Superman 363 – Lois and Lana at death’s door, and Bruce (Superman) Wayne ends

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte pull off one of the better Superman stories from the era in issue 363 (Sept. 81), as they conclude the tale of the deadly disease that has struck Lois and Lana.

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With no cure to be found, Superman intends to put the women into the Phantom Zone, but finds that the projector is not functioning.  Jax-Ur, General Zod and Faora have damaged it, and it will take too long to repair to save the women’s lives.

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Superman even turns to Luthor for help, although Lex refuses.  He even plays Superman cruelly, tossing a vial of the virus against the wall.  If he were infected, he would find a cure simply to save himself, but he knows that Superman would not let Lex take the risk.  It’s a really nasty mind game, well suited to the villain.

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Certain that he will lose them, Superman decides to spend what time he can making them happy.  As Clark, he takes Lana out for dinner, and allows himself to show some of how he really feels about her, making Lana start to get interested in Clark, to her surprise.

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While as Superman, he takes Lois for a jaunt in Paris.

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When the two women fall critically ill, he brings them to the Fortress.  Only then does he get the notion to try a blood transfusion, which passes on a degree of his immunity, curing them.

A bit of an easy ending, but a good story overall.

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Rozakis, Rich Buckler and Joe Giella bring the Bruce (Superman) Wayne story to a conclusion, although I would have been happy to see more. This tale is set quite a while after the previous one.  Bruce has married Barbara Gordon, and revealed his identity to her.

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They are quite happy, until Barbara gets news that her father has been killed.  She insists on accompanying her husband, and creates a Batgirl costume for herself.

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Together they hunt down the killer, Lew Moxon, who dies running in front of a truck (as he did in “reality”).

This strip was much better than most of what was being published in Superman in this era, and I find it a shame that this world was not explored more fully.

 

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