Action Comics #422: "The TV Show That Menaced Metropolis!"

Action Comics #422
"The TV Show That Menaced Metropolis!"
March, 1973

Story: Cary Bates
Art: Curt Swan & Murphy Anderson
Editing: Julius Schwartz

For the Man of Steel, a morning exercise includes pulling a helicopter
out of a spin, and starting the blade once more. Below, a child peers
out from his bedroom window, and sees that Superman really does exist.

Sixteen years ago, the Nescotts gave birth to an abnormal child. The
doctor had no name for his condition, for it was unlike any known
disease. The wealthy parents soon had medical specialists flown in from
all corners of the world. Until a cure could be found, the child would
be kept in quarantine. If he were ever to go outside, and come into
contact with the air, the results would be disastrous. The cure proved
beyond even these brilliant scientists, and Woodrow Nescott remained in
his air-controlled room. Mr. and Mrs. Nescott was sworn to never release
their son into the open air until he was cured. They were careful that
their son not be injured or cut in any way.

Years later, television is Woodrow Nescott's sole companion. His
favorite show is "The Runaway," and airs immediately after the news.
Mild-mannered TV reporter Clark Kent tells the viewers about the new
Metro-Liner, which will provide one-hundred per mile serve for thousands
of commuters. When he has signed off, Clark throws his microphone to Ted
the cameraman, who regrets that Kent is a klutz off-camera. In the midst
of the rush hour crowd, a killer hurls his intended victim into the path
of an oncoming train. With his fate only seconds away, Clark uses a
quick burst of heat-vision to short-circuit the microphone held by Ted,
and gives the technician a mild shock.

As the other two rush to Ted's aid, the WGBS-TV camera crew are kept from
seeing the mild-mannered reporter using an employee entrance, and change
clothes at super-speed. SCREEEEE KRUMP The next moment finds hundreds
of tons of speeding manmade steel stopped by the Man of Steel. As he
carries the victim to safety, one spectator comments that Superman
stopped an entire train with only one foot.

The crowd of commuters recognize the face of the man who has just been
saved. "Police Agent Y-6 -- a lawman from the year 2272 -- a man
obsessed with the apprehension of a prisoner who traveled back three
hundred years into the past --!" Y-6 also time-traveled back to 1972,
and continued the search for his quarry. Rolf Kimb is an innocent man
who was judged by the future, and wrongly convicted of a crime he didn't
commit. Now, their chase takes place in modern-day Metropolis for
another exciting episode of... "The Runaway!" As the TV show continues,
Woodrow Nescott watches his hero elude his pursuer, and sees that Y-6 has
just done the unexpected.

When he confronts Rolf Kimb with his ultimate weapon, Y-6 will catch his
prey, and send him back to 2272 for execution. Will the three-hundred
year pursuit finally be over? It will be only one week for viewers to
learn... in the next episode of "The Runaway"! The teenager fights back
tears and turns on his household video-intercom. He asks his mother if
the things he sees on TV are true, and if the people on the screen are
real. She tells her son that they are all actors playing roles, and it's
all just make-believe. As he expected, Woodrow's mother has lied to him,
and tried to keep him from getting upset. For years, he has seen
Superman on TV specials and news programs. Woodrow thought that the Man
of Steel was make-believe, too.

The teenager saw Superman with his own eyes saving the helicopter outside
his bedroom window. If the Man of Steel exists, then Rolf Kimb must also
exist. Woodrow plans to break out and warn his hero about Y-6's ultimate
weapon. Mr. Nescott knows that his son has become obsessed with
television, and wishes that they had removed it long ago. As his wife
comments that their son has little enough entertainment as it is, a
shrill buzzer sounds throughout the Nescott Estate. The
electronically-coded fire-alarm's three buzzes have indicated Woodrow's
room. The following day at a Metropolis hotel suite, Clark Kent is
interviewing Mac Nelson -- who plays the part of "Rolf Kimb"... The
public will learn that Mac's character will be dropped from the series on
next week's episode. His fans will be shocked when Y-6 will finally
capture Rolf Kimb. The actor cites Mr. Spock receiving more fan mail
than Captain Kirk, the star of that series. Agent Y-6 has become so
popular, the producers have decided to write out Nelson's character

When asked by Clark if he has any bad feelings towards his costar, Dan
Marz, the actor insists that his fellow actor is like a brother to him.
He hopes that Dan is okay after that nasty train accident yesterday. Mac
Nelson then sees something outside that need the mild-mannered reporter's
attention. A white blob has just swallowed an entire automobile. Clark
cuts the interview short to enter an empty elevator, and make another
quick change.

The Man of Steel flies over a path of destruction left in the wake of the
white blob for several blocks. It eats and digests anything in its path.
Its intended target appears to be a hospital. As Superman begins his
bizarre battle, Mac Nelson gloats over how Clark Kent fell for his story.
Nelson tried to kill his costar on the train-tracks, but the Man of
Steel interfered. "The Runaway" is his show, and he's not about to let a
third-rate actor steal it away from him. If Dan Marz were to meet an
unfortunate accident, the producers would have to keep Nelson on the
show. As he smokes a cigarette, the actor strives to come up with a
foolproof way of killing him.

Inside the hospital, two doctors know more about the white blob, and must
tell Superman what they know before it's too late. Woodrow Nescott has
found "Rolf Kimb" and wonders why he's not wearing his future-garb. The
teenager pleads with his hero about the threat of Y-6 and his ultimate
weapon. The Man of Steel uses his super-strength to hurl the white blob
into outer space, and into a temporary orbit.

In his hotel suite, "Rolf Kimb" sees an opportunity to use the teenager
as the weapon to kill off his rival. Two doctors inform Superman about
Woodrow Nescott starting a fire in his bedroom to release an automatic
emergency escape door. If he were to be scratched, giant white blood
cells would emerge upon contact with the outside air, and grow millions
of times larger. Each drop of blood in the teen's veins is a deadly

If it's only a slight wound, the threat is over. If Woody is bleeding
badly, he'll create thousands of white blobs... to hunt bacteria to kill.
Every hospital in Metropolis is a potential victim of this bizarre
threat. Elsewhere, Woodrow Nescott wonders how Rolf was able to steal
the ultimate weapon away from Y-6. Nelson had kept the prop as a
souvenir and rigged it to fire like a real gun. He gives it to Woody, to
fire at Y-6. The teenager is relieved to learn that the weapon is a
time-reverser, and will send Y-6 three hundred years back into the
future. Since Agent Y-6 has had a bad fall, he is currently at Metro
Clinic, and this is where the reverser will be used.

As he promises to come through for his hero, Woody scratches himself on a
thorn bush. This is the second time he's cut himself outside. Once
Woody has entered the clinic, Mac Nelson gloats at the thought of an
unbalanced child shooting his rival in front of witnesses. Since he is
in the clear, it should be a perfect murder. Even if the boy talks, who
will believe his story about a time-reverser? It looks like "The
Runaway" will be his show again. As he strains to hear the shot, Mac
Nelson feels the cold embrace of a giant white blood cell enveloping him.

In the skies above Metropolis, the Man of Steel heads for Metro Clinic.
Inside, Dan Marz asks the kid why he's using a prop from his TV show.
Woody is about to use the prop on him, and send Agent Y-6 back to 2272.
Before he can fire, a giant white blob comes crashing through the window.
A moment later, the swift red-and-blue form of Superman comes crashing
through the ceiling, and prevents the glob from devouring two human
bacteria. As the Man of Steel prepares to send this glob into orbit, Dan
Marz wonders why he can't get some peace and quiet in this clinic.

Woodrow Nescott was eventually cured when Superman finds an rare alien
herb from our galaxy. "The Runaway" becomes "The Cases Of Agent Y-6" and
becomes more popular than ever. Mac Nelson -- "Rolf Kimb" is never seen
again and is eventually declared legally dead. His body is no longer on
Earth and no one, not even the Man of Steel knows where it really is --
and would remain for centuries to come.

On the cover of Action Comics #422 by Nick Cardy, a teenager sips his
soda pop, and regrets that the Man of Steel is only make-believe.

He does not see Superman flying past his bedroom window.

His room includes two posters, books, and a record based on the subject
of Superman.

On Earth-Prime, we've had George Reeves, Dean Cain, and Tim Daly portray
Superman on Television.

Ted learns that in order to withstand the shock of a live mike, you
really need to be a Man of Steel.

We know from the radio serial and from the intro of The Adventures Of
Superman that he's more powerful than a locomotive.

Agent Y-6 wears headphones, carries a shoulder bag, and is garbed in a
yellow/brown suit.

"Time Trax" was a TV series where a cop from the future travels back into
the past, and apprehends criminals to be sent back to the future.

Mac Nelson, a.k.a. "Rolf Kimb" found himself in a giant white blood cell
of Woody's own making.

This Review Is Dedicated To "The Fugitive Fan and Answer Man" Bob Rozakis

Steve Chung
"The Review That Menaced Metropolis!"