Superman 176 – the Super-Pets travel through time, Green Kryptonite returns, and Superman speaks the truth

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Were chalkboards often used in courtrooms at the time Superman 176 (April 1965) came out?

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The Super-Pets, who were frequent guest-stars in the Legion of Super-Heroes series in Adventure Comics at this time, join Superman for a time travelling romp in a story by Dorfman, Swan and Klein.

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After a will leaves a huge bequest for an animal shelter, to be overlooked by the Super-Pets in a managerial capacity (the guy clearly has great faith in these animals), because of the nasty actions of an ancestor, Superman recruits the Pets to join him on a trip to the past, to learn more about the man.  Krypto, Streaky, Beppo and Comet all take part, while Proty II is said to be busy on a mission in the future.

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They find that the ancestor is a junk dealer who frequently abuses animals.  The story also tells a (highly fictionalized) version of the creation of the American Society for the Protection of Animals, as the passage of a law protecting them from being abused gets passed during their time in the past.  The story is not bad – largely consisting of the man trying to injure the Super-Pets, but having no success, due to their powers.

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The talking green kryptonite returns for a follow-up story by Binder, Swan and Klein, covering its “activities” now that Superboy has grown to Superman.

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It’s not as much fun as the first tale.  The kryptonite is on hand as Superman constructs his Fortress of Solitude, and is once again used in an experiment to nullify its effects.  The experiment works, although it makes the kryptonite deadly to humans.

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When the process wears off, it becomes deadly to Superman again, and he disposes of it in space.  But the rock passes through the cloud that changes green kryptonite into red.

The ending announces that there will be a follow-up story, which comes in the next issue.

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Dorfman, Swan and Klein fill in some Kryptonian history in this otherwise silly tale, which has Superman and Supergirl telling nothing but the truth for a single day, no matter what the consequences.

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Lois Lane and Lana Lang try to take advantage of the situation, asking Superman which of them he prefers, but he gets out of the situation by yelling his answer too loudly to be understood.  The story has a couple more instances of this kind of “out.”

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The most interesting part of the tale is the flashback explaining the situation.  We learn that, at one time, Krypton was under the domination of aliens called the Vrangs.  Though most Kryptonains went along with their enslavement, Val-Lor stood up to Vrangs and spoke the truth, even at the cost of his own life.  The Vrangian execution of Val-Lor prompted a rebellion, and sent the Vrangs packing.  In commemoration of this, all Kryptonians spend one day each year speaking nothing but the truth.

This story gets referenced a few times in later tales.

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