Tag Archives: Flash

Superman 314 – the death of Amalak

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The four part plague storyline concludes in Superman 314 (Aug 77), in a story by Pasko, Swan and Adkins.

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Superman gets the alien creature away from Jamie Lombard, as Amalak brings it out of its dormancy state, and it begins a monstrous rampage, tearing up a McTavish’s fast food restaurant.

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Superman does manage to chain up the beast, and pursues Amalak, tracing him to the Justice League satellite, where the space pirate has already taken down the Flash and Green Lantern.  Amalak uses the Key’s weapons, and even Amazo’s inert form against Superman, but really he could have picked a wiser spot for the battle.  Superman defeats him by using Kanjar Ro’s paralysis inducing Gamma Gong.

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Amalak tries to make Superman believe that he has caused Amalak to die by using the gong, but Superman does not fall for this.  Amalak winds up dying at his own hands, having achieved nothing.

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Between Nam-Ek’s healing horn and the removal of the alien creature causing the plague, the journalists get better.  Having come so close to losing each other, both Lois and Clark seem primed to make a commitment to each other, and indeed, Clark proposes to her.

Lois accepts, on one condition.  That Clark admit that he is Superman.

And Clark refuses.  This infuriated me, even as a kid.  Was he really planning to marry her but keep lying to her about his identity?  It makes for a heart-breaking scene, but it’s impossible to believe that there is any future between Superman and Lois after this sequence.

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Superman 312 – Superman and Supergirl vs Nam-Ek and Amalak

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The picture gets clearer in the second chapter of the plague storyline, by Pasko, Swan and Springer, in Superman 312 (June 1977).

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A recap of the events of the first issue is handled by Morgan Edge, chatting with Sam Tanner, the rival television executive who hired Lola Barnett away from WGBS.

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Superman builds a wall around the resort, quarantining those within, and only then discovers that Linda Danvers is at the resort as well.  She switches to Sueprgirl, and joins him as he heads to the Justice League satellite to check on the Flash, being tended to by Green Lantern.  Hal informs them that a teleportation beam hit the resort just when Nam-Ek vanished, and they follow the trail to the West Indies.

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They find Nam-Ek, as well as Amalak, who had come across the immortal Kryptonian floating around in space and joined forces with him.  Amalak has let his hair grow out, and sprouted some facial hair as well, which makes him look much creepier than in his earlier appearances.

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Superman encases Nam-Ek in crystal, leaving the horn exposed, intending to cure the people infected with the plague.  But Amalak has managed to get the drop on Supergirl, temporarily blinding her, and holding her at gunpoint (with a star-cannon that will actually kill her).

Superman leaves, bringing Nam-Ek to the resort as Amalak prepares to kill Supergirl.

The story continues in the next issue.

Superman 311 – the worst convention ever

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Pasko, Swan and Frank Springer begin a four part story in Superman 311 (May 1977) that will build to forcing Superman to make decisions that he would rather not deal with.

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Usually I try to post the pics in the same order they appear in the book itself, but in this case I’m changing it up a little to make it easier to summarize this story, which is a bit more complex than usual.  So I’ll start by showing the mysterious alien and his pet, Jevik, whose roles in the tale only become clear in later issues.

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A big journalism convention is being held in Central City – the same location Lois Lane is considering moving to, with her relationships with Superman and Clark Kent both being pretty rocky right now.  Steve Lombard is along as well, having brought his nephew, Jamie, who he has been looking after.  The convention is taking place at a ski resort, which is sort of odd, as Central City is invariably shown as being in the prairies.  Jamie finds a stray dog, and quickly adopts him.

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Iris Allen, the reporter wife of the Flash, shows an uncharacteristic streak of jealousy, and is a real bitch to Lois, who she seems to consider a threat to her marriage.  Barry Allen is none too pleased with Iris’ outburst, but then, the two of them are soon to start having marital troubles in the Flash’s own book.

A mysterious plague breaks out at the ski resort, inspired by the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak that had occurred the previous year in Philadelphia.  And to the great surprise of Superman, he discovers that Nam-Ek is also there.

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The story briefly recaps the World of Krypton tale that had introduced Nam-Ek, a Kryptonian scientist who had killed a protected animal, the rondor, to get it’s illness-curing horn.  He devised an immortality serum from it, which transformed his body, and also made him survive the destruction of Krypton.  Nam-Ek attacks Superman, and when the Flash tries to help out, sends the speedster shooting into space.

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In his fight with Nam-Ek, Superman dumps a volcano on the guy, only to find that there were traces of kryptonite in the lava.  With no sign of Nam-Ek, Superman believes that he has killed him.  But we do see that at least the Flash is safe, having been rescued by Green Lantern.

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Superman had assumed that Nam-Ek was somehow the source of the plague, but when Lois Lane collapses, he realizes that he was wrong.

The story continues in the next issue.

Superman 220 – Superman and the Flash switch identities

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Shooter, Swan and Roussos craft an entertaining team-up of Superman and the Flash in issue 218 (Oct. 69).

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The story begins as both men wake up, separately, with no memory of who they are.  Superman is in the Flash’s uniform, and as he can run at super-speed, is content that that is who he is.  Barry Allen has a harder time, waking in Superman’s costume, and thinking he is powerless.

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He finds Clark Kent’s id, and assumes that Clark’s appearance is a disguise, which he then adopts.  But he finds trying to be a journalist much more difficult than expected, and raises the ire of Perry White with his poor stories.

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Both men are puzzled, and there is a great sequence as they unwittingly sit next to each other on a park bench, and almost confide in each other.  But they both choose to seek out the other hero instead.

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Once they are together, and compare notes, things begin to clear up.  They were facing an alien plant creature thing, and traded costumes so that the Flash could be wearing Superman’s invulnerable outfit for protection.  The plant thing proved more powerful than expected, and caused their bouts of amnesia.  But now, with everything straightened out and the heroes in the right costumes, they manage to defeat it.

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 281 – Superman starts his heart, Green Arrow’s really easy case, Hawkman gets back to his ship, and the Marvel Family and Kid Eternity vs Mr. Mind

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Burkett, Irv Novick and Chiaramonte conclude the army of war storyline in World’s Finest 281 (July 1982).

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As Batman continues his impersonation of Captain Cutlass, setting up many of General Scarr’s men to be captured by the police, Superman escapes the “time bomb” by starting his heart, and using the beat of it to “create” time, the paradox of which frees him.  It’s almost philosophical.

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Major Disaster is the one the plan to take over Metropolis largely relies on, as he keeps other heroes busy by creating a number of disasters across the country. We see the Flash, Firestorm and Wonder Woman all rushing around, dealing with his catastrophes, but Scarr needs him to do even more, and the Major’s powers get overloaded and short out.

Colonel Sulphur is easy to nab, and Scarr is left with no troops at all at the end.  I can’t help but feel that there was a good idea in this story, but it just didn’t come off – likely because of the second rate villains filling up the story. Of the four, only Major Disaster would continue to appear, returning in the pages of Green Lantern in a couple of years.

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Green Arrow gets a case so easy to solve it’s amazing that it takes him the full nine pages, but at least Von Eeden and Mahlstedt keep the art attractive on Cavalieri’s story.

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Arsonists have been burning a number of slums and abandoned buildings.  The very day after one building comes down, a billboard is put up announcing the new building to be constructed on the site.  Gee, maybe they should have just signed their name in the ashes.

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Hawkman makes it back to his own ship in this chapter, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Chiaramonte, only to find that another alien from the trapped ship has made it there first.

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So they have a bit of a fight.  Hawkman wins, and gets out of hyperspace, but still has no idea where Hawkwoman is.

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Rounding out this less-than-impressive issue is a story that brings together the Marvel Family and Kid Eternity, as they deal with a giant sized Mr. Mind, thanks to Bridwell, Newton and John Calnan.

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Mr Mind cocoons the Marvels, so Kid Eternity calls up a viking hero to pretend to fight Mr.Mind, but actually cut them free.  He even calls up Puck to short out Mr. Mind’s repeller machine.  Because, you know, no one would be better with technology than a forest spirit.  Captain Marvel reverses the machine that made Mr. Mind a giant, and they take him down easily.

World’s Finest 275 – Gotham freezes and Metropolis fries, Dinah does the footwork, Zatanna vs the Shrieker, Hawkman vs Matter Master and Magificus as Captain Marvel

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Paul Kupperberg joins Buckler and McLaughlin for a bit of a mystery in World’s Finest 275 (Jan. 82).

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Gotham has started freezing, and Metropolis is boiling hot. It’s clearly not natural, but Superman and Batman are puzzled as to who is behind it.

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The solution is so obvious to any reader nowadays, but Mr. Freeze is not even one of those suspected in this tale.  He was a minor Batman villain at best during this time, and had last appeared about four years earlier.  It’s not a bad story, so much as a reminder that Freeze was not a big name for a very long time.

It would be over a year before Mr. Freeze would return, and then in a cameo along with many other Batman villains.

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Green Arrow sits in jail while Black Canary takes care of business in this story by Barr, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt.  One of Oliver Queen’s cellmates is a man that Green Arrow caught during a robbery.  Oliver now learns that the man was desperate for money, that his wife and child, all illegal immigrants, were in danger of being turned over to the police by a mob connected slumlord.

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Oliver explains all this to Dinah when she comes to visit, and she goes into action as Black Canary, setting up and taking down the slumlord, and also giving the wife a job in her flower shop, beginning her legal process to become a citizen.

Very nice that, rather than move on directly with the story of Oliver being in jail for not revealing his sources, a different tale plays out during the middle of it.

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Zatanna concludes her battle with the Shrieker in this story by Conway and Dan Spiegle.  The source of the critic’s new powers is never fully explained, but that’s not such a big problem.

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Zatanna finds her enemy more difficult to deal with then one would expect.  But this is the period when her powers had been significantly reduced, and she was only able to manipulate natural forces.  She succeeds, of course, but it’s a shame that her series is running when her powers are in decline.

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Rozakis, Saviuk and Rodriguez continue with Hawkman’s world of troubles in this story.  He tries to complain about his marital problems to the Flash, who points out that at least Hawkwoman is alive, unlike his wife.  Oops.

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The Matter Master thefts have been more clever and complex than it seemed at first.  He would use his matter transforming wand to alter objects, wait until they were removed to an easier location, for examination, and then steal and replace them with copies.  Hawkman does figure out the plan, and capture the thief, but things get worse when Matter Master implicates Shiera Hall as his partner in crime.

Matter Master is next seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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The blackmailing of Billy Batson’s secretary continues in this Bridwell, Newton and Adkins story, as Billy gets kidnapped, and the kidnappers demand that Captain Marvel act as their agent, as ransom.

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The secretary, Joan Jameson, turns to Captain Marvel Jr for help.  He goes to Sivana’s son Magnificus, and with Beautia’s help, they make him resemble Captain Marvel.  Junior covers the powers, while Magnificus tries dealing with the kidnappers, but the hoax gets revealed.

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Fortunately, by that point, Freddy is able to break Billy out of his cage, and he becomes the real Captain Marvel, who the bad guys are none too happy to see at this point.