Action Comics #310: "The Secret Of Kryptonite Six"

Action Comics #310
"The Secret of Kryptonite Six"
March, 1964

Story: Leo Dorfman
Art: Curt Swan and George Klein

There is glee in the Phantom Zone. The twilight dimensional prison
where Kryptonian criminals are incarcerated. For they have succeeded in
subduing the Man of Steel's heroic career with the mystery of "The
Secret of Kryptonite Six!" On the splash page, Superman tells his
pal not to worry, for the Jewel Kryptonite can't affect him at all, for
there's only five varieties of Kryptonite. In the Phantom Zone, Jax-Ur
laughs, as he anticipates how this harmless form of Kryptonite will soon
complicate the Man of Steel's life. Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent
and cub reporter Jimmy Olsen are covering a "mock" invasion by U.S.
marines, with Jimmy impressed by the sight, and Clark unnerved by the
sound of shell-fire. The next moment finds Clark remembering an important
appointment, while Jimmy wonders how scared his fellow Daily Planeteer
can be?

Under the cover of battle-smoke, the mild-mannered reporter changes
to Superman, who prepares to head for a vital mission in Kandor. On
the way there, he sees Lori The Mermaid, who is acting weak and whose
skin is all blotched. She tells him that a deadly spotted plague has
struck Atlantis and it has weakened their telepathic powers, making it
impossible for her to contact him earlier. Superman's telescopic-vision
shows that an epidemic has struck the underwater continent, and the
Atlantean doctors are unable to help their fellow citizens. A cure must
be found or else Lori and her fellow Atlanteans will be destroyed by the
spotted plague. The Man of Steel tells Lori that as soon as he's
finished a crucial meeting in Kandor, he'll begin work on a cure for the
spotted plague. She urges him to hurry, for their lives depend on
him. Traveling at super-speed, Superman uses a reducing ray to enable
him to enter the bottle.

Parachuting down to the city, Superman is greeted, and is told that
he is chairman of the Phantom Zone parole board. At the Hall of Justice,
the board watches via a special monitor screen and listen with a
Zone-O-Phone as they hear an appeal from the Phantom Zone. The case of
Vorb-Un is first to be heard, and he has been sentenced to ten time
cycles for experiments with forbidden elements without the council's
permission! With his sentence up, Vorb-Un repents his crime and pleads
the Kandorians for his release. Taking into account his advance age and
genuine remorse, Vorb-Un is released, and he thanks Superman, as well as
promises to be a good citizen of Kandor. The next case involves the
Phantom Zone prisoner known as Jax-Ur, who is under a life sentence, but
seeks to appeal to the board for his release. The others on the council
remember Jax-Ur's crime of creating a ray which destroyed an inhabited
moon of Krypton. He tells them that he's learned his lesson, and asks to
redeem himself -- then tells Superman that he can help him find a cure
for the spotted plague in Atlantis.

When he was a young scientist on Krypton, and before he turned to
crime, Jax-Ur saved an aquarium which was stricken by a similar disease,
by devising a special fungus antidote. A council member urges Superman
not to trust Jax-Ur, who will no doubt betray him, and the Man of Steel
will be unable to return him to the Zone. Jax-Ur asks for twenty-four
hours to prove himself, and Superman recalls how this Kryptonian criminal
has a habit of making escape attempts from the Phantom Zone. In the
Fortress, Superman has failed to find a cure for the spotted plague, and
with death a certainty for Atlantis, he has no choice but to release
Jax-Ur. Using his super-speed, the Man of Steel makes preparations, then
uses the Zone-O-Phone to contact Jax-Ur, who will gain a temporary release
so that he can find a cure for the spotted plague. As he materializes in
the Fortress, Jax-Ur sees that a ring has been fastened to his arm, and
the Man of Steel tells him that it is a Zone-Shackle, which will return
him to the Phantom Zone after twenty-four hours anyway. When Jax-Ur points
out that as a Kryptonian, he too possesses super-abilities under Earth's
yellow sun, and could remove the shackle, Superman directs his attention
to a flame-breathing creature from a distant world. The Man of Steel
removes the beast's muzzle so that it can try to remove the

As soon as the creature begins to use its flame-breath to remove the
Zone-Shackle, it vanishes into thin air, and re-materializes on its
native world, a fiery, barren planet under a red sun. Jax-Ur gets
the point and assures Superman that he's sincere about reforming. Jax-Ur
enters a time capsule, and bids the Man of Steel to follow him, for the
antidote for the disease can only be found in the past. The capsule
arrives at Krypton, before it was destroyed, and by using the time
capsule rather than his super-powers to travel through the time barrier,
they will be able to return to 1964, than be stranded under Krypton's red
sun. Landing the capsule near the Jewel Mountains, they make their way
to Jax-Ur's secret laboratory, and the capsule will be safe, for within
the mountains, its controls may be damaged. As they climb the glittering
peaks, Superman is amazed by the sight of a skeleton of a huge crystal
bird, a species which once filled the skies of ancient Krypton.

The birds came to this area to die and their skeletons were
transformed into the Living Jewel Mountains, which are similar to the
legendary Elephant Graveyards of Africa. After spending hours in
climbing, they arrive at Jax-Ur's lab and he seeks the record of the
spotted plague antidote there. Inside the headquarters, however,
Superman enjoys the automatically prepared dinner, but grows sleepy, and
figures that it's from the long climb. Jax-Ur doctored his food and
has hours in which to enact his scheme. He climbs to a nearby pinnacle,
and obtains some jewel minerals, whose atomic structure he's affecting
with a device he's carrying. He has calculated that when Krypton
explodes, this jewel chunk will be hurled towards Earth, but since he has
transmuted its elements, the mineral will be transformed into a new form
of Kryptonite, with incredible powers.

In the lab, Superman awakes, and sees Jax-Ur checking a map for the
location of the antidote they seek for curing Atlantis. According to
Jax-Ur's notes, the fungus grows in the Scarlet Jungle. Landing the
capsule near the weird wilderness, Jax-Ur tells the Man of Steel to keep
a sharp eye out for the fungus. Superman notes that the jungle floor is
tangled with vines, and it's akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
Suddenly, a Thought-Beast appears, and as Jax-Ur takes cover behind a
giant purple mushroom, he tells Superman that the thought-screen
image shows what it plans to do to the Man of Steel, who is unable to
run, for his foot is caught in the vines. Jax-Ur throws one of the
plants at the Thought-Beast to stop its charge. As the startled
creature stomps away, Superman thanks Jax-Ur for the save, but the
scientist tells him to forget it. He concentrates on the plant which he
threw at the Thought-Beast. It contains the spore-dust needed to cure
the spotted plague. They gather up the fungi, then make preparations to
return to Earth.

As they head through the time-barrier, Superman watches as Krypton
meets its end. Jax-Ur silently regards the sentimental fool seated
next to him. The explosion will create a weapon which will end his
heroic career. On Earth, Superman heads for Atlantis with the spore
antidote. Since Jax-Ur's twenty-four hours aren't up yet, he is
permitted to spend it as a free man. In space, Jax-Ur heads for the
transformed jewel mineral, which has been transformed into Jewel
Kryptonite, and has been hurled into orbit around Earth. Only he knows
what its powers are. To continue with his plan, Jax-Ur breaks off a
piece, then leaves the rest in orbit. Back on Earth, Jax-Ur uses his
telescopic-vision to find Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Pal, and who will be
the perfect tool for his scheme. Jimmy is by himself in the Daily Planet
darkroom. Jax-Ur arrives and hypnotizes Jimmy by spinning the jewel like
a top, while in Atlantis, Lori and the Atlanteans are cured.

Above The Daily Planet, Jax-Ur meets with Superman, and he hopes
that his aid in curing the Atlanteans will prove that he's atoned for his
crimes. The Man of Steel promises to put in a good word with the
Kandorian parole board. As Jax-Ur returns to the Phantom Zone, he is
greeted by jeers for aiding Superman. He assures them that it was all
part of a plan he's set up. Jimmy uses his signal-watch to call his pal,
and asks him to pose with a display of imitation Kryptonite in order to
settle an argument among readers about how many types of Kryptonite there
are. Happy to oblige, Superman assures his pal that there are only five
types of Kryptonite: Green, Red, Gold, White, and Blue. In the Phantom
Zone, Jax-Ur smiles, for the Man of Steel will soon learn of the
fantastic powers of Jewel Kryptonite. The flashgun goes off and Jimmy
breaks out of his trance, then tells Superman about Jax-Ur's scheme to
use this new type of Kryptonite on him. Hearing the commotion, Daily
Planet Editor Perry White enters.

Feeling no reaction to the Jewel Kryptonite, Superman hurls it out
of a window and into space. The gruff editor thinks that it was
just a dream of Jimmy's. Perry asks the Man of Steel if he can fly Jimmy
to the airport for some interviews with celebrities since the Planet
helicopter is being repaired. Superman is glad to oblige, while Jimmy
finishes loading up the flashbulbs. As he carries Jimmy past a tank farm
outside of Metropolis, they see a fuel tank begin to explode as soon as
they came near it. As Superman prepares to land and deal with the fire,
the other tanks in his flight-path begin to explode. Jimmy wonders if
Jewel Kryptonite could have something to do with it? Dropping Jimmy at a
safe area, Superman leaves Metropolis before anything can happen. Then at
Jimmy's suggestion, he heads for open sea, but floating mines from World
War II begin to blow up due to his very presence. He has become a
menace, for whenever he comes near anything explosive, it blows up.

As he heads for space, the Phantom Zoners laugh, for they know that
the Jewel Kryptonite isn't affecting Superman, but if the Man of Steel
believes himself a menace, then it should be easier for Jax-Ur to
persuade him to release him from the Phantom Zone. The chunk of Jewel
Kryptonite magnifies the mental commands of the Phantom Zone criminals
and changes them to energy beams which can explode any explosive material
they seek. They concentrate as Superman passes by a space rocket, and
causes the fuel to explode. Superman believes that he's responsible for
blowing up the rocket, then sees only one way out of this dilemma, by
heading for his Fortress. Inside the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl has
been told of her cousin's problem, and asks how she can help,but Superman
brushes her aside to use the Zone-O-Phone and contact him. Jax-Ur has
betrayed him, and by exposing him to Jewel Kryptonite, he has made the
Man of Steel a threat to the whole world. Jax-Ur assures him that there
is a cure, but for it, he must release every criminal in the Phantom

Unable to accept Jax-Ur's demand, Superman will be forced to leave
Earth forever, and Supergirl vows to find a way to change her cousin back
to normal. As he makes one final patrol over the green fields of Earth,
Superman is seen by a father and son riding their power lawn mower, with
the dad telling his son about the Man of Steel being mankind's greatest
friend. Unbeknownst to them, Superman believes himself to be mankind's
greatest enemy, for if he should fly over an atomic base, he could blow
up an entire city. The next moment finds the Man of Steel making a sudden
realization, and as he waves back to the father and son, he is determined
not to have Jax-Ur and his fellow Kryptonian criminals drive him from
Earth. At the Fortress, Jax-Ur is surprised to see Superman still on Earth,
and warns him to leave before he blows up the world, but the Man of Steel
is wise to his game. Jax-Ur's plan to convince him that his mere presence
would cause explosive materials to blow up in the area might have succeeded
if not for three mistakes. Superman became suspicious when he flew over a
suburban home, and saw the power lawn mower, which operates on gasoline,
didn't explode.

Likewise, Perry's cigarette lighter and Jimmy's gas-filled flashbulbs didn't
explode, either. Upon his return to the Fortress, Superman received a
telepathic call from Lori Lemaris, whose mental powers detected Jax-Ur's
thoughts of his Jewel Kryptonite plot! Upon learning the details from Lori,
the Man of Steel hurled the Jewel Kryptonite into the sun to destroy it
forever. Jax-Ur's scheme was clever, but it was uncovered by Lori Lemaris'
telepathy. Jax-Ur could have been a hero, but he outwitted himself, and to
the Kryptonian scientist now a prisoner, he'd rather be notorious as the
worst criminal in the Phantom Zone. Superman and Supergirl leave the
Fortress, relieved over the close call of Jewel Kryptonite, whose power may
have enabled the Phantom Zone Criminals to take over the world, and within
that twilight realm, Jax-Ur and his criminal cronies vow that it will
someday come to pass.

The Phantom Zone, a twilight dimension which must have Rod Serling as its
host and prison guard.

In the first Superman movie, three Kryptonian criminals were sent
into it, and in the second movie, they were released, but the motion
picture Phantom Zone resembled a record album cover in its dimensions.

The Atlanteans are suffering from a spotted plague which is killing
them, but Superman must first head to Kandor to be the chairman of The
Phantom Zone Parole Board. Priorities... priorities.

Nice to see that in the person of Vorb-Un, a Phantom Zoner can reform.

Jax-Ur's crime of blowing up Wegthor is not likely to earn him friends
on the board.

Jax-Ur bears a striking resemblance to B-Movie actor Fred Clark, who
appeared in "Doctor Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine, The Twilight Zone,
The Mummy's Hand(?)), and he reminds me of my grandfather, who also
resembled Fred Clark, to his dismay.

The flame-breathing creature from a distant world looks like the same
one from "Superman's Return To Krypton," the story where he met Lyla
Lerrol and his parents.

The Thought-Beast resembled a triceratops, and its thought-screen
gives new meaning to the song, "Can You Read My Mind?"

Another form of Kryptonite would be X-Kryptonite, which gave Streaky
The Super-Cat temporary super-powers.

Nice to see a parent introduce their child to Superman, who smiles
and waves back. Now that's cool!

Steve Chung
"The Review of Kryptonite Six"