Posts tagged ‘Wonder Woman’

Action 600 – Superman and Wonder Woman kiss, Lois Lane is sad, Lex Luthor hurts his hand, Jimmy Olsen helps out, and Superman vs Man-Bat

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John Byrne scripts all of the stories in Action 600 (May 1988), an oversize anniversary issue, which is also the last issue before the book undergoes a dramatic change of format.

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George Perez joins for the first story, which continues the Superman/Wonder Woman embrace that concluded the last issue of Adventures of Superman.  After the kiss, Superman realizes he may have jumped the gun a bit, and the two cool down a bit, and get to know each other.

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Diana gets an emergency message from Hermes, and the couple head to Olympus, which has been invaded by Darkseid.  He makes the most of the situation, as Superman and Wonder Woman arrived in different places, and dispatches Kalibak and Amazing Grace to toy with them.

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The scheme is pretty simple.  Superman is shown that the Wonder Woman he is fighting is really Grace, and Diana gets a similar reveal with Kalibak.  Then the two heroes confront each other, both believing the other is really an enemy.

Simple, but also not too hard for the heroes themselves to figure out.

Darkseid abandons the unconquerable Olympus, and the heroes decide to just be friends…for now.

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Roger Stern, Kurt Schaffenberger and Jerry Ordway join Byrne for the Lois Lane story, her first solo story since the reboot of Superman.  She infiltrates and busts up a crime ring, but her story is relegated to the back pages of the Planet.  The Superman/Wonder Woman romance gets the front page.

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Lois mopes about a bit, and thinks about her relationship with Superman.  Clark shows up, wanting to lend a shoulder to cry on, and the tension between them seems to be ending.  Until an emergency calls him away, and Lois fumes even more.

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Dick Giordano and John Beatty do the art on the Lex Luthor story, which sees him attempt to blackmail Maggie Sawyer about her sexuality.

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Maggie neither bows to his pressure, nor steals the evidence when she has the opportunity. As she explains to Dan Turpin, she is willing to stand up and fight for who she is, and what she has achieved.

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It’s not a very good day for Lex, who also is told by Gretchen Kelly that his kryptonite ring has poisoned his hand, which will have to be amputated.

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Swan and Anderson re-unite for the art on the Jimmy Olsen story.  Sadly, it’s the least involving story in the issue.  Superman gets knocked for a loop when the radiation from Krypton’s explosion reaches the Earth, collapsing.

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Jimmy carries the hero down into a mine shaft, getting him as far away from the radiation as possible.

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The issue ends with another team-up story, with Mike Mignola handling the art as Man-Bat makes his post-Crisis debut.

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Man-Bat is surprised to find Superman down in a cave, and even more surprised when the ailing and hallucinating hero attacks him.  Man-Bat basically spends the story defending himself.

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Hawkman shows up on the final page, informed by Jimmy Olsen of Superman’s situation.  This leads into the story in Superman the following month.

As for Action Comics, it goes on hiatus for a while, returning as Action Comics Weekly.  Happy anniversary, Superman!  As a present, we are reducing you to two pages in the comic that started your career!

 

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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.

 

Action 565 – Wizard City returns, and Ambush Bug ends

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The third and final Ambush Bug cover on Action Comics 565 (March 1985).

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Superman does get the lead story in this issue, by Mort Todd and Kurt Schaffenberger, which brings back Wizard City, a fabled Kryptonian town that landed intact on Earth in Superboy’s day, long before Kandor was introduced.  I talked about the Wizard City story when I covered Adventure Comics in the previous blog.

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It has been discovered, and looted, by a thief who is making the most of his stolen Kryptonian tech.

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Jimmy Olsen’s father, who was a young man in the original story, returns with information linking the criminal to the site.

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The thief tries to kill Superman with a Kryptonian virus he found in the city, but Superman prevails, and buries Wizard City deep int he Earth’s crust, never to be seen again.

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Ambush Bug has his final outing in Action, with Giffen, Fleming and Oskner finding exactly the right angle for the character.  This story introduces some of the odd supporting cast, as well as the plot device of having Ambush Bug travel from hero to hero during the course of the story.  Peabody, of Peabody, Dicker and Pending, opens the story with his Ambush Bug merchandising plans.

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Lots of great references to old goofy stories as Ambush visits Superman.  All but one of the stories referenced in this bit have already been covered in this blog!

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While the Inarticulate Bug would not return, satirizing Jack Kirby would become a staple of the series.

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Giant penny!

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The Uh-Oh Squad also make their first appearance in this story. The title is clearly a reference to the Suicide Squad, a team which had not had a strip since the early 60s.  The logo chosen is that of The Omega Men.  This always puzzled me, and did Giffen know of Ostrander’s upcoming Suicide Squad book?  Or is it just coincidence?

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And as he visits with Wonder Woman, Ambush Bug demonstrates that there is no lie he will not tell in order to get a hero to guest star in his strip.

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And some nice meta-stuff, just to top it all off.

Such a great strip.  Ambush Bug returns in a couple of months in a DC Comics Presents team-up with Superman against Kobra.

Action 546 – Superman, the Justice League and the New Teen Titans vs Brainiac

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Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane pull out the stops for Action 546 (Aug. 83), the conclusion of the new Brainiac saga.

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Superman gathers the Justice League and , unusually, the New Teen Titans.  They were the hottest selling property DC had at the time, and Wolfman wrote their comic.  But it’s still not like Superman called on the Teen Titans from time to time.

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Anyway, both teams see a lot of action in this story.  The Atom Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna work with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Terra against the invading alien armies under Brainiac’s domination.

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Lois Lane gets one scene in the story, back on the farm of her rarely appearing parents, Sam and Ella Lane.  Superman talked her out of staying on assignment in the Middle East, and she is furious to see that Lana Lang is doing the interview she worked so long at.

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While the others deal with the armies, Superman confronts Brainiac himself.  He manages to draw out solar flares, which disrupt Brainiac’s headship, and render him vulnerable.  He retreats, to fight another day.  And once Brainiac leaves, his armies, no longer mind controlled, back down.

Yup, Brainiac is definitely more of a threat than he was before.

 

Action 535 – Superman meets the Omega Men, and Air Wave ends

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Superman is at half power, having been split into two people in the previous issue, in the Wolfman, Staton and Marcos story in Action 535 (Sept. 82).

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Superman finds himself cast back to Earth abruptly, and runs into the Omega Men, a group of aliens on the run, last seen in their introductory story arc in the pages of Green Lantern the previous year.  Primus, Kalista, Broot, Nimbus and Harpis explain their story to Superman.

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They prove to be some help as a villain called the Mole attacks various buildings in Metropolis from underground, including the Daily Planet.  Superman is not used to his power loss, and overestimates his invulnerability. The Omega Men bring him to a hospital, and Kalista brings Lois Lane, who he has been calling for.

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But the Mole and his men think that even a powered down Superman is a prize to be had, and break into the hospital to steal him.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Air Wave concludes his final solo story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, as he spies on his high school science teacher, who seems to bean alien.

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Air Wave doesn’t fare too well against the man himself, he manages to escape capture.  But Hal does prevent the man’s bomb from going off, taking it high into space, which neutralizes the explosion.

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In the end, Air Wave is called to the Justice League satellite, where he is lauded by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Atom, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Hawkman for his quick thinking.  They even tell the boy that one day he might become a member of the Justice League himself.

Sadly, this is really the high point of Air Wave’s career.  He returns in a couple of months in an issue of DC Comics Presents, and will pop up occasionally over the next couple of decades, but never again carry his own series.

 

Action 489 – Krypton’s destruction comes to Earth, and the Atom ends

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte begin a three-part story in Action 489 (Nov.78), as the force from Krypton’s explosion arrives at Earth so many years later.

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It’s big news, everyone is aware of it.  Morgan Edge is preparing a WGBS special, and broadcasting the view live, with Lana Lang, Lois Lane and Steve Lombard all part of the show.  Clark Kent is meant to be there, but he is busy with the Justice League.  They have noticed that he has been running himself ragged over the past couple of days, but Superman refuses to tell Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkman and Wonder Woman what is going on, simply advising them that he can take care of things.

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The Kandorians are having a special memorial because of the event, and are upset that Superman is not with him.  But to them, Supergirl explains the reason – Brainiac is back.  He has demanded a one-on-one battle with Superman.  In case he does not survive, Superman has been trying to get as much done as possible, and Brainaic has also blackmailed him, though the use of bombs, into keeping the Justice League out of it.

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Brainiac traps Superman on the roof of his ship, and forces him to watch the explosion of Krypton.

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The Atom’s series, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Colletta, comes to an abrupt end with the DC Implosion.

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The story is an entertaining one, with Jean Loring being the executor of a will, and the heirs unhappy with the distribution.  Some seemingly low value bequests get stolen, and the Atom gets onto the case.

act_489_006 It’s a good little mystery, with an interesting conclusion, as mementos prove more important than money to one man. The Atom’s series, like Air Wave’s, returns in a little over a year.

Action 452 – Superman slugs it out, and Davy saves the day

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Shooter, Swan and Blaisdel create the Superman story in Action 452 (Oct. 75).

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It’s a straightforward, but kind of blah story.  Superman faces off against a man who draws his strength off of those he fights.  So the longer he fights Superman, the stronger he becomes.

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It’s not a bad idea, but not executed as well as it might be.  The man himself is a victim, to a degree, of a mad doctor’s experiments.

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Wonder Woman has a sort of cameo.  I mean, it is her, but neither of the two panels she appears in show her clearly.  It was while battling her that the man discovered his energy-leeching power.

Superman imprisons the man in Kandor until he can be healed. Which I highly doubt is legal.

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Maggin and Grell concludes their Davy three-parter with a high action finale.  Everyone gets something to do as Green Arrow, Black Canary and Davy face off against the global conspiracy nukers.

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They succeed at blowing up the base, but Davy vanishes in the confusion.  Clearly meant to make us wonder if this is the Biblical David, it’s kind of a shame that no one ever brought this character back.

 

 

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