Superman 174 – Clark Kent imagines he is Superman, and Mr. Mxyzptlk becomes a hero

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An interesting cover image on Superman 174 (Jan. 65), and the story, by Hamilton and Plastino, lives up to it.

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Clark Kent is stunned when a man walks into his office, claiming to be Superman, and demonstrating his abilities.  He is even more shocked when he discovers that he himself has no powers at all.

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Clark calls on Batman, wanting someone to confirm that he really is Superman, but Batman treats him as though he were just a snooping reporter.

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Clark challenges the Superman claimant’s memory, getting Lana Lang involved as he recounts an event from Superboy’s life, but the “impostor” knows everything that Clark does.  Doubting his own sanity by this point, Clark heads to a psychiatrist.  After some discussion, the psychiatrist believes that Clark began fantasizing that he was Superboy because of him being a lonely and weak teen, and that the delusion has simply grown over the years.

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Sadly, this story opts for a quick and easy “out,” as the Superman claimant turns out to be one of his robots, gone renegade.  The robot impersonated Batman, and also planted a red sun device in the heel of Clark’s shoe, to remove his powers.

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Mr. Mxyzptlk switches sides in this story, by Siegel and Plastino.

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He decides to become Super-Mxyzptlk, and follows Superman around, jumping ahead of him whenever there is trouble, and using his magic to save the day.  For a change, he is genuinely not trying to be a pest – but he is anyway.

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I do enjoy the ending, in which Bizarro pops up, joining others in a celebration of Mr. Mxyzptlk’s heroism.  He builds a statue of the imp, but of the Bizarro version he knows – Kltpzyxm.  Mxyzptlk is taken aback by the statue, which he considers insulting, but in reading the inscription gets transported back to his own dimension.

Not the greatest story, but it’s neat to see Bizarro defeating Mxyzptlk, even accidentally.

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