Action Comics #296: "The Invasion Of The Super-Ants!"

Action Comics #296
"The Invasion Of The Super-Ants!"
January, 1963

Story: Unknown
Art: Al Plastino

Whenever humanity has been endangered, the Man of Steel has always come
to its defense.  Now, Superman has changed sides and becomes a threat.
To find out what brought this about, read on for "The Invasion Of The

Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent and Lois Lane are at the municipal zoo,
where they enter the ant colony exhibit.  The girl reporter is not fond
of insects, but Clark figures that they may someday rule the planet.
Lois thinks that he's joking, but her fellow reporter is serious.  He
explains how ants have got their own civilization, and are the most
powerful insects in size on the planet.  They can create ant hills which
are proportionately three times the size of the Empire State Building.
The ants have their own social system.  Soldier ants, worker ants, and a
queen who leads them all.  The girl reporter peers through the magnifying
glass and watches as the ants lift up several objects several times their
own size.  She asks Clark why they are touching each other's antennae.
The mild-mannered reporter knows that how they communicate with one
another.  He also admires their ability to build tunnels and to form a
natural bridge with their own bodies over a chasm.

Clark asks Lois what would happen if the ants were to grow to human
proportions, and she shudders at the thought.  Due to their superior
numbers, the ants would overwhelm mankind by a trillion to one.  The girl
reporter is grateful that the insects are content in their glass case,
and takes her fellow reporter by the arm from the exhibit.  A couple on
their honeymoon are climbing in a mountainous region outside of
Metropolis.  Their rope breaks from the sharpness of the cliff wall.

Both man and wife land on a ledge, but they may die of exposure if help
doesn't come in time.  They see giant-sized ants using their bodies to
bridge the chasm.  The ants motion to the married couple to cross over on
their backs.  The husband carries his wife across to safety.  Outside of
Metropolis, two of the giant-sized ants are tearing up the train tracks.

The freight train comes to a halt, with the ants now taking it apart, and
carrying off the freight cars.  Miles away, the giant-sized ants are
invading a warehouse, and other plants as well.  The giants ants are also
digging their way through a farm, with the farmers rushing for a phone to
contact the authorities, and the Man of Steel.  Thirty minutes later,
WMET interrupts its programming to inform its viewers about the giant
ants, and that army units will engage the giant invaders.

Perry White reads off the teletype at the Daily Planet about the giant
ants surrounding Metropolis.  Lois urges the cub reporter to use his
signal-watch, and summon the Man of Steel.  ZEE  ZEE  ZEE  The
mild-mannered reporter uses his telescopic-vision to view an army task
force making its way into a valley some twenty miles from Metropolis.
Since the soldiers may be injured, Clark Kent heads off to become
Superman.  After making his change in an empty store room, the Man of
Steel sees that the giant ants have super-human strength, and watches as
they move some freight cars.  As Superman descends from the sky, he
begins feeling a familiar weakness, and realizes that there must be some
Green Kryptonite in the area.  The ants must have been aware of his
weakness, and used the Kryptonite to prevent him from spoiling their
plans.  The Colonel has seen how the Man of Steel left, and figures that
the ants are probably prepared for any show of military force.

This may be only one of many invasion points.  The Colonel presents
Superman with a tanks painted with black lead.  He will ride inside and
be protected from the Green Kryptonite radiations.  Although the Man of
Steel's x-ray vision cannot see through lead, the army will guide his
movements via radio.  Superman inside the tank makes his way towards the
valley entrance, but one of the ants lifts up the tank, and hurls it
against a cliff wall.  PWWWAMMMM!  Without the black lead paint, the Man
of Steel has lost his defense against the Green Kryptonite.

After Superman returns to the task force, Colonel Larson informs him that
the army will be using bombs and poison gas against the giant creatures.
The air force drops their deadly cargo into the valley, but the Man of
Steel's telescopic-vision shows how the ants were unharmed by the
barrage, and the poison gas is heading towards Metropolis.  SSSSSSHHHHH
A puff of super-breath sends the deadly gas into space.  The ants reach
the city of Metropolis, and make off with certain elements.  (Holy
Selegue, Batman!).

CRRASHH!  The giant ants have climbed up the side of the Daily Planet
Building.  Lois Lane tries to communicate with them via sign language,
but is caught in their grip.  The ants climb down the building with their
captive, while the Man of Steel has seen the whole thing with his
telescopic-vision.  Instead of confronting the ants, he chooses to trail
them with his super-vision powers.  The girl reporter now sits on a
throne in a cave outside of Metropolis.  Superman sees how the ants have
made Lois Lane their queen.

The Man of Steel heads for outer space, and soars through a Red
Kryptonite cosmic cloud.  This type of Red K will function according to
Superman's command, and he concentrates on having an ant-head.  In
addition to this transformation, the Man of Steel is temporarily immune
to Green K for a short time.  PWWAMM!  The girl reporter warns Superman
to turn back before the Green Kryptonite can harm him, but he assures her
that he's perfectly fine.  She sees that he now has an ant's head.  The
cloud changed it, just as it once turned Krypto into a collie when he
passed through it.  The Man of Steel is now able to communicate with the
ants via his antennae.

The giant ants came from another world, where they had been much like
Earth ants, and the inhabitants were scientifically advanced.  After
creating several atom bombs, an H-Bomb war broke out on the alien world.
A year later, the fallout destroyed all human life, and left only the
insects.  Thousands of years passed, with the fallout causing the ants to
grow to human size.

They had created a remarkable civilization of their own, but were
concerned about humans on other worlds who might face the same plight.
The ants traveled to other planets, spreading their message about the
danger of atomic war.  On one such world, it was vegetable life which
took the place of human life after such a war.  On another planet,
minerals were the dominant form of life.  The ants came to Earth after
seeing the test explosions, but their spaceship crashed into the valley.
They had raided depots, trains, and warehouses for the necessary
materials to rebuild their ship.  The giant ants lead the Man of Steel
outside to show him what they've rebuilt.

A rocketship taller than three skyscrapers is the fruit of their labor.
Superman wonders why the ants didn't tell mankind the purpose of their
mission, and terrified everyone.  They had taken Lois Lane as their queen
in hopes that the Man of Steel would recall the other ant traits, and for
him to find a way to communicate with them.  Superman asks if they came
in friendship, why did they have Green Kryptonite with them at all times?
The answer is revealed when the rocket takes off, and the resulting
vapor trail is green.  Their rocket fuel is made of liquid Green
Kryptonite, and it was what weakened the Man of Steel during the
rebuilding.  Superman has become his normal self, and at a U.N. meeting,
he addresses the members.  He brings the ants' warning to all Earth
governments.  They are to avoid atomic war or else the ant-head he
adopted will become their legacy.  If they cannot learn to coexist in
peace, mankind will die off, and the insects will have inherited the

This story was reprinted in Superman #227 (June-July, 1970).

On the splash page, Lois Lane sees how the Man of Steel now has an ant's
head, and Superman has decided to become one of the invading giant ants.

While attending a science exhibit, Peter Parker was bitten by a
radioactive spider, and became Spider-Man.

Is it me or does Clark seem awfully interested in the ant exhibit?  Maybe
Ma and Pa Kent gave him an ant farm back in Smallville.

The giant-sized ants demonstrate how much more powerful they are than a

While taking the freight cars, the ants' actions cause the train engineer
to experience fright.

In the days before cellular phones, a farmer had to rush off for a
telephone, and tell his friends about the giant ants in his farm.

WMET viewers must be a jaded lot.  Today it's the giants ants outside of
Metropolis, and tomorrow it's Lex Luthor making a tank out of a printing
press to break out of prison.

It would make someone think seriously about moving to Gotham City, at

Colonel Larson put a Superman in his tank, but the ants threw the vehicle
for a loss.

The ants made off with certain elements, but we don't know which ones.
(Holy Elementary School, Batman!)

In addition to Perry, Jimmy, and Lois, there are two bald guys in tan
suits who are rushing for the exit.

I hope these men weren't potential advertisers looking for space in the
Daily Planet.

The ants treat Lois like a queen, but I'm sure that she'd want Superman
as her king.

The Man of Steel knows about the crimson cloud from Superboy #101.

In addition to the antennae, Superman's head also sports two blue bug
eyes, too.

This Review Is Dedicated To Jack Selegue

Steve Chung
"The Invasion Of The Super-Reviews!"