Action Comics #278: "The Super-Powers of Perry White!"

Action Comics #278
"The Super-Powers Of Perry White!"
July, 1961

Story: Jerry Coleman
Art: Curt Swan
Inks: Sheldon Moldoff

One night in Metropolis, Perry White is relaxing in his garden, when he comes across a strange plant with the most delicious fruit he's ever tasted.  The following morning finds the Daily Planet editor in his office, and dealing with a stuck safe door.  To his surprise, Perry manages to rip the door right off its hinges.  Figuring that the metal must have rusted through, he decides the time has come to order another safe.

Later in the day, the gruff editor is on the phone with his cub reporter, and learns to his dismay that Jimmy has covered the state senators, not the Senators baseball team.  KRASSSSSH  When he slams his fist down in anger, a cigar and his desk are the next casualties.  Either things have gotten really bad at the Planet offices or Perry's gone through a few editorial changes of his own.  The Daily Planet trophy cabinet weights hundred of pounds, but the editor is able to lift it with one hand.  Thanks to heat-vision, Perry is able to light a cigar more easily.  A trail of cigar smoke follows him as he flies around his office, and thinks about how this could have happened.

Thanks to the strange fruit from his garden, Perry White now has super-powers like Superman.  In order to maintain the secret, he'll tell the others that burglars damaged his desk and the safe during a nighttime robbery attempt.  Outside of the office, Perry is greeted by Lois Lane, who wants him to observe while they take photos of the Kryptonite exhibit she set up.  Among the various replicas are Green Kryptonite which is fatal to Kryptonians, Red Kryptonite which has unpredictable effects, Blue Kryptonite which only affect Bizarros, and White Kryptonite which is harmful only to plant life.  The photographs will accompany Lois's article on Kryptonite for the Planet's Sunday color section.  The newspaper editor wonders if he is as vulnerable to Kryptonite as the Man of Steel is.  He must learn this as soon as possible.  Later, Perry White is wearing an asbestos suit to enable him to fly at super-speed without getting on fire.  A lead-lined mask will protect his identity from Superman's x-ray vision, and his insignia stands for Masterman.

After flying into outer space at super-speed, the newly christened Masterman heads for a swarm of Kryptonite meteors.  As they pass by him, he realizes that unlike the Man of Steel, he is invulnerable to Kryptonite.  Perry decides to take one back with him, in hopes of experimenting with it, and finding a way to make his fellow hero immune, as well.  Back on Earth, the Kryptonite meteor is hidden in a safe place, and Masterman is heading back for the office.  Before he can get far, he spots a runaway truck with no brakes heading for a crowd.  The super-powered figure saves the day when he stops the truck with one hand, and Masterman enjoys the feeling he gets from his new career.  Back at the Daily Planet, Perry White is back at work, and wants Clark Kent to discover the new hero's identity.  Only he knows that this is one scoop the mild-mannered reporter won't be able to get.

As Clark wonders where to begin, Jimmy asks the Chief if he can have the afternoon off to visit an sick aunt.  Thanks to his newly-acquired x-ray vision, Perry sees the baseball game ticket in the cub reporter's pocket, and decides to teach him a lesson.  Jimmy can have the day off, but the editor was hoping that his cub reporter would be able to cover today's game, and he'll have to do it himself.  With the Chief at the big game, the ball game's over for Jimbo.  Later at the Daily Planet, the staffers hear news of a lion at Metropolis Amusement Park.  The mild-mannered reporter knows that this is a job for Superman, while his employer sees this as a job for Masterman.  The girl reporter watches as her fellow reporter dashes off for an aspirin, and her editor rushes off to take a liver pill.  As he makes his way to the Daily Planet storeroom, Clark peers with his x-ray vision, and is surprised to see that Perry White is Masterman.  Since the Chief got there first, it's first come, first served.  After changing to the Man of Steel, he decides to remain out of sight, and watch the new hero with his telescopic-vision.

At the amusement park, Masterman uses his super-breath to create a trench, and isolates the lion from the crowd.  After returning the animal to its cage, Perry returns to his home, and begins to tinker with the innards of his TV set.  As Superman watches with his telescopic-vision, the editor communicates with Y'Trom of the planet Zelm.  After landing as a spore, Xasnu matured into a plant, and grew fruit for an unsuspecting Earthling to eat.  Once in the bloodstream, the Earthman would acquire super powers, and Xasnu acquired complete control over him.  With its warm sun and fertile soil, Earth is an ideal planet for those from Zelam.  Only Superman could possibly pose a threat for them.  Xasnu is ordered to learn all he can about the Man of Steel, and destroy him.  Once that has been accomplished, the Y'Tromians will arrive on Earth as spores, and begin their invasion.

With Perry White under the control of an alien plant intelligence, it's up to Superman to stop him.  As he continues to watch, he sees Xasnu researching him at super-speed, and making his plans for destruction.  The Man of Steel communicates with Supergirl via super-ventriloquism, instructing her to observe both he and Masterman.  If the alien is successful in defeating him, she is to summon the Superman Emergency Squad from the Bottle City of Kandor, and team up with them to tackle Xasnu.  Although wishing to join her cousin in engaging the alien threat, she agrees that it's best to remain hidden for the time being.  Superman also takes precautions against a threat from Kryptonite.  He implants a posthypnotic suggestion to make himself immune from the pain of Green Kryptonite.  The following day finds Clark Kent in his office at the Daily Planet. Since no one is around at the moment, he takes the opportunity to type at super-speed, and finish his daily assignments in seconds.  This should give him time to work on his defenses against Xasnu.

The mild-mannered reporter failed to take one thing into consideration.  Perry's super-hearing picks up the sound of super-speed typing coming from Clark Kent's office, and his x-ray vision confirms that he is Superman.  Xasnu prepares to unleash the first salvo against the Man of Steel by exposing his secret identity.  After calling Clark, Lois, and Jimmy to his office, he removes a piece of Green Kryptonite from a lead box, and asks the reporters what they should do with it.  As the seconds pass, the mild-mannered reporter suggests that they contact Superman, and have him dispose of the Green K while it's in the lead box.  Lois Lane thinks to herself that since Clark hasn't been affected, he can't possibly be Superman.  Xasnu is surprised that his foe isn't groaning from the pain, and wonders how he was able to pull it off.  As he leaves Perry's office, the mild-mannered reporter is grateful that his posthypnotic suggestion worked, and is barely able to walk.  For the next round, the Man of Steel heads for his Fortress of Solitude, and makes some preparations.

He dons a suit of armor made of lead, designed to shield him from Kryptonite radiation.  A TV monitor within the helmet enables him to see what's happening on the outside.  Later, the doors to the Fortress are breached by the arrival of Masterman.  He is armed with a sword made of Green Kryptonite and a spear made of Red Kryptonite.  After smashing the Bottle City of Kandor with his Kryptonite sword, Masterman confronts Superman.  In the Perry White Room, Xasnu uses telepathy to cause the Man of Steel to hurl a statue of the Daily Planet editor to symbolize their broken friendship.

Figuring that Masterman must have some sort of weakness, Superman uses an energy-drainer from the warlike planet of Erezan against him.  A giant model of the Planet Krypton shatters the energy-drainer machine.  In another chamber, the Man of Steel unleashes a space porcupine capable of emitting all manner of deadly radiation.  Unfazed by the attack, Xasnu uses his super-breath to send the extraterrestrial animal flying against a wall.  Only one last chance remains for Superman.  A machine whose vibrations can shatter any known substance into dust.

Although Masterman's weapons and protective suit are destroyed, Xasnu is unharmed.  Now, he unleashes his heat-vision to melt the lead armor right off of his foe.  With no other defenses, things look back for the Man of Steel in this final round.  Just as things are at their darkest, the Maid of Might arrives, and hurls a piece of White Kryptonite at their alien adversary.  She figured that since Xasnu is a plant intelligence, and White Kryptonite is able to destroy all forms of plant life, it would serve as the ideal weapon.  Kara is sorry for disobeying her cousin, but she was confident that her plan was foolproof, and went into outer space until she found a piece of White Kryptonite.  Impressed by her brilliant actions, the Man of Steel vows to reward her by revealing her presence to the world as soon as possible.

After returning Perry White to his home at super-speed, Superman uses White Kryptonite to destroy the alien plant.  When the Daily Planet editor recovers, he remembers saving people from a lion, and nothing more after that.  When Xasnu took over his mind, his knowledge of Clark Kent being Superman was not retained by his victim.  Back at the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl is sad that the Bottle City of Kandor was destroyed.  She is in for a surprise when her cousin reveals how Masterman destroyed a duplicate city in a Bottle, and not Kandor.  The real Bottle City of Kandor is safe and sound.  Thanks to White Kryptonite, an alien menace was defeated and the secret of Superman's dual identity remained a secret.

Steve Chung
"The Super-Reviews Of Perry White!"