Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Superman 242 – Superman vs the Sand Superman

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O’Neil, Swan and Anderson conclude the Sand Superman storyline in issue 242 (Sept. 71).

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The Chinese war-demon, brought to life by the entity from Quarrm, is joined by two bums as he beats on Superman in a junk yard.  The entity has no comprehension of this world as yet, and the bums become its partners.

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Jimmy Olsen, Diana Prince and I Ching find Superman, and bring him to the hospital.  His invulnerability is gone, to they are able to operate on him, and he did sustain brain damage when attacked with I Ching.

The Sand Superman winds up fighting the War-Demon, although he is surprised to find himself doing so, and wonders if he has also acquired the values, as well as the powers, of Superman.

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The bums find out that convincing a Chinese war-demon that he is an unstoppable force of destruction can wind up having a downside, when the creature feels it no longer needs any guides to tell it what to do.

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The entity can sense the two Supermen, and wants their energy.  He bursts into the hospital, and brushes past both Wonder Woman and I Ching.

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Together, the two Superman are able to overcome the war-demon, and the entity abandons that form and drifts away.  Then its down to the two major players, and a fight to the death, with I Ching as referee.  Their match winds up devastating the area that they are fighting in.

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I Ching wakes them both – their fight occurred only in their minds, in a trance state he put them in, in order to see how damaging a battle would be.  The Sand Superman decides to return to Quarrm, and simply vanishes.

While overall this was a good storyline, and it was great to see Superman vulnerable, the ending felt a little weak.

Though the Sand Superman never returns, this story is retold, in a way, in a Superman special in the early 90s.  And, as I just discovered, the Sand Superman DOES return, in the Superman vs Shazam special a few years later.  Always sincerely love it when someone draws attention to something I missed (or in this case, have not yet read).

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Superman 241 – Superman’s trance cure

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Superman 241 (Aug. 71) is the first to expand to the larger size issues.  But the back-up features, aside from the occasional Fabulous World of Krypton stories, are all reprints.

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O’Neil, Swan and Anderson continue from where the previous issue left off.  The bad guys from that story are still lying on the floor of the apartment, but of no interest to I Ching or Superman.  I Ching evokes Superman’s astral form, which hunts out the Sand Superman, and draws back it’s energy from it.

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Superman seems back to normal power-wise, but his actions and behaviour verge on the bizarre, and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman has no powers either in this era) gets worried about him.

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She and I Ching head to Metropolis, and I Ching traces the whereabouts of the Sand Superman.  He knows what the creature is, an ethereal being from Quarrm, who has taken Superman’s form.  When Superman drew his energy back, he did not get all of his intelligence. Added to that, he suffered a severe blow to the head when the goons burst in and attacked him and I Ching. The Sand Superman is now dying, only one will be able to survive.

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In a somewhat pointless sequence, the three of them break in to Morgan Edge’s apartment.  This is primarily so that we can see the shadowy man trapped behind the one way mirror, a teaser for a storyline that will play out over the next few months, though primarily in the pages of Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane.

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As the story comes to a close, another entity from Quarrm takes over the body of a Chinese war-demon on a parade float, and captures Superman.  This one is able to drain his powers as well.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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 300 – Superman, Batman, the Justice League, the Outsiders and the Cosmic Tree

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The Cosmic Tree storyline comes to a conclusion in World’s Finest 300 (Feb. 84), as writers Kraft, Barr and Wolfman are joined by Andru, Amendola and Mark Texeira, Smith, McLaughlin, Rodriguez, Klaus Janson and Rick Magyar, as well as George Perez on the New Teen Titans pages.

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Superman brings in the Justice League, and Batman calls in the Outsiders to help as the heroes each want to stop the Cosmic Tree from wiping out life on Earth.  There is tension between the two groups, reflecting that between Superman and Batman.  And though there are loads of heroes in this story, the Elongated Man, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Red Tornado and Wonder Woman all get at least a brief opportunity to show their stuff.

Overall, though, it’s the newer team, the Outsiders, who are given a bit more attention: Black Lightning, Geo-Force, Halo, Katana and Metamorpho.

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I have little positive to say about the use of the New Teen Titans in this issue.  Dick Grayson is in between identities, but Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Terra and Wonder Girl go into action against Gordanian slavers.  This is the result of the time warps created by the Cosmic Tree.  The New Teen Titans never interact with the other heroes, or the main plotline.

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Zeta is really the focus of the story, when the army of super-heroes are not being distracted by time warp problems.  Zeta has decided to aid the Cosmic Tree is wiping out life on Earth, as he plans to rule the planet afterwards, as well as the alien world the Tree is linked to.

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Sgt. Rock and Easy Company get to appear in one of the warps, although there is little room for them to do anything except watch the heroes get captured.

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In the end it is left to Superman and Batman to pull out a victory, though not by force. Once again, all it really takes is a good conversation with Zeta to get him to change his mind.  Zeta rips up the Cosmic Tree by its roots, saving the Earth and all its people.

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The conclusion does sort of save the issue.  With both the Justice League and the Outsiders wanting harmony between the heroes, Wonder Woman takes it upon herself to talk some sense into them, and Superman and Batman patch up their problems, becoming friends again.

It was clearly necessary to have some tension between the heroes in this book, to reflect the events that lead to Batman forming the Outsiders.  But if World’s Finest was to continue as a series, those problems had to be overcome.

World’s Finest 288 – Superman vs Bat-men

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Mike W Barr and Marv Wolfman join Adrian Gonzales for the concluding chapter of the Dr. Zodiac/Madam Zodiac storyline in World’s Finest 288 (Feb. 83), a story which resolves quite well, despite the complete change of creative team.

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Wonder Woman calls on Superman as Zatanna finally wakes from her coma.  She fills Superman in on Madam Zodiac, the coins and the dark god.  Nothing new for the reader, but a tidy recap, and now Superman finally knows what is going on.

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The dark god’s energies will eventually burn out Batman’s body.  Dr Zodiac wonders why she did not choose Superman, but she explains that the Earth-based spirit could not link with an alien body.  She had Bruce Wayne’s medical records stolen (many issues ago) so that they could create numerous Batman bodies, which the dark god can move into after he burns each out.

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Dr. Zodiac, searching for some way to stop his “partner,” discovers another Madam Zodiac.  She had begun by using the Gemini coin on herself, which split her into good and evil halves.  Presumably, this is a relative term.  The evil half has been calling on the dark god, keeping her good half imprisoned.

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Superman finds himself fighting an army of Batmans, while Batman finally gets free of the dark god, whose power is split between the many bodies.

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With information gleaned from the good Madam Zodiac, Batman uses the Zodiac Wheel against the dark god, destroying his access to this realm.

A slam bang conclusion to one of the better Superman/Batman story arcs.

World’s Finest 286 – Superman and Batman vs Dr. Zodiac and Madam Zodiac

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Burkett, Buckler and DeLaRosa continue with the tale of two Zodiacs in World’s Finest 286 (Dec. 82).

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This issue goes into the backstory of the couple, as we hear how Madam Zodiac sought out her male counterpart, the only person to ever possess the powers of the Zodiac coins.  She used her magical powers to create an illusory double of him, which is still sitting aimlessly in prison, and duplicates of the Zodiac coins, to cover their thefts.

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She is using the Zodiac Wheel and coins to call forth an elder god, a powerful force of evil, and this has effects which spread across Earth. Superman battles a demonic cult that has formed.

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Robin guests as he and Batman deal with a resurgent Ku Klux Klan, who try to make Lucius Fox their next victim.

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In fact, there are a lot of guest stars in this story – many of whom so recently had series in this book.  Zatanna, still in a coma, is brought to Paradise Island by Wonder Woman to be cured.  Green Arrow fights a werewolf, and Hawkman faces a vampire.

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By the end, the riding tide of evil has allowed the dark god to come forth and take a human host – Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

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.