Action Comics Weekly #602: "Another Fine War" Part 2

Action Comics Weekly #602
"Another Fine War" Part 2

Written By: Mike Grell
Art By: Rick Burchett & Pablo Marcos
Lettered By : Steve Haynie
Colored By: Tom Ziuko
Edited By: Mike Gold

In the Singapore of 1947, Blackhawk has just had his bath interrupted by Zalecki and his three hoods. Fortunately for Janos, Zalecki had brought a knife to a gunfight, and almost lost his little finger in the bargain. As Jan reminds Zalecki that he was about to take something off of him, a female visitor enters the room, and is startled by the size of Blackhawk's "piece". Zalecki takes this opportunity to shove her into the object of her search.

The gunfight has now become a fistfight. WHAM

Janos is seized from behind, but manages to SMASH his attacker into a wooden chair. Another of Zalecki's goons WHACKs Blackhawk with a left to the jaw. The goon's right is cleverly deflected and Janos delivers a solid right to the jaw with a sharp KRAK. The first attacker rises for another round and is BASHed with another wooden chair. Behind Blackhawk, the second attacker charges, and tackles Janos against a dresser with a KA-WHAM. The two men are lost in a flurry of fists and kicks.

Blackhawk draws his right fist back and its firm delivery sends the second attacker CREESHing through the blinds. Janos turns and sees the oncoming figure of Zalecki. Unfortunately for Zalecki, his foot has found the bar of soap. Although he misses Blackhawk's oncoming fist, Zalecki will be seeing stars for a while after his head hits the damp floor. The remaining thug goes for the fallen gun, but is no match for a BASH to his head from a stool wielded by Blackhawk's visitor.

Janos admits she knows how to swing a mean stool. He pauses only to pick up his clothes, Zalecki's spare change, and leaves the girls a nice tip. As Blackhawk and his newfound friend run through an alley, he tells her how Zalecki had wanted him to pay the ten thousand dollars he had lost in last week's poker game. It turns out Zaleck was cheating! Janos knows this because he was cheating and Zalecki still managed to beat him.

Blackhawk will buy the two of them drinks... on Zalecki. Janos Prohaska only drinks whenever he is between wars... which makes him a teetotaller. Cynthia Hastings wants him to fly a mission for her. Before she gives him the details, he tells her he is not flying anywhere until he finds a new magneto, a few thousand gallons of fuel, and a box of Cuban cigars. The cigars are what it's going to cost him to bribe a certain official to look the other way when he takes off. There is also the matter of hangar fees.

She would like to know what he say if she could get him all of those things. He would say she is either very rich.. or she has got something to do with Claire Chenault of Air America. A quick peek shows that she is not wearing any dogtags. This does not mean much when you are dealing with a cloak and dagger group. Now that she has his undivided attention, she has a proposition for him.

It isn't his drink that is going to Janos Prohaska's head but Cynthia Hastings' hard right which sends him to the floor with a FWACK. If he would only start to listen with his ears instead of his groin, he may find what she has to say rather interesting. Right now, he is only interested in looking up her dress. The mission has to do with several million dollars in gold... and it's finders keepers!

Thanks to the Comics Code and the clever placement of his holster, readers are spared the sight of Blackhawk's piece.

Fallen pieces of wood and a carpet keeps the Comic Book Code's peace.

Zalecki hit the skids and one of his men proved to be a "stool pigeon".

Janos tells Cynthia that he owed Zalecki ten thousand dollars, when in the previous installment, Zalecki threatened to do some plumbing for forty thousand.

The Post-Crisis Blackhawk is a man of wine, women, song, and dance.

In certain ways, Janos Prohaska is channeling Guy Gardner rather than his Pre-Crisis self.

Once in the Singapore Sling Bar, Blackhawk is wearing his hat at a rakish angle, and Rick Burchett is channeling Gil Kane and Sid Greene's mastery with expressive facial expressions (especially around the eyes.)

Cynthia Hastings lands the "one punch" approach later employed by Batman against Guy Gardner in Justice League International.

Steve Chung
"Another Fine Review Part 2"

Action Comics Weekly # 601: "Another Fine War"

Action Comics Weekly #601
"Another Fine War"

Mike Grell: Script
Rick Burchett: Pencils
Pablo Marcos: Inks
Steve Haynie: Letters
Tom Ziuko: Colors
Mike Gold: Edits

On August 9, 1945, the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese City of Hiroshima, and V-J Day saw the unconditional surrender of the Japanese forces...

The warriors knew that peace was a temporary thing. It was only a matter of time before another war came along and they were back to work.

Until then, these soldiers joined the others... and tried to pretend that after Bastogne and Luzon and Normandy and Iwo Jima... life during peacetime was not as boring.

Their boredom lasted almost an entire year until French forces arrived at Haiphong... and their troops marched into Hanoi to secure for their French union the newly-established Republic of Vietnam. The Vietnamese had bitter memories of living under Vichy French rule and careful urging by the Vietminh Coalition soon fanned the embers of dissent into the flames of revolution.

By November of 1946, the French forces withdrew to the safety of their warships in Haiphong Harbor and shelled the city into submission. By December of that year, the Vietminh launched their counter-attack at Hanoi. By February of 1947, the warriors knew things were back to normal, and they headed back to work.

Elsewhere, things were far from normal. Janos Prohaska was reading Stars and Stripes and could not believe the news. Milton Caniff has left Terry And The Pirates to do another strip called Steve Canyon -- about a guy who flies a charter air service! Blackhawk figures reading this new strip will be about as exciting as watching paint dry. He can see it now... Steve spending a thrilling day searching for spare parts, arguing with his mechanic, and trading for fuel on the black market. Oh, and waiting around for the next job!

CRASH A burly visitor and his three men have kicked down Prohaska's door and shoved his two handmaidens aside. Then again, there is something to be said about waiting. Downstairs, a new arrival is looking for a man -- and is told to try the yellow house down the street. Upstairs, Zalecki is tired of waiting for his money. Prohaska owes him forty thousand dollars and he is going to take it out of his wallet... or cut it out from his pants. Downstairs, the new arrival says she is looking for a man called Blackhawk, and was told she could find him here. The owner of the establishment says Blackhawk already has girl. Sometimes he has three. He is probably too tired for her.

Upstairs, Blackhawk points out to Zalecki that only an idiot liek him would bring a knife... to a gun fight! BLAMM

The Blackhawk series in Action Comics Weekly picked up from Howard Chaykin's Prestige Format mini-series about two years later.

Mike Grell was working on his own Prestige Format mini-series at the time.

Rick Burchett had worked earlier at First and Eclipse.

V-J Day was re-enacted in the opening montage of the Watchmen movie.

There are hints of Kubert and Chaykin in the wartime art by Burchett.

Marvel's The 'Nam covered the consequences of what had occurred at Haiphong.

Blackhawk had been a hero, a "junkheap hero," and re-imagined in the Post-Crisis period at DC.

Janos Prohaska was the name of the stuntman whose creative work appeared on The Outer Limits and Star Trek.

Only Mike Grell would bring a clever movie line... to a weekly comic book!

As drawn by Rick Burchett, Blackhawk resembles none other than Cary Grant.

Steve Chung
"Another Fine Review!"

Action Comics #666: "Red Glass: Picking Up The Pieces"

Action Comics #666
"Red Glass: Picking Up The Pieces"
June, 1991

James D. Hudnall: Writer
Ed Hannigan: Penciler
Willie Blyberg: Inker
Bill Oakley: Letterer
Glenn Whitmore: Colorist
Dan Thorsland: Assistant
Mike Carlin: Editor
Superman Created By Jerry Siegel And Joe Shuster

The Man of Steel cradles the Martian Manhunter's body in his hands and refuses to believe it.

As the United States Army advances upon him in the desert, Superman vows that there will be no more killing! As tanks and soldiers open fire, the Man of Steel pleads that there will be no more blood on his hands! Air support is called in to blow the Kryptonian out of the sky!

He needs to get away to someplace quiet before they push him too far! The missiles are locked on target and the kill order is confirmed! Missiles are launched! CHOOM

Superman finds himself falling -- just as a U.S. Army surface-to-air missile is activated. VSSSH The world is spinning as the Man of Steel strives to pull out! More surface-to-air missiles are launched! CHFFF CHFFFFFF Superman falls to earth, just ahead of the missiles overhead --

After the fall

In the middle of a giant crater, the Man of Steel finds himself still alive, and surprised that they hadn't been able to kill him! This remains to be seen, with the arrival of Captain Atom and Firestorm, who turn up the heat!

Their assault causes the rocks and the soil to become molten! There is absolutely no trace because their combined atomic powers must have disintegrated hi-- "AHH!!" The Nuclear Man is seized and pulled down into the bubbling lava!

SSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHH SHOOM Superman has had enough of the madness and fires his heat-vision at Captain Atom! "YAAH!!" KA-FOOM

Who is going to kill him now -- oww -- AAOOOWW?!? Rebis's negative form passes through him. As Robotman gives thanks, another member smells burning meat, and it makes her hungry!!

The Man of Steel can't take this any more! Why don't they all just go awAAAAAY! Cliff Steele's robotic housing goes to pieces, Rebis' bandages are suddenly woefully inadequate for healing, and the Doom Patrol dies again for the second time!

The Kryptonian continues to scream and an army of men and tanks suddenly cease to exist.

He -- he has killed all of them. Just like he killed a couple of muggers this morning... All of Metropolis, millions of lives are gone! All that he has fought for and believed in... he has betrayed it all! The time has come for payment and Wonder Woman has brought the instrument of his destruction. He doesn't know what to say... in his sorrow, and she reminds him that he should have been aware of the consequences.

One moment, he was flying over Metropolis, and then he found himself killing people! His greatest fear of losing control came true! For him, having super-powers does not make things easier, but makes them harder. He has always been afraid... She knows all of that. He must pay for his actions and put an end to this nightmare. As he holds the green Kryptonite in his hands, there is communication from NASA, Houston Control. Superman had stopped transmitting several times in the past hour. They sent him to --

They sent him to investigate the strange radioactive anomaly on the moon, the mare nublum in the sea of clouds. NASA wanted him to determine what it was. He remembers coming out of orbit and finding himself in Metropolis once more... As they ask if he has found the strange activity, he tells them about the red crystal in the crater. Has that been messing with his head -- making him live out his own anxieties? Answers will have to wait and he goes forth to investigate.

As Houston Control attempts to regain contact, the Man of Steel makes contact with the red crystal, and the call is answered. It/they had come to this solar system looking for suitable planets, finding none.

The third planet was inhabited by carbon-based life forms, making it unsuitable for raising its/their children. Solar activity prevented departure and it/they were shut down for several cycles. It/they were locked into the path of a meteor. It/their protective screens prevented extensive damage, but the collision drove it/them to impact with the moon. Because of the screens, it/they went into the lunar soil and became buried there.

It/they were trapped for ages. Distress signals were sent across the radiation bands, but no aid came. Not for many cycles... until he had arrived. Communication was attempted, but there was no understanding... it/they may have said the wrong things... he had left it/them... Houston had sent him... only he had gone berserk and began tearing up the lunar surface. Realizing its/their language was in contact with his sub-conscious, it/they saw the violent images in his head against other strange beings. It/they mean no harm. All it/they wanted was to be set free. It/they cannot bear children here.

The Man of Steel moves at super-speed and uses his great strength to set it/them free!

It/they helped to set him free by having him face the darkness within his own mind... and renewed his ability to overcome it. It/they gave him the power to survive the bad with the good.

Knowing the future fate of the moon... the Man of Steel feels good to have been able to save a life.

On the cover by Andy Kubert, the Man of Steel finds himself between a moon rock and a lunar surface.

I've enjoyed the writing of James D. Hudnall in Legends of the Dark Knight.

The Red Glass Trilogy was a perfect example of a classic DC Comics story where the reader is asked if they can solve the mystery before the main character does.

I've enjoyed the art of Ed Hannigan on Defenders, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Batman, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, and Green Arrow.

Martian Manhunter and Captain Atom were members of Justice League International and Europe, respectively.

By the time of this story, Ronnie Raymond was no longer merging with Professor Martin Stein, and adopted a new appearance.

At the time of this story, the Doom Patrol was being written by Grant Morrison.

For once, Houston did not have a problem, and Superman was on the case.

At the time of this story, the Post-Crisis Superman required an oxygen supply to survive in outer space.

Steve Chung
"Red Glass: Picking Up The Review!"

Action Comics #487: "Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!"

Action Comics #487
"Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!"
September, 1978

Script: Bob Rozakis
Artists: Alex Saviuk and Francisco Chiaramonte
Letterer: Milt Snapinn
Colorist: Jerry Serpe
Editor: Julius Schwartz

At long last, Jean Loring finally said yes and became Mrs. Ray Palmer! Now sharing her husband's secret, the newlyweds return to Giant Caverns, where the Atom was born. It is a visit fraught with danger, which threatens to turn Ray Palmer, newlywed, into Ray Palmer, widower... a result of the "Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!"

Ray and Jean can't believe they're really married. Ray is the one who proposed about two hundred times before Jean said yes. Two hundred and fourteen, to be exact. It seems like only yesterday that the Palmers first came here. After all that's happened, it feels like more than a hundred years that they brought the Nature Club on a hike. It was a good opportunity to gather rock samples and explore the underground caves. Ray's suggestion was a bad one when part of the ceiling caved in, blocking the passageway. After he left Jean and the kids trying to dig a way out, Ray found a tiny hole in the cave ceiling. Only an insect could fit through. This gives the scientist an idea. Using the reducing lens he had been experimenting with, which he happened to have in his pocket, Ray reduced himself. Once he was reduced, the scientist was in danger of exploding like the test-objects he was working on.

Using the engagement ring he had bought Jean, which was always in his pocket, Ray is grateful that the diamond is so much harder than the rock, cutting through with ease. Shock waves began rumbling through the scientist's body as he raced back to the beam of sunlight flashing through his reducing lens. Instead of exploding as he feared, Ray returned to normal size. He went back for the rest of them and led them to the escape hatch he made.

Unbeknownst to the Palmers, Varo Lann and Iwin Gann have seen the tall one change his size. With these abilities, they of Elvara could return to the outside world, and rule over all. They are Bat-Knights, members of a race of tiny people who live deep in the Giant Caverns. They were forced to retreat underground centuries ago when the "tall people" hunted them. The inhabitants of Elvara have a deep hatred of their large counterparts, a hatred that drives them to kill the tall ones. Ray warns Jean to avoid the charging Bat-Knights.

Jean recognizes them as the same warriors they fought the last time. She thought that they were her husband's friends. They were friends of the Atom. Perhaps they don't recognize Ray Palmer, but he'll make sure they remember the Atom. By switching on his full 180-pound weight, he'll come down hard and fast on the Bat-Knight, like a bat out of hell.

It's back to flying school for the two of them. With a lance in his hands, the fight has become a bit more even. The Bat-Knight still has the upper hand with his steed, but the Atom can do some flying of his own. Reducing his weight to practically nil, the Mighty Mite is up and at 'em. He doesn't get the Bat-Knight, but what he does hit does bring him down to Earth.

Jean figures it's time she gave the Atom a helping hand. As she grabs one of the Bat-Knights, her husband warns her about the charged lance. BZAP! He'll get the Bat-Knight for that. As the Atom tries to shrink out of sight, he discovers to his horror that the lance blast traveled faster than he could shrink. ZAP! Now the secret of size-change will be theirs.

Some time later in the castle city of Elvara, the Atom awakens, with his captors about to force him to talk. They won't force him to do anything because he'll shrink. They warn the Atom that if he should shrink out of sight, and he'll endanger the life of his wife. They've done nothing to Jean yet, and they will refrain from doing so, provided that he reveal the secret of size-variation to them. They don't want to learn to become smaller or larger.

They wish to change the tall ones. With this power, all outsiders will be reduced to the Atom's current size. They of Elvara will no longer be the hunted. They will be the hunters and exact their revenge. The Atom had thought them to be peace-loving people. Their elders were, but they no longer rule Elvara. The young ones demand their rightful share of the world, and more. Will he cooperate or will he sacrifice his wife's life?

How does he know that Jean is really their prisoner? What proof is there that they haven't already killed her? They present the evidence in the form of Jean's engagement ring. Then they have harmed her, because she would never remove it willingly. They assure him that it was done when she was stunned. She is well but unable to escape their trap. They have sealed the cavern entrance by which he approached Elvara -- imprisoning her. There is no other escape! Visions of Jean running in fear of the flying bats appear for a moment. If he refuses to cooperate, they'll kill her. KLIK! KLIK! The Atom is betting Jean's life that they won't kill her -- because she's already escaped.

SKRIT! SKRIT! The diamond puts their lances out of business. KLIK! KLIK! Now, the Atom takes the easiest way out... up and away! The Mighty Mite is starting to feel like King Kong! The "planes" are coming but he's not waiting to be "shot down". The Atom will make a jump of his own. The dust he kicked up will take care of any aerial pursuit.

Later, Jean is pleased to see that her husband is safe. Together, they manage to seal the doorway, and keep the Bat-Knights confined to their own domain. Jean knows that the world would be helpless if they had her husband's power. She then wonders why Ray risked her life when he escaped from the Bat-Knights. He couldn't have been sure they didn't really have her captive. Ray assures Jean that he was sure. As soon as he saw the engagement ring they'd taken when she was unconscious. He knew they couldn't keep her prisoner when they sealed the cavern's entrance -- because she knew there was another secret way out -- the escape hatch. She was there when he first made it with the ring. This is why he's known as the world's smallest super-hero.

Ray Palmer and Jean Loring became man and wife in Justice League of America #157.

At the time of this story, the Palmers last met the Bat-Knights in The Atom #30.

The splash page of "Miniature War Of The Bat-Knights!" features various scenes from the Atom's early career, as

depicted by Alex Saviuk (who does Gil Kane proud.)

Bob Rozakis pens this story which is a return to Giant Caverns, first seen in Showcase #34 (by Gardner Fox, Gil

Kane, and Murphy Anderson.)

In addition to the Atom, Rozakis and Saviuk also produced back-ups for Action Comics featuring Aquaman and Air-Wave.

Francisco Chiaramonte was best known for inking Curt Swan on Superman, and for his work on Werewolf By Night at Marvel Comics.

Alex Saviuk has drawn Web of Spider-Man and continues to illustrate the Wall-Crawler's newspaper strip.

For those of us who read DC Comics around the time this issue of Action Comics, Bob Rozakis was also known as The Answer Man, and had his own space on the DC Feature Page.

Among the questions readers asked in this issue:

What does Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince of Earth-1 do for a living?

Answer: Jack C. Harris says that she'll soon be training to be an astronaut.

Does Irv Novick draw for BOYS' LIFE Magazine?

Answer: In addition to his Flash-epics, Irv does work for BOYS' LIFE!

How did Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny become independently wealthy?

Answer: By performing his rubbery feats in shows!

Why is Speedy such a wise guy?

Answer: because people ask him questions like that!

How many issues of THE ATOM, HAWKMAN, SANDMAN, and FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL were there?

Answer: ATOM ran #1-28 and Hawkman #1-27, then they were combined as THE ATOM AND HAWKMAN #39-#45. SANDMAN numbered 1-6 and there were 13 FIRST ISSUE SPECIALS!

Some years ago, there were GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW paperback books. How can I get copies?

Answer: Both of those books are long out of print. You might try a back-issue comics dealer for copies. And by the way, keep an eye out for paperback editions of BATMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUPERMAN, and other DC characters... now on sale.

Are the Wonder Twins going to get their own comic book?

Answer: Not their own book, but a feature in SUPER FRIENDS!

Why does Luthor hate Superman so much?

Answer: They were friends as boys until a lab accident trapped Lex. When Superboy rescued him, his actions caused Lex's hair to fall out... something that Luthor has never forgiven the Man of Steel for.

Who is Uncle Sam?

Answer: The Spirit of America!

What Earth does Captain Marvel live on?

Answer: Earth-S.

How do you find the time to answer all the questions that are sent to you?

Answer: If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know!

Steve Chung
"Miniature Review Of The Bat-Knights!"

Action Comics #469: "Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"

Action Comics #469
"Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"
(March 1977)

Creators: Story: Bob Rozakis Art: John Calnan & Tex Blaisdell

It's Christmas Eve at Galaxy Broadcasting. Morgan Edge has given out the bonuses to the staff. While each one is happy and content, a certain mild-mannered television reporter is dejected. Edge asks Lois why Clark is unhappy. She assures him that she's tried to give her fellow reporter some holiday cheer. Sportscaster Steve Lombard lets his boss know that he hasn't been pulling any pranks on "Ol' Clarkie Boy!" Daily Planet Editor Perry White likes Edge's present and taste in cigars. As the festivities wind down, Lois tells the others that she'll spend the holidays with her folks. Steve will visit his aunt Kaye Daye. Clark Kent, the last one left in the room, sighs, and leaves.

It is a beautiful snowy night in Metropolis. As the WGBS roving reporter walks past a mother and son admiring a store window display featuring Superman, he overhears the boy wishing that the Man of Steel could come over for Christmas dinner. As the mother reassures her son that Superman is probably spending the holidays with his friends, Clark sighs, and continues his walk. A speeding car is out of control on the snowy street, and is about to slam into a brick wall. The mild-mannered television reporter nonchalantly reaches out with one hand, and stops it in its tracks. While Clark continues his walk, the driver gets out of his automobile. He stares first at the receding figure, then at the deep impression on his car's hood. It resembles a hand print. The man stares at the poster of the Man of Steel, who is advising traffic safety, and sighs.

In Smallville, Clark Kent has come home to his foster-parents' home. As he sits in the living room chair, he recalls the Christmases he had spent in years past: Superbaby using his x-ray vision to see his present, and a time when the Kents invited Peter Ross and Lana Lang to sing Christmas carols. For a time, the loneliness is forgotten.

Now, Clark begins to wander the streets of Smallville. On the way, he sees two children standing outside in the chilly weather. When he asks them what they're doing, they tell him that they're waiting for Santa to arrive. When Clark asks if their parents know what they're doing, the two kids tell him that they have no parents. They point to a nearby building as where they live. Clark recognizes the building as Smallville Orphanage. It was his first home when he arrived on Earth. With his x-ray vision, he sees the caretakers, a married couple, who are sad that they haven't much to give the children so they can have a Merry Christmas.

Clark tells the children to go inside because he has a feeling that Santa is on his way. A Christmas bonus is a nice gift, but now at super-speed, the mild-mannered television reporter goes on a shopping spree. The money used to pay for his purchases is left in a startled clerk's outstretched hand.

Inside the orphanage, the elderly couple are surprised to find the stockings are stuffed with toys, and a Christmas tree in their midst. They weep with joy over this wondrous sight. Outside, Clark has seen their reaction to this visit from Santa. He walks away, singing a Christmas carol. Now, Clark Kent is no longer lonely. He is surrounded by a sea of smiling faces.

A special Private Life of Clark Kent tale, and if you ask me, they were all special because they gave readers the chance to see what the mild-mannered reporter did when he wasn't being Superman.

For many, the holidays can be a happy time, while for others, it can be a less than merry occasion.

I could imagine the Man of Steel using his powers for charity during the holiday season, but what was Christmas like for Clark Kent?

He's alone.

In what some would call "Pre-Crisis," Clark lost his parents, then his foster-parents, and devoted his life to helping others.

When the holidays arrive, what would be his reaction?

If there were an emergency, this would be a job for Superman, but for Clark, things are different.

Even in his loneliness, the mild-mannered television reporter can still manage to surreptiously save a motorist and his vehicle from the hazardous holiday weather.

To cope with the time of year is another matter.

He's an orphan twice over, and he can relate to the children, as well as the elderly couple who were their caretakers.

It's a personal thing for Clark, and with the Christmas bonus, he puts it to good use in order to help others than himself.

In six pages, Bob Rozakis managed to cover these themes, and present a holiday story which showed how the Man of Steel's alter-ego could be affected by something other than magic or Kryptonite... the holiday season.

Artists John Calnan and Tex Blaisdell capture Clark's world, whether it's his workplace in Metropolis, or the quiet, tranquil small town setting of Smallville.

These two men gave an Everyman quality to the story, and made it all the more special.

John and Tex also drew one of my favorite story lines in Batman, "Where Were You On The Night The Batman Was Killed?" by David V. Reed.

They are storytellers and certainly excelled in that respect.

This is my favorite Bob Rozakis story because it shows whether in the blue suit with the cape or the blue suit with the glasses, the character is still a Superman and my hero.

This One's For Bob Rozakis, the Answer Man!

Steve Chung
"Clark Kent's Lonely Review!"

Action Comics #458: "Masquerade Of The Nutty Kid!"

Action Comics #458
"Masquerade Of The Nutty Kid!"
April, 1976

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Art: Mike Grell
Editor: Julius Schwartz

The getaway copter has landed in the vicinity of Looking Glass Hill, which is barely ten miles from where a speeding police radio car carrying Green Arrow and two police officers is located. The Archer tells them to issue an alert for as many patrol cars as possible to get up there -- fast! G.A. thinks that a little foot-stomping is in order... if not to bail out Black Canary, then to get the kidnappers of the Nutty Kid! Green Arrow has indeed run off on the trail of kidnappers -- but what only Black Canary knows so far is that the kidnappers were merely a cover! They made everyone else believe they abducted Danny Harris, the famous Nutty Kid of Comedy --- but their disguised victim was actually... Lex Luthor?! He finds it good that the super-heroine recognizes him!

The idea of this charade is to engineer a situation where Black Canary murders Green Arrow -- or he kills her! It doesn't much matter who executes whom, but it looks as though she is the lucky one -- the killer! She wonders how he proposes to get her to do that. It will seem natural -- just as it seemed natural for her not to have tried to tear Luthor apart these past few minutes! She's doing nothing but standing catching flies in her mouth because of his hypno-beam! He's already hypnotized her into wanting to kill Green Arrow! He trusts of all the law-enforcers hunting them down -- the Archer will be the first one to reach them! Her psyche will no doubt be kind to him... a good swift hell in his throat should do the job! Black Canary... can't bring herself... to raise a hand against him! If his mental command to kill Ollie is as strong... may Heaven help them both!

As the criminal scientist continues his monologue, the hypnotized heroine adopts an unusual pose... The authorities should arrive after her Green friend to pick her up... as well as his employees, who will receive triple pay for the time they spend in prison! As for his "kidnap" victim, Danny Harris the comic will reappear soon enough! "GUHH!"

She attacks Luthor... against the command of his mental device! He's such a fool! Lex didn't take into account her mental training in the martial arts! Through sheer meditation, she can hypnotize herself -- into seeing Luthor as Green Arrow to get around his command to her! Which means she's now forced to kill him! Heading up a dirt road at the base of Looking Glass Hill... Green Arrow wonders if the patrol car can go any faster. It's a wonder they can move at all on a road that looks like it's built for mountain goats!

The criminal scientist thought to start here -- with Green Arrow and Black Canary as his first victims -- and through treachery and psychological warfare, cause all super-heroes to be incriminated or discredited! As Black Canary closes in for the kill, Luthor desperately dives for cover under the copter... as a deadly karate chop misses its target! CRAACK He has to get away from that madwoman! The Black Canary must find him... must kill him!

Luthor's plan crumbles around him as he flees the hypnotized heroine, and tries to catch his breath long enough to make his escape... She won't stop until she murders him! WHUMP

The patrol car has stalled on a steep upgrade... The officers tell Green Arrow that it would take a helicopter to get up the hill! As he reminds them how the kidnappers got  there, Black Canary continues her attack on the criminal scientist... KLIK He'd better pull a disappearing act... and hope his hypno-beam will still compel her to kill Green Arrow! Now that Luthor is gone, Black Canary loses her compulsion to kill him! As she hears a familiar voice over her shoulder, Black Canary rushes towards the waiting Green Arrow, and they embrace. She wonders whether their meeting will turn into a disaster -- now... or later... For all she knows, Luthor could still be here, invisible!

No doubt, the criminal scientist will turn up again. Green Arrow wonders where Danny Harris is! If Luthor kidnapped the Nutty Kid and swapped places with him while she was fighting his henchman...? TAP TAP They find where the scientist stashed him. Danny Harris greets them both and starts to tell them how a funny thing happened to him on the way to the studio...

Lex Luthor may look like Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but he's the man with the golden gun on Black Canary.

The criminal scientist turned up again in The Joker #7 (April-May, 1976) when the Clown Prince of Crime complains --

"Luthor -- You're Driving Me Sane!"

Steve Chung
"Masquerade Of The Nutty Review!"

Action Comics #457: "Flight Of The Nutty Kid!"

Action Comics #457
"Flight Of The Nutty Kid!"
March, 1976

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Art: Mike Grell
Editor: Julius Schwartz

He knows why Frankie's voice sounds funny! It's because... their pilot ain't Frankie -- it's the Black Canary! A group of kidnappers disguised as a clown act has infiltrated an on-the-air telethon and abducted its host, Danny Harris -- the famous Nutty Kid! When their getaway pilot is unmasked as the... Black Canary... and their helicopter plummets towards the streets below, the Green Arrow takes to the skies... He sees that Dinah's trapped in the whirlybird!

Now we know as much as Green Arrow -- but what he doesn't know... none of the kidnappers can pilot the helicopter! If they off her, they'll crash into a nearby building! If Green Arrow has figured it right, the copter is tumbling on a line he should intercept -- so he can climb aboard and play cavalry to the rescue! They wonder what the Green Cowboy is trying to do -- ?? Black Canary realizes that he's trying to grab the copter in midair! Her problem is to keep them off the ground till they get out of town -- then her job's... finished! The copter veers away! Green Arrow can't grab it! The crook made the Emerald Archer miss! He'll drop to his death! The crook is confident that he can break his fall -- he's seen him do it on TV!

It's utter bedlam in front of WSTR's west-side studio, where Danny Harris' annual telethon -- is still going on even after the famous comedian has been kidnapped and flown off... to who knows where? There are unconfirmed reports -- that Green Arrow is somewhere on the scene! They have learned that Black Canary's motorcycle has been spotted in a nearby garage! The Emerald Archer is sorry to drop in during the segment -- but this is where gravity brought him!

Green Arrow rushes past bystanders into the TV studio where... more pledges are being made for Danny's ransom! G.A. would like a look at the radio receiver the clowns left behind to give the crew instructions! Now he needs one of the phones! He calls Lieutenant Bolton to get every available radio car tuned into the following frequency... and fan them out west of the city line! He'll explain later...

As Green Arrow starts to trace the source of the kidnappers' radio communications... Black Canary cuts the engine fifty feet up! As she counted on, the clowns don't know much about helicopters! They wanted her to land it so they could dispose of her... but they never heard of autorotation -- the ability of a helicopter to ease down to the ground like a parachute... as the rotors slow to a stop! The crooks get strong and silent when their plans get messed up. The Black Canary prefers her kidnappers... simply silent!

As the last kidnapper voices the opinion that the others are bush league to be stopped by a "ULP!", Black Canary's kick puts an end to his commentary. With any luck, Green Arrow and the police will pick them up before it can walk away... She heads to free the Nutty Kid and hopes that he has something funny to say about all this! What the newly freed Danny Harris has to say isn't very funny -- Black Canary is in big trouble! What she's been through will seem like a picnic, as soon as she catches on... that the man she just "rescued" is Lex Luthor!

Everybody loves a clown, except when they are kidnappers in disguise.

Danny Harris is a take off of Jerry Lewis.

As the rotors come to a stop, Black Canary puts a stop to the kidnappers, and gives them the right to remain silent.

Lex Luthor?

What some super-villains won't do to meet a super-heroine!

Steve Chung
"Review Of The Nutty Kid!"

Action Comics #445: "Count Ten, Superman -- And Die!"

Action Comics #445
"Count Ten, Superman -- And Die!"
March, 1975

Story: Cary Bates
Art: Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger
Editing: Julius Schwartz

Will a deadly beam from outer space cause the death of the Man of Steel?
Or will he meet his end while saving the life of a young boy?  Oddly
enough, both of these scenes are correct, and are the handiwork of the
Superman Revenge Squad -- who yearn to tell their victim to "Count Ten,
Superman -- And Die!"

A blasting area some 2,200 miles outside of Metropolis is the sight of a
sudden KRASSHSSHHHH!  A new tunnel has been made through the heart of a
mountain, but as the workers are about to give their thanks, the Man of
Steel is on his way to an important lecture.  The audience at the
Metropolis Civic Center are listening to the heroic speaker before them,
just as Clark Kent is making his way to his seat, and Lois Lane chides
him for missing most of the lecture.

How can the mild-mannered reporter and the Man of Steel be in the same
place at the same time?  As Clark explains to Lois about the mountain of
trouble he ran into, Gregory Reed recounts how his face was disfigured in
an accident on the Superman TV series.  Plastic surgery would not have
helped him -- but the Man of Steel performed an operation with equipment
and medical techniques from Krypton.  Now, as they can all see, Reed's
new face has been modeled after the super-surgeon's face -- the hero he
had portrayed on television for many years.  Lois is amazed at the
actor's recovery, how he has become an exact double of Superman, and even
managed to imitate the hero's voice.  Clark tells his fellow reporter
that Greg Reed has devoted his spare time to make personal appearances on
behalf of many charities.

Lois wonders how Clark would refer to the actor as "Greg", but he admits
that he's never met the man, and keeps to himself that it was Superman
who has had that pleasure.  After thanking the audience for their
applause, the actor directs them to make their donations to the Heart
Fund outside in the Civic Center Garden.  The two reporters head for the
lobby, and see the crowd gathering around Greg Reed, as if they were in
the presence of the real Superman.  Lois asks Greg if he had ever
wondered what it would be like to have the powers to go along with the
costume.  As a matter of fact, the Man of Steel had promised the parents
of a dying girl that he would put on a super-show for her, but was called
away on an emergency.  He contacted the actor -- and gave him a pill
which would grant him super-powers for a period of twelve hours.  In this
way, Superman was able to grant the girl's last wish.

SSPLASSHH!  Lois and the other spectators see the actor sent into a
fountain by an unseen force.  At the punch bowl, Clark Kent knows that
this is a job for the real Superman.  With the people's attention on Greg
Reed, the mild-mannered reporter is able to make a change of clothes at
super-speed, and head to the side of his double.

A spaceship is hovering above the planet, directly over the Civic
Center... a spaceship belonging to the Superman Revenge Squad.  THWAK!
The Captain strikes one of his crew for firing the puls-bolt at the wrong
man.  Their instruments had detected the Man of Steel's presence in the
garden, but their monitor spotted Clark Kent at the punch bowl.  The
recipient of the puls-bolt was a costumed imposter, and the ray will have
no effect on Earthlings.  With the real Superman now in the garden, the
invisible puls-bolt is fired once again.

As the body of Greg Reed is pulled out of the fountain, Lois is grateful
to see the real Action Ace on the scene.  The actor is still breathing,
and Superman will take him to the nearest hospital for treatment.  The
puls-bolt has hit its target, and the fateful countdown can now begin.
Each time the Kryptonian performs a super-feat, the puls-flow within him
will grow in strength... until on the tenth super-feat, the lethal energy
will poison his invulnerable body.  Once the tenth feat has been
accomplished, the Man of Steel will drop dead.  As the spaceship roars
away, the Revenge Squad prepares their scanners to monitor the various
super-feats to come.  Taking Greg Reed to the hospital will be the first

Two hours later, a trio of parachutists are taking a leap from a plane,
only to find themselves betrayed by their former fourth partner.  With
their hands glued together, and unable to reach their ripcords, the three
of them will experience their final jump.  Luckily for the trio, the Man
of Steel wants to join their skydiving team, and begins by pulling on all
three ripcords.  While they are off to a safe-landing, he will be off to
arrest their former partner for attempted murder.

In the past two hours, Superman has prevented a mountain avalanche, and
repaired a railroad trestle before it could collapse.  The parachute
stunt is the fourth super-feat.  Lois Lane has come to visit Greg Reed in
his hospital room, and finds Clark Kent concerned about the actor's
welfare, as well.  He tells his fellow reporter how the doctors have
placed him under an oxygen tent, but his condition remains critical.  The
actor could die at any moment.  As the mild-mannered reporter begins to
weep openly, Lois tries to comfort him, and tells him not to lose hope.

The Superman Revenge Squad have been monitoring the movements of Clark
Kent, and are aware that the puls-flow is responsible for the reporter
inability to control his emotions.  Once the tears have begun, they will
be impossible to stop.  As for the state of the actor struck by their
puls-bolt, it would seem that the puls-flow is also harmful to humans.
Later that evening, a two-ton shark is sent out to sea by the Man of
Steel, who also uses his super-breath to put out a fire, foils a
late-night robbery, and averts an airplane crash.  These super-feats are
numbers five, six, seven, and eight in the series.

The next morning, at the Galaxy Building -- where Steve Lombard is
escorting a female admirer...  The former football star learns that the
woman would like to meet his co-anchorman on the news, and wonders what
she could possibly see in "Mr. Square".  As he assures her that she's not
missing anything, how "Clarkie" puts on a good act on the air, the
weeping reporter passes them in the hallway.  Steve Lombard continues to
ridicule the co-anchorman, when the woman sees how these words have hurt
Mr. Kent.  As the former sports star tries to reassure "Clarkie" that he
wasn't serious about what he just said, Steve sees firsthand just how
sensitive the mild-mannered reporter can be.  Incensed by his behavior
towards poor Mr. Kent, the former admirer of Steve Lombard spurns him.

SCREEECHHHH  ERRKKKKK  WHOOOSHHH!  When an automobile heads in the wrong
direction on the freeway, it is the Man of Steel who prevents the fatal
collision.  With the ninth super-feat recorded, only one more use of
super-energy will be necessary for the Superman Revenge Squad to have
their revenge.  As they watch and wait, a young boy falls from the
terrace of a building, and only super-speed enables the high-flying hero
to catch him in time.  The moment when they are safely on the ground, the
child watches in horror as Superman collapses lifelessly to the pavement.

SR-Ozega reports their success to the Revenge Squad Base.  The base has
been monitoring their progress very closely... and are preparing a warm
welcome for them when they return.  As the spaceship begins its trek back
to homebase -- the prone form of the Man of Steel comes to life once
again.  Greg Reed's death-scene would have earned him an Academy Award,
as well as convincing the Revenge Squad of their mission's success.  Five
of the super-feats were performed by the actor, while the other five were
done by Superman.  The super-power pills enabled Greg to successfully
carry out the role, but he wonders how his friend was able to find out
about the Revenge Squad's sinister plan.

While pulling the unconscious actor from the fountain, he had seen a
reflection of an object floating in the air high above the garden.
Recognizing it as a Superman Revenge Squad spaceship, and overhearing
their plans, it was then that he let Greg in on the act.  The dummy under
the oxygen tent and the crying act performed in his other identity were
enough to carry the charade.  The only difficulty was in coordinating
their actions so that the Revenge Squad never saw two Supermen in action.
Since he hadn't performed the necessary number of super-feats, the
puls-flow charge has been drained from his body, and the pill's effects
have just left the actor.  Only one question remains -- why did the Man
of Steel let the would-be killers off scott-free?  In the years he has
battled the Revenge Squad, Superman has learned one thing -- they know
how to take care of their own.  Now in another part of the galaxy, on the
planetoid which acts as the base for the Superman Revenge Squad...
SR-Ozega's spaceship is approaching.  The Supreme Sire gives the
returning Squadders their well-deserved reward -- for such a miserable
failure.  SR-Ozega's and his two Squad-ers never know what hit them.

On the cover of Action Comics #445 by Nick Cardy, Lois Lane is looking at
her watch, and wonders what's keeping the Man of Steel from arriving for
their date.  Unbeknownst to both her and Superman, a second Action Ace
wants some action of his own.  (Holy Double-Date, Batman!)

The colors on the cover are very well done, from the purple sky, to the
brown floor of the junkyard.

Cary Bates provides the readers with a couple of interesting
possibilities, while the art team of Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger
meld together perfectly for another adventure of the one and only

Gregory Reed first appeared in Action Comics #414: "Superman Vs.

Both George Reeves and Christopher Reeve devoted their spare time to
making personal appearances on behalf of various charities.

As Edmond Hamilton once wrote, "Do good to others and every man can be a

One wonders why the Man of Steel hadn't offered the super-powers pill to
his fellow crime-fighters?  Perhaps they declined the offer, preferring
to rely on their own natural abilities and skills.

Maybe it's me, but I really enjoy it when Clark says, "This is a job for

The three Revenge Squad-ers are blue-skinned aliens with pointed ears,
and wear yellow-colored uniforms in the style of Mr. Mxyzptlk.

When it comes to skydiving gear, parachutists prefer purple.

Clark's act of showing his sensitive side puts a kibosh on the blossoming
relationship between Steve Lombard and his female admirer.

I would guess that the Superman Revenge Squad have their headquarters in
a solar system with a red sun, in order to prevent any surprise visits
from their super-powered nemesis.

After seeing what happens to those who have failed the Revenge Squad, I
can only wonder how they manage to keep their cannon fodder... errr...
membership alive.

In the "Superman In Action" letters page, Bob Rodi of Oak Brook, Ill.

"Dear Editor:

The Flash-Superman team really has something, and it's always been one of
my favorites.  It has to have something to hold my interest (four of
their five previous team-ups have been more or less races between them).
The latest effort in Action #441, "Weather War Over Metropolis," was
excellent, from a sensational Cardy cover (Nick is the best cover man
since Infantino) to the smooth, stylized art of Swan and Oksner.  "Oscar
Asherman" looks like somebody's editorial assistant who has a similar
name, and I'd like to know if this was intentional or not.  (Silly
question!  It could hardly be coincidence!)

The introduction of a rival reporter ought to be good for some more Clark
Kent insight, and I  suggest you keep Dale Smith around.

The Superman-Flash switch was nicely done... they should be experts at it
by now.  In Superman #223, I believe, they both got amnesia and
unconsciously adopted each other's life styles.  (Sorry, E.N.B., but I
beat you to the punch with this round's Trivia Tidbit.)

"The Mystery Of The Wandering Dog" was excellent, also... Elliot Maggin
has come out of his slump (a very short slump, I should add) with the
latest Green Arrow-Black Canary team-up.  Of course, I've been reading
for years, and I knew from the start the dog was Krypto.  Still, it was
nice to see him again.

Mike Grell draws the Arrow-Canary team better than anybody I know, even
Neal Adams.  Please keep him on Green Arrow and you won't find a better
back-up feature anywhere."

E.N.B. replies:

"Congratulations on noticing the similarity between the two Ashermans,
Oscar and Allan.  But did you spot Dale Smith's resemblance to a certain
TV newsman?  Hint: The comedy team of Smith and Dale did a skit about a
certain Dr. Kronkhite.  Notice the pronunciation?"

Robert Greenbergerber of Jericho, N.Y. writes:

"Dear Julie:

A few short words on the Superman story in Action #441.  An excellent,
well-paced story.  Only one thing was missing: action.  There just wasn't
enough of it.

Opposite that, Green Arrow had just enough action and intrigue.  I
guessed last issue that Demian was Krypto.  You had promised his return
once before.  Mike Grell's art was fine.  Elliot S! Maggin's script was
fun.  One of those two was responsible for a whopping mistake.  On page
5, panel 2, we see an aged Green Arrow and Black Canary.  BC wears a wig.
If you age a blonde wig several decades, it shouldn't turn white. Who
will claim the error?  Will it be the artist, the writer, or the editor?"

E.N.B. replies:

"No buck-passing!  We all saw it and should have caught it!  And after
realizing what a goof we made, we're the ones with the extra white

This Review Is Dedicated To Mark.

Steve Chung
"Count Ten, Superman -- And Review!"

Action Comics #441: "Weather War Over Metropolis!"

Action Comics #441
"Weather War Over Metropolis!"
November, 1974

Story: Cary Bates
Art: Curt Swan & Bob Oksner
Editing: Julius Schwartz

Oscar Asherman, the weatherman for WGBS-TV, has been making forecasts
with astonishing accuracy -- but what happens when these predictions
cause a... "Weather War Over Metropolis!"  On the splash page, the
WGBS-TV weatherman announces to viewers that a blue tornado will strike
the city of Metropolis, but no sooner does he make this announcement,
that the impossible occurs.

As Clark Kent wraps up the day's news, Oscar Asherman makes an urgent
bulletin for those citizens who live on 3rd Avenue.  At 6:41 this
evening, a blue tornado will appear at 52nd Street and 3rd Avenue...
With only seventeen minutes left, those who live in the area are advised
to evacuate.  Among those watching the newscast is Galaxy Broadcasting
President Morgan Edge...  From the penthouse suite of WGBS-TV, Edge
orders the operator to transfer his call to Studio B, and put the
weatherman on the phone.  As the mild-mannered television reporter wishes
the viewers at home a pleasant evening, he knows that the tornado will be
nothing compared to what'll happen when Oscar takes the call.

Clark won't be needing his super-hearing to figure out what the smiling
cobra has got to say, but as it happens, the weatherman has much to say
on the subject.  Although a twister has never struck the city of
Metropolis, he understands that if one does not appear this evening --
he'll be out of a job tomorrow.  The mild-mannered reporter has known
Oscar Asherman for years, and knows that the weatherman is serious about
his career.  Even so, the Man of Steel has got a feeling that it's time
to take a tornado-watch.

Just above the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 52nd Street, Superman has a
minute to spare before the tornado's arrival.  At the end of the
countdown, the blue tornado arrives, and the WGBS-TV weatherman's
prediction is proven to be absolutely correct.  No matter what color it
is, no tornado will damage Metropolis if the Action Ace has got anything
to say about it.  After flying into the center of the funnel at wind
speeds of 500-miles-per-hour, the Man of Steel exhales --

--And then inhales.  As the startled citizens watch in amazement, the
tornado is swallowed up by Superman.  Now with the pressurized air
trapped within his super-lungs, the Action Ace soars upwards through the
stratosphere...  WHOOOOSSHHH  A gust of super-breath and the blue tornado
is now out of action.  The following morning finds Asherman and Kent in
Morgan Edge's office, with the President wanting an explanation from his
station's weatherman.

When asked about how he is able to make such accurate predictions, Oscar
Asherman is at a loss to explain this newfound ability.  As the secretary
advises Mr. Edge on his reservations for tomorrow's dedication ceremony
in Masonville, the WGBS-TV weatherman has another flash of intuition.  He
advises his employer not to travel to Masonville -- because the town will
be doomed.  According to Asherman, there will be hailstones as large as
basketballs in Masonville tomorrow -- destroying the entire town.  Seated
next to him, the mild-mannered reporter has got a feeling that this will
be another job for Superman.  Chewing on his cigar, Morgan Edge figures
that his employee made a lucky guess -- but that's all.  He is not about
to disappoint the good people of Masonville -- the people who have named
their new public library after him.

As the President of WGBS Broadcasting addresses the crowd about his
snow-filled treks to town for a book from the library... Dale Smith tells
Clark Kent that anytime Edge did travel to town, it must have been while
riding a sleigh drawn by horses.  Even so, the mild-mannered reporter
knows that his rival TV-newscaster is covering the event all the same.
As Smith is getting Morgan Edge on film, Kent's camera is pointed up
towards the sky.  It turns out that the latest prediction of Oscar
Asherman is about to come true.  His telescopic-vision has spotted a
cloud above the town of Masonville, and basketball-sized hailstones have
begun to fall.  Dale sees Clark pointing up in the sky -- saying that the
Man of Steel has arrived to save the town from the deadly weather.  When
asked how he could possibly know about such a thing, the mild-mannered
television reporter promises to share the scoop, and heads for a phone
booth to call in the story.

As Morgan Edge continues to deliver his speech, he sees the officials
running for cover, and wonders if his delivery was that bad.  Giant
hailstones are come down towards the town by the hundreds.  The rival
newscaster has located Superman in his camera's viewfinder and believes
that this may be a job that not even the Action Ace can resolve.

The townspeople watch as the Man of Steel concentrates on hitting certain
hailstones, starting off a chain reaction... and causing them to slam
into one another.  The super-game of billiards will leave tiny fragments
which will harm no one.  Dale Smith is delighted by the sensational
exclusive he'll have, but the WGBS-TV reporter reminds him that this will
be a joint-exclusive between their two stations.  When asked if he phoned
in the story to Metropolis, Clark admits that he was panicking when the
hailstones were coming down, and ran for cover.  He never made it to a
phone booth.  Smith cannot believe the luck of Clark Kent, and wonders
how the mild-mannered television reporter has made it so far in the

Clark and Oscar are having lunch in the Galaxy Building commissary, with
the weatherman still unable to figure out how he is making those accurate
predictions, and Morgan Edge not in the mood for excuses.  When asked by
his coworker if there's anything he hasn't mentioned, Asherman tells the
reporter that whenever he's about to make one of his predictions, he sees
a name appearing before his eyes --  Mark Mardon.  As the mild-mannered
television reporter excuses himself from the commissary, we shift our
attention to Central City... where a trio of masked bank robbers are
running for their getaway car.  The Flash is waiting for them, but the
armed criminals open fire.  BANG!  ZING  ZING  BLAM!  The Scarlet
Speedster spins around at super-speed-- causing the bullets to be
deflected from his fast-moving form.

Now, the Fastest Man on Earth approaches them -- with the force of a
human tornado -- driving them back.  One of the crooks tries to escape
around the corner, but collides with an unseen obstacle.  KAPOW!  The
Flash is eager to see what the hood ran into, and is surprised to see his
fellow Justice Leaguer paying a visit to his city.

When the Action Ace mentions to the Scarlet Speedster the name of Mark
Mardon, the Flash recalls the other name he is known by -- the Weather
Wizard... one of the deadliest foes of his Rogues' Gallery.  Even though
he is behind bars, Mardon vowed to have his revenge before his sentence
was up.  He is completing his prison term at an upstate prison farm.
Despite the risk, the two heroes will pay him a visit, but the Man of
Steel has a suggestion to make before they leave Central City.  Now, at
the Central State Prison Farm, the library has been cleared out by the
warden, so that Mark Mardon can receive his visitors.  The Weather Wizard
is charged with causing deadly weather conditions in Metropolis, a charge
which he gladly admits to.  Thanks to his time in the prison infirmary,
Mardon was able to concoct his meteorological pellets...  One is for a
blue tornado, while the other is for a giant hailstorm.  By using these
two pellets, the Action Ace is sure to check up on him.  The pellets were
sent to Metropolis -- thanks to Mardon's weather expertise, and the air

By bouncing electronic brain-waves off the ionosphere, Oscar Asherman was
hypnotized into making those weather forecasts.  With his name implanted
into the weatherman's mind -- his plan to lure Superman and the Flash was
bound to succeed.  It all came together when Mardon read a certain book
by Lois Lane-- The Fabulous World of Krypton.  Everything about the Man
of Steel's homeworld, including its weather conditions made for fine
reading.  The meteorological phenomenon known as Black Lightning was of
particular interest to the Weather Wizard.  Unlike the lightning on Earth
which leaves its victims dead-- Krypton's Black Lightning turned its
victims into killers.  Mark Mardon then draws forth a miniature weather
wand and unleashes the killer bolt upon Superman.  Although Earthlings
cannot be affected by the Black Lightning, it will cause a Kryptonian to
be seized by a murderous rage, and will only fade after the victim has
killed off the person closest to him when it struck -- in this case, the

Even the Scarlet Speedster would be unable to outrun the Man of Steel.
When the Weather Wizard commands Superman to kill his arch-foe, the
Action Ace complies -- but by knocking Mardon unconscious with a karate
chop.  The Weather Wizard will be spending the rest of his extended
prison term wondering how his murder scheme has failed.  The two heroes
changed costumes in case Mardon had some foul weather planned.  If he had
succeeded in striking the Action Ace with the Black Lightning, the Flash
would have become a murder victim.  Thanks to a Superman head-mask and
some super-ventriloquism, Mardon was unable to detect their ruse, and is
now feeling a bit under the weather.  Now back in their proper
identities, they carry the unconscious prisoner back to the waiting

On the cover of Action Comics #441 by Nick Cardy, the Flash is pleased as
punch to see Superman visiting him in Central City, but not for long as
the Man of Steel delivers the punchline.

Cary Bates provides the readers with both a guest-villain and a
guest-hero to share the story with the Man of Steel.

The art team of Curt Swan and Bob Oksner blend in perfectly, and succeed
in presenting another amazing adventure of Superman.

The character of Oscar Asherman was named after Allan Asherman, who was
an editorial assistant at the time.

The WGBS-TV weatherman has long dark hair, a mustache, and wears a purple

If Lex Luthor were to don a disguise to spy on the happenings at the
Galaxy Broadcasting Building, Oscar Asherman would have been a natural.

Morgan Edge found news of a blue tornado about to hit Metropolis hard to
swallow, but thankfully this was not the case for Superman.

Dale Smith was modeled after Walter Cronkite.

The citizens of Masonville hail the Action Ace for his triumphant
super-billiard game in the sky.

When it comes to trying to outrun the Flash, a crook might as well try to
run into Superman.

For a prisoner at an upstate prison farm, Mark Mardon has got an awful
amount of time on his hands, and comes up with meteorological pellets to
help pass the time.

A little learning is a dangerous thing, and thanks to a book by Lois
Lane, the Weather Wizard makes certain that the Man of Steel is in the
lightning round against the Scarlet Speedster.

I don't know if it was sleight of hand or whether Mardon has quite a hunk
of hair on his head, but that miniature weather wand must have come out
of nowhere.

In addition to being the name of the horse belonging to the Western hero
known as Johnny Thunder, Black Lightning was the character created by
Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eden.

In recent days, another writer turned Black Lightning into a killer, but
this could only be believed if one chose to read those recent stories.

As with a cloud, each character has got their own silver lining, and
written therein are the names of Messrs. Isabella, Eden, Barr, and Aparo.
'Nuff said?

When the Flash removes the life-like Superman mask, he is still wearing
his distinctive winged cowl beneath it.  I'd like to think that Barry
re-donned his mask at such speed that even the readers couldn't see such
a swift motion.

This Review Is Dedicated To Bob Buethe And Tony Isabella

Steve Chung
"Weather Review Over Metropolis!"

Action Comics #432: "The Million-Dollar Methuselah Contract"

Action Comics #432
"The Million-Dollar Methuselah Contract"
February, 1974

Len Wein: Writer
Dick Giordano: Artist
Julius Schwartz: Editor

Multi-millionaire Henderson Repp is an oil man. Whereas other
oil magnates leave the day-to-day operations to others, he still takes
personal charge. Everyday, he can be seen riding his big 1200 C.C.
motorcycle, overseeing production, speaking with his people. This would
not be out of the ordinary, unless you take into consideration the age of
Henderson Repp, as well as being one of the ten richest men in the nation,
he is also one of the oldest, and as his motorcycle is rocked by a sudden
explosion, it's obvious that someone doesn't want him to get any older.
On the other hand, someone wants to make sure that he did. That's why the
multi-millionaire has hired Christopher Chance, The Human Target.

Having heard the sound of the approaching bazooka shell seconds
before it struck, Chance had already hurled himself from the cycle when
the ground moved under him. He manages to roll with the fall, and
absorbs the impact. With the exception of an aching shoulder, he was
safe. The motorcycle had taken the brunt of the explosion, but still
he played possum on the dirt as one dead. If the sniper had seen
him move, his simulated death would become a reality. With the dirt
playing against his face, it was nothing like the sensation he had felt
when he had been sky-diving, practicing free-fall dexterity when he saw
the second diver. Upon closer inspection, the other diver turned out
to be a she, quite a comely messenger from the heavens. Repp had
stirred his curiousity. On the ground, Chance found the oil magnate
waiting for him. Seeing that The Human Target is everyone he had heard
about, Henderson Repp wishes to contract his services to save his

As Repp's "secretary" changes from her skydiving gear, Christopher
listens as the elderly multi-millionaire speaks of the danger from his
great-great-great-grand-nephew, who would be the only one to benefit if
the oil magnate kicked the bucket. Not that he has anything against
dying, but better that it's a natural death, and Nephew Lester isn't
playing according to Hoyle. The nephew has hired a military man to do the
task for him. Repp figures that he needs someone to give him a fighting
chance at staying alive. Chance agrees to taking the contract, but it
will cost the oil magnate a pretty penny. Money is no matter to Henderson
Repp. He plans to take a pleasure trip, while "Chris-Boy" handles the
business and his "secretary," Deedee will be by his side to fill him in on
anything he'll need to know. As the multi-millionaire pats his "girl friday"
and says his goodbyes, Christopher Chance sees that this job will be a
pleasurable one. It was a new experience to become this particular customer,
using special latex make-up to age his face, neck, and hands, a multi-strap
harness beneath his clothing to simulate the stooped posture of an
elderly man, but when he was finished, The Human Target was Henderson
Repp. He remained in position for as long as possible, then slowly
staggered to his feet. The sniper had left, but he was not alone. A
motorcycle heads towards him, and it's not the sniper, or else he'd be
dead now. The rider is...

Deedee, who had just followed the smoke, and figured it to be
Christopher. She tells him to hop on, because they have places to go. A
little later, one of "his" wells has just come in, and Henderson usually
stops by to congratulate the men. "Repp" thanks the men for their
efforts and promises them a bonus. The workers figure that they were
just doing their jobs, and are admiring the sight of the gusher. A
temporary cap has been placed until it can be properly set tomorrow.
There is much pressure, but it should hold until tomorrow. That evening,
inside of Repp's ranch-house, "Repp" decides to review things with his
secretary, but there is no answer to his knock, and he had just
seen her enter the room less than an hour past. Feeling uncomfortable,
"Repp" kicks in the bedroom door, and sees that the room shows signs of a
struggle, and Deedee is gone.

Searching the room for clues, "Repp" notices the tape-recorder.
With the machine still on, he knows that it must have recorded what had
happened! "Repp" listens as Deedee was transcribing a few reports,
then an intruder arrived. Tired of chasing the elderly oil magnate, the
sniper plans to take the secretary to the oil fields, where they'll wait
for the old man to find her gone, then come running right into his
gun sight. The sniper was correct. "Repp" would come running. Knowing that
the assassin has the edge when it came to firepower, The Human Target knows
that the darkness would balance things, and a little deception would be in
order. At the latest of Repp's oil wells, the sniper watches from the tower,
telling a bound Deedee that if her "boyfriend" doesn't arrive in time, he'll
take out his frustrations on her. Tied to the oil well tower, she hears the approach
of a motorcycle. The sniper sees through his binoculars that it's Henderson Repp, and
finds it strange how an old man can ride so well. BRAT-AT-AT-AT... The military
mercenary figures that it's going to be his final ride.

To the mercenary's disbelief, his shots have struck down a
straw-stuffed decoy. Figuring this to be a diversionary tactic, the merc
knows that Repp will be coming in from another direction. He sees him,
but it's not the old man. No, it's Christopher Chance, The Human
Target. His disguise had served its purpose, giving the decoy its own
identity while strapped to the cycle. Outside, it would be his survival
skill which mattered, not his mastery of disguise. The rifle-bursts were
getting closer, and Chance has only time for one shot on the move, but he
always hits what he shoots for! SPANGG! Before the merc's gun can strike
the ground, Chris begins climbing. He was dealing with a insane killer, and
he had no intent of allowing him any chance to regain his senses. At the
command to surrender, the military assassin pulls the pin on a hand-grenade,
and threatens to release his grip, blowing them to kingdom come. There's
just one second for the Human Target to drop his gun or BOOM!

Chance seemingly has no other choice, as he slowly lowers his .357
magnum to his side, then pulls the trigger. BLAM! The Human Target
knows that the gun can blow a hole the size of a basketball in a human
being. One can well imagine what it can do to the seal of a well-cap.
The oil driller had told "Repp" that there had been lots of pressure on
the temporary cap. Christopher Chance had hoped he was right.
WHAROOOOOSHHHHH! The well-cap shudders once -- then twice -- and just
like "Old Faithful," unknown gallons of oil -- and a hired sniper are
sent into the night sky. Chris has just enough time to cover Deedee's
body with his own before the hand-grenade explodes, sending the
would-be assassin into the oily Earth. THWOOM! Unbelievably, the
assassin survived, and confesses his role in the nephew's plan to kill
his rich relative. Christopher Chance is confident that Henderson Repp
will be able to live the rest of his remaining years in peace! The oil
magnate tells "Chris-Boy" that's just what he's gonna do. His "secretary"
has just talked him into trying for the world's record for longevity.
The Human Target can only hope that he would be able to live long enough
to see if Repp succeeds.

The Human Target was created by Len Wein, Carmine Infantino, and
Dick Giordano.

Len and Marv Wolfman had also created the character of Jonny Double
for Showcase, and had intended the character to take the place of his
endangered clients in times of peril, hence the name "Double."

In the '70s, the Action Lettercol had readers wondering if Len had
patterned the character after the George Peppard TV show, "Banacek." It
turns out that the character of Christopher Chance had long since been
created before Wein had ever seen an episode of the television program.

Motorcycles were big in the '70s, with advertisements for toys based
on Evel Knievel, Daredevil Stunt Cyclist, as well as the character of The
Ghost Rider, who appeared in the pages of Marvel Spotlight during 1972.

Having met Dick Giordano in San Diego a couple of years ago, I
learned that he enjoyed drawing beautiful women, such as Wonder Woman,
Zatanna, Hawkgirl, and Black Canary. Seeing the artist do the
illustrations "live" was the nearest thing to magic I've ever seen when
it came to transforming a piece of blank paper into art.

Deedee is quite a looker, with long red hair, resembling Natasha
Romanoff, a.k.a. The Black Widow in appearance. She is also adept at
riding a motorcycle, ala The Black Canary.

Henderson Repp reminds me of what an elderly Jonathan Harris would
look like if he had played the role of the rich oil magnate. Indeed, it
is the late actor's voice I hear while re-reading the story.

The sight of a reel-to-reel recorder dates this story somewhat, but
doesn't detract from it.

Those of us who have kids and grandkids would probably get a kick of
showing them that at one time, a comic book cost no more than twenty cents,
not to mention that a story told in a mere seven pages satisfies the reader
than other books which take four issues to tell the same thing.

Thankfully oil's well that ends well, as Christopher Chance shields
the lingerie-clad Deedee from the grenade explosion, and proves to be
quite the gentleman, especially when compared to his client.

Steve Chung
"The Million-Dollar Methuselah Review"

Action Comics #423: "The Deadly Dancer Contract!"

Action Comics #423
"The Deadly Dancer Contract!"
April, 1973

Action-Plus From:
Len Wein,    Writer
Dick Giordano,    Artist
Julius Schwartz,    Editor

The key was found easily enough -- taped within the shower-head --
just as Hyram Walsh had told him. After locking his apartment door,
there was the wait for the elevator. The next job was to empty the
safe-deposit box and turn over the documents to the authorities, but
first, there's something he had to attend to. The spent door parted
noisily and before he can step inside, he is asked to hold the
elevator for two more. The two men are grateful for the save. Just as
their intended victim stands behind them in the cramped car, both pull
out their weapons of choice... a gun and a blade. This is Christopher
Chance's introduction to... "The Deadly Dancer Contract!"

The two young thugs had been shadowing him and Chris knew it.
He feigned surprise when the elevator car went past the lobby and
the three of them had an appointment in the basement. The basement was
just like any other, complete with dust, cobwebs, rubbish, and two
rats. The duo who slam "Hyram Walsh" against a dank brick wall. The
two hoods know that the fat accountant is wanted for a lot of money.
They want to know why anyone would consider him worth that kind of bread.
As the "accountant" begs for mercy and claims to know nothing, the
long-haired punk with the shades and the blade steps forward. The
blade doesn't go very far, as it is suddenly kicked out of the suprised
hood's hand.

Chance had figured that he had three seconds before the other punk
would use his gun. He was off by a split-second. BLAM! "Hyram"
executes a roll, reaches for the knife, then hurls it at his assailant...
pinning the other hood's suit-sleeve to the wall! Now no longer
resembling a frightened fat accountant, "Hyram" demands some answers from
the young punk, or else he'll wind up with a second grin. The two had
heard that someone would pay a lot to the man who spotted Walsh and
told him of the accountant's whereabouts. The two young punks were
overly ambitious, that's all. When asked about the "Dude," the
frightened punk describes him as a crazy guy who wears a hearing aid. He
also gave them a phone number where he could be reached. Once he had
memorized the number and dropped the knife as he said he would, The
Human Target uses his forearm against the hood's neck, until he slumped
to the floor unconscious. Christopher Chance had a long-awaited meeting
to go to, and he didn't want the surprise to be spoiled.

He had been out for a drive, when the bullet passed through his
car's windshield and put an end to his reverie. The intended target had
been a stowaway in his car. An accountant named Hyram Walsh, who was
trying to expose the syndicate, and he was being chased by a killer
with a hearing aid. A man named Dancer. Chris knew Dancer pretty
well. Two decades ago, as a boy, he watched in horror as Dancer
murdered his father. The Human Target had many reasons to take up the
contract, but he also had promises to keep, and a reputation to
maintain. Tossing a coin, he determined the fee, and he became Hyram
Walsh. The documents which were needed to damage the mob were in a
safe-deposit box. The key was in the accountant's apartment. Once
he had gotten there and found it, Chris had his first firm lead.
With Dancer's phone number, all he needed was an address.

Eager to make his appointment, "Walsh" rushed into the dark alleyway,
where brightness was cast upon him by the fast-approaching car being
driven by another punk covering the alley. The punk was no doubt
wondering what had happened to his two friends. From the way the car was
weaving, "Hyram" knew that the driver was on something. Seeing the
two glazed eyes behind the wheel, there was no doubt what his next move
would be. With the door locking behind him and the grim possibility
of being squashed to a pulp on the wall, "Walsh" leaps for the
fire-escape, which while old and rusty, the ladder-latch gives way to his
weight, and breaks through the windshield of the oncoming car. The
punk was out cold before the car hit the wall. Christopher Chance had not time
to see what was left. He had a promise to keep.

After calling a friend at the phone company, "Hyram Walsh" finds
himself outside of the Wilmer Theater, which would be the site of another
show. This particular one played out in real time. After making his way
backstage, Chance can sense the ghosts of actors who had played there,
and someone else. This particular contract would be too important for
the Human Target to lose. He sensed the motion behind him a fraction of
a second too late. BLAM! PTWANG! Dancer stepped out from the darkness
and "Walsh" could see his face. The clothes were different -- the
result of more blood money -- a bit of gray was present in the hair --
there were more wrinkles around the face -- but two constants remained --
the insanity still lurked in the eyes -- the humorless grin -- had not
changed in twenty years. The killer is surprised that "Walsh"
recognizes him. He is also grateful that the fat accountant had saved
him time and trouble in tracking him down. In this quiet theatre, no
audience will witness his death.

Dancer begins to pull on the trigger, just as "Walsh" pulls on the
ropes supporting the sandbag, which falls, and knocks the gun out of his
hand. After two decades, Dancer still moved swiftly. Running on
instinct, he went for his fallen gun, but "Walsh" was faster. The two
men fall towards the waiting gun, with Dancer seeking to plow through his
fat friend. He is "out-danced" by the "accountant," and thrown to
the floor on his chin. THWAAM!

The gun was covering Dancer before he can get to his feet. He
listens as "Hyram Walsh" speaks about having waited more than half his
own lifetime for this day. Dancer can only wonder why the accountant
would take a personal interest in him. He sees more clearly when "Hyram"
unmasks and the boy whose father he killed now stands before him as a
man. As anger roared within him, Christopher Chance watches as his
father's killer, the man he sought for twenty years, comes apart. In
the years since the murder of the elder Chance, Dancer knew that someday
he would face the same fate, and to him, it had arrived. It is now the
killer who is as a small boy, begging for his life to be spared. The
anger -- the will -- simply seeps out of Chance -- as he watches Dancer
find his way to insanity. Kneeling beside him, Chance tells him that no
one will hurt him anymore. When the police arrive to take Dancer
away, the two are still there, the contract completed.

I enjoy the story titles, as they remind me of the ones from The Man
From U.N.C.L.E.

Hyram Walsh resembles William Conrad, who would be playing the '70s
detective Frank Cannon.

Both young punks are wearing suits. I don't know if they'd be
considered leisure suits, but those hairstyles are certainly indicative
of the decade.

Like a certain darknight detective, Christopher Chance is
well-versed in the art of disguise, as well as interrogation.

Like a certain millionaire, Chance has his resources working for
him. Although he doesn't wear a cape, he does wear his share of masks in
his profession.

While Christopher Chance had Dancer (a grinning killer with a torn
heart tattooed on his right cheek), Bruce Wayne had Joe Chill, and in
both cases, each devoted his life to protecting others from what happened
to him. Although Christopher Chance charges a fee for his services, I
don't think he'd hesitate if there was a life in danger.

Chance's acrobatics and agility, plus his knowledge of hand-to-hand
makes him a formidable adversary. Unlike the caped crusader, he has no
qualms about using a gun.

Thankfully, Christopher Chance doesn't kill Dancer (and become like
his father's killer) and interestingly, the assassin becomes like a
frightened child when the Human Target catches up with him!

One of Christopher Chance's most interesting contracts occurred in
Detective Comics #518, where he assumed the role of Bruce Wayne, who was
threatened by the criminal sharpshooter known as Deadshot!

In the early '90s, Rick Springfield played the role of The Human
Target on ABC. Among the guests were David Carradine (Kung-Fu) as one of
Chance's mentors, R. Lee Ermy (Willard) as one of his clients, and John
Wesley Shipp (The Flash) as an actor who is impersonated by Chance in
another episode. Scott Paulin (The Italian Red Skull to Matt Sallinger's
Captain America) was another client for Chance.

The character and his back-up stories are certainly among those I'd
love to see collected into a DC Showcase.

Steve Chung
"The Deadly Review Contract!"

Action Comics #422: "The TV Show That Menaced Metropolis!"

Action Comics #422
"The TV Show That Menaced Metropolis!"
March, 1973

Story: Cary Bates
Art: Curt Swan & Murphy Anderson
Editing: Julius Schwartz

For the Man of Steel, a morning exercise includes pulling a helicopter
out of a spin, and starting the blade once more. Below, a child peers
out from his bedroom window, and sees that Superman really does exist.

Sixteen years ago, the Nescotts gave birth to an abnormal child. The
doctor had no name for his condition, for it was unlike any known
disease. The wealthy parents soon had medical specialists flown in from
all corners of the world. Until a cure could be found, the child would
be kept in quarantine. If he were ever to go outside, and come into
contact with the air, the results would be disastrous. The cure proved
beyond even these brilliant scientists, and Woodrow Nescott remained in
his air-controlled room. Mr. and Mrs. Nescott was sworn to never release
their son into the open air until he was cured. They were careful that
their son not be injured or cut in any way.

Years later, television is Woodrow Nescott's sole companion. His
favorite show is "The Runaway," and airs immediately after the news.
Mild-mannered TV reporter Clark Kent tells the viewers about the new
Metro-Liner, which will provide one-hundred per mile serve for thousands
of commuters. When he has signed off, Clark throws his microphone to Ted
the cameraman, who regrets that Kent is a klutz off-camera. In the midst
of the rush hour crowd, a killer hurls his intended victim into the path
of an oncoming train. With his fate only seconds away, Clark uses a
quick burst of heat-vision to short-circuit the microphone held by Ted,
and gives the technician a mild shock.

As the other two rush to Ted's aid, the WGBS-TV camera crew are kept from
seeing the mild-mannered reporter using an employee entrance, and change
clothes at super-speed. SCREEEEE KRUMP The next moment finds hundreds
of tons of speeding manmade steel stopped by the Man of Steel. As he
carries the victim to safety, one spectator comments that Superman
stopped an entire train with only one foot.

The crowd of commuters recognize the face of the man who has just been
saved. "Police Agent Y-6 -- a lawman from the year 2272 -- a man
obsessed with the apprehension of a prisoner who traveled back three
hundred years into the past --!" Y-6 also time-traveled back to 1972,
and continued the search for his quarry. Rolf Kimb is an innocent man
who was judged by the future, and wrongly convicted of a crime he didn't
commit. Now, their chase takes place in modern-day Metropolis for
another exciting episode of... "The Runaway!" As the TV show continues,
Woodrow Nescott watches his hero elude his pursuer, and sees that Y-6 has
just done the unexpected.

When he confronts Rolf Kimb with his ultimate weapon, Y-6 will catch his
prey, and send him back to 2272 for execution. Will the three-hundred
year pursuit finally be over? It will be only one week for viewers to
learn... in the next episode of "The Runaway"! The teenager fights back
tears and turns on his household video-intercom. He asks his mother if
the things he sees on TV are true, and if the people on the screen are
real. She tells her son that they are all actors playing roles, and it's
all just make-believe. As he expected, Woodrow's mother has lied to him,
and tried to keep him from getting upset. For years, he has seen
Superman on TV specials and news programs. Woodrow thought that the Man
of Steel was make-believe, too.

The teenager saw Superman with his own eyes saving the helicopter outside
his bedroom window. If the Man of Steel exists, then Rolf Kimb must also
exist. Woodrow plans to break out and warn his hero about Y-6's ultimate
weapon. Mr. Nescott knows that his son has become obsessed with
television, and wishes that they had removed it long ago. As his wife
comments that their son has little enough entertainment as it is, a
shrill buzzer sounds throughout the Nescott Estate. The
electronically-coded fire-alarm's three buzzes have indicated Woodrow's
room. The following day at a Metropolis hotel suite, Clark Kent is
interviewing Mac Nelson -- who plays the part of "Rolf Kimb"... The
public will learn that Mac's character will be dropped from the series on
next week's episode. His fans will be shocked when Y-6 will finally
capture Rolf Kimb. The actor cites Mr. Spock receiving more fan mail
than Captain Kirk, the star of that series. Agent Y-6 has become so
popular, the producers have decided to write out Nelson's character

When asked by Clark if he has any bad feelings towards his costar, Dan
Marz, the actor insists that his fellow actor is like a brother to him.
He hopes that Dan is okay after that nasty train accident yesterday. Mac
Nelson then sees something outside that need the mild-mannered reporter's
attention. A white blob has just swallowed an entire automobile. Clark
cuts the interview short to enter an empty elevator, and make another
quick change.

The Man of Steel flies over a path of destruction left in the wake of the
white blob for several blocks. It eats and digests anything in its path.
Its intended target appears to be a hospital. As Superman begins his
bizarre battle, Mac Nelson gloats over how Clark Kent fell for his story.
Nelson tried to kill his costar on the train-tracks, but the Man of
Steel interfered. "The Runaway" is his show, and he's not about to let a
third-rate actor steal it away from him. If Dan Marz were to meet an
unfortunate accident, the producers would have to keep Nelson on the
show. As he smokes a cigarette, the actor strives to come up with a
foolproof way of killing him.

Inside the hospital, two doctors know more about the white blob, and must
tell Superman what they know before it's too late. Woodrow Nescott has
found "Rolf Kimb" and wonders why he's not wearing his future-garb. The
teenager pleads with his hero about the threat of Y-6 and his ultimate
weapon. The Man of Steel uses his super-strength to hurl the white blob
into outer space, and into a temporary orbit.

In his hotel suite, "Rolf Kimb" sees an opportunity to use the teenager
as the weapon to kill off his rival. Two doctors inform Superman about
Woodrow Nescott starting a fire in his bedroom to release an automatic
emergency escape door. If he were to be scratched, giant white blood
cells would emerge upon contact with the outside air, and grow millions
of times larger. Each drop of blood in the teen's veins is a deadly

If it's only a slight wound, the threat is over. If Woody is bleeding
badly, he'll create thousands of white blobs... to hunt bacteria to kill.
Every hospital in Metropolis is a potential victim of this bizarre
threat. Elsewhere, Woodrow Nescott wonders how Rolf was able to steal
the ultimate weapon away from Y-6. Nelson had kept the prop as a
souvenir and rigged it to fire like a real gun. He gives it to Woody, to
fire at Y-6. The teenager is relieved to learn that the weapon is a
time-reverser, and will send Y-6 three hundred years back into the
future. Since Agent Y-6 has had a bad fall, he is currently at Metro
Clinic, and this is where the reverser will be used.

As he promises to come through for his hero, Woody scratches himself on a
thorn bush. This is the second time he's cut himself outside. Once
Woody has entered the clinic, Mac Nelson gloats at the thought of an
unbalanced child shooting his rival in front of witnesses. Since he is
in the clear, it should be a perfect murder. Even if the boy talks, who
will believe his story about a time-reverser? It looks like "The
Runaway" will be his show again. As he strains to hear the shot, Mac
Nelson feels the cold embrace of a giant white blood cell enveloping him.

In the skies above Metropolis, the Man of Steel heads for Metro Clinic.
Inside, Dan Marz asks the kid why he's using a prop from his TV show.
Woody is about to use the prop on him, and send Agent Y-6 back to 2272.
Before he can fire, a giant white blob comes crashing through the window.
A moment later, the swift red-and-blue form of Superman comes crashing
through the ceiling, and prevents the glob from devouring two human
bacteria. As the Man of Steel prepares to send this glob into orbit, Dan
Marz wonders why he can't get some peace and quiet in this clinic.

Woodrow Nescott was eventually cured when Superman finds an rare alien
herb from our galaxy. "The Runaway" becomes "The Cases Of Agent Y-6" and
becomes more popular than ever. Mac Nelson -- "Rolf Kimb" is never seen
again and is eventually declared legally dead. His body is no longer on
Earth and no one, not even the Man of Steel knows where it really is --
and would remain for centuries to come.

On the cover of Action Comics #422 by Nick Cardy, a teenager sips his
soda pop, and regrets that the Man of Steel is only make-believe.

He does not see Superman flying past his bedroom window.

His room includes two posters, books, and a record based on the subject
of Superman.

On Earth-Prime, we've had George Reeves, Dean Cain, and Tim Daly portray
Superman on Television.

Ted learns that in order to withstand the shock of a live mike, you
really need to be a Man of Steel.

We know from the radio serial and from the intro of The Adventures Of
Superman that he's more powerful than a locomotive.

Agent Y-6 wears headphones, carries a shoulder bag, and is garbed in a
yellow/brown suit.

"Time Trax" was a TV series where a cop from the future travels back into
the past, and apprehends criminals to be sent back to the future.

Mac Nelson, a.k.a. "Rolf Kimb" found himself in a giant white blood cell
of Woody's own making.

This Review Is Dedicated To "The Fugitive Fan and Answer Man" Bob Rozakis

Steve Chung
"The Review That Menaced Metropolis!"