Action Comics #299: "The Story Of Superman's Experimental Robots!"

Action Comics #299
"The Story Of Superman's Experimental Robots!"
April, 1963

Story: Jerry Siegel
Art: Al Plastino
Lettering: Joe Letterese

Have you ever wondered if the Man of Steel's robots always looked the same? See what happened many years ago when Superman experimented and constructed several robots which had different physiques and powers! You will be enlightened by... "The Story Of Superman's Experimental Robots!" Several years ago, in the Man of Steel's Fortress of Solitude, he was inspecting a gift from the planet Jax. Robot LL-35 was named because the initials "L.L." are often considered good luck for him. With its super-computer and miniature laboratory built in its chest, LL-35 can solve many problems Superman cannot! LL-35's computer has calculated that the regular Superman robots are obsolete! If the Man of Steel constructs two new robots according to LL-35's directions, he will never regret it! Superman has his doubts, but he will follow LL-35's instructions.

Hours later, one robot comes with two heads for sighting an enemy from the rear and an eye that can project Kryptonite-vision. The other robot possesses tentacles, one is elastic and can stretch for miles! When LL-35 asks the Man of Steel thinks of these robots, Superman says he would like to test them out on another planet! By feeding certain factors in its chest computer, LL-35 comes up with the planet Tharrl! The planet has twin suns and is populated by primitive cavemen! On the surface, they find two huge diamond clocks -- each one divided into twelve numerals, similar to clocks on Earth! BONG! BONG! The clocks toll the hour of noon! Rays shine upward from projectors atop the clocks, creating rain! The sudden rain causes the plants to grow to giant size! The plant's pods open and fruit flies out! The downpour stops abruptly and they watch as the primitive inhabitants emerge from a cave to eat the fruit! The clocks' mechanisms are geared to strike twelve, and provide food for the cavepeople! A metallic creature crawls out of a hole in the ground!

The cavemen flee from the creature, who takes a drink from a sea of molten metal! Now that its thirst has been quenched, the creature wants to eat the experimental robots! One of the robots uses an electrified tentacle to stun the creature and another to clamp its mouth shut! The elastic tentacle is used to hurl the creature down into the hole it came from! Superman had made the tentacle out of plastic so it couldn't be affected by an enemy with a magnetic weapon! After inspecting the clock tower, the Man of Steel wonders about the mysterious time-devices! He asks LL-35 to determine their origin. LL-35 pours some iridium from its "bank" of rare chemicals onto one of the towers! Its super-sensory touch estimates the clock towers' age at twenty-thousand years ago! Its computer cannot figure out who built them! The Man of Steel's telescopic-vision has picked up three unidentified spacecraft approaching!

LL-35 analyzes their flight path and guesses they are on their way to raid Earth with deadly ray weaponry! Although he could handle the emergency alone, Superman lets his experimental robots handle the situation, and reminds them not to destroy life! It is against their code! Robot WK-10 has spotted an enemy ship separated from the others, and about to attack them from behind! It melts the ray projector with its heat-vision! Robot WK-10's rear-vision face has rendered one ship harmless! As the experimental robots pursue the other two ships, a magnetic force-shield repels their metallic bodies! This is a job for the plastic stretch-tentacle! The non-metallic tentacle destroys the magnetic force shield projector and the force-field is gone!

LL-35's computer intelligence deduces the three ships are returning to their own planet in another galaxy! As the experimental robots rejoin Superman, he congratulates them, and is struck by Robot WK-10's green kryptonite-vision -- which was given to fight any Kryptonian villains! As the Man of Steel pleads for LL-35 to help him from the mutinous WK-10, the computer is used to determine the reason! The force-shield has had a delayed reaction in all three robots, affecting their loyalty tapes in such a way that they now feel hatred for him! Now that the experimental robots realize the reason for their mutiny, LL-35 is ordered to correct the defect at once! The order is rejected and the request is cancelled! Since they are machines, they obey their tapes -- not Superman!

The Man of Steel finds it ironic that LL-35 has turned against him! He has been aided by past "L.L." friends, such as Lois Lane, Lori Lemaris, Lana Lang, and Lightning Lad! The experimental robots are the masters now, not Superman! The Man of Steel will be made to suffer a slow death from kryptonite-vision! BONG! BONG! The clocks toll one o'clock and the towers have projected three-dimensional ghost-like phantoms to terrify the natives! Superman realizes whoever built the clock towers prepared the effect to make the cavepeople believe the clocks were protected by spirits! WK-10 suggests to M-26 to use his stretch tentacles to punish their creator!

It is a simple matter for M-26 to use his amazing tentacle to pluck a few dozen green kryptonite meteors out of a meteor swarm and have them spin around Tharrl! The Man of Steel will never be able to escape this deadly ring! The meteors are now in orbit around Tharrl and M-26 plucks a couple of Red Kryptonite meteors down to LL-35! Its computer has calculated that pouring some rare chemicals onto the Red Kryptonite meteors will give them whatever predictable effects on Superman LL-35 desires! The Man of Steel is tingling... and the Red Kryptonite is causing him to elongate like a large licorice stick! WK-10 commands Superman to stretch his rubbery form into a hoop or he will unleash his kryptonite-vision once more! Superman stalls for time until he can think of a way to escape!

WK-10 tosses the Man of Steel through the air to make a ring around the clock tower! Now, WK-10 rolls his creator like a hula hoop! Once the Red Kryptonite effect has worn off, and the Man of Steel has assumed his normal shape, M-26 decides to toy with him! M-26 uses his tentacles as strings to operate Superman like a puppet! He is told by M-26 to repeat after him... "My secret identity is Clark Klunk-YEEP! YEEP!" M-26 makes him kick himself while doing a grotesque dance!

Now, LL-35 uses the second piece of Red Kryptonite on the Man of Steel! As his body tingles, Superman wonders what this second piece of Red Kryptonite will do to him. The experimental robots laugh at the sight of their master having three faces! After plucking some giant flowers, the experimental robots vent their dislike of their ex-master by throwing each flower in his three faces! Once the Red Kryptonite effect has worn off, the Man of Steel regains his normal appearance, and waits for the next unpleasant thing to happen!

BONG! BONN-GG! The clock towers indicate two o'clock, causing lighting bolts to be launched from the projector to strike the trees, and cause fire! A radar-like aiming device is likely responsible... BOOOMM! The fire is for the benefit of the natives who can now roast their meat! The experimental robots are now carrying the Man of Steel towards the molten sea and he is too weak to resist them! He sees the whale-like creature and is ordered by the robots to swallow enough of the molten sea to spout a higher geyser than the creature! SPL-LASH!

While the Kryptonite has weakened him, the Man of Steel still possesses his invulnerability! The robots have tired of the sport and decide to kill their ex-master! As the force of the kryptonite-vision is increased, Superman turns green! The green hue of his skin indicates he is about to die from kryptonite poisioning! The clock towers toll three o'clock, causing a strange fall-out dust to materialize in the air and drop down! As the dust settles on the metal creatures, a chemical reaction causes them to -- crumble! The same thing happens to the experimental metallic robots! Since the kryptonite-vision is no longer shining upon him, Superman feels his strength returning!

Whoever built the clock towers created the fall-out to protect the natives from the metal creatures! The only ones to survive were the ones to hide underground at three o'clock! The fall-out may have saved him from the mutinous robots, but the green kryptonite meteors will keep him on Tharrl unless he has an idea! The Man of Steel speeds around the surface of the planet to pierce the time-barrier! He escapes by going back twenty-thousand years and learn who built the clocks! In the distant past, he watches as men constructing the clock towers are standing by a space ship! He recognizes the ancient language of Atlantis, the continent which sank beneath the sea back on Earth!

The world is not suitable for their needs! They will migrate elsewhere! The clock towers are left to aid the natives of the planet! It will provide food and fire and protect them from their natural foes! Two clocks were left in the event one should fail! The rocket blasts off, taking the Atlantides to another world! This small group escaped from Earth before their continent sank, and visited here briefly! The clocks have twelve time-units because they were modeled after the clocks on Earth! Now in outer space, Superman is far away from Tharrl, and super-speeds back into the time-barrier and returns to 1963! Back in the present, he sees Tharrl, and is now safely beyond the range of the kryptonite rings! An "LL" almost caused his death instead of saving him... LL-35! His telescopic-vision spots the hands of the two clocks -- which released the fallout at 3 o'clock form the letters "LL"! He was saved by an "LL" after all! He wonders when he will encounter another "LL" again which will affect his own destiny?

The gift from the planet Jax was a jax of all betrayals.

Mongul once sent the Man of Steel the Black Mercy as a deadly gift for the man who has everything.

Former district attorney Harvey Dent is Two-Face.

Superman was once trapped on a world populated by cavemen beneath a red sun.

The fate of Marty McFly hinged upon the clock tower in Hill Valley.

Electro is the master of electricity.

Both Lightning Lad and Lightning Lord have met the Man of Steel.

Plastic Man is able to stretch and functions as the long arm of the law.

Jimmy Olsen drank a special serum to become Elastic Lad.

Brainiac's ship possesses a special force-field to keep Superman at bay.

As Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards possesses the ability to stretch.

Ralph Dibny drinks gingold to become the Elongated Man.

The Atomic Knights once fought the survivors of Atlantis during Thanksgiving.

Steve Chung
"The Review Of Superman's Experimental Robots!"