Superman 254 – Billy Anders gets Superman’s strength, and where did the baby go?

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Superman 254 (July 1972) contains absolutely the worst editorial decision ever made about Superman.

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O’Neil, Swan and Anderson have Superman come to the aid of some sketchy aliens, who zap him with a ray, though it has no apparent effect.

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Returning to Earth, Superman finds that any force he exerts rebounds on him.

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Superman goes to check on Billy Anders, and finds that he has been bonded to his lynx.  If they are separated, the boy falls back into a coma.  Then one of the aliens shows up.  He explains what his former comrades were up to, and offers to help.  The explanation is long and stupid, but not as bad as the result.  He uses a machine to store Superman’s strength inside Billy.

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Superman can access this strength by mentally visualizing a lynx, which connects him with Billy.

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After a successful test run, Superman proclaims that he, the boy and the lynx are now partners.

The idea behind this was along the lines of the Sand Superman.  Reducing Superman’s power level to make him more “relateable.”  Cause really, there were so many children who simply weren’t enjoying Superman stories because his powers were not being stored inside a boy and his lynx.

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Soooo much better in every way is the back-up, as Len Wein and Neal Adams execute a charming Private Life of Clark Kent story.  Clark is asked by a neighbour to look after her infant daughter for a few minutes, but the child promptly disappears out of a locked room.

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Clark is completely mystified.  There are no big villains or clever schemes, no magic or space warps.  But how did the baby get out of the room, and where did it go?

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After searching the building, Clark returns to find the girl right where she had been in the first place.  He keeps his eye on her this time, and sees how she sneaks out through a pet door.

Just a perfect little tale.  No lynx needed.

 

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