Action Comics #249: "The Kryptonite Man!"

Action Comics #249
"The Kryptonite Man!"
February, 1959

Writer: Otto Binder
Artist Al Plastino

Today, the citizens of Metropolis witness the Man of Steel fleeing in terror from his arch-foe! Superman is unable to find a hiding place where he is unharmed by his mortal enemy! After being hunted and hounded, he is finally forced to leave the Earth itself! All of the above happens when the Man of Tomorrow meets... "The Kryptonite Man!"

At the hidden laboratory of Luthor, the renegade scientist and arch-foe of Superman, his henchmen are noticing a monkey which glows with a green color. They are reminded of Kryptonite, the one element that can destroy the Man of Steel! Luthor has found a way to dissolve the Kryptonite meteor he found last month into a serum! He tested the serum on the monkey and it was absorbed into its bloodstream without harm! Now that the renegade scientist knows the liquid Kryptonite is safe to drink, he will take the rest of it himself! This will mean the Man of Tomorrow's downfall! Once the Man of Steel's arch-foe drinks the liquid Kryptonite, he glows with a green color, and now radiates Kryptonite rays from his own skin! He can now doom Superman as... the Kryptonite Man! The criminal genius vows to make Superman suffer for all of his previous defeats! Luthor will play cat and mouse with him until he begs for mercy, and then destroy him! The renegade scientist uses his rocket ship to head to Metropolis! The Air Force will be unable to shoot down his specially-armored ship and when he meets the Man of Steel, Luthor will have the upper hand as the Kryptonite Man!

Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is returning to the Daily Planet with Jimmy Olsen when his super-hearing picks up a noise from miles away. SMASH Luthor is using his ship's battering ram weapon on the Superman statue in Metropolis Park! As the battering ram smashes the Superman statue piece by piece, the mild-mannered reporter sees this with his telescopic-vision as he changes to Superman! There is only one person who could have created the super-scientific rocketship... Luthor! What is he openly defying the Man of Steel? Once Superman arrives at Metropolis Park, a hooded and cloaked Luthor emerges from his ship! It looks as though he has walked right into the Man of Steel's hands and is about to be turned over to the authorities!

How will the super-fool accomplish that when he tries to capture... THE KRYPTONITE MAN! Superman is unable to come close because of the Kryptonite radiations, but he must fly out of range before it's too late! The flying Man of Steel is pursued by Luthor in his ship, with Superman unable to use his full flying power to out-distance him! Since Luthor's rocketship can't bore underground, the Man of Steel outwits his arch-foe by doing so! His x-ray vision shows Luthor cruising Metropolis, waiting for him to re-emerge! Superman tunnels up to Clark Kent's apartment and changes back to the mild-mannered reporter! He will have to remain this way until he can think of some way to stop him! With no sign of his arch-foe, Luthor takes his leave!

Back at his hide-out, the renegade scientist learns the Kryptonite monkey has escaped, and returned to his home at the zoo! The monkey won't be needing the antidote, and neither will Luthor until Superman is thoroughly defeated! Editor Perry White assigns Clark to cover the arrival of rare animals at the Metropolis Zoo! It may be unexciting, but it's better than meeting up with the Kryptonite Man again! Ironically, Clark meets up with the Kryptonite monkey as it returns to its cage! The Kryptonite radiations are weakening him! As the people look at the glowing monkey, the mild-mannered reporter remains unnoticed in the bushes! The Kryptonite Man did not get him, but the Kryptonite Monkey will! Seeing men washing elephants nearby, the mild-mannered reporter also sees the water running down a leaden drainpipe! If he can only lure the monkey there..

Clark uses his super-breath to blow a banana out of a child's hands, towards the drainpipe, and the monkey is following it! Once the monkey dives into the leaden drainpipe, the Kryptonite radiation cannot penetrate, and the mild-mannered reporter recovers! Once the effects of the Kryptonite rays have worn off, Clark changes to the Man of Steel, and soars away from Metropolis... With both the Kryptonite Man and the Kryptonite Monkey in Metropolis, Superman heads for his Fortress of Solitude! Near the North Pole, Superman uses the giant key to open the door of the Fortress! Within the Fortress, the Man of Tomorrow stares at the various exhibits in his wax museum of crime... a money magnet, a vault-blaster, an atomic death ray, an earthquake maker, and a wax bust of their creator, Luthor!

Wearing a special suit, Superman can safely return for a showdown with his arch-foe! The helmet of the leaden suit lacks eye-slits to prevent Kryptonite radiation from leaking inside! Unable to see through the leaden helmet, the Man of Steel relies upon his super-hearing to concentrate on a special sound coming from Metropolis! It's from the laboratory that is testing radio equipment for space satellites! As Luthor uses his super-telescope to check up on his super-foe, he sees the Man of Steel flying back in a leaden suit. The renegade scientist launches a space rocket from the cave's roof, and places a satellite in orbit for a very special purpose! Luthor's rocketship is once again hovering above Metropolis Park, where an indestructible statue of Luthor, Conqueror Of Superman, is replacing the wrecked Superman statue!

As the Man of Steel arrives, Luthor dares him to try and smash his statue! As his arch-foe comes closer, Luthor presses the button on his remote-control device, sending a radio-beam to his orbiting satellite! As the satellite orbits the Earth, it forms rings around the world, and these rings have a special effect on the world's lead! The next moment finds all of the world's lead turning into glass!

As the Man of Tomorrow charges the renegade scientist... the electronic effects of the satellite rings causes the leaden suit to turn to glass... and the Kryptonite rays are weakening him... With Superman now at his mercy and the world's lead turned to glass, Luthor gives his arch-foe twenty-four hours to leave the Earth, and never return! When he regains his super-strength, Superman knows he cannnot oppose the Kryptonite Man without lead protection... and decides to destroy Luthor's satellite to make the rings disappear! Unfortunately for the Man of Steel, his arch-foe has coated the satellite with Kryptonite, as well! Now that Earth is not big enough for both Superman and the Kryptonite Man, Luthor has forced his arch-foe into exile...

Now on the moon, Superman discovers that Luthor's Earth-rings did not turn the moon's lead-ore to glass! If he were to make a leaden suit, it would turn to glass below the orbit of Luthor's satellite! If he remains above Luthor's satellite rings, the leaden suit will not be affected, but he would not be able to see where the satellite is! After gathering the necessary lead ore, the Man of Steel uses the heat of his x-ray vision to smelt out the pure metal to form a molten pool in the crater! Now at super-speed, Superman creates a suit of lead, and heads to his Fortress of Solitude to gather the necessary equipment to enable him to see through lead! It will still be night when he departs from the Fortress, and the darkness will conceal his return trip to the moon! The following morning finds Luthor using his super-telescope to locate his arch-foe on the moon. Although Superman has made another leaden suit, it will turn to glass if he flies below the Earth-rings! If he flies above the Earth-rings, he will never find the satellite! Unbeknownst to the renegade scientist, a television screen before his eyes enable Superman to see everything around him!

The Man of Tomorrow has used television to see through his leaden suit! No holes are required to send the electronic impulses into his suit of lead! A TV antenna, a screen, a television receiver, a TV camera with telescopic lens, and batteries for power enable the Man of Steel to see Luthor's satellite and to pursue it! As long as he remains above the rings, his new leaden suit will not turn to glass! Superman makes a field goal in outer space with Luthor's satellite as the football! With the Earth-rings gone, all lead on Earth has turned back to normal, and his leaden suit will not turn to glass! When a henchman worries that without the satellite, Luthor will be nabbed, the renegade smiles, and waits for his arch-foe to arrive!

As the Man of Steel arrives after sunset, Luthor threatens to use a bazooka to blow apart the leaden suit, and expose him to the Kryponite Man's deadly radiation! Instead, Superman peels off his suit of lead, and stands before his foe! Despite the deadly barrage of Kryptonite radiation, the Man of Tomorrow is still standing, and is coming towards the startled criminal scientist! Luthor figures his arch-foe must have figured some way to make himself immune to Kryptonite! The renegade scientist is unaware that his arch-foe is actually too weak to move, and invisible wires are holding him up... moving his feet towards Luthor! Overhead in the darkness, Jimmy Olsen is piloting the Flying Newsroom helicopter, and using winches to control his pal's movements like a puppet! Luthor reaches for a vial from his pocket and drinks the antidote to remove the green glow in the dark!

With the glow gone, the criminal scientist attempts to sneak away from the Man of Steel, but he has forgotten that Superman can see in the dark with his super-vision powers, and thanks Luthor for allowing him to regain his super-strength by drinking the antidote! Now in a jail cell, the criminal scientist now realizes that both his arch-foe and Jimmy Olsen deceived him into taking the antidote! The Kryptonite Monkey was also given the antidote and is no longer a threat to Superman! Once the mild-mannered reporter has written up his scoop, the headline to his story reads, "Man Of Lead Defeats Kryptonite Man!"

This story was reprinted in 80 Page Giant #11 (June, 1965).

Superboy fought a bizarre foe known as the Kryptonite Kid.

Three issues later, the creative team of Otto Binder and Al Plastino created Kara Zor-El in Action Comics #252.

Beppo was the Super-Monkey of Steel!

When it came to Superman, Luthor had a chip on his shoulder, and uses the battering ram to chip off the block of the Superman statue.

The Man of Tomorrow was no stranger to boring, especially since one of his artists was Wayne Boring.

Although the mild-mannered reporter thought a story at the zoo would be boring, Luthor's experimental animal soon made a monkey out of Clark.

The giant key to the Fortress of Solitude is disguised as an airplane marker.

Dr. Mid-Nite is able to see in the dark and uses special goggles to see in the day time.

Luthor used a touch of glass on Superman's special suit and got the lead out.

Young Clark Kent kicked a football into orbit in "Superman" (1978).

One wonders why the Man of Steel didn't spray his arch-foe with lead paint or use something to throw at the satellite to render it out of commission.

The mild-mannered reporter got the lead story in the Daily Planet and it was good nite to the Kryptonite Man.

Steve Chung
"The Kryptonite Review!"