Superman 157 "Superman's Day of Doom"

Superman #157 (Reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-38)
"Superman's Day of Doom"

Story: Jerry Siegel
Art: Curt Swan & George Klein

It's Superman Day in Metropolis and the entire town is out for the
celebration. A television reporter is telling his audience that "from the
far corners of the universe, space-ships and rockets are bringing gifts from
Superman's devoted friends". At the Daily Planet, a naval officer has
brought a gift in capsule retrieved by the  men on his carrier and he asks
Clark Kent to give it to Superman as Clark "knows how to reach him".

Lois and Lana enter the office, notice the gift, and wonder what it is --
before Clark can get the words "but girls, it's for Superman" out, the girls
have opened it. Lois reads a note included in the package -- the gift is
from the Cybern Galaxy for Superman because he once helped them defeat an
invasion of giant ants. Meanwhile Lana has picked up an instruction sheet
explaining that the machine can answer three questions about the future.
(Don't ask how she reads Cybernian...)

Before things can get out of hand, Clark raises his voice and says "Now
look, girls! I think you'd better stay away from that gadget! Superman might
get annoyed!" (Shades of David Banner). He adds in thought that "those
Cybernians are mathematical geniuses! That's probably some advanced kind of
computer!". Jimmy Olsen walks in and tries to reassure everyone that the
whole thing is a hoax. Lois agrees, but adds "just for laughs, suppose we
ask it to make a prediction!"

Lois asks "What is the name of the girl Superman will marry?" Clark says
"But, Lois! You mustn't..." Too late -- the machine begins to tick and the
answer emerges on the screen "L. L." Lois is miffed -- "L. L.? What kind of
phony answer is that? Those initials might mean Lana Lang or Lois Lane!"
Clark adds in thought "or Lori Lemaris, or Linda Lee... or any of the other
girls with initials L.L. that I have met in my career!" (We'll ignore the
fact that Linda Lee is close family).

Perry White sticks his head in the room and tells Jimmy to get back to work
(making up ridiculous stunts for publicity he does not add). Perry has two
out-of-town assignments for Jimmy as soon as the parade is over. Jimmy's
excited about going out of town and before Clark can do anything, Jimmy has
asked the second question -- "[Where is Perry sending him] on his out of
town assignments?". The machine ticks and the answer pops up "L. L." Jimmy
is convinced the machine is a hoax, but Clark knows that Perry is sending
Jimmy to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Perry is receiving a phoned threat from the underworld warning
him that Clark Kent is as good as dead --that he'll be knocked off during
the parade because Clark "put half the gang in jail on that
diamond-smuggling rap". Perry tells the hoodlum "Your threats don't scare me
buster!", but realizes that he had better warn Clark. After warning Clark,
Perry wants him to get an escort, but Clark can't have an escort as he needs
to be able to change to Superman and lead the parade. Clark gets an idea --
he'll ask the machine. Perry thinks it's a hoax, but "suit yourself". Clark
asks the machine "Assuming I'm in danger today, who will save me?", thinking
to himself "If this predictor works correctly, the answer should read
"Superman", my other identity!" A moment later the answer pops up -- "L. L."
Clark says, "Another L.L. for the answer! Hmmm... That predictor is probably
broken! But I still say I don't need a police escort!" Perry's response --
"Very well! Be stubborn! If you want to risk your fool neck, go right

Clark changes into his Superman identity for a final patrol before the
parade, but can't get his mind off the predictor.  Superman corrals an
escaped elephant and as he's flying back, he notices that the baseball field
in the park is abandoned and all of the equipment is scattered on the field
-- the ballplayers were in such a rush to get to the parade that they
literally dropped everything. As he laughs to himself, Bizarro comes flying
in. "Hello, Bizarro! What are you doing here?" asks Superman. "Goodbye,
Superman! Me bring present for you from Bizarro world on Superman Day! Wait
till you see big surprise!"

The big surprise turns out to be Green Kryptonite. As Superman collapses,
asking Bizarro to take it away, Bizarro flies off yelling "Bizarro not an
Indian-giver! So long Superman! Unhappy Superman Day!" Superman groans in
obvious pain as his strength fades. He suddenly recalls the machine's
prediction -- he'll be saved by an L. L. If the machine is real he has a
chance. He begins to picture all the "L.L.s" in his life -- Lori Lemaris,
Lana Lang, Luma Lynai, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Linda Lee, Lightning Lad and
thinks to himself "Choke! That predictor might be right! Groan! All of my my
life my fate has been weirdly connected with people whose initials are L.

He tries to focus on Lori first since she has telepathic powers. "Lori! Help
me! Gasp! Lori! This is Superman! I am dying!", he thinks. But when he uses
his waning telescopic vision, he sees her electric eels spelling out
Superman with their bodies. Their electrical discharge is creating static
interference, so Lori can't tune his thoughts in.

He next notices Lightning Lad and a second later a lightning bolt blasts the
tree next to him. Superman's hopes are raised again as he thinks "Gasp!
That's it!! Somehow he knows I'm here! He's shooting his bolts at the
kryptonite... groan! He just missed with that last one Gasp! But I know the
next flash will shatter that kryptonite and save me!" But the telescopic
vision and super hearing reveal the reason for the bolts out of the blue --
Lighting Lad was just helping the photographers who don't have flashes.

Superman then spies Lois and Lana in a helicopter and they're laughing at
him -- "... How cruel!" he thinks. "Look at Superman down there! Did you
ever see anything so ridiculous!", Lana laughingly says. "How did he ever
get in such a fix? Let's help him!" adds Lois. But, to Superman's dismay,
they were laughing at a Superman balloon whose ropes had gotten tangled.

Superman then spies Supergirl shooting up from underground and thinks that
Linda Lee must be coming to rescue him. Again he is denied as she never sees
him and brings her diamond statue to the reviewing stand. As she leaves
people there are wondering where Superman is -- it isn't like him to
disappoint his friends by missing his own parade.

Superman's hopes are fading quickly as he realizes that he out of L.L.s --
Lex Luthor is a prisoner on a robot world (and would Lex help anyway?) while
Luma Lynai has powers only on her own world. (Lyla Lerrol is never
mentioned, but she would be powerless too). As he sinks into
unconsciousness, a baseball rolls up to him. He is saved by the boys who
have returned from the parade and are playing again. As the boy runs to get
the ball he sees Superman lying there and closes the lead box with the
Kryptonite. "Groan! Thanks, Lad1 You were just in the nick of time! In
another second or two..."

Having regained his strength, Superman hurls the box into space -- "What a
pitching arm!" says the young boy. Superman asks the boy his name expecting
it to be an "L. L.". The boy responds, "Steven Snapinn". Superman thinks to
himself that the machine was wrong, but as the boy turns around he sees the
back of his jersey. It says "Little League" (cue Twilight Zone music). So an
"L.L." did save him after all. That night, Steven is given the spotlight at
the stadium rally as Superman calls him "the real hero of today's

A few thoughts and notes: This story was written at the apex of Superman's
Silver Age -- he had an extremely rich cast of supporting characters and
although many would go on to solo adventures, (most notably the Legion of
Superheroes and Supergirl), they were still firmly part of his supporting

Also, I reviewed a story a few years ago where Supergirl disguises herself
as Mighty Maid and has an affair with Superman (it's part of a plot to fool
some aliens) and in the Luma Lynai story, it's revealed that Superman would
like to marry Supergirl if she weren't his cousin. There is an echo of that
in this story when he casually adds Linda Lee to the list of women he might
marry. Was this an inside joke by the staff or was no one paying attention?

Lastly, Jerry Siegel really liked exclamation points -- every sentence in
this story that is not a question is an exclamation! Really! Is this a way
to identify Siegel stories if they are not credited?

This review is for Steve who is our Loquacious Leader and for my wife Lara
who is simply my Leading Love.