Superman 342 – Superman under glass

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A silly cover for Superman 342 (Dec. 79), but the Wein, Swan and Chiaramonte story itself is not that bad.

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It begins with Jenet Klyburn requesting Superman’s help after a STAR Labs project to reduce pollution goes horribly wrong, creating a deadly toxic cloud.  As Superman tries to dispose of this accident, it interacts with a strange haze that he notices, and explodes.

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The “haze” was really the discorporated essence of Chemo, the state he was left in after being destroyed by Superman and the Metal Men in DC Comics Presents a year earlier.  But this accident allows him to reform himself.

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There has been some effect on Superman as well, though at first we have no idea what.  He seals himself in a glass box for safety.  Lois Lane has a tearful scene with him, but it’s Lana Lang who brings him out of his funk, discussing the reason they can never be a couple, and hoping they can stay friends.  Ironically, she shows far more faith in his ability to overcome this situation than Lois did.

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When Chemo begins his rampage, Superman has no choice but to leave the box, and we see that exposure to air turns him into a beast.  But Chemo’s blasts are a cure, even though it was his chemical make-up that helped cause his state.  Cured, he tosses Chemo into space, although the creature comes back in three years.

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