Posts tagged ‘Janu’

Adventure 283 – Superboy discovers the Phantom Zone and Congorilla ends

Adv_283___Superboy

Unlike so many stories that retroactively put people and items from the Superman series into the Superboy one, Adventure 283 (April 1961) really is the first appearance of the Phantom Zone, which would quickly become a major element throughout the Superman books.

A box of deadly Kryptonian weapons lands on Earth, just outside Smallville (where else?), and Superboy discovers that it was Jor-El (who else?) who sealed them away.

Superboy examines the weapons, including a disintegrator gun and an enlarging ray, but its the Phantom Zone projector that is the important one.

Adv_283___Superboy___Dr_Xadu

We learn, in flashback, of Dr Xadu, the first person sentenced to the Zone for failed experiments on suspended animation, and of General Zod, who attempted to overthrow the government of Krypton with a Bizarro army.  This is the first appearance for both characters.

Superboy then accidentally sends himself into the Phantom Zone, so we get to see how they exist as insubstantial beings who can see and hear what is going on in the real world, but cannot be perceived themselves.

Adv_283___Superboy_001

Superboy manages to escape by mentally causing a typewriter to work, detailing his situation, and Pa Kent uses the projector to free him.  Never again would anyone in the Zone find it so easy to affect real objects.

While Dr Xadu would appear rarely, General Zod would become one of Superman’s greatest foes.

 

Adv_283___Congorilla_

Congorilla’s final story gives him a decent villain, so it’s sort of a shame that it ended here.

A greedy scientist finds King Solomon’s Mines, and wants to keep the treasure for himself.  He devises a way, much like the magic ring, to transfer his brain into a lion’s body.  As the lion he scares off anyone who approaches.

Congo Bill at first believes he is facing a nasty lion, but eventually realizes there is a human mind behind it all.

At the end, he raises the possibility for the lion to return, and if the series had not ended at this point, I expect he would have.  It’s not like Congorilla had much of rogue’s gallery.

Adv_283____Congorilla

Congo Bill and Congorilla would both return a few months later in a story in Action Comics, and continue to appear on occasion throughout the DC Universe.  Janu would have to wait until the 1980s, and Swamp Thing Annual 3, for his return, as an adult.

Adventure 278 – Supergirl comes to Smallville, and Janu becomes Janurilla

Adv_278___Superboy___Supergirl

At the time of this story, Supergirl had her own series in Action Comics, but was still living in an orphanage, forbidden by Superman to use her powers publicly.  He was afraid she would give away her identity, or his.  Determined to prove herself, Linda travels back in time and heads to Smallville, in Adventure 278 (Nov 60).

Adv_278___Superboy

She reveals her identity to Ma and Pa Kent, and enlists their aid in attempting to fool Clark, figuring that if she can conceal it from Superboy, Superman will have to agree she has proved herself.

Adv_278___Superboy_001

She does a pretty good job of it, and succeeds in fooling Superboy the first time they meet.  It’s pesky Lana Lang that has the suspicions, but a little aid from Krypto and Ma Kent helps Linda con her as well.

Adv_278___Superboy__Supergirl

Supergirl figures she has it all down pat, but I guess this makes her less cautious, and she makes a completely stupid mistake.

Adv_278___Superboy_002

Distressed, she heads back to her own time, concluding that she is not “ready” to be adopted.  Which is kind of awful.

 

Adv_278__Congorilla

Janu winds up becoming Congorilla in this story.  He resents Congo Bill getting all the ape action, so puts on the ring himself.

He ties his body to a tree, so the mind-transferred gorilla will not run off with it, but he gets mistaken for a missing boy, and in the gorilla body has to chase his human body.

This could be fun, but the way Janu’s speech (or thoughts) are written are so idiot-ish that there is little fun to be had at his expense.  Nor is the art on the story particularly appealing.

But it was enough of a change of pace that I felt like including this story.

Adv_278__Congorilla_001

Adventure 270 – Congorilla begins, and Aqualad turns evil

Adv_270___Congorilla

The Congorilla series had begin life as Congo Bill, the story of a white explorer and hunter in Africa, in More Fun Comics.  It moved to Action Comics, where it had a long run.  He gained a sidekick in Janu, a jungle boy, and eventually acquired a magic ring that allowed him to change bodies with a Golden Gorilla.

After losing his spot in Action Comics to Supergirl, his series moved over to Adventure for a short run.  The best of his days were behind him, and few of the Congorilla stories from Adventure are worth comment.

This story, which pits him against Mau Mau rebels, re-introduces the character to the reader, and happily tows the white colonialist line that the English are the good guys in Kenya, and the blacks the bad ones.

Adv_270___Congo_Bill

 

Adv_270___Aquaman_001

Much more enjoyable is the Aquaman story, in which he becomes convinced that Aqualad is out to kill and replace him.

Adv_270__Aquaman

Aqualad’s actions are mysterious to say the least, and it’s not as unreasonable an assumption as it sounds.  Of course, it proves to be a big misunderstanding, Aqualad was gathering items to furnish the earliest version of the Aquacave, where they live, as a birthday surprise for Aquaman.

Adv_270___Aquaman

 

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