Posts tagged ‘Wayne Boring’

Action 353 – the origin of Zha-Vam

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Binder and Boring bring their three part Zha-Vam story to a conclusion in Action 353 (Aug. 67).

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Superman figures that he needs to learn more about Zha-Vam in order to defeat him, and so he travels backin time to anceint Olympus, adopting the guise of a bard.  He sees that the various gods form Zha-Vam out of clay, and endow him with their various powers.  So he is actually a bit less of Captain Marvel, and a bit more Wonder Woman.

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Neptune is jealous of Zeus and his powers, and so is eager and willing to aid Superman, giving him his own belt, and pantheon of mythological characters to draw from.

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Superman returns to the present, and challenges Zha-Vam to a final battle.  They are far more venly matched, as both can draw on magical heroes.  Superman calls up Atlas, and together they have the strength to defeat Zha-Vam.  Superman brings the defeated being back to Olympus, and confronts the gods about their creation.  Ashamed, they return Zha-Vam to the clay he was formed from.

It’s not really a bad story.  But all it really does is make one wish for an actual confrontation between Superman and Captain Marvel.

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Action 352 – Superman vs Zha-Vam

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Binder and Boring continue the battle between Superman and Zha-Vam in Action 352 (July 1967).

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Zha-Vam taunts and toys with Superman through much of this issue.  He is wearing a belt that temporarily gives himthe powers of other mythological beings.  He makes Superman press his belt, and gains the serpentine hair of Medusa, freezing Superman to stone.  Lois Lane helps Superman get out of that one, but the next button he presses gives Zha-Vam Morpheus’ powers, and puts Superman to sleep.

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The only thing that really drives this chapter is Superman’s refusal to give in, as he just keeps trying and trying, and failing every time.

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Superman even resorts to some underhanded measures by the end of the tale.  He gets  himself a ring with a paralysis drug in it, and intends to jab Zha-Vam in his Achilles Heel.  But Zha-Vam has kryptonite feet!  Of course he does.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action 351 – Superman meets Zha-Vam

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Binder and Boring begin a three-part story in Action 351 (April 1967), which pits Superman against Zha-Vam.

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DC had crushed and consumed Fawcett Comics, the publishers of the Capaina Marvel whose magic word as Shazam, but were reluctant to use the character.  So they used weird variations like this one.  The gods who are the source of Zha-Vam’s powers are even largely the same ones who endow Shazam, except Apollo replaces Atlas, and Vulcan takes the place of Solomon.

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Zha-Vam bursts into an organized crime gathering, demanding to be made the boss.  He demonstrates his impressive array of powers, scaring the crap out of the hoods, who hare happy to put him in charge.

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Zha-Vam leads his men on an assault on Fort Knox.  Superman shows up to stop them, and he and Zha-Vam battle.  Superman finds himself equally matched.

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Well, no, he finds himself squashed under Zha-Vam’s foot, and tossed to the side like a piece of trash.  A really crushing defeat, but Superman simply prepares for the enxt time

Which comes in the next issue.

Action 350 – the Caveman Superman, and Supergirl and the Heroes

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Binder and Boring solve the mystery of the stone-age Superman in Action 350 (May 1967).

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Perry White gets trapped at a cave-in at an archaeological dig.  When Superman comes to dig him out, they discover the skeletal remains of a caveman, wearing a Superman uniform.

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Superman travels back in time to investigate, and winds up in a prehistoric era, with both dinosaurs and cavemen, and even a red sun.

As far as I understand, the red giant phase is something our sun has yet to experience, not part of its distant past.  But whatever, it leaves Superman powerless.

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Superman runs afoul of a tribe, lead by Guarr, but eventually proves himself to them.  Guarr wants Superman’s costume, which retains its invulnerability. Somehow.

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One of Superman’s robots comes back in time, worried that his master has not returned.  He brings Superman back to the present, and they leave a costume for Guarr to wear and die in, and be dug up centuries later.

I have to confess, I wish it wasn’t Wayne Boring on the art.  Superman grows a beard while in the past, but Boring never makes it look like much more than some shading.

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Dorfman and Mooney pit Supergirl against some unheroic Heroes in this story.

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The Heroes are a rock band, who dress as Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, as well as a girl dressed as Supergirl.  Linda enjoys their music, but they are really a gang of thieves, who steal from the locations they perform at, while everyone is watching their Supergirl.

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Supergirl notes the correlation between the thefts and their performances, and goes to question their Supergirl.  She has also just figured out what is going on, and wants no part of the ban anymore.  When Supergirl shows up to rehearse for their next gig, the boys are suspicious.  She seems to be much better than she had been previously, and they suspect she is the real thing.

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They lay a kryptonite trap for her, but their pans backfire badly.  It was not the real Supergirl, just their singer, pretending to be, so the kryptonite does nothing.  Supergirl calls on the Justice League of America, and Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern are happy to help her round up the band, while Hawkman sits, stuck on monitor duty.

 

 

Action 344 – Superman dreams Batman’s dreams

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It’s the height of the Batman tv craze, and that spills over into Action 344 (Dec. 66).

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Binder and Boring probably regret having their names associated with this tale.  It begins as Superman and Batman hang out and switch brains.  It’ll be fun!  Oops, look what a klutz Batman is in Superman’s body.  Ha ha.  Groan.

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Then Superman starts having dreams, which are really easy to “decode” as referring to Batman’s enemies.  The Joker is the first, with squirting flowers, white faces, and laughing mania.  The Riddler dream sees a sphinx.

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The last dream flirts with the idea of the Penguin.  Superman has no idea what is going on, and starts freaking out.

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Batman explains it all.  When in Superman’s body, he spilled red kryptonite, which induced dreams based on the flash cards of Batman villains he had been showing Superman.

Yeah, ok. I guess it could have been worse.

 

Action 342 – Grax debuts

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Jim Shooter and Wayne Boring introduce a less successful foe for Superman, Grax, in Action 342 (Oct. 66).

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The story opens out in space, as Grax runs in to Brainiac.  He claims a higher intelligence level than the android, and bests him in their first encounter.  Grax is heading to Earth to kill Superman, after Superman destroyed his criminal empire.

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Grax sticks a bomb belt on Superman, so powerful it will destroy the Earth when it explodes.  Superman has a day to try to get rid of it, but it withstands anything and everything.

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It’s somewhat interesting to see Superman’s increasing desperation, when the belt seems as indestructible as he is.

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In the end it is Brainics who comes to Superman’s assistance.  Both because Grax bested him, and because he wants to defeat Superman himself, Brainiac gives Superman the information on how to defeat Grax.  It requires a giant magnet, as you might have guessed.

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Superman and Brainiac congratulate each other on their defeat of Grax, who vows to return.  He does, and in this book, but about six years down the road.

Action 276 – Supergirl vs the Superman Emergency Squad, and Supergirl joins the Legion of Super-Heroes

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Action 276 (May 1961) does deliver on it’s cover, though not quite in the way one might expect.

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Boring and Kaye do the art as Clark Kent shows himself far too trusting, revealing his identity to a dying philanthropist.

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Of course, the man is not actually dying, and while he is a philanthropist, that is a front for his criminal activities.  He not believes Superman to be Clark Kent, though his doctor warns him that the drug he took to simulate his near-death condition did leave him prone to hallucinations.

So it’s obvious how they will “get out” of the revelation, but at least the doctor did set that up near the top of the story.

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The man sets a kryptonite trap for Clark Kent, who calls on the Sueprman Emergency Squad to help him.  This is a small army of Kandorians, who dons Superman masks and costumes when they leave the bottle to help him.

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After saving him, they join with Supergirl in all manner of bizarre behaviour, intended to convince the bad guy that he is having hallucinations, and Clark Kent is not Superman.

Not really a “war” between Supergirl and the Emergency Squad.

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A lot of Legionnaires debut in the Siegel and Mooney Supergirl story in this issue, as she finally gets to join the team.

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Saturn Girl arrives in Supergirl’s time, along with two other members making their debuts, Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl.  Saturn Girl is wearing a lead mask in a really half-hearted attempt to conceal her identity, as part of the weird games they play with Supergirl.

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They bring her to the 30th century, where she meets some other new applicants for membership, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, and Sun Boy.

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But the far more important one for this story is Brainiac 5, the descendant of the original Brainiac, shown in flashback as he was in his first appearance, without the cool head things, and with Koko.  At this time, Brainiac was still believed to be an alien.  Brainiac 5’s relationship with him would change after his robotic state was revealed.

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Supergirl completes her initiation, and Brainiac 5 gives her a force-field belt of his creation, based on his ancestor’s force field, which protects her from kryptonite.

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And love blossoms between the temporally distanced couple.

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The ending of the story is not as good.  Returning to Earth, Supergirl heads to Atlantis to retrieve some kryptonite from Lori Lemaris and Jerro, but runs into Krypto, who thinks its fake kryptonite…blah blah, event event which  winds up destroying the force field belt.

But at least Linda has another long-distance boyfriend.

 

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