Oh, geez, that costume. Vartox makes his barely clothed debut in Superman 281 (Nov. 74).
The hero of the planet Valeron, Vartox has hyper-powers, similar to Superman’s in scope, although different in specifics. Vartox was created by Bates, Swan and Oskner to be an older version of Superman. He is married, but the story begins as his wife dies. Her death is the result of the murder of a different woman on Earth, the two women sharing “bionic” link. That’s the word the comic uses. Yes, it makes no sense.
But whatever, Vartox heads to Earth to bring the killer back to Valeron for justice, and comes into conflict with Superman. It does make for an interesting battle, as Vartox has more experience with his powers, and is acting out of a sense of justice, in no way is he a villain.
But with Superman blocking him every step of the way, Vartox has to resort to underhanded means to achieve his end. He adopts a human disguise, and befriends the murderer, to the point of protecting him from Superman. This is all simply to gain the man’s trust, so that he willingly leaves Earth with Vartox, accompanying him to Valeron.
Superman follows, determined to bring the killer back for Earth justice. In a satisfactory epilogue, we see that on Valeron, sentences are done by aging the felon, rather than imprisoning them, so the man is able to face his sentences on both planets.
Vartox returns in three years, in the pages of Action Comics.