Tag Archives: Superman

Batman 293 – Lex Luthor’s testimony

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Lex Luthor makes his first appearance in this book in Batman 293 (Nov. 77), the third installment of “Where Were You on the Night Batman was Killed?”, by Reed, Calnan and Blaisdel.

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Lois Lane has a cameo as well, and Luthor wears the most garish outfit he ever has, as he explains to Two-Face and the court how Batman was merely a sidelight in his plot to kill Superman.

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Using a satellite and a gang to lure Batman into the right location, Lex Luthor claims to have switched the minds of Superman and Batman, leaving Superman in a powerless and vulnerable body.

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Then, using his amped up gloves, Luthor beats Batman to death, in order to kill Superman.

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Unlike the previous two stories, we learn, from Superman, that all this did occur just as Luthor explained.  At least, so far as Luthor knew.  Batman had infiltrated Luthor’s gang early on, and learned the entire plan. He kept his eyes insulated from the satellite’s effects, so the heroes brains were never switched, and Batman only pretended to let Luthor kill him, with his suit also reinforced against the power gloves.  Superman gives the rest of the villains present immunity (which is a darn good hint that something much bigger is really going on in this story arc), but takes Luthor away.

The storyline concludes in the next issue.

Batman 230 – no Black Panthers in this issue, and the car blows up

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Those sure do look like Black Panthers on the Adams cover of Batman 230 (March 1970).  But they aren’t.  In fact, the story, by Robbins, Novick and Giordano, has to do with a group of white kids.

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Ok, so there is one black one.  Light black.  These are all ghetto kids, a group that helps keep the peace in the rough part of Gotham, but ho take over a new expensive condo just before it opens, protesting against gentrification.

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Batman heads in to deal with them, and finds that some of the group plan to blow the building up, though others don’t want to, and one member gets killed by another, though tries to frame the police for it.

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A radical is also central to the Robin story in this issue, by Friedrich, Novick and Giordano.  The story take place immediately after Robin’s team-up with Superman in World’s Finest 200, and Superman cameos at the top of the story.

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The tale deals with tensions on campus, the pro-war kids vs the hippies.  Dick and his friends are portrayed as calm and rational, taking neither side.  The story introduces Terri Bergstrom, who will be a major figure in the Robin series.

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A loud, trouble-making campus radical gets killed when his car explodes, and as everyone thought he a the one who blew up the ROTC office, it is assumed that he accidentally blew himself up.  Robin had been on the trail of some orange shoe wearing frat brothers, but assumes he was wrong after the car explosion.  But there is clearly more to come.

Batman 140 – the Joker’s ghost, the Alchemist’s potion, and Batman and Robin become aliens

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Another staggeringly awful cover on Batman 140 (June 1961).

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Finger, Moldoff and Paris have the Joker go ghostly in this adventure.

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At some points, from a distance, the Joker seems to appear and disappear.  Though when his robberies take place, he is clearly solid.  The Joker claim to be a ghost, but I doubt any reader fell for it.  There was no death scene, for one thing.

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Batman figures out that projected image were used for the disappearing Joker.  Not great.

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The second story in the issue is the most surprising.

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Moldoff does the art as Batman take an alchemist’s potion on live tv, which is meant to protect him from all injury.  This is watched by four assassins, hired by the mob to kill Batman.

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Batman does survive each killer’s death trap, in freakishly miraculous ways.

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That’s because the Alchemist is Superman!  Really didn’t see that coming at all.  The last assassin discovers this, and arms himself with kryptonite.  But Batman takes advantage of that, and saves Superman.  The whole thing was a plot after Superman discovers about the assassins.

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Moldoff and Paris close out the issue with the cover story.

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Batman and Robin suddenly appear in Gotham a alien, demonstrating incredible mental powers.  Batwoman and Commissioner Gordon are both suspicious, but they prove who they are.

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Even still, it wasn’t until Alfred and Bat-Hound give them the ok that I was convinced their story about getting abducted to an alien planet and then transformed into aliens themselves is the truth.

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To cover his identity as Bruce Wayne, he phones Kathy Kane and invites her to a costume ball, and then pretends that he is wearing an alien Batman costume.

Their powers wear off by the end of the story, and they resume their normal forms.

Superman 714 – Superman, and the series, end

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As Flashpoint looms on the horizon, Superman comes to an end with issue 714 (Aug. 11), by Straczynski, Roberson, Jamal Igle, Jonathan Sibal and Robin Riggs.

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Grounded comes to an end, as Superman finally meets the angry woman trailing him and causing his problems.  He defeats her, but more with words than actions.

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There are come nice cameos as Superman hands out a variety of signal devices to friends and allies, creating a network that will never appear again anyway.  But we do see Super-Chief, Steel, Live Wire, Iron Munro and Superboy.

Although the Superman book ends at this point, it returns, starting again from issue 1 after Flashpoint.

Superman 711 – Live Wire in Las Vegas

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Straczynski, Roberson, Barrows and Mayer send Superman walking to Las Vegas in Superman 711 (July 2011).

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Live Wire is on a destructive spree there.  Superman tries to remind her about when she worked on the side of the angels against the Auctioneer.  This is an odd argument, as he had to coax her and play on her ego to get her help in that situation, it was hardly a case of her acting benevolently on her own.

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Superman rushes back to his Fortress and picks up his old electric suit, and stuffs Live Wire into it.  He has theorized that her powers affect her mind, and that the suit will help her control both.  And it works.

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Jimmy Olsen has a small role in this one, as does Iron Munro, who had not appeared in a few years, since the cancellation of Manhunter.

 

Superman 710 – young Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne vs Vandal Savage

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As I suspected, Grounded does nothing for me.  Straczynski is joined by Chris Roberson, Barrows, Travel Foreman, Mayer and John Dell III on Superman 710 (June 2011), the tenth issue of the story, but the first I felt a need to write about, simply because it uses a classic villain.  Superman has continued walking across the US, being trailed by an angry woman.  The stories are pretty moody, and not very enjoyable.  There was one that dealt with child abuse, but it had an extremely patronizing tone.

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This story has Batman catch up with Superman, and the two reminisce about earlier days.

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The bulk of the tale consists of a flashback, of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent meeting up in Asia in their travels before adopting their costumed identities.  They wind up running into Vandal Savage, who has taken control of part of the Chinese army, and is using them in an attempt to find and conquer Nanda Parbat.

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There is one page I like, as it somewhat reprises the cover of Action 1, although in this case it’s a tank that Superman is lifting.  Together, they stop Vandal Savage’s army.

Superman 700 – coming home, doing Robin’s work, and deciding to walk

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Superman 700 (Aug. 10) is a double sized anniversary issue, which contains an epilogue of sorts to the New Krypton storyline, a prologue to the next storyline, Grounded, and a story from Superman’s early days that teams him up with Robin.

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The issue opens with a story by Robinson and Chang, which sees Superman return to Earth, just in time to save Lois Lane from the Parasite.  He is working as muscle for the Prankster, but the villains are not really important in this story.  In fact, we do not even see Superman capture the Prankster.

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Instead, the story deals with Lois and Clark renewing their relationship.  They discuss losing Chris, and Lois’ feelings about her father.  It makes a warm ending to the long and powerful storyline, and I love the final page, of Superman and Lois embracing in the Metropolis sky.

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Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund jump back in time for the second story in the issue.

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Dick Grayson is still in high school in this story, and Bruce Wayne refuses to let him go out as Robin until he finishes his geometry homework.  But despite Alfred’s efforts, Dick sneaks out anyway, and winds up going after some gun runners.

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Superman winds up coming to Robin’s assistance, and Commissioner Gordon is always happy to deal with the polite Superman.  As Robin has been out much later than expected, and is exhausted, Superman quickly finishes his geometry homework for him.  Dick believes that he has successfully conned Bruce into thinking he did it himself.

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But of course, no one puts something over on Batman.  It’s a cute story.  Made me smile.

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The final story in the issue, by J. Michael Straczynski, Eddy Barrows and JP Mayer, launches the Grounded storyline.

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Superman is answering questions with a crowd of normal people, one of whom is a woman who blames Superman for not using his powers to cure her husband’s brain tumour.  Superman takes this to heart.  Although he really shouldn’t. Superman is hardly responsible for every person’s ailment on the planet.

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He visits Batman in the Justice League satellite, and sees how things are viewed from way above.

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And then he talks to the Flash, who tells him that things are a blur at super-speed.

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And so, Superman comes to Earth and decides to walk across the US.

This just rubbed me the wrong way, and I didn’t collect any of the Grounded storyline.  But now I am going to read it, and write about at least part of it, as it is the final story arc before the book gets cancelled because of Flashpoint.