Big changes were afoot in Superman 233 (Jan. 71), as Denny O’Neil, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson updated the character for the 70s.
An experiment on kryptonite backfires somewhat, sending Superman plowing into a sandy desert. But it also has the effect of neutralizing all the kryptonite on Earth, no matter what the colour. With one fell swoop, the seemingly endless and easily available way to kill Superman was gone from the comic.
Morgan Edge, the head of WGBS, which had recently bought the Daily Planet, had already been introduced in the pages of Sueprman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. In this story he demands Clark Kent go out to do a live broadcast on a rocket launch. This requires some speed on Clark’s part, as the rocket launch goes wrong, and he has to get into his Superman gear to save the day, all while supposedly filming the action.
But he does well enough that, by the end of the story, Edge has decided to make Clark a permanent newscaster, over the objections of Perry White.
The scene in which Superman gets confronted by a criminal armed with the now-powerless kryptonite is a classic sequence. The neutralization affected all the kryptonite currently on Earth, but as the years passed more would “fall,” until this entire story got rendered moot.
The tale ends on an eerie note, as the imprint of Superman’s form in the sand rises and stumbles away. The Sand Superman has been born, and this storyline will play out over the next year.
The Fabulous World of Krypton debuts in this issue, with a story by Bridwell and Anderson. The series would jump around to various Superman books, before becoming a minisseries in its own right before the end of the decade, although by then the “fabulous” had been dropped.
This first tale deals with Jor-El’s experiments with anti-gravity, and his construction of a golden rocket, to the laughs of General Zod and the rest. No one believes in his invention, except for a young pilot, Lara. She sneaks onto his craft and pilots the test flight, although the ship winds up losing communication after landing on the moon Wegthor.
Jor-El uses more conventional craft to head out and rescue Lara, and this beautifully drawn story becomes canon on how the two fell in love.