Posts tagged ‘WGBS’

Action 577 – Caitiff debuts


Giffen, Fleming and Oskner deliver a great Superman tale, as they introduce Caitiff, a fascinating vampire.


Morgan Edge is heavily promoting a story about deaths at a centre for disease control, which caitiff is behind.  Clark Kent is the newscaster for the story, which Caitiff wants stopped, so he heads out to find Kent.


Right from the start you are made to sympathize with this creature, who seems so pained and vulnerable.  And Giffen’s art just excels on the pages dedicated to him.


Caitiff bursts into the WGBS studio to try to stop the broadcast.  It does, but of course it also sets Superman right on him.


Superman follows Caitiff back to his lair, and finds the remains of the rest of his family, his race.  The bones of his child, killed by scientists trying to understand their condition.

Superman allows Caitiff to remain undisturbed, and tells no one about him.

Caitiff returns for a second, and final, story in the pages of Justice League International in the late 80s.


Action 563 – Ambush Bug loses his suit, Mr. Mxyzptlk wants his own show, and Jimmy Olsen becomes a blob


Three stories in Action 563 (Jan.85), all represented in Giffen’s great cover.


Ambush Bug gets the lead story in the issue, by Giffen, Fleming and Oskner.  Clark Kent is around, in his newscaster guise, and as Superman, but Bethany Snow, from New Teen Titans, and Jack Ryder, better known as the Creeper, also cameo on the first page.  Ted Baxter, from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, almost appears.


There is some degree of story in this one, as Ambush Bug works on his suit, and shorts it out.


A running gag with the character is the origin story, which always involves a person named Irwin Schwab, but otherwise is a pastiche of other heroes origins.  Ambush Bug relates one of these absurd stories to Superman.


Superman dismisses it as nonsense, until he realizes Ambush Bug just told him his own origin.


E. Nelson Bridwell, Alex Saviuk and Dennis Jensen give Mr. Mxyzptlk a yen for the boob tube in the second story in this issue.  The 5th dimensional imp demands his own television show on WGBS, but Morgan Edge refuses.


So Mr. Mxyzptlk wreaks havoc with the networks programming.  Although the story posits this as a bad thing, in reality I’m sure the ratings went through the roof, as everyone tuned in to see what crazy shit was going to happen.  Anyway, Mxyzptlk has made saying, or even writing, his name backwards impossible for anyone.


Superman gets around this by thinking of his Bizarro World counterpart, Kltpzyxm, when setting up his trap.


The issue is rounded out by a Jimmy Olsen adventure, by Craig Boldman, Howard Bender and Pablo Marcos.


Hoping to save a falling girl, Jimmy drinks from an old vial of his Elastic Lad serum, but it turns him into a big blob instead.


He is unable to speak, and is treated as a monster, even by his date for the evening.  Superman figures out what has happened, the serum was corrupted by a radioactive substance it sat next to.  He cures Jimmy in time to still have his planned date, but the girl’s reaction, freaking out just because he metamorphosized, makes it clear this woman is not up to Jimmy Olsen’s speed.

Action 562 – Queen Bee meets King Alexander


Alexander the Great, aka the Planeteer returns, now calling himself King Alexander, in the Rozakis, Schaffenberger and Hunt story in Action 562 (Dec. 84).


The story has a subplot about Steve Lombard,who was fired from WGBS by Morgan Edge in the pages of Superman.  He is starring in a production of Damn Yankees, and has sent opening night tickets to Clark, Lana, Jimmy and Perry White.  Perry actually winds up stopping a pair of robbers during the show, and his wife Alice gets a small role.


Queen Bee gets most of the attention in the story.  She has been causing magnetic anomalies throughout Metropolis.  She has found an immortality serum that needs a constant recharge of magnetic energy to allow her to stay mobile.


And who should also be back in Metropolis but the magnetically powered Alexander?


They hit it off, and Alexander thinks its true love and world conquest, unaware that he is being drugged, and his power drained, by Zazzala.


Mind you, even when Superman explains to him what is going on, he just chooses not to believe it.  He has fallen hard.  Superman uses the couple’s magnetism against them.

This is the final appearance of Alexander the Great aka Planeteer aka King Alexander, and the Queen Bee is next seen in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

And Steve Lombard’s revival of Damn Yankees closes after one night.

Action 526 – Superman vs Neutron, and Air Wave’s new power


Wolfman, Staton and Chiaramonte conclude the Neutron storyline in Action 526 (Dec. 81).


Morgan Ledge gathers the Daily Planet/WGBS staff on the roof for the celebration of the return of the globe.  Lis Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen, and of course Perry White are there. Meanwhile, Clark is frantically searching the city as Superman.  Neutron has told him that he has placed bombs throughout the city.  The art alone makes it fairly obvious that one of them is in the big glowing globe, surrounded by all his friends.  But it takes Superman until close to the end of the story to figure that out.


Along the way, Superman runs into the H.I.V.E.  They want to get rid of the bombs as well, and could work with Superman on this goal, but prefer to try to kill him.


Superman gets rid of the explosive globe, but replaces it with a safe one.  He captures Neutron far more easily than one might expect, encasing him while he is in his energy form.


Air Wave gets a more series adventure in this issue, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta.


After being struck by lightning, Hal discovers that he has the ability to pick up on people’s thoughts, justas if they were broadcasts.  This comes in useful at school, when quizzed on work he hadn’t read.  But even more useful when his uncle Jack gets kidnapped.


Jack Jordan is a District Attorney, and he has been grabbed by mob goons who want vengeance.  Air Wave’s telepathy vanishes before the end of the story, but helps him find, and save, his uncle.


Action 525 – Neutron debuts, and Air Wave becomes Green Lantern

Lex Luthor is once again involved in the creation of a new Superman villain, as Neutron debuts in Action 525 (Nov. 81),the first half of a two part story by Marv Wolfman, Joe Staton and Frank McLaughlin.


As part of a group called the TNT Trio, Nathaniel Tryon is part of a fuel rod theft at a nuclear power plant.  The men are working for Luthor, but that does then little good when the plant begins to melt down.  Superman rescues his two partners, but Nathaniel is buried in a collapse, surrounded by lead shielding, and the hero does not see him.


He emerges with some fairly impressive powers, though not on the Firestorm or Captain Atom level.  He can absord energy, and fire nuclear blasts.  He can even turn himself into pure energy, as well as being extremely strong.  Luthor builds a suit to contain his energy.


This story also sees the return of the Daily Planet globe to the roof of the WGBS building.  Morgan Edge is finally won over by the pleadings of Lois Lane, and agrees to its re-installation.


Superman has his first encounter with Neutron, and the villain leaves him lying in a pile of rubble.


Air Wave gets an enjoyable entry, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte.


Hal and Karen Peterson are attending a comic convention, where a thief dresses up as comic book hero the Cosmic Corsair before trying to steal some valuable artworks.  Air Wave stops him, but suffers temporary memory loss.  Karen has to figure out how to remind Hal of who he is, without giving away that she knows his secret identity.

She does, and he captures the fake Corsair.


The final panels are quite cute, as they dress up for a costume ball, Karen as the Corsair, and Hal as his uncle, Green Lantern.  “Who’d ever believe Hal Jordan was Green Lantern?”

Action 501 – the mild-mannered Superman


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


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.


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.


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.

Action 500 – the life story of Superman


Action 500 (Oct. 79) is an oversize special, which does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive story of Superman.


Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte choose a big public tour of a new Superman pavilion as the framing device for the tale.  The various rooms give focus to different parts of the story.


There is also a machine at the exposition which draws out Superman’s memories, so that people can enjoy his grief as he recalls Jor-El and Lara, and his early life on Krypton. But a mystery villain is making use of the device, channeling the memories into a Superman duplicate he is creating.


The creation of the Phantom Zone is referenced, as well as Krypto on a test rocket.


The Kents are shown, finding the boy and raising him, both through his Superbaby phase, and later Superboy.


The story often uses exact swipes of scenes and images from earlier stories.  The death of Pa Kent duplicates the first telling of the event.


As does the farewell message from the people of Smallville.


Clark Kent’s life in Metropolis is shown, getting the job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, and working with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Morgan Edge’s takeover is related, with Steve Lombard making an appearance.

Supergirl gets her own room in the pavilion, and a montage of her career.  Other aspects are really downplayed.  The Legion of Super-Heroes appear, in their current line-up, in the Superboy room, but are not talked about.


Still, Lori Lemaris does make it into the triptych of his loves, along with Lois and Lana.


The villain room is the most notable – for its absences.  Aside from Luthor and Brainiac, only the Toyman and Parasite are shown.  Brainiac has his story told in depth, as it relates to Kandor.


The mystery villain turns out to be Lex Luthor, which is not that much of a surprise.


And the duplicate gives himself away when he relates Luthor’s origin from Luthor’s own, very slanted, view.

As a story, this leaves something to be desired.  But as a Superman compendium, it works.

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