Posts tagged ‘Pa Kent’

More Fun 101 – Green Arrow drives the Arrowcar, Superboy debuts, and the Spectre ends

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Green Arrow and Speedy share the cover to More Fun 101 (Jan/Feb 1945), with no hint at all that this issue also includes the debut of Superboy.

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An unusually dynamic splash page for the Green Arrow story in this issue.  The story deals with a formula for synthetic silk, and hoods trying to steal it.

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What makes this story worth inclusion is something else entirely.  Catch the upper panel in which the car is called the Arrow Car, instead of the Arrowplane!  It was a long time in coming, but from here on the car is always called a car, not a plane.

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Towards the end, the phrase arrow-lines is used again, to describe the ropes attached to the arrows.

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Superboy makes his debut in this issue, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This brief story just details his origin.

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We get to see a bit more of the planet Krypton, rarely shown in these early days, as well as Jor-El and Lara.

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The elderly Kents adopt the young boy, and the story cuts to Clark looking maybe 10 or 11 years old.

Up to this point, there had never been the notion that Clark used his abilities before becoming an adult, and the Superboy character is the first step towards the notion of multiple, parallel, universes within the DC Universe, as this Superboy must be a different person to the Superman currently appearing in Action Comics and his own book.

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The story ends with young Clark showing off by lifting a car – the same activity as the cover of Action 1, which I doubt was just coincidence.

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To make room for the new Superboy series, the Spectre’s strip was brought to an end with this issue.  A year or more too late in my view.

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As had become the norm, this is primarily a story about Percival Popp and some wacky mix-ups with real gems and fake ones.

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The Spectre was no longer a part of the Justice Society by the time his series was cancelled, and his return had to wait until his appearance in Showcase in the mid-60s.

Adventure 458 – Superboy and Eclipso end

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Adventure 457 – Superboy takes on xenophobes, and Eclipso begins

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Adventure 454 – Superboy vs Kryptonite Kid, and Aqualad learns his parentage

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The Kryptonite Kid makes a rare appearance in this Bob Rozakis story from Adventure 454 (Dec 77), though the adult version of the character had appeared a year earlier in the pages of Superman.

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The people in Smallville all start turning green, and emitting kryptonite radiation. Pa Kent gets Clark out of town, where he quickly recovers.

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Superboy guesses that the Kryptonite Kid is responsible, as the villain has the same properties, and finds him out in space, but not too far away.  They battle, and though Superboy defeats him, he also realizes that the Kid was not responsible for the situation in Smallville.

This is also the final appearance of Kryptonite Kid.

The story concludes next issue.

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Aqualad continues the search for his background in the story by Paul Kupperberg, with art by Carl Potts and Dick Giordano.  He spends much of this chapter terrorizing an old man and beating up his pet shark.

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He does, however, learn that the man was responsible for the death of King Thar, the former leader of the Idyllists, who looks an awful lot like Aqualad.  Could it be…?

The story concludes next issue.

 

 

Adventure 313 – The Legion vs Satan Girl, and Superboy learns his heritage

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Supergirl makes her first appearance with the Legion in their Adventure Comics run, in issue 313 (Oct 63) in a story that sort of features the female Legionnaires, in so far as they all come down with a mysterious disease.

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Saturn Girl,Phantom Girl,Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass fall ill from the Crimson Virus, as does Night Girl from the Subs, and are taken to Quarantine World.

Satan Girl shows up and claims responsibility for the disease, and that she intends to head to Quarantine World and kill the women.  Rather than pursue her, Sun Boy appoints Supergirl temporary leader and sends her off to battle Satan Girl, while the rest of the guys stay safely on Earth.  Cowards.

Anyway, Supergirl is mystified by Satan Girl, who not only is equally powerful, and immune to kryptonite, but also seems to know everything about Supergirl.

Supergirl heads back to Earth, and convinces the boys that they need to move the girls to a secret location.  Bouncing Boy once again proves himself extremely useful.

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As Satan Girl’s powers cannot affect animals, Supergirl assembles the Legion of Super-Pets and has them take down the villain.

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Ultimately, it turns out Satan Girl was an evil duplicate of Supergirl, created by red kryptonite she was exposed to on her trip to the future.  Satan Girl does make one further appearance, as part of the End of an Era storyline in the early 90s.

Not the greatest Legion tale by Edmond Hamilton, but it does have Curt Swan art.  And I’m a sucker for the Super-Pets.

 

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After giving Pa Kent a Father’s Day present, Clark uses a mind-probe machine to remember how the day was celebrated on Krypton.

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We get to see Jor-El taking baby Kal to the family tomb, with its row of statues commemorating great heroes of the El family.   Superboy seeks out the statue and in space, and wouldn’t you know it, finds it intact and floating around, along with a box of curious objects.

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It’s much more of a challenge to approach the poisonous statuary group than to figure out the purpose of the objects, which clearly fit into the hands of the statues.

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Superboy succeeds by covering the whole thing with lead, and we (and he) learn that the El family included a great explorer, inventors, the writer of Krypton’s constitution and a renowned architect.

This statue group would appear occasionally, as would some of the men pictured.  Primarily, it would be the basis for part of the Krypton Chronicles mini-series.

 

 

Adventure 290 – Superboy meets Sun Boy, and Bizarro World gets invaded

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There is an awful lot of deception going on in Adventure 290 (Nov 61).  Tom Tanner, who happens to look identical to Clark Kent, escapes from a reform school and just happens to wind up in Smallville, where everyone, including Ma and Pa Kent, assume he is Clark.

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So he steps into Clark’s life while Superboy meets Sun Boy just outside of town.

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Sun Boy had appeared as a Legion applicant in a recent appearance of the team, in which Supergirl was recruited (Action 276), and is revealed to be a member now.   His origin is told in brief, gaining his powers though an accident in his father’s lab.  At this point Sun Boy’s powers are limited to emitting light.

He sends Sueprboy off to gather sealed containers, the contents of which will build a weapon, and Superboy goes.  But this is not the real Sun Boy, simply an imposter.  So we have two phonies in this story!

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Of the two, Tom is having the more impressive time, passing one of Lana’s tests to prove Clark is Superboy, and also making Clark look much tougher at school.

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Sun Boy builds his silly looking killer robot, but fails in his plans, because Superboy knew all along he was a fake.  Why?  Because he did not use the secret Legion handshake.  There never had been a secret Legion handshake before this story, and never would be again.

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There’s some stuff with Tom that is too complex and contrived to bother explaining, but he becomes a good person and goes off to live his life, and is never heard from again.  Nor is the Sun Boy imposter.  Of all the Legion stories that pre-date their series, I think this is the one I like least.

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The Bizarro World story is probably the most serious tale of the run, if only because they risk the destruction of their world.

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Creatures made of blue kryptonite (which is deadly to Bizarros) emerge from underground and begin attacking.  The Bizarros respond by cheering them on.

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Jerry Siegel includes a detail that no other Bizarro story will acknowledge, that only Bizarros based on Superman are vulnerable to blue kryptonite.  So a squad of Bizarro Loises are sent out to fight.

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In the end its Bizarro Jimmy Olsen who saves the day, creating Bizarro versions of Superman’s lead suit, which protects them and allows them to defeat the creatures.

Adventure 289 – Does Pa Kent really gain super-powers again? And Bizarro hunts for heroes

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Oh, no, is it yet another story where Pa Kent gets powers?  Nope, it just seems to be.  Otto Binder does a great job decoying the reader with this tale, in Adventure 289 (Oct 61)

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Clark, and the reader, are lead to believe that Pa Kent has gained powers as the result of exposure to an alien gem, and with two such stories in the last few years, no one was likely to be surprised, or question it.

Pa Kent adopts the identity of Super-Dad, and acts quite obnoxiously towards Clark.  But then, not so different from how Pa Kent behaved in the story where he became Strongman.

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Ok, maybe throwing a lead bucket onto Superboy’s head is a bit much, but it almost feels like it’s being played for laughs.  Things get serious though, when Clark discovers his father stockpiling kryptonite in order to kill him.  Would Pa Kent really do this?

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No, he wouldn’t.  This is Jax-Ur, an escapee from the Phantom Zone, making his first appearance.  We learn that he was sentenced to the Zone for destroying an inhabited moon of Krypton, and Superboy sends him back there at story’s end.

This is a good tale, almost a great one, except for the revelation of how Superboy figured out Pa Kent was not Pa Kent.

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Groan.

 

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Bizarro goes time-travelling in this little romp by Jerry Siegel.  He promises the citizens of Bizarro World that he will find real heroes from the past that they can feature on tv on their world, and heads in search of the Abominable Snowman, Frankenstein’s monster and the Devil.

In each case, it is Bizarro himself who is assumed by people in that time period to be the monster he is seeking.

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He winds up in the prehistoric era, and runs into Titano, who he calls Tiny. and returns to Bizarrow World to tell them all about the great hero he found.

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He is accused to ripping off King Kong for his story about Tiny, which makes Bizarro World cheer him, for hoaxing them all.

Bizarro logic, what can you do?

 

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