Friday, October 23, 2009

Action Comics #510

TITLE: Action Comics #510


COVER DATE: August 1980


17 pages


This book came out a good five years before I started reading comics full time, so to say that I don't remember much is a bit of an understatement. Even when I started reading and collecting, I wasn't a Superman fan until the Death of Superman mega story in 1992. It wasn't until about eight years later, after I found myself still reading all of his monthly titles, that I made the decision to focus most of my back-issue collecting in amassing as many Superman books as I could.

The easiest runs to complete were the 80's stuff, and this book was in that initial run of holes plugged up. I actually haven't gotten around to reading many of the books from this time period, as I first turned my attention to the Byrne era and then to the bronze age books, which I've found are the Superman books I enjoy the most.

So long story short...I haven't read this particular issue yet and I don't really have a good idea of what to expect. Although I suppose that the fact that I have no initial impression of this era of Superman books tells me all I really need to know about what's in store for us.

Luthor's Last Stand!
  • Writer: Cary Bates
  • Penciller: Curt Swan
  • Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
  • Letterer: Ben Oda
  • Colorist: Gene D'Angelo
  • Editor: Julius Schwartz
    It's Monday morning rush hour in the heart of Metropolis' financial district. Where normally there should be a bustle of activity, there is only silence.

    Luckily for us, Lana Lang is on the scene reporting the bizarre occurrence and filling us in on the details in the process.

    It would seem that Lex Luthor had telephoned the mayor to announce that he is going to destroy the financial district of Metropolis, thus beginning the great stock market "crash of '80". Since this is Metropolis, however, Superman is on the scene restlessly scanning for any signs of trouble in the deserted city.

    The silence is soon shattered as an egg-shaped device bursts from beneath the street, giving off deadly vibration waves that are causing the buildings in the area to collapse. Who knew that Luthor was into puns, as the "crash" was to be taken literally and was designed with the sole purpose to distract Superman so Lex could take him out with his "ultimate" weapon.

    Everything was going perfectly, until something happened that Lex's mega-computer didn't account for in it's calculations. It would appear that there was someone alive in the rubble who hadn't evacuated with the rest of the city. While rescuing her, Superman has left himself wide open to be struck down by Luthor's weapon.

    While lining his shot up, Lex catches a glimpse of the recently rescued damsel in the scope of his weapon and has a change of heart. He just can't bring himself to pull the trigger! Could our little Lexy be falling in love? Could he finally be turning over a new leaf, empowered by the love of a beautiful woman?

    Lex decides to let Superman and the woman go without firing his weapon. So he can rush to the nearest florist to buy flowers for the woman that has so entranced him?

    Maybe not...

    I'm sure dressing up like Gabe Kaplan and impersonating a meter-man while surreptitiously taking photographs of the object of your infatuation is a much better idea.

    I think Lex needs to get out more and stop reading those Forum letters for his inspiration in the ways of dating.

    Realizing that he hasn't quite achieved the level of creepiness that he was looking for, Lex has his robot assistants kidnap the woman. She is brought to Lex's lair, where she is strapped to a medical gurney and wheeled into his Bio-Lab.

    We'll have to wait to see if Luthor's courting ritual has worked or not, as he has another nefarious plot that needs tending to.

    In an abandoned airstrip outside Metropolis, Luthor has summoned all of the leading crime-bosses of Metropolis to a meeting.

    How this assembled band of criminal masterminds has never managed to bring down Superman is beyond me. I mean look at 'em, they practically reek of evil...or is that Old Spice...I can never tell.

    Under the pretense of auctioning off his ultimate weapon, he has instead used it on the assembled crime-bosses to wipe them out in one fell swoop. He did not, however, account for Superman impersonating one of the mobsters to be there and thwart his plans.

    Superman makes short work of the assembled crime-bosses and discovers that Luthor was in fact a robot, and not the real deal. That's not the only surprise that Luthor has in store for Superman though, as it turns out that the ultimate weapon would only have teleported the crime-bosses to the Metropolis Police Station instead of disintegrating them.

    Luthor has turned over a new leaf! Love has conquered evil after all!

    But what was it about that woman that captured the evil geniuses heart? And does she feel the same way?

    Back at his secret lair, Lex pours his emotions out to his sweetheart (or say po-ta-to, I say po-tah-to).

    After first glimpsing her in the sights of his ultimate weapon, Luthor was smitten. Over the next week while he wrestled with his emotions (or spied on her and kidnapped her...again, you say po-ta-to, I say po-tah-to), Lex discovered that she was suffering from a terminal disease. Using his scientific prowess and his "radical electro-spinal technique", he has cured her.

    But will that be enough? Does she finally see how much of a new man that he has become?

    Love truly does conquer all...

    Although don't be too sure, as the story is continued next issue. I'm sure Lex will find someway to screw this up.


    The big takeaway from this issue is that Luthor has obviously chosen the wrong career path. Where he has consistantly failed at world domination, there is one area that this issue shows us that he has a real talent for...the art of love.

    Who knew that Lex could use his scientific genius to boil down exactly what it is that a woman needs, after merely glancing at her.

    Although it would probably be prudent to read the next issue before we all run out purchase our own Mr. Kotter wig and mustache. I've read a few Superman books between this one and current day, and I can't say that I ever remember seeing his one true love again.

    All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics


    1. I have this issue! I like Curt Swan’s art and have been taking advantage of the fact that right now Bronze Age comics are just the right vintage for affordability--old enough not to be expensively hot, but not so old as to be expensive classics.

      IIRC there is indeed a twist regarding Angela Blake, which I won’t spoil for you.

    2. I love the Bronze Age books! Most of my attention re-reading has been focused on the early to mid-70's stuff. This issue has shown me that there are some gems to be discovered at the tale end of the era as well.

      ...and what good would a bronze age story be without some crazy twist at the end!