Posts tagged ‘Linda Danvers’

Adventure 424 – Supergirl ends

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Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics comes to a close with issue 424 (Oct 72), in a story that actually winds things up and sets the stage for her own comic.  Steve Skeates handles the writing, while Tony de Zuniga and Bob Oskner take the art.

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Linda has been successful at getting information from a mob informant, and looks to be in line for a promotion, which irritates Nasty.  Linda finds herself falling for the guy, but is less than happy when he does not act to try to protect her when the mob tries to kill him.

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When he flees after a grenade is thrown at him, Linda covers it with her body, and fakes her own death to teach him a lesson.  This is really less than admirable behaviour on Supergirl’s part, as she shows no sympathy for a person who simply doesn’t want to die, and resents the fact that he does not sacrifice himself to save her, even though she is in no danger.

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Figuring she will teach him a lesson, she pretends to be her own ghost to haunt him, but merely winds up a witness to his murder.

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Her guilt over the situation changes to rage when Linda discovers Nasty gave the mob the information on who the informer was.

The ending involves a teleportation machine, which gave the assassin the illusion of being a ghost, and a mob graveyard in space, just to work in the cover image.  After rounding up the gangsters, Linda returns to her news office.

 

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A strong conclusion to her run, as she quits her job and leaves San Francisco.  Hew own comic starts the following month.

Nasty does not appear again for a very long time.  Later writers do not even acknowledge her existence, when writing about Lex Luthor and his family.  It was Grant Morrison who finally brought her back, in All-Star Superman.

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Adventure 423 – Supergirl saves the Justice League

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Aliens plot to conquer the world using mind-controlling sunglasses in Adventure 423 (Sept 72), a story by E Nelson Bridwell and Steve Skeates, with art by Mike Sekowsky and Bob Oskner.

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Linda is out shopping when a pushy saleswoman shoves a pair of sunglasses on her, and she discovers she cannot remove them.  The glasses also force her, or anyone wearing them, to follow the commands of the aliens who created them.

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She is ordered to Metropolis, where she switches the glasses with Clark Kent’s usual ones, rendering him under the aliens control as well.

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The two aliens brothers behind this are not working together well, and one decides to betray the other, and has Supergirl use her heat vision, which results in the destruction of the glasses, freeing her mind.

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Superman brings the glasses to the Justice League, but Supergirl intervenes, much like the scene on the cover, and gets Green Lantern to destroy the glasses Superman is wearing.

A fairly silly story.  She still has her problems with her powers vanishing at times in this tale, although that has been used less frequently in recent months, and this would be the last story to reference that.

Adventure 419 – Supergirl’s bad boyfriend returns, Black Canary ends, and Zatanna faces Gorgonus

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Mike Merrick returns in Adventure 419 (May 1972), with a new girlfriend in an unusual, and surprisingly sad, story by John Albano, with art by Tony de Zuniga and Bob Oskner.

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Supergirl battles magical threats, and the reader discovers that these have been created by Lorelei, Mike Merrick’s new girlfriend, to divert Supergirl and keep her from tracking him down.

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It’s a bit of overkill, really, as Supergirl has shown no inclination to find Mike over the last 6 months since he appeared, but he calls her and informs her of what has been going on.  This phone call is the only contact Supergirl and Merrick have in the entire story, never even sharing a scene together, but the story works extremely well despite this.

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Remorseful and self-loathing, Mike kills himself and Lorelei in a car accident.  Supergirl is informed of his death, and comments that he “escaped from a world in which he never quite belonged.”  There is an absence of sappiness in this tale that makes it genuinely touching.

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Black Canary’s 2-parter by Denny O”Neil and Alex Toth concludes in this issue, as she wakes to find herself bound and at the mercy of the gang she helped train.

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While I kind of hate the fact that she only finds the strength to fight back from this situation by remembering advice from Green Arrow, I can’t fault the beauty of Toth’s art on the flashback.

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And fight back she does, defeating the gang, and at the end discovering that it was all a plot to free Catwoman, in a surprising cameo.  It’s a nice touch, but does make one wish that there had been some bigger scene between the Cat and the Canary.

Black Canary’s next solo series is in World’s Finest Comics in the late 70s.

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Zatanna returns in this issue, in a story that is sort of an epilogue to her earlier adventure, written by Len Wein with great art by Dick Giordano.

While rehearsing for a new act, Gorgonus suddenly appears, having been expelled from his dimension as an unwitting side effect of the spell Zatanna used to help her and Jeff escape.

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She defeats the monster  by subterfuge rather than magic, tricking him into staring into a mirror, which turns him into stone.

Adventure 418 – Supergirl meets Johnny Double,Black Canary begins, and an unpublished Dr Mid-Nite story

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Supergirl plunges into Chinatown intrigue in Adventure 418 (April 1972).  The story, by Len Wein, with art by Jose Delbo and Bob Oskner, also introduces her to Johnny Double, DC’s underdog private detective, who was currently also appearing in Wonder Woman’s comic.

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Nasty hires Johnny Double, claiming that Linda is trying to kill her, but hoping that Johnny will instead find some evidence to prove Linda is Supergirl.

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Instead, Johnny and Supergirl get enmeshed in a plot by Batman villain Dr Tzin-Tzin to take over the gangs in Chinatown.  Supergirl briefly falls for Tzin-Tzin’s illusion casting powers, but remembers hearing of them from Batman.

Johnny calls Nasty out on her lies about Linda trying to kill her.  There is some flirtation between Johnny and Linda, but he is busy with Wonder Woman, and nothing more comes of it.

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Black Canary gets her first solo story since the golden age in this two-parter, written by Denny O’Neil, with superb art by Alex Toth.

The story is fairly simple.  Black Canary applies for a job as a judo instructor for an organization called the Women’s Protective League.  She is surprised to discover that the women she is training are already fairly skilled, and even more surprised when she discovers gunmen in the centre.  It turns out the gunmen are in league with the feminists (isn’t that always the case?), and Canary gets captured.

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This issue also includes an unpublished Dr Mid-Nite story, which I believe was not published because it’s incredibly stupid and awful.  So much so that I am going to cover it in detail.

The story begins by introducing an echo-flashlight, a kind of sonar gun for blind people to navigate with, which Dr McNider (Dr Mid-Nite in his secret identity) has invented.  Money is being raised to help mass produce this device, and criminals plan to rob the event.

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Dr McNider is on his way there, but hoods are waiting to ambush him.  By sitting on a telephone pole.  Because that’s a place no one will ever notice, or find suspicious.

McNider dives into a bush, and emerges in his Dr Mid-Nite costume in the next panel.  Now let’s consider this.  Take a look at how much clothing he needs to remove and get into, all the while in the bush.  He must be in there at least 5 minutes, possibly more.  And all this time the criminals just wait patiently, one must assume.

But wait, there’s more!  As he jumps out of the bush, the bad guy says “Dr. Mid-Nite!  Wh-where’s Dr McNider?”

OK, so for at least 5 minutes McNider has been in that bush, changing clothes.  That would cause the bush to move and rustle.  Jump in a bush yourself and change clothes, I’ll bet it attracts attention.

But the bad guys, who have waited and waited, ignoring the sound and movement from the bush, cannot figure out where Dr McNider went, or how Dr Mid-Nite got into the bush in the first place.  Even in a universe where Lois Lane cannot recognize Superman when he puts glasses on, this strains all credulity.

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Dr Mid-Nite then trounces these incompetents, until a man riding a pennyfarthing bike rides up and bumps into him with it.  There may be some other, American, term for this kind of bicycle, I only know the term “pennyfarthing” for it from the 60s tv show “The Prisoner.”

But anyway, let’s examine this scene.  Those bikes did not go particularly quickly, and being hit by one is far more likely to cause the driver of the bike to fall to the ground, rather than render the person being hit unconscious, but that’s what happens in this scene.  Nice top hat, by the way, Mr bad guy.

The criminals then decide to kill Dr Mid-Nite.  So they shoot him.  No, that would be silly.  They choose a much more certain mode of murder.

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They tie him to the bike and let it drift away.  By some as yet unknown force of nature, the bike continues moving, rather than simply falling over on it’s side.  I realize most of you reading this have never driven this type of bicycle, but take my word for it, it was no more capable of self-balance and propulsion than any other non-motorized bicycle.

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Of course Dr Mid-Nite escapes from this “death trap.”  A five year old could probably escape from it.

He defeats the amazingly inept bad guys, and then the story ends with a plea to the reader to help contribute to the funding for the echo-flashlight.  So really, this entire story is an ad for the flashlight.

I can fully understand why this story was never published in the golden age.  I have a harder time understanding why it was published in 1972.

 

 

 

 

Adventure 406 – Supergirl graduates from college

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Despite never going to classes, at least not that we ever see, Supergirl graduates from Stanhope College in this Mike Sekowsky story in Adventure 406 (May 1971), getting a new job in a new city.

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Her adoptive parents, Fred and Edna Danvers, make a rare appearance, showing up for Linda’s graduation, which is marred by a campus riot.  While Robin’s series at this time was all about the turmoil in universities during the Vietnam War, the Supergirl series rarely showed anything of campus life, aside from occasional dances.

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Linda heads to Metropolis to see her cousin, with Nasty tagging along behind.  Clark informs her of a job at a television station in San Francisco, and Nasty overhears, heading there as well.

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So by the end of the story, Supergirl is now living and working in San Fran, the hub of hippiedom.  Again, this is part of the move to make the Superman family more hip and modern, but aside from the location, the Sueprgirl series would pay no more attention to the world of Haight Ashbury than her college days did to the Vietnam protests.

Nasty becomes her romantic rival, while still trying to prove Linda is really Supergirl.

Her powers continue to come and go, and this issue ends with a cliffhanger. Linda gets injured in a fire, winding up in an ambulance, terrified that her invulnerability will return while she is under medical care.

Adventure 388 – Supergirl deals with Luthor and Brainiac

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Adventure 388 (Jan 70) concludes the story with Lex Luthor’s nephew Val, and also begins a 2-parter in which Brainiac sends a robot to seduce Supergirl.

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After Lena gets a psychic vision of Val’s location, Supergirl heads out, and discovers that Lex is using the boy to commit crimes.  Adopting her Linda Danvers guise, she approaches the boy on their island base, and makes friends with him.

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Eventually Linda convinces him to use a helmet Lex has created to produce monsters, in order to trap Luthor.

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The device also has the effect of shorting out Val’s telekinetic powers, which Supergirl pretends was a surprise to her, but do we really believe that?

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Lena Thorul returns in Supergirl’s series in Superman Family, Val never appears again.  Where did he go?  I honestly don’t recall if his absence was explained, but I’ll mention it when I get to those tales.

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The second story in the issue, by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger, sees Brainiac free a womanizing felon from an alien prison, and transfer his charisma to a robot, before killing him.

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Linda begins dating the robot, and despite his incredibly rude behaviour, cannot resist him.  To her surprise, he has no interest in Supergirl at all.

Ah, Brainiac, the master of twisted abusive relationships.  The story concludes next issue.

 

 

Adventure 382 – Supergirl gets tested

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Adventure 382 (July 1969) brings Supergirl back to Stanhope College, as Cary Bates is joined by Kurt Schaffenberger, who drew many Supergirl and Lois Lane tales in the 60s and 70s.

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Supergirl’s robots are causing trouble, and she discovers a mysterious glowing being called Topar has taken control of them.  Aside from his abilities to reprogram robots, his primary power seems to be overt sexism, as he insists Supergirl should not be a hero, simply because she is female.

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After fretting that Topar might be Superman, who got peeved with her earlier in the story, and eliminating Mr Mxyzptlk as a suspect, Supergirl deduces that Topar is really the Kryptonian teacher robot that had tested Superboy early in his career. (Adventure 240, for those who want to check out that story)

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The robot confesses that his plan was to make her doubt herself, because he could not believe that a female would be capable of being a super-hero.  But he admits his error, and concedes that she is just as capable as Superman.

Which makes this one of the better stories dealing with sexism from this time period, sad to say.

Although this is the last chronological appearance of the teacher robot, he does appear again in a Superboy story in the mid-70s.

 

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