Tag Archives: Atom

Superman 302 – a big, dumb Superman

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Lex Luthor has big plans for Superman in issue 302 (Aug. 76).  As the cover implies, Superman wakes to find himself growing larger and larger in this tale by Maggin, Garcia-Lopez and Oskner.

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Superman turns to Ray Palmer for help, but though the Atom can warn him of the consequences of his uncontrolled growth – that the neural passages will grow too large, making Superman stupid – he is unable to do anything to counter it.

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Morgan Edge demands that Clark Kent get the story on Superman’s growth spurt, but Superman creates a giant set, and by moving at super-speed, gives the impression of both Superman and Clark being of normal height.

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As for Luthor, he simply bides his time until Superman is large enough, and then moves in for the kill, with a dangerous looking propeller strapped to his back.

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The Atom helps out in the end, as Superman brings Lex to the set built earlier, and cons him into thinking he is growing as well. Lex has the cure, which Superman takes away from him.

Nothing really special here, but a decent enough tale.

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Superman 199 – the first Superman/Flash race

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An excellent cover for the first Superman/Flash race, by Shooter, Swan and Klein, which rushes through the pages of Superman 199 (Aug. 67).

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The two heroes are asked by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to do a race taking them three times around the world, as a huge charity event.  Both agree, and Clark Kent gets assigned by Perry White to cover the race, as does Iris Allen by her paper.  Iris is the wife of Barry Allen, but unaware that he is the Flash (or so we think).

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Two crime cartels, one American, one European, make a huge bet on the race, and each brings in a criminal scientist to help plot against the other.

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The Justice League show up for the start of the race.  Superman has Batman and Robin, Green Arrow and the Atom on his side, while Aquaman, Hawkman and Green Lantern are pushing for the Flash. The Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman are seen later, but we do not know which hero they are rooting for.  Supergirl is also at the starting line, supporting her cousin.

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The story has some excellent art, and makes the most of its varied locations.  There are some little problems along the way, such as the heroes running into a camel laden with figs, and some greater ones.  The Flash helps Superman when a kryptonite meteor is ejected from a volcano they are passing.

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And later, in a snowy Saskatchewan, Superman switches identities to tend to the Flash after he wipes out on the ice.  Should have had his winter boots on.

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The race has been very close, and as the heroes reach the final stretch through the US, both criminal groups put their plots into action, stopping the heroes and replacing them with impostors.  The ones betting on Superman replace the Flash, and vice versa.

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The impostors are meant to lose the race, but this results in both of them running more and more slowly, until they both come to a complete stop, realizing that neither is the real hero.  It’s a great scene, capped perfectly as the actual heroes race by them after overcoming their traps.

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The race ends in a tie, intentionally, to prevent either gamblers from winning their bets.  This would be a bit of a downer, except the final panel announces the second race, soon to take place in the pages of the Flash.

A really fun story, well-told, and the tie even makes sense in the context.

World’s Finest 283 – the Composite Superman returns, the Atom guests, and Green Arrow shoots for the mouth

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The Composite Superman returns, decades after the death of Joe Meach, in World’s Finest 283 (Sept. 82), by Burkett, Tuska and McLaughlin.

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After a preliminary scene with a mysterious character escaping a prison in outer space, the story shifts to Earth.  Batman runs into Superman, who tries to kill him, and then Superman faces a Batman armed with kryptonite.

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Angry and confused, the two heroes confront each other.  But any overall plan to turn them against each other is cut short when the Composite Superman phases through the walls to attack them.  They are aware that Meach died, and puzzled as to how the Composite Superman can still be alive.

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Burkett really utilizes the various powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes members that the Composite Superman has – much moreso than in either of the character’s original stories.  A very good first chapter, weakened only by Tuska’s art.  At the end, Superman thinks of running back to his Fortress in fear, knowing that the Composite Superman is reading his mind.  In fact, he heads off to the future to see the Legion.

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This issue also has a short, but fun, Atom tale by Rozakis, Novick and McLaughlin.  It’s kind of a shame that this two pager is on facing pages.  A mugger approaches a man walking down the street, and the kicker is that this is really the Atom, walking around as Ray Palmer.  The wrong man to mug.

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Barr and Kane conclude the devious revenge plot by the mother of a boy Green Arrow killed.  Although it appears that Green Arrow killed Slingshot in the previous issue, in fact he noticed the difference in weight with the arrows, and shot Slingshot in the shoulder.

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Slingshot realizes he was set up by the woman.  Green Arrow follows him as he heads back and takes both her and Black Canary hostage, demanding a one on one fight with Green Arrow.  Arrow agrees, as long as he will let both women go no matter what the outcome.

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But rather than fight Slingshot directly, and take the chance that he will go back on his word, Green Arrow fires his shot at Black Canary, ripping her gag.  She wastes no time in using her cry, taking out Slingshot. The woman who had planned all this winds up feeling very guilty, even moreso as Green Arrow risked his life for hers.

While Green Arrow returns in the next issue, Black Canary ends her tenure in World’s Finest with this issue. Slingshot is done, no more appearances for him.

World’s Finest 260 – everyone has Superman’s powers, the Atom guests, Black Lightning vs Dr. Polaris, and Captain Marvel helps some odd immigrants

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In the previous couple of issues of World’s Finest announcements had been made that the book was reverting to normal size, with the back-up features moving to a new book, Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular.  That was not to be, and this book continued as an anthology.  But likely due to the reversal of those plans, it seems schedules got messed up, and the contents of World’s Finest 260 seem to indicate this.

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The Superman/Batman team-up, by O’Neil, Buckler and Giordano would not have been affected.  The story is basically a re-write of “Fugitive from the Stars,” but played in a far more humourous light.  The aliens are not supremely powerful, and have no concept of illusions or deception, but make up for that in sheer arrogance, and an invasion still poses a deadly threat to Earth.

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Batman and Superman get rid of them with an entertaining hoax, convincing them that all humans have the same powers as Superman.  Batman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen all demonstrate his abilities, but pretend to find it childish and tedious, explaining that Superman uses his powers simply because he is kind of childish.  While the aliens would never admit their newfound fear of humans, and pretend to be unimpressed, they flee in terror.

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The Atom gets a story, intended for Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular, by Bob Rozakis, Juan Ortiz and Vince Colletta.  It does not begin a regular run in this book for him, though.

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Coming home, the Atom finds his wife, Jean Loring, being carted away by mechanical bugs.  Ray Palmer recognizes these as the creations of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, who he had last faced in his own book, back in the 60s.  The Atom detaches Jean, and takes her place.

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The Bug-Eyed Bandit had actually intended to kidnap the Atom, so is pleased when he shows up. His mechanical insects had homed in on his energy signature in his apartment.  Still, once he has the Atom the Bug-Eyed Bandit is incapable of holding him, and the Atom quickly triumphs.

The Bug-Eyed Bandit returns in a couple of years in the Atom’s back-ups series in Action Comics.

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The Black Lightning story in this issue, by O’Neil, Netzer and Colletta, was intended for the 12th issue of his own comic, cancelled with issue 11 due to the DC Implosion.  It has far more of the feel of the series, for obvious reasons.  We get to see Jefferson Pierce acting as a schoolteacher, dealing with children who have problems at home, as well as his ex-wife, Lynn.  The story’s real focus is runaways, although the villain is Dr. Polaris, wearing the odd outfit he was last seen in in DC Super-Stars a couple of years earlier.

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It’s an excellent story, gritty and dark.  Polaris has a devoted nephew, who ran away from his parents and moved in with Polaris, and is shocked to discover his uncle’s secret identity.  There is nothing made of Polaris’ split personality in this issue, all we see is him as a cruel and calculating maniac.

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The boy turns against his uncle at a critical time in his fight with Black Lightning, distracting the villain enough to allow Lightning to triumph.

Dr. Polaris returns, in his original costume, a few months down the road in Green Lantern.

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Captain Marvel gets the starring role in Bridwell, Newton and Hunt’s Shazam story in this issue.

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The story deals with a number of mythological creatures who have taken up residence in the city, to the dismay of their neighbours, who do not like living next to centaurs and harpies and such.

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Captain Marvel tries to promote tolerance and acceptance, but it’s only when a flood hits, and the mythological creatures come to the rescue of their tormentors, that they get fully accepted.

World’s Finest 236 – Superman, Batman, the Atom and the virus

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The Atom joins Superman and Batman for a nicely balanced story, by Haney, Dillin and Calnan, in World’s Finest 236 (March 1976).

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A patient is suffering from a mysterious and downright scary looking virus, attacking his cells.

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Superman’s powers are used to get the Atom into the man’s body, while being able to carry a cure.  Batman goes off in search of the person spreading the disease.

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Everyone gets something to do, with the Atom getting the best visuals.  Batman finds the living virus, and discovers that the scary things are actually doing good work, fighting the infected cells.

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Superman then has to shrink down and get to the Atom before he can kill the scary but benevolent things.

World’s Finest 213 – Superman and the Atom and the world inside the telephone

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The Atom and Superman head on a science fiction adventure on a microscopic world in the story by Maggin, Dillin and Giella in World’s Finest 213 (Sept. 72).

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Ray Palmer wants to consult with Superman on an experiment that he is working on.  He calls Clark Kent, travelling through the telephone line, as the Atom likes to do.  But this time he gets sucked into an energy blob.

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Superman uses a Kandorian shrinking ray to enter the telephone and hunt for the Atom.

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They get into an adventure on a very tiny world that is being threatened by a genesis molecule.  The people who live on the world are simply trying to survive, and though Superman and the Atom help them, this is a relatively bleak story.

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The end of the tale makes Ray Palmer come off as a cold and emotionless scientist, which really isn’t his character at all, but let’s Superman appear more compassionate.

World’s Finest 201 – Superman begs to be spanked

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A really great Neal Adams cover for World’s Finest 201 (March 1971), but the O’Neil, Dillin and Giella story doesn’t really live up to it.

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Superman and Green Lantern get into a spat over a rescue, both feeling the other interfered.  Their fight is interrupted by a Guardian of the Universe, who insists the two heroes must address the problem, and determine who has precedence once and for all.

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Both heroes prepare for the contest.  Green Arrow cameos, showing little faith in Hal.

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For no really clear reason, the Guardian has Dr. Fate there, constructing the challenge, but neither hero questions this at all – yet.

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In the challenge, Green Lantern gets confronted by a big scary yellow spider.

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But the highpoint of the issue comes as Superman faces a giant, disapproving Jor-El, who spanks him as Superman begs for more.

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The heroes triumph over their personal issues, and reach the dragon, which flies free, and right past the Justice League satellite, to the surprise of the Atom and Hawkman.

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Green Lantern and Superman work together to defeat the dragon.

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And by this point they have also figured out that Dr. Fate is not Dr. Fate.  They shatter his illusion, revealing Felix Faust, who had also created the illusion of the Guardian.

Superman and Green Lantern decide to be buddies and not spat like children.

This was Felix Faust’s first appearance since his battle against the Justice League in 1966, and he would return the following to challenge the League again.