Dorfman, Andru and Esposito conclude the Virus X storyline in Action 366 (Aug. 68).
Superman is found by some flame beings in the sun. He has been cured of Virus X, thanks to the white kryptonite thrown at him by the Bizarros. That killed the virus, and the sun healed his injuries.
Returning to Earth, he finds that no one realizes he has been gone, and that there are versions of himself fighting crime all over the place. He checks Kandor, and the Phantom Zone, but no one is missing.
The Supermen are actually his fellow Justice Leaguers, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, working alongside Supergirl.
This story was really highly regarded at the time.
Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger introduce a pair of alien villains for Supergirl in this story.
Alpha and Beta are on a mission, and want one of the Stanhope students. They seal off the campus, which actually helps protect Supergirl’s identity, as her Linda robot is at class.
Not much is explained in this action-packed tale, which concludes next issue, but those bug eyes merited inclusion.
Action 365 (July 1968) contains the penultimate chapter of Dorfman, Andru and Esposito’s Virus X saga.
Sadly, there is little that actually happens in this issue. It begins by recapping the story so far, and then turns into a reviewof Superman’s life, as it all passes through his mind as he travels through space. We get Jor-El and Lara sending him off from Krypton, and teh Kents finding and raising him. Lana Lang is introduced, and the origin of LexLuthor retold.
As Superman’s body passes Lexor, the people rise in revolt against Lex for killing Superman. Ardora tries to get the mob to calm down, but I expect she had some rough days ahead of her. In fact, we do not see Ardora again until the 80s, although Lexor appears in World’s Finest tale in the mid-70s.
Superman recalls his time with the Legion of Super-Heroes, and later Batman and Robin, and the Justice League. Lori Lemaris, and then his time at the Daily Planet, with Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane.
Brainiac, Kandor and Supergirl get a page devoted to their tale.
He passes Bizarro World, and they shower him with all the forms of kryptonite. Just before he plunges into the heart of a star, Supergirl flies out Lois, Lana and Lori, to watch and mourn.
Another Adams cover on Action 364 (June 1968), as Dorfman, Andru and Esposito continue the Virus X saga.
Superman gets out of the cliffhanger from last episode, simply by doffing his clothes, and appearing to Lois as Superman.
Luthor announces that he is able to cure Superman’s disease. He was the one who created it, after all. His men produce the infected cat, which Luthor’s cure works on. He demands a million dollars.
Luthor gets his money, but it’s all a scam. It was not the same cat. Luthor just wanted to hold out the cure, and then laugh in Superman’s face. Asshole.
Supergirl plans to send Superman into the Phantom Zone. Jax-Ur and Professor Vakox protest, not knowing if the plague would spread to them and others in the Zone. Superman agrees, and tricks Supergirl into entering Kandor, and then seals her in.
Feeling death approaching, Superman makes a farewell speech, wearing a mask to look the way he wants to be remembered. Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are at the funeral, but neither had major roles in this tale. Superman is fired into space to die.
The story continues in the next issue.
Dorfman, Andru and Esposito take their storyline up a big notch with the second chapter, in Action 363 (May 1968), with a superb Adams cover.
We learn that the ventriloquist who has hypnotized Clark Kent has also purchased a serum from Lex Luthor. This is Virus X, a horrible Kryptonian version of leprosy. This is what Clark is to use to kill Superman.
Clark Kent breaks into his own apartment, and spills the serum on himself. It takes effect immediately, though at first it only turns his hands a leprous green.
Superman quarantines himself, but Luthor makes a broadcast, revealing that Superman has been infected with Virus X. No one is sure if it can be passed to humans, but a cat brushes up against Superman, and catches the plague.
Superman is dressed as Clark when the disease spreads to his face, just as Lois Lane shows up at his door…
The story continues in the next issue.