Tag Archives: Jor-El

Superman 257 – the War-Horn, and Tomar-Re retires

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Superman 257 (Oct. 72) features a decent cover story, but it’s the Fabulous World of Krypton story that made me include it.

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Superman deals with an alien solider, who has come to Earth to steal nitrogen for his people, in this Bates, Swan and Anderson story.  Being a soldier, he is simply following orders, and thus cannot be argued out of his task.

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There is some lovely art on this, and the story is good.  But nothing really stands out.

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What does stand out is the World of Krypton tale, by Maggin, Dillin and Giordano.  The Guardians of the Universe bring Tomar-Re before them.  Tomar-Re was the first, and most frequent, member of the Green Lantern Corps that Hal Jordan met.  He had last been seen a couple of years earlier in Justice League of America.

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The Guardians are reviewing Tomar’s career, and attention is paid to his greatest failure.  Krypton was in his space sector, and he was ordered to save the planet.  We follow the travails of this mission, doomed to failure, with Jor-El and Lara’s last day intercut.

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But because of Tomar-Re’s failure, Earth gained its greatest hero, or so the Guardians tell him. Quite a different view on Superman than they expressed in the last appearance in these pages.

Tomar-Re next appears, five years down the road, in the Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular.  The Guardians say that Tomar-Re has retired as of the end of this story, but later he will be shown to be part of the Honour Guard.

 

 

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Superman 234 – the Sand Superman, and Jor-El’s sleeping gas

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The Sand Superman makes his presence known in issue 234 (Feb.71), as O’Neil, Swan and Anderson continue the storyline.

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Morgan Edge sends Clark out to cover a volcanic eruption.  Clark insists that he should be helping out rather than covering the story, and though he thinks Edge is an asshole for ordering him otherwise, Kent is journalist, in Edge’s employ.  Gotta side with Morgan Edge on this one.

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The Sand Superman begins the fly, and finds itself drawn to its “creator.”

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But as Superman discovers, as he deals with the volcano, when the Sand Superman is near, he gets weakened and loses some of his powers.  The two do not yet meet, or get closer than being able to see each other.

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The second World of Krypton story brings back the Rainbow Disintegrator weapon introduced years earlier in the pages of Superboy, and delves into the story of its creator, Ton-Et, elected to the Science Council on the basis of his invention.

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Once on the Council, he argues that all convicted felons should be disintegrated using his new device.  Jor-El argues against that.  He has developed a new sleeping gas, and proposes gassing felons and shooting them out into space in rockets.  No half measures on Krypton!

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Working with Jax-Ur, Jor-El finds evidence proving that Tron-Et is actually a crime lord, and wanted to disintegrate the ones who could reveal his true nature.  So Tron-Et winds up being the first one put to sleep and shot into space.

 

Superman 233 – Kryptonite No More!, and the Fabulous World of Krypton begins

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Big changes were afoot in Superman 233 (Jan. 71), as Denny O’Neil, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson updated the character for the 70s.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Superman 205 – Black Zero destroys Krypton

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The late 60s were not a good time for the Superman books, and I find myself skipping over a lot of issue.  But Superman 205 (April 1968) has some significance worth pausing for.

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Binder and Plastino introduce Black Zero, an alien murderer who has come to Earth.  The panels meant to evoke fear over this new character I find kind of amusing, really.

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Black Zero is more than happy to brag to Superman about his great achievement, destroying Krypton.  According to Zero, he came there to kill everyone, only to learn about Jor-El’s theory about the planet exploding.  He checked it out himself, but found that the reaction had stopped.  So, he started it again, and made sure the planet blew up.

This is not the significant thing.  We only have Black Zero’s word for these events, and no real reason to trust him.  At any rate, this story was never referenced again.

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The rest of the story does not question his claims either.  Instead, it’s all about stopping Black Zero from destroying the Earth.  Jax-Ur pleads successfully with Superman to be allowed out of the Phantom Zone to help him, as he is just as mad as Superman about Zero destroying their planet.  But Jax-Ur gets shot with red kryptonite, which causes his body to transform into a snake.

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Superman finds and takes care of Black Zero’s anti-matter bomb.  Jax-Ur changes again, to a Medusa-type creature, and turns Black Zero to stone.  Superman intends to keep him, but Jax-Ur smashes Black Zero to bits, to ensure he never finds a way to become human again.

While the character of Black Zero never returns, the name does.  It will be given to various people and groups associated with Krypton.  And that’s why I wrote about this story.

Superman 173 – a kryptonite’s tale, and Jimmy Olsen a captive

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After the great Luthor/Brainiac story a few months earlier, I’m sure many were excited about the cover of Superman 173 (Nov. 64).  I wonder how many were as thrilled after they had read it.

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Beppo, the Super-Monkey gets to appear in this book, as a new, but short-lived, series launches, “Tales of Green Kryptonite.”  Binder and Plastino follow a single chunk of the toxic rock from its creation through its first years on Earth, with the kryptonite itself narrating the story.

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After an opening sequence on Krypton, with Jor-El and Lara, we follow the rock as it lands in the African jungle.  Beppo is the first to come across it, but gets away from the substance before it kills him.  The rock gets found by Lana Lang’s archaeologist father, and brought back to Smallville.

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The kryptonite gets stolen from the museum, and Superboy has his first encounter with this specific piece, but is rescued by Krypto.

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Young Lex Luthor uses it as he works on a cure for kryptonite, as this story is set before he loses his hair and turns evil.  Though both Lex and Superboy are not aware of it, Luthor had indeed found a way to suppress the effects of the radiation.  Superboy, not realizing the situation, thinks the kryptonite must be an imitation, and throws it out the window.

An interesting idea for a series, there is another installment a couple of months down the road.

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Siegel and Forte provide the cover story for the issue, which opens as Jimmy Olsen decides to get into an alien ship that lands on the roof of the Daily Planet, requesting help from Superman.

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The ship turns out to be a trap, and Jimmy is brought before Luthor and Brainiac at their new base.  They proudly show Jimmy their statues of Superman’s and Batman’s greatest enemies, as well as demeaning statues of the Legion of Super-Heroes, shown as elderly and out of shape.  How villains amuse themselves in their spare time, I guess.

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But Jimmy is not as dumb as he seems, and clues in that this is all a giant hoax on him.  He spots that the supposed Brainiac has blue eyes, instead of green, and guesses (correctly) that the Luthor and Brainiac he is facing are really Superman and Batman.  They were trying to convince Jimmy that he takes too many risks.

 

Superman 170 – the John F Kennedy story, and Lex Luthor courts Lara

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Despite the absurdity of the cover scene on Superman 170 (July 1964), there is actually no need for it to be an Imaginary Story.

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The issue opens with the delayed story that has Superman working for John F Kennedy on his program for improving the health of American youth.  Bill Finger and Al Plastino put this story together, and it was pulled because of the president’s assassination.  At the request of Johnson, the story was run in this issue, despite Kennedy having died.

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Lana Lang is doing a television special on how Americans are behind Europeans when it comes to health.  Apparently nothing has changed in 50 years.  Kennedy gets Superman to promote health among the youth, and he does so over the next few pages.

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But eating well and working out is not just for the young, and Clark Kent has to fake weakness as Perry White puts the Daily Planet staffers through their new health regime, despite the complaints of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

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The health program serves Clark well when the staffers get trapped during a hike, and Clark can claim its Kennedy’s workout program that has increased his strength enough for them to escape.  Supergirl cameos, along with her fan club, and Jimmy Olsen’s.

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Now for the cover story, by Siegel, Swan and Klein.  Luthor escapes from prison, and decides to head back in time to Krypton, woo and win Lara, and by doing so prevent Superman from coming into existence.

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The plan works pretty well at the start.  Luthor claims to be the hero of the planet Marlat, with some faked movies to back up his story.

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He wins the trust of the Krytonians when he warns them about Brainiac coming to steal Kandor. No one believes him, until it happens.  But once it has, the council are happy to listen to Luthor.

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Lara is quite taken with him, despite being engaged to Jor-El.  Luthor arranges for Jor-El to get trapped while on an exploration, and quickly wins over Lara.

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They get to the wedding ceremony, and Jor-El is racing frantically to stop them, as if this were The Graduate.  But fate intervenes, as Luthor’s anti-gravity device wears out, and he collapses under Krypton’s higher gravity.  He has to admit that he is really from Earth.  Once he has admitted being a liar, they brain scan him, and find out that he is from the future, and send him back to Earth.

So really, there was no need to make this an Imaginary Story, outside of making the reader think there was a possibility of Luthor’s plan succeeding.

Superman 146 – the origin of Superman, updated

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With all the details being added to Superman’s backstory, it was no surprise when issue 146 (July 1961) was used to re-tell the basic story, adding in all the new information.

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Binder and Plastino adhere to the very brief, basic story told in the late 1940s, but add in Jor-El’s brother Zor-El, the attempt to build a space ark, and Krypto’s test flight.  Although Zor-El is mentioned to be Supergirl’s father, we do not see her story at all.

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I love that thud.

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The Kents find the baby boy, drop him off at an orphanage where he wreaks havoc, then adopt him.  Details are shown of how his costume was made from his blankets, and his glasses from the rocket window.  Scenes such as learning to fly with balloons are drawn directly out of Superboy stories from Adventure and his own book.

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Only towards the end , after the deaths of the Kents, does it contain a flashback to a story published in Superman, the people in Smallville saying farewell, and the Superboy cake.

This story also goes into the greatest detail yet on which powers are caused by gravity, and which from exposure to yellow sunlight.