidence to back up the alien’s claim.  The alien is a shape-shifter, who can take Steve’s form.


But that all turns out to be a lie.  The alien is part of a race of really competitive athletes, who steal the forms and skills of people from a variety of planets.  He stole Steve’s form and skills, but the real prize is Superman.

But Superman was suspicious, and resisting their energy drain, and beats them.


Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta continue the Atom’s battle with the Calculator, although most of the story is spent in the past Ray Palmer escaped to in the Time Pool.


He saves a young couple in a storm, who will one day become his parents.


Returning, he stays small and out of sight, but tells Professor Hyatt what to do in order to defeat the Calculator.

But as with many Calculator stories, it seems finished, but continues next issue.


Action 522 – Superman vs the Clockwork Man, and Atom vs the Calculator


Conway, Swan and Chiaramonte go retro with Action 522 (Aug. 81).


A scientist creates an old-fashioned Clockwork Man, inspired by the tales of Burroughs and Baum.


The mechanical man wants to help his chronically late creator, and so speeds everyone up.  It takes Clark a surprisingly long time to notice that everyone around him is moving at super-speed.


The Clockwork Man is simply too determined to “help,” and really capable of reason, so Superman has to trash it.


The Calculator returns to fight the Atom, the first foe he faced, in this story by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta.  It’s the first time the villain had appeared since his introductory arc in Detective Comics in 1978, and those stories are recapped at the start of this tale.


Calculator’s immunity to any hero who had previously beat him holds true in this story, and I was glad that the Atom did not try turning into Ray Palmer, which he had tried and failed in Detective.  This time around, he tries increasingly indirect attacks, but with no success.


But the Calculator attacked while he was at Professor Hyatt’s, and the Atom makes his escape by diving into the Time Pool.

The story continues next issue.

Action 521 – the Vixen debuts, and Aquaman and the Atom and the pufferfish


The Vixen has her long-delayed debut in Action 521 (July 1981).  The character had been advertised in 1978, meant to debut in her own book, which got prematurely cancelled in the DC Implosion.


Conway, Swan and Chiaramonte make the new hero a mystery, as she interferes with a fur shipment.  She demonstrates strength far beyond what her form would indicate.


Superman catches up to her, just as she sends the furs into the water.  Superman is also surprised by her strength, and really stunned when she manages to draw blood with her scratches, indicating a supernatural origin.


Later, we meet high fashion model Mari McCabe, and her assitant Solomon Styles, who talks Perry White into sending Clark Kent and Lana Lang to Africa on an assignment about animal poaching.  The man the furs had been taken from is linked to poaching, and a supplier to the fashion industry.


It’s not hard to tie the threads together.  Superman and Vixen join forces to stop the poachers, and she answers some of his questions.  Her powers derive from a mystical tantu totem, but not everything about her past is revealed.

It’s three years before the Vixen returns, once again fighting alongside Superman, in the pages of DC Comics Presents.


Aquaman and Atom have a light but fun team-up story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta.  Aquaman calls in the Atom when he comes across a fish that shows a tendency to grow and shrink with remarkable speed.


Atom investigates, and almost gets devoured by the creature.


But it’s not really a villain, just a barely sentient creature reacting by puffing up in terror whenever Aquaman uses his telepathy near it.

Action 516 – Superman vs Vandal Savage, and Chronos breaks his pattern


Wolfman, Swan and Chiaramonte conclude the Vandal Savage story, as Superman chases the villain backwards through time, in Action 516 (Feb. 81).


Vandal Savage stops off in different eras as he heads backwards, with Superman in hot pursuit.  Each time Superman acts, it serves to set off one of Savage’s time bombs.  Luthor realizes that if Superman completes his chase of Savage, all he will have achieved is ensuring this reality comes to pass.


Luthor sends Jimmy Olsen back to warn Superman, but we see that, although Luthor was speaking the truth, he also has his own schemes of taking control.


But Superman outwits both Savage and Luthor.  He does not intercept the comet which would have set off the last time bomb, instead leaving it to hit Savage.  When he brings Jimmy back to the present, all has returned to normal.


Chronos returns, but tries to break his normal pattern in this Atom story by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta.


It’s actually his extreme avoidance of anything time related that draws the Atom’s suspicions, after his first few thefts.  But by far the best moment is when Chronos sticks the Atom into a blender full of syrup.  The death trap doesn’t work, but it’s certainly inventive, in a practical way.


But overall, avoiding his time crimes (but keeping the costume) is no help to Chronos.


Action 515 – Vandal Savage, Emperor of the World, and the Atom trades powers with the Atom


Vandal Savage, the immortal and ancient villain, has his first run-in with Superman in the Wolfman, Swan and Chiaramonte story in Action 515 (Jan. 81).


Superman is only mildly puzzled to find himself on an Earth ruled by Vandal Savage.  After a few seconds,he, like everyone else, believes this has always been reality.  Vandal Savage is Emperor, and Superman is his main weapon of control.


Other members of the supporting cast appear as well. Lois Lane works for Savage, as does Perry White, publishing the official newspaper.  On the other side, Jimmy Olsen is leading the rebels, working alongside Jenet Klyburn, normally seen with STAR Labs, Klyburn has been a regular supporting character for a few years, but this is her first appearance in Action.


Lex Luthor is Savage’s main scientist, but is also one of thew few aware that the reality they are in was not always this way.


Savage has altered the past, using a number of “time bombs,” arranging it so that he was the one to raise Superman, not the Kents.  Lois brings Superman to the rebels, where he discovers that both she and Perry White a playing both sides.  They convince Superman that Savage is a threat, but it’s Savage himself who really convinces Superman, when he kills Lois Lane.  Vandal Savage vanishes into the past, and Superman pursues him.

The story concludes next issue.


Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta have Ray Palmer gain Al Pratt’s powers in this Atom story.


The reason for this is a mysterious man, some sort of cosmic overseer, who switches the powers of the Earth-1 and Earth-2 Atoms for his own amusement.


I certainly wouldn’t say this story is fun enough that he did it for the readers amusement.  The story also serves as a set-up for the Earth-2 Atom story in DC Comics Presents, in which Al Pratt gains Ray Palmer’s powers.


Action 512 – the bride of Luthor, and Air Wave gets his first villain


Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte conclude the story of Luthor’s reformation (Hah!  I’m so witty) in Action 512 (Oct. 80).


It’s the big wedding day for Lex Luthor and Angela Blake.  Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lana Lang are among the guests gathered.


Superman shows up, to give the bride a kiss, but both disappear in a bright blast of light.  Luthor is promptly gassed and taken away by his robots.


The robots hook Lex up to one of his brain machines, and remind him of his latest scheme.  Angela Blake was all part of a plot to kill Superman.  Lex chose the woman, cloned and killed her.  He had the clone infected with a disease that he also created the cure for.  The woman was chosen to be perfectly appealling to Lex.


The woman had been built with a teleportation device inside her, which would go off when Superman kissed her.  He escapes from the trap, and makes it back to Luthor’s lab.  He destroys the machines, but Luthor makes no effort to stop him.


Superman knew something was wrong, because Lex was already married, to Ardora.  I had assumed that, as Ardora had not appeared in years, she was just being edited out of continuity.  Superman “saw” that Lex had had brain cells removed, to forget about Ardora, which got him suspicious of the whole wedding.

This does point out the big flaw in the plan, that it required Superman to forget about Ardora as well.  With his super-memory? Not likely.


Still, Lex is left distraught at the end.  He really did love her.


Bob Rozakis, Romeo Tanghal and Vince Colletta give Air Wave his first super-powered foe in this story.


Sunspotter has the power to disrupt electrical devices, which both causes trouble for Air Wave, but also alerts him when the villain is operating.


Hal also joins the football team, and has to find a way off of the field when Sunspotter acts in the middle of a game.  He succeeds, and not only defeats the villain but wins the game.  Still, the fact that he had to take off so fast means that Sunspotter is still on the loose.

Action 499 – Superman and Vartox fight over saving Earth


Bates, Swan and Colletta conclude the Vartox story in Action 499 (Sept. 79).


Vartox tells Superman of his concerns, but Superman insists that nothing is wrong.  In fact, he begins to get angry at Vartox when doomsday cults pop up around the world.  He believes that Vartox is causing these with his mental powers.

Vartox also reveals his identity to Lana Lang, who must be relieved to have an honest man in her life.


Superman becomes convinced that Vartox has been driven crazy by grief, as he has before.  Vartox has to physically subdue Superman, and use his mental powers on him, to try to get him to listen to his warnings.


Part of the problem is that, in the Fortress of Solitude, atoms are not expanding as Vartox says they will.  But they see that it is happening outside of the Fortress.  Realizing Vartox was right all along, they deduce what is preventing the situation inside the Fortress, and then replicate it outside, saving the world.


Vartox heads off into space at the end of the story, wanting to find a world that needs him.  He and Lana share a loving goodbye.  Things are not over between them, and Vartox will be back in a couple of years, though in the pages of Superman.


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