Sunday, June 27, 2010

Action Comics - Lightning Round Style

We started reading all 80 pages of the 50th Anniversary Issue celebrating Superman's first appearance in Action Comics earlier, but now let's finish this big issue out lightning round style.

The first story dealt with Superman teaming up with Wonder Woman to take down Darkseid, while the rest of the stories have a decidedly less cosmic flavor to them. They also help to round out Superman's supporting cast with stories focusing on Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luthor. Oh, and Man-Bat.

Man-Bat? I guess nothing screams "600 issues of Superman in Action Comics" like a Man-Bat story. That's the last one up however, so in the meantime let's start it up with Lois Lane.

no title given
  • Plot: John Byrne
  • Script: Roger Stern
  • Pencils: Kurt Schaffenberger
  • Inks: Jerry Ordway
  • Letters: Bill Oakley
  • Colors: Petra Scotese
While investigating a story on an escaped mob boss returning to Metropolis, Lois gets in over her head. She relies on a self-defense technique taught to her by whom...
  • Her father, General Sam Lane
  • A Las Vegas chorus girl
  • Superman himself
It's best not to go with the obvious on this one, as the correct answer is the Las Vegas chorus-line girl.

No worries though, as her chorus girl kick does the trick and the mobster is soon back in police custody as Lois heads back to the Daily Planet to file her story. When she arrives, she's in for a shocker as the front page has already been taken by the love story of the century...Superman and Wonder Woman!

It seems a paper in Boston has got quite the scoop about their budding relationship, leaving the Daily Planet with a little bit of egg on it's face by being out-scooped in its own hometown. Lois takes it hard, but Clark assures her that the original story is not based on fact.

So what does our hard-nosed reporter due next?
  • Wallows in self-pity while she walks home
  • Heads out to get the real story about this "Super-Romance Of The Century"
  • She throws herself out of the window of the Daily Planet in a bid to have Superman rescue her so she can confront him
Hopefully you're starting to sense a pattern here, as the answer is not the obvious one.

As she walks back to her apartment, she takes the long way home and bemoans her misfortune of being just a plain human. How is she supposed to win Superman's heart when she's up against Wonder Woman?

When she finally gets to her apartment, Lois is soon surprised by a knock on the door. Who comes to see her?
  • Superman, holding a dozen roses, who then escorts her to the Fortress Of Solitude on an official date
  • Clark Kent, who soon ditches her when an emergency arises and Superman is needed
  • Lex Luthor, looking for a little rebound action booty-call
Alas, for poor Lois it was Clark. He had the best of intentions, arriving with a friendly shoulder for Lois to cry on, but when Superman is needed, sacrifices must be made.

Games People Play
  • Story: John Byrne
  • Pencils: Dick Giordano
  • Inks: John Beatty
  • Coloring: Tom Ziuko
  • Lettering: Albert DeGuzman
It's another average day for Lex Luthor, power-broker of Metropolis and thorn in Superman's side. Who does he summon to his office to confront about their treatment of him?
  • Jimmy Olsen, about his camera constantly flashing in his face
  • Lois Lane, about her constant investigative reporting into his business activities
  • Maggie Sawyer, about the constant trail that the S.C.U. have on Luthor and his people

Yeah, it would appear that the S.C.U. are getting too good at their job and are getting a little too close for Lex's liking.

Luckily for Lex, Maggie has a little secret that is ripe for the blackmailing. What is it?
  • She's secretly the Alpha Centurion
  • She's a lesbian
  • She likes to smoke a little something else in her cigarette holder every once in a while
This was the late 80's, and unfortunately for Captain Sawyer, being a woman in her position of power could easily have been brought low if it became common knowledge that she was in fact a lesbian.

Lex calls in his secretary to add an exclamation point to his accusations, so to speak, but Maggie ain't taking the bait. At the very least, it gives Dick Giordano a chance to give us a little eye candy.

Maggie didn't get to where she was by accident however, and she calls his bluff and tells Luthor to go ahead and expose her secret as she won't be intimidated by anyone. Luthor, not used to being talked back to, does something out of frustration that ends up putting him in the Lex Corp infirmary. What was it?
  • He kicks his desk, which was previously lined with lead to prevent Superman's prying eyes
  • He shoves Maggie and her pointy cigarette holder hits him in the eye
  • He bangs his fist on this desk, exposing the fact that the kryptonite ring he wears has been poisoning him

Yes, this is the issue where we find out that the ring the Lex wore to keep Superman at bay would soon go on to cause him all sorts of problems.

One of the biggest problems would be for us, the readers, as it would usher in the introduction of the long-haired, hipster Lex of the early 90's.

A Friend In Need
  • Plot: John Byrne
  • Script: Roger Stern
  • Pencils: Curt Swan
  • Inks: Murphy Anderson
  • Letters: Albert DeGuzman
  • Colors: Tom Ziuko
While investigating a story, Jimmy Olsen uses his signal watch to alert Superman of what impending disaster.
  • A toxic waste spill
  • A chemical fire
  • A broken down truck
A trick question, as the answer is all of the above.

All of this is kids play for Superman though, and he soon has everything under control. Instead of basking in the glory of another job well done, Superman collapses and can barely speak long enough to ask for Jimmy's help.

Suspecting some sort of kryptonite poisoning, what does Jimmy do?
  • Uses a forklift truck to lift Superman and drive him to some underground caves
  • Uses a crane to lift Superman to the local lead smelting plant to encase him in lead
  • Raids the general store for all of the Reynolds Wrap, and wraps Superman in it
Yes, the fast thinking Jimmy borrows a fork-lift truck from a local warehouse to drive Superman underground.

Luckily for Superman, the local caverns have a high lead ratio and Superman hopes that that will be enough to shield him from the kryptonite poisoning.

Now those of you up on your Superman knowledge know that at this time there was very little kryptonite around. So what's with the sudden onset of kryptonite poisoning?
  • The truck that caught fire was filled with synthetic kryptonite, of which Superman caught a lungful of
  • Unbeknown to Superman, Metallo was driving the tanker that caught fire
  • It was radiation from the explosion of Kryptonite that finally reached the earth after traveling at the speed of light all these years
It's all about the science, as Superman has calculated that with thee distance between Krytpon and Earth, it would be just about now that the radiation would start to hit us. You think that if he would've known about it, that he would've been a little better prepared.

Oh well, whatever doesn't kill us just makes us stronger, right Superman?

Uh oh, it looks like Superman is still feeling a little under the weather.

So just who does Jimmy go to for help now? You'll just have to tune in next time to find out.

That's right, there's still one more story to go, but its late and I'm going to bed. Come back soon for "The Dark Where Madness Lies".

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics

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