We start where we left off last time, with Superman whining about being an Earth-born mutant instead of a Kryptonian, and Supergirl telling him to grow up and accept it. The Protector wakes up and blasts out of the Fortress, but instead of going after him, Superman decides to go back to Metropolis and brood some more. After he leaves, we see Supergirl talking to someone over a microphone; sounds like the whole “we’re not really from Krypton” thing is bullshit … hardly unexpected, I guess. Back in Metropolis, Clark is surprised by Lois in his apartment. She’s made him dinner and, seeing as how he’s human and not an alien, he contemplates a relationship with her. Protector goes to see his boss, Radion and we get a recap of Radion’s origin—caught in a nuclear plant explosion, he was mutated and sought out other mutants like Protector to train them. We then flash to an observatory where an astronomer with the hilariously unlikely name of Pepperwinkle sees … something through his telescope. But we don’t find out what. Anyway, the next day, Clark is still moping when he hears a nuclear plant is being attacked. He shows up and fights Radion, who kinda slaps him around a bit. Radion also reveals his master plan—blow up all the nuclear stations on Earth and rule whatever mutated survivors are left. So, the usual. Supes stops the plant from blowing up and, after some more navel-gazing, heads for Radion’s “secret” lair. He fights Radion and Protector and tricks them into taking each other out. He seems to have accepted not being Kryptonian. Elsewhere, we see the planet Xonn being attacked by spaceships (which is apparently wht Pepperwinkle saw through his telescope) and a bunch of shadowy figures watching. They claim to be the ones who tricked Supes into believing he’s not Kryptonian, but they also wanted him to help save Xonn from the attacking space fleet … so I have no idea who these guys are or what they want. I guess we’ll find out next issue.
- Supes says he needs to be alone somewhere and think … so he flies AWAY from the Fortress of Solitude.
- Lois cooks beef bourguignon for Clark; that’s another reference to it … maybe Conway was getting paid every time he mentioned it.
- Radion’s secret hideout is in the Rocky Mountains; it seems like every villain has a hideout somewhere in the Rockies. Those must be some densely populated mountains.
- I like how when Clark is trying to figure out whether his Kryptonian heritage is real or not, he very casually turns on the Phantom Zone Projector and thinks to himself, “Normally, pushing that button would unleash a dozen super-criminals”; Uh, maybe it’s a good thing it DIDN’T work then, huh Clark?
This issue features Terra-Man, the space cowboy, who I’ve always thought was kind of a goofball. He shows up in Metropolis and starts advertising a new TV show starring himself. His advertising campaign is Don Draper’s wet dream, since he manages to get his ads on TV, inserted into movies, and in the newspapers … all for free! Superman tries to interfere when Terra’s flying horse carries a banner above the city, but the banner wraps around Supes and almost kills him. We then get an interlude at WGBS with Morgan Edge, Lois Lane, and some dude named Gregory Reed who plays Superman on TV—maybe a reference to George Reeves? Clark misses a golden opportunity to deflect suspicion away from himself, but instead immediately points out that he knows it’s not the real Superman. Terra-Man claims a special guest star will appear on his show and magically compels everyone in Metropolis to watch. Again, a marketer’s dream. The special guest turns out to be Superman, who’s shanghaied by Terra’s magic lasso. They fight and Terra sends every car on the street after Supes, who chains them all together and tosses them back at Terra. Terra has to blast all the falling autos with his six-shooters, but ends up running out of ammo, and Superman then punches him right out of his boots! He divests Terra of his remaining weapons and flies him off to jail. The issue ends with a nod to the old Batman TV show. The backup story is about Morgan Edge being ashamed of his Jewish heritage (his real name is Morris Edelstein) and how he comes to terms with it. It’s so sappy I’m surprised he didn’t break into a chorus of “My Yiddishe Momma”. Anyway, I’ll be back on Monday with JLA 139 (which has the end of the Adam Strange story AND Englehart’s first JLA story), plus Superboy and the Legion 224.
- When Terra-Man is doing his “viral marketing” thing, there’s a weird one-panel interruption (between panels of Morgan Edge freaking out) where some kid asks his dad about Terra and we get a quick origin recap.
- One of Terra’s advertisements is inserting himself into a movie
(though I’m not sure how that would work), but not just any movie—it’s King Kong. I’m assuming it’s the 1976 version, even though the caption says “a familiar movie classic”.
- Terra says he programmed his lasso to home in on Supes, so why doesn’t he use that to figure out Supes’s secret identity?
- When Edge, Jimmy, and Lois are watching Superman pound Terra, Jimmy says Supes can handle anything and Lois says “How well I know.” Maybe it’s just my filthy mind, but that almost sounds like she’s talking about them banging.
- Terra-Man’s “six-shooter” can demolish cars but still has limited ammo?
- After Supes punches Terra out of his boots, he shakes all the other weapons and gadgets out of him, including … spurs? Wouldn’t those have been attached to the boots?