Posts tagged ‘Lex Luthor’

Adventure 300 – The Legion of Super-Heroes get their own series!

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After a few years in which the Legion of Super-Heroes appeared with increasing frequency as guest stars in various Superman books, they finally got their own series, beginning with Adventure 300 (Sept 62), with a classic cover by Curt Swan

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The story pits them against a robot built centuries earlier by Lex Luthor, which has the ability to activate the powers of the various Legionnaires and use them against each other.  Although nine Legionnaries are shown on the first page, only Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Sun Boy have roles in the tale.

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Superboy is very much the star of the story, though it’s Mon-El who saves the day, temporarily released from the Phantom Zone.  He joins the Legion in this tale, but still much return to the Zone at the end, until a permanent cure is found for his lead poisoning.

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The World Wide Police appear in this story.  They are usually considered a forerunner of the Science Police, although looking at the dangerous craft they fly I think it just as likely that they died in those machines and were replaced by Science Police who were smart enough to build safer airships.

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Adventure 293 – The Legion of Super-Pets, and Bizarro Luthor

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Jerry Siegel does double-duty on Adventure 293 (Feb 62), writing both the Superboy and Bizarro World features.  Curt Swan draws the Superboy tale, but alas not the Bizarro World one.

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Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl show up in Smallville and try to trick Superboy into freeing General Zod and Jax-Ur from the Phantom Zone.  Mon-El, still a resident of the Zone at this time, warns Superboy.  The Legionnaires then attack Superboy, and are revealed to be under the mental control of the Brain-Globes of Rambat.

When they notice that Krypto is not vulnerable to the Brain-Globes powers, the team decides to form a battle squad of animals, and zip through time, recruiting Streaky the Super-Cat, Beppo the Super-Monkey and a Super-Horse.  This is Comet, making his first appearance.  He is introduced as an animal that will soon become Supergirl’s pet.

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The animals defeat the Brain-Globes, who flee, and are never heard from again.  Saturn Girl rewards them by officially creating the Legion of Super-Pets as an auxiliary unit of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

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The Legion of Super-Pets will return and have some of my favourite goofy adventures from this era.

 

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Bizarro Luthor gets created in this issue.  And as Lex Luthor does bad deeds, Bizarro Luthor of course does good deeds.  But when Bizarros try to do good deeds these often turn out badly.  So when Bizarro Luthor tries to do good deeds they turn into bad deeds but not really bad deeds, more like…

My brain hurts.

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Although this story is really fun, overall the series is beginning to feel repetitious, and the constant inclusion of new Bizarros means that few actually get to do anything significant in the story.  While Bizarro Luthor gets the spotlight in this tale, a Bizarro Bottle City of Kandor and Bizarroe Superman Emergency Squad are also created in the tale, but pretty much shoved to the side.

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Adventure 271 – Superboy meets Lex Luthor

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Ignoring the appearance of the older Luthor in the Superboy/Robin team-up, Adventure 271 (April 1960) tells of the first meeting between Lex and Clark, and the origin of Luthor’s hatred for Superboy.  Interestingly, the story was penned by Jerry Siegel, who had created Luthor so many years earlier.

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Superboy seeks out the newcomer to Smallville, but just as they meet a big kryptonite meteor falls to the ground.  Quick thinking Lex bulldozes it away, and the two become fast friends.

Even as a child, Lex is a scientific genius, and is working on creating protoplasmic life.   He also develops a kryptonite antidote, but accidentally starts a fire in his lab.  Superboy extinguishes the blaze with super-breath, but accidentally destroys the life form Lex had created, and the fumes cause his hair to fall out.

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Still, this does not push Lex into a life of crime right away.  In fact, he spends much of the rest of the story doing good deeds, trying to become more beloved than Superboy.  Unfortunately, his inventions to provide year round heat and fast growing plants both backfire dramatically, and Superboy has to destroy them to save the town.  Lex winds up hated by everyone in Smallville, and blames Superboy for this as well.

At the end, he attempts to kill Superboy with the kryptonite meteor that he retrieved, and taunts him with the remains of the antidote formula.  It’s super-breath to the rescue again!  Still feeling bad for Lex, Superboy does not take him to prison, but the basis for their eternal feud has been laid.

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This story would remains the origin of Luthor’s hatred for Superboy until the complete revision of the Superman legend in the post-Crisis universe, and young Lex would quickly become a regular character in the Superboy series.

Adventure 253 – Superboy meets Robin, and Green Arrow meets Xeen Arrow

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After Superman is mortally wounded by kryptonite concealed in a clock trophy, Robin heads back in time to Smallville to try to prevent his death by destroying the clock trophy, in Adventure 253 (Oct 58).  Team-ups were still a rarity at this time, and cross-time team-ups all but unheard of.  Between this story and the second part of the Green Arrow tale, this truly was a groundbreaking issue.

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Robin enlists the aid of Carter Nichols to travel back in time, making this the only appearance of the scientist in Adventure Comics.  He was a mainstay in the Batman comics from the 1940s until the mid-60s.

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As fate would have it, Superboy receives a number of clocks as trophies during the course of the story, all of which Robin is eager to destroy.

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Superboy begins to get suspicious of his tale when he spots him stealing evidence from a crime scene, but Robin is simply collecting items to give Superman as a birthday present.  Robin is awfully certain he will succeed at saving his life, it seems.

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Luthor also makes an appearance in the tale, looking much older than Superboy.  The origin story for Luthor that makes him and Clark teens in Smallville together had not yet been written.

This story would remain “canon,” and be referenced a number of times in later adventures.

 

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Green Arrow and Speedy are taken through a space warp into an alternate dimension in the concluding half of this story.  How the observatory was able to see into an alternate dimension is never explained, but Kirby’s art forgives such details.

They are very tiny on this world, and discover that the arrows fired to Earth were simply children’s toys that accidentally went through the warp.

They encounter an alternate version of Green Arrow, Xeen Arrow, and follow him as he fights crime on his world, attempting to attract his attention.

They finally succeed, and he returns them to Earth just before the warp seals.

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