Superboy’s second run in Adventure Comics comes to a close in issue 458, with the xenophobe story by David Michelinie, Joe Staton and Jack Abel.
Thanks to his mental control of Ma and Pa Kent, Lester Wallac learns of the Phantom Zone projector, and uses it against Superboy, sending him to the Zone. There Superboy encounters Zan-Em, who has been mentally influencing Wallace and controlling his actions!
Seeing Wallace about to attack Lana Lang with a knife, Superboy defeats Zan-Em and re-emerges from the Zone. With Zan-Em defeated, Wallace regains control of his mind, realizes what he has done, and uses the Phantom Zone projector on himself.
Superboy’s series moves briefly back into Superman Family.
The conclusion of the Eclipso story by Len Wein and Joe Orlando reveals that, permanently split, Eclipso and Bruce Gordon will each fade from existence. Eclipso has rigged a Zeiss projector to draw stellar power that will enable him to survive while Bruce perishes.
But of course Bruce tracks him down, and the combination of the black diamond, and Professor Bennet’s re-rigging of the Zeiss projector re-merge Eclipso and Bruce Gordon.
An adequate Eclipso story, but nothing memorable.
Both Eclipso and Bruce Gordon next appear in the pages of Green Lantern through the early 80s. Professor Bennet and Mona have to wait until Eclipso’s next solo outing for their returns, in the Eclipso: The Darkness Within mini-series and follow-up book in the mid-90s.
A group of effigy-burning alien haters are the problem in Adventure 457 (June 1978), the first half of the final Superboy story in Adventure, by David Michelinie, with art by Joe Staton and Jack Abel.
Lester Wallace leads the group of extremists, who want Superboy to leave Smallville. The people of the town are not so convinced that Superboy is a menace, but there is more to Wallace that it seems.
Superboy finds himself becoming intangible at times, and the town begins to turn against him. The final panel, in which Wallace has Ma and Pa Kent under his spell, makes it clear that he has some degree of powers.
The story concludes next issue.
Eclipso begins a 2-part story in this issue, written by Len Wein, with art by Joe Orlando and Frank Giacoia. Eclipso had last appeared the previous year in Metal Men, but had not had a solo story since the end of his original series in House of Secrets in the 60s. Mona Bennet and her father Simon are also in the tale.
Together they succeed at splitting Eclipso from Bruce Gordon’s body, but fail completely to capture him. Though it doesn’t appear they put much thought or effort into that part of their plan. Mona wants them to just enjoy that Bruce is free of the demon, but Bruce insists he has a responsibility to capture his evil half.
The story climaxes with Bruce becoming intangible. The similarity of the situations with Bruce and Clark Kent were not planned, but when the editor noticed he added a blurb to the letter column, running a contest for readers to come up with a resolution that tied both stories together. Those were printed a few issues later. And I have to admit, some were much better than the actual conclusions from the following issue.