Superman #116; "The Mechanized Superman!"

Superman #116
 "The Mechanized Superman!"
 September, 1957

 Story: Unknown
 Art: Al Plastino

 The Man of Steel has performed many amazing feats with his super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability, and various vision powers! But could he achieve these selfsame feats without these abilities? Now, the Man of Steel must operate under extraordinary conditions as -- "The Mechanized Superman!" In the offices of the Daily Planet, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is pondering the beginning of a feature, when his x-ray telescopic-vision spots something very important!

 On the roof of the Daily Planet, Clark changes to Superman, and is about to face the greatest threat of his career -- and heads off to speak with city officials for their permission with his preparations. Minutes later, the Man of Steel shears off several stone blocks from a cliff! Back at the Daily Planet, Perry White tells Lois Lane to cover Superman's activities on 6th Street, and the girl reporter bets that Clark Kent is trying to scoop her on this particular story! Citizens witness the Man of Steel working at super-speed in a city-owned vacant lot and he is soon off for some steel -- by obtaining some iron ore from a mountain, and then racing to a volcano... The terrific heat of the volcano smelts the ore into steel, and is then poured into sheets and bars for the return to Metropolis! Superman hangs the steel doors and closes them -- but he has only mere minutes left! The crowd outside listen as the Man of Steel HAMMERs CLANG CLANGs and Lois Lane knows they are all in for a big surprise when Superman comes out --

 There is only one more important task for the Man of Steel to do -- but the crowd watches as he falls to the ground! Superman has lost his powers and is barely able to close the massive steel doors shut! He did not have enough time to do the most important thing necessary -- and the lack of this most important thing may mean his doom! News comes from an observatory about the Earth passing through a vast area of fine dust in outer space! It is part of the debris from the late planet Krypton -- and it's Kryptonite dust! Since this is only very fined dust, it has neutralized the Man of Steel's powers! This means that Superman will be unable to handle emergencies until the Earth passes out of the Kryptonite dust-cloud! "Professor" Ephraim Snively has heard the news and has made plans to stop the Man of Steel permanently! With Superman now a mere mortal, the underworld strikes swiftly... Crooks use a magnet-crane to steal an armored payroll-car! This is the sort of thing the Man of Steel has always foiled, but not now!

 From Superman's mysterious building emerges... a super-machine and its driver has caught news of the robbery! The Super-machine hooks either side of the armored car and shakes the two hoods out -- and its power-scoop delivers them to prision swiftly! When the Man of Steel returns to his new building... the girl reporter is waiting for him, and sees the various super-machines he has built! Since he had seen the Kryptonite dust-cloud with his telescopic-vision, and knew it would affect his super-powers, Superman created these machines to deal with emergencies! When Lois says she can get a great story on how he uses them by following him, he reminds her that he will not be able to use his super-powers to save her from any danger! There is one danger that he did not have time to prepare for! The girl reporter reminds him that she doesn't scare easily!

 Superman has arranged to have all emergency bulletins relayed to the building! Both he and Lois hear about the nine miners trapped deep underground in the North Hills Coal Mine! At the disaster site, what would take several days to dig through is done in minutes with the Man of Steel's giant boring-machine! Lois sees that even without his super-powers, Superman is still super! Once the miners have been freed, the girl reporter congratulates the hero on the rescue, and he reminds her there is one danger from the Kryptonite dust particles he does not even dare to tell her! In the hours that follow, Superman uses his wits instead of his super-powers to deal with disasters, such as using a massive super-insulated suit to retrieve an explosive before a fire reached it! At Metropolis Harbor, an drifting ocean liner was about to crash into another -- until the Man of Steel arrived with a super-electro-magnet to pull it in! Lois wonders if there will be an emergency that no machine can defeat!

 A criminal pulls a bank robbery, then rides off on a motorcycle through a traffic jam, and eludes the pursuing police car! The motorcycle rider is startled when he looks up in the sky and sees Superman flying down towards him! Despite the loss of super-powers, the Man of Steel constructed a flying harness of jet-motors to catch the fleeing felon! Once the criminal has been dropped off to the authorities, Superman sets up a series of telescopes, fluoroscopes, and microphones as substitutes for his vision and hearing powers. He sees air currents carrying off Kryptonite dust in one direction! Unless he learns where the air currents are carrying the Kryptonite dust, he is in for some real danger! As the Man of Steel departs, the girl reporter decides to follow him at a distance!

 The air currents have carried the Kryptonite dust towards a certain building. Since his x-ray vision has weakened, he must use his fluoroscope to determine what is transpiring! The fluoroscope gives him artificial x-ray vision and he sees a giant pump being used to suck in Kryptonite dust from miles around! Professor Snively and his gang have accumulated enough Kryptonite to paralyze him! Superman hopes to break in and stop the pump before they accumulate more Kryptonite... but Lois Lane arrives in time to see the Man of Steel paralyzed at the controls of his super-machine! Professor Snively sees that Superman has tried to break in on them, but has come too close to the Kryptonite mass, and is now helpless! Now, they can finish him off forever!

 Before they can reach Superman, Lois Lane has already done so! He can no longer move -- but he can only whisper what he wants her to do! When Professor Snively and his gang emerge from their hideout... they see the girl reporter operating the super-machine! The Professor and his gang are hooked and as Lois backs the super-machine from the warehouse, the Man of Steel recovers from his sudden paralysis! It is the girl reporter who uses the super-machine to take the crooks to jail -- and who writes the story herself! Once the planet has passed through the Kryptonite dust cloud, the Man of Steel is able to fly once more, and circles the Earth at super-speed to create air currents to bring on world-wide rains to wash away every particle of Kryptonite dust into the sea! One more super-machine is built and is used to hurl the accumulated Kryptonite far out into space behind the planet's path! The Daily Planet runs the headline about how Lois Lane saved Superman and the girl reporter knows that this is one story that Clark Kent will never be able to top!

 Superman once built a Supermobile to combat Amazo when he lost his super-powers in Action Comics #481 (March, 1978.)

 The Man of Steel is so fast that he has time to consult with city official before dealing with the greatest threat of his career.

 Players of the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim can have their character smelting iron ore into steel.

 The blue super-machine comes complete with red right-handed battering ram, tongs, and an all-purpose power-scoop for fast disposal of crooks to jail.

 The Man of Tomorrow saved Lois and a miner in the "Rescue" episode of Adventures of Superman.

 A crook donned a super-insulated suit to steal loot from burning buildings in the "Money To Burn" episode of Adventures of Superman.

 It's nice to see Lois Lane saving the day and getting the scoop for once!

 Even the mild-mannered reporter would have to admit that such a courageous person deserves to be Superman's Girlfriend.

 Steve Chung
 "The Mechanized Review!"