Tag Archives: Krypton

Superman 282 – Lex Luthor gets a costume, and the story of Nam-Ek

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After over thirty years without any sort of costume, Lex Luthor finally adopts an outfit, which allows him to fly, in Superman 282 (Dec. 74).

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Maggin, Swan and Schaffenberger open the story in a curious way, as Clark Kent bursts into Perry White’s office, demanding a job on the Daily Planet.  Perry notices that Clark looks much younger than normal, and assumes that being on television has somehow warped his mind (and made him look younger?)

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When he goes into action as Superman, his behaviour is rash and even dangerous, all to Luthor’s delight.  He has caused Superman to become younger, operating on the idea that an adult Luthor will be able to defeat a young and inexperienced Superman.

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Luthor also adopts a costume in this issue, the earliest incarnation of his “super-suit.”  This one is realtively basic compared to later versions.  He has jets on his boots, allowing him to fly, an a variety of canisters containing whatever evil inventions he wants to put in them, essentially his version of Batman’s utility belt.

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The plan works perfectly – until it doesn’t.  Lex increases Superman’s mass, sending him straight down into the centre of the Earth, but Superman drags Luthor along with him.  In order to save himself, Luthor has to undo his “youthening” of Superman.  An adult Superman can figure his way out of the trap, but also is more than capable of taking Luthor down.

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The Fabulous World of Krypton story in this issue has Superman telling Supergirl a Kryptonian legend about a scientist named Nam-Ek, and the legendary rondor, in a tale by Marty Pasko and Ernie Chan.

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The rondor was a repulsive and smelly creature on Krypton, but its horn was capable of curing all illness.  The creatures were protected by law, but Nam-Ek kills one anyway, and extracts an immortality serum from its horn.  Unfortunately, the serum turns him into a sort of human rondor.

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Because of the immortality, Nam-Ek winds up surviving the destruction of Krypton, only to be stuck floating eternally in space.  Or so the story would have it.

Although likely not intended at the time the story was written, Nam-Ek will return in a couple of years to face Superman.

 

Superman 263 – a wolf melts Superman, and birthday tears

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I’m not convinced that the photo element adds anything to the cover of Superman 263 (April 1973).

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Superman raises the ire of an irresponsible film director in this story by Maggin, Swan and Anderson.  After publicly humiliating the man, the director wants vengeance against the hero.

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The director answers an ad by a scientist named Dr. Phoenix, who brings the director’s dreams, of creating a giant mythological wolf to kill Superman, to life.  Although Phoenix uses scientific means, he is also well versed in magic and mythology, resurrecting the legendary wolf.

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Superman dives right into the wolf, destroying the glowing pentagon powering it.  The director is left a babbling madman, but Phoenix continues to scheme against Superman.

Percy Bratten is back in a small role in this tale.

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Bates, Dillin and McLaughlin explore the reason Kryptonians cry every sixth birthday in this Fabulous World of Krypton story.

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The reason dates far back into the past of Krypton, which apparently was a society where people never expressed any emotions.  The pent-up feelings would erupt in destructive bursts.

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Rather than simply deal with their emotions, a scientist created a fluid that would allow Kryptonians to go on suppressing their feelings, but prevent the emotional build-up by crying out the destructive energy through tears every six years.

What a messed up culture.

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.

 

 

Superman 240 – the help of I Ching, and the perils of Kryptonian time travel

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Superman is having a rough time in issue 240 (July 1971), thanks to O’Neil, Swan and Anderson.

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Superman comes to help out at a burning building, and though he helps evacuate those trapped inside, he does not have the strength to prevent the building from collapsing.  The criminal element in Metropolis has also started to notice that Superman is not up to par, and are getting more aggressive.

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Wonder Woman’s new mentor, I Ching, pops by to help out, and offers to put Superman into a trance, so his astral body can seek out a solution to his problem.

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But the mob gets wind up this, and show up, attacking both Superman and I Ching.  Superman is so drained that his invulnerability is gone, and only his costume saves his life in the fight.  He wins, but considers this the most difficult fight he was ever in.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Cary Bates and Mike Kaluta share the Fabulous World of Krypton tale in this issue, which deals with a devious criminal plot.  A young scientist steals a number of devices through the course of this story.

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His overall scheme is not clear at first, but eventually we learn that he is scheduled for a time trip into the past, to an era when Krypton was ruled by a military dictator whom he admires.  He plans to stay in that era, and profit of his “futuristic” devices.

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But he uses an illusion-caster on the voyage, to make himself look like the dictator.  This affects the time trip, and sends him 50 years into the future, instead of the past.  But 50 years in the future Krypton no longer exists, and he perishes in the void of space.

Honestly didn’t see that ending coming.

 

Superman 238 – the Sand Superman won’t help, and the origin of Krypton

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The Sand Superman is prominently displayed on the cover of Superman 238 (June 1971), but his role in this O’Neil, Swan and Anderson story is much smaller than in the previous issue.

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The bulk of the story deals with a terrorist with a “gun” powered by magma from the Earth’s core.  Lois Lane winds up becoming one of his hostages, intentionally, to get his story.  Superman is finding it difficult to deal with the powerful weapon on his own, and asks the Sand Superman for help, as their combined power would be equal to what Superman used to have.  But the Sand Superman is not human, and has no interest in Superman’s concerns.

And despite his cover appearance, the above page is his only real scene in the story.

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The remainder of the tale has Superman beating the bad guy anyway, but finding it more difficult than normal, and needing to resort to subterfuge.  But he is not nearly as bitchy to Lois in this one.

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This issue contains the first Fabulous World of Krypton story that does not feature any established characters.  Cary Bates and Gray Morrow focus on two schoolteachers, and the story they relate about the founding of Krypton.

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Explorers from two different alien worlds discover Krypton at the same time, and come into conflict with each other.  Things are all war oriented while they are in their space suits.

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But once the masks are off, it suddenly turns into a romance.  Nauseatingly, he is named Kryp, and she is named Tonn.  Gag.

Superman 236 – Superman among the angels, and the singing flowers of Krypton

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Looks like something supernatural is going on on the cover of Superman 236 (April 1971).

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O’Neil, Swan and Anderson give Batman a cameo at the top of this story, as he and Superman finish rounding up a criminal gang.  Batman is heading home for some sleep, but Superman does not sleep.  He has invented a brainwave machine, and tries it out, but it seems to short out, and Superman finds himself among angels, helping them fend off devils at the gates of Hell.  The angels tell him he has died, and order him to go battle the demons.

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Superman goes along with things for a while, but the demons don’t seem very demonic, and in talking to them, they break through the hypnotic effect that the ‘angels” have subjected him to.  Superman is really in the middle of a war between two alien groups.

The angels try to force him to stay on their side, threatening Batman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, but once Superman knows what is really going on, he helps the good aliens beat the bad ones.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary guest in this issue World of Krypton story, by O’Neil and Giordano.  They are fuming about the pollution destroying the environment, and so Superman shares with them a tale from Krypton.

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A couple of decades before the explosion of the planet, another scientist had figured out what was coming.  But when he tried to warn people, no one would listen.  They were all really into just chilling and listening to singing flowers.  Because the scientist kept ruining their groove, they sealed him up in the middle of a garden, until all he wanted to do was listen to singing flowers as well.  Twenty years later, Krypton blew up.

It’s kind of a dumb story, really.

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.