Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Superman #246 (part 2 of 3)

If you missed yesterday's post, go here to get caught up and then head on back.

The next story is a tale from The Fabulous World of Krypton, Untold Stories of Superman's Native Planet. To tell you the truth, I haven't read a whole lot of these back-ups. They showed up with some regularity during the 70's along with The Private Life of Clark Kent, but for whatever reason I usually tended to never get around to reading them.

What fun would this blog be, however, if I picked and chose what I read? So if the Randomizer says that I should read this story, then I'll read the story. Who am I to argue with a computer? After all, they're always right, eh?

Marriage, Kryptonian Style!
  • Story: Cary Bates
  • Art: Rich Buckler & Murphy Anderson

The story begins with a lonely and embittered Krytponian bemoaning his fate.

What's got him down in the dumps?

It would seem that his chosen profession of marriage counselor just hasn't been the same since the arrival of the super computer, Matricomp. It has been matching the compatibility of Kryptonians, ensuring that everyone is happily married.

"Damn you, matrimonial happiness! You've cost me my livelihood!"

Matricomp is the computer that was built by Kryptonian scientists years ago to make sure that every couple seeking marriage was perfectly matched. So perfect was its results, that it is now the law that every aspiring bride and groom must be granted compatibility approval.

As the story continues, a young Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van approach Matricomp to seek approval to be wed. Lara is uneasy about having to get a machine's permission, but Jor-El assures her that everything will be all right.

After all, when have Kryptonian scientists ever been wrong?

But submit she does, and after they are scanned Matricomp tells them to go back to their dwellings and they will be notified shortly as to the results. Now it's Jor-El's turn to feel uneasy, as usually the results are given right away.

The next day Lara is approached by Anr-Nu, a representative from Matricomp, to inform her that her union with Jor-El has been denied. Unwilling to accept a computer's decision, she returns to Matricomp to make a personal appeal on their behalf.

She finds, however, that Matricomp is insistent about its accuracy and assures her that she and Jor-El's Psycho-Ratios are not compatible. To make matters worse, it is Lara herself that's the problem.

Isn't it just like a woman to be "overly erratic and unstable". Fortunately for her, however, Matricomp has found someone in it's databanks with whom she would be compatible...it is Anr-Mu, the very same attendant who works for Matricomp.

In a sign that should have tipped off Matricomp that she wasn't going to play ball, she decides to go against type and "act like an obedient female" until she has the chance to warn Jor-El that something is wrong.

As she heads home, Anr-Mu catches up to Lara to demand that she accept him as her mate. As she begins to resist, she is hypnotized as Anr-Mu uses some sort of mental force to bend her will.

Just as she begins to surrender, Jor-El comes upon them to put a stop to things.

Jor-El talks a big game, but is unable to best Anr-Mu in physical contact, as he is fantastic condition for a middle aged man. He's soon left gasping for air on the ground, as Lara and Anr-Mu walk away hand in hand.

Jor-El refuses to accept his fate and decides to confront Matricomp himself, as he recognized something about Anr-Mu that makes him think he knows what's wrong.

When Jor-El confronts Matricomp, he finds out his hunch was right. It was lying about Lara's psycho-ratio, as she is such a catch that Matricomp itself has fallen in love with her!

The scientists that built Matricomp did such a good job, that not only is it capable of falling in love, it can pose and preen just like any other two-bit villain.

It offers to spare Jor-El's life for a few moments, if Jor-El will explain how he figured everything out.

It turns out that when Matricomp constructed Anr-Mu, he modeled him in the image of the scientist that created Matricomp. That was his undoing, as Jor-El recognized his image and was able to deduce what was happening.

Matricomp has heard enough and zaps Jor-El with a bolt of electricity. To it's surprise, Jor-El rises unharmed.

I guess that Batman wasn't the first person to think to prepare for all outcomes of a battle before you enter into one. Deducing that electricity would be the only offensive weapon available to Matricomp, Jor-El had previously insulated his clothes against just such an attack.

Knowing the jig is up, Matricomp decides to blow himself up, rather than live an artificial life without love.

As a result of Matricomp's explosion, Anr-Mu deactivates, revealing itself as nothing more than an android. With Lara safe, and in Jor-El's arms again, the age of computerized marriages in Krypton is over!


If only Superman's parents hadn't been so selfish and ruined computerized marriage for all the rest of the Krytptonians.

Maybe then Clark wouldn't have had to be so rude to old Mrs. Goldstein in the previous story. One trip to Matricomp would've been all it would've taken to get her to stop trying to set her niece up with Clark.

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics
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