Comics Reviews: Superman 335, Action 495, DC Comics Presents 9

Superman 335 coverSuperman #335 – “Mxyzptlk Spelled Backward is T-R-O-U-B-L-E” – Martin Pasko/Curt Swan/Frank Chiaramonte

This one starts with Superman and Lois Lane hanging out at her place, discussing marriage. No, it’s not an imaginary story, they’ve just been getting closer lately and it’s a natural topic. Superman points out that it would be too dangerous for Lois to be his wife, since his enemies might go after her, but she points out all the times her life has been in danger before. Superman says he’s been trying to find a way to give her super-powers, but hasn’t had any success. He vows to keep looking until he finds a way, then takes off. In the fifth dimensional world of Zrfff, Mr. Mxyzptlk is on trial for misusing his magic. Usually the Zrfffians appreciate a good joke, but this time Mxyzptlk went too far (hebitten turned the Mayor’s kids into chickens), so he’s in trouble. He’s doubly worried, because he’s due to marry a babe named Bgbznz tomorrow and she might get pissed off if he misses the wedding because he’s being punished. Sure enough, the judge sentences him to be banished to the third dimension—Superman’s world—and he’s immediately zapped there. In the Fortress of solitude, Superman is experimenting with a reptile creature from a red-sun planet. He hopes the creature’s venom will give Lois super-powers, but when his alarm goes off the creature bites his hand. Since it has super-strength under Earth’s yellow sun, its fangs sink into Superman’s hand, leaving him sprinkler topwondering what effect the venom will have on him. He goes to check the alarm, which turns out to be a huge fire at the headquarters of a toy company. The building (conveniently) has a revolving restaurant on top in the shape of a giant top, so Supes spins the restaurant (don’t worry, it was evacuated) and uses a bunch of fire hoses to turn it into a gigantic sprinkler and extinguish the fire. Mxyzptlk is nearby and he’s already tried saying his name backward, which usually sends him back to Zrfff. But the judge put a curse on him, so saying his name backward doesn’t work. Mxyzptlk decides he’ll have to get Superman’s help in returning home, so he turns the WGBS helicopter into an eggbeater to draw Superman’s attention. Superman is already inside the Galaxy Building as Clark Kent, and he’s got problems of his own: his hand has turned green and scaly where the space-reptile bit him. He causes Lois to spill her purse, then uses some makeup to cover his green hand. Hearing a scream, heeggbeater rescue changes back to Superman and notices the green scaliness is spreading all over his body. Outside, he rescues Lana and the chopper pilot from the eggbeater and confronts Mxyzptlk, who’s surprised to see Superman has changed completely into a reptile-man. Supes is understandably upset, especially since the transformation seems to be canceling his super-powers. Mxyzptlk asks Superman to help him get home and Supes says he will if Mxyzptlk cures him. But neither of them trusts the other to keep his word, so they’re at a stalemate. Mxyzptlk figures he can force Superman to help him, so he turns the Galaxy Building into a newspaper building—literally. As the paper building crumbles, Superman uses a vortex to rescue all the people and set them down safely. He freaks out and tries to pound Mxyzptlk, who’s surprised, since Superman has never physically attacked him before. Supes says Mxyzptlk may newspaper buildinghave killed Lois, who’s lying in a heap on the ground, and Mxyzptlk mentions his own impending marriage as the reason he’s so eager to go home. Superman says he can see Mxyzptlk’s fiancée in Zrfff with his super-vision and she’s about to get mowed down by a car. Mxyzptlk urges Superman to save her, but Supes crash lands on a rooftop, saying the reptilian change has taken the last of his powers. Mxyzptlk changes him back to normal and Superman admits he was bullshitting about Mxyzptlk’s fiancée; his vision powers had already conked out. Mxyzptlk is pissed off, but before he can retaliate, he’s zapped back to Zrfff. It seems the judge put a condition on Mxyzptlk’s banishment that it would be broken if he did a good deed for someone. I’m not sure if turning Superman normal really counts, since he did it out of self-interest, but it worked. With Mxyzptlk gone, the Galaxy Building goes back to normal and Superman tells Lois he won’t be trying to give her super-powers again anytime soon. She doesn’t seem to care one way or another. In Zrfff, Myxzptlk marries his honey, but she’s a better practical joker than him; turns out she’s not hot at all, she short, chubby, and ugly. So everyone but Myxzptlk laughs their asses off.

Noticeable Things:

  • Superman says there were 300 people in the Galaxy Building for him to save. In a building that big, wouldn’t there be more than 300 people?
  • I’m not sure why Lois ended up unconscious on the sidewalk when everyone else was fine.
  • Superman says Mxyzptlk’s woman is going to get run over by a car, but why would they have cars in Zrfff? Doesn’t everyone have magic?

Action 495 coverAction #495 – “Attack of the Ultimate Warrior” – Cary Bates/Curt Swan/Frank Chiaramonte

Last issue, Clark Kent (and Lois Lane) went to Smallville because someone sent Perry White an alternate Superman logo from there and claimed to have plenty more secrets about the Man of Steel. Clark’s old friend Chief Parker had been looking after the Kent house and said it was haunted. After Lois saw a ghost too, and Superman found his alternate symbol used as graffiti downtown, he realized the house must contain a parapsychic entity that’s affecting people’s minds. Chief Parker postulated the ghost appeared as whatever type of warrior a person most strongly identified with, which in Clark’s case turned out to be an undefeatable Kryptonian warrior called a Dwalu. Even more unfortunately, Clark’s warrior turned out to be real and ambushed him at a waterfall outside Smallville. That’s where this issue starts, with the DwaluDwalu tosses Superman in the river tossing an unconscious Superman into the river. At the Kent house, Lois is dictating her story and Chief Parker asks if she and Clark are more than just friends. Lois doesn’t really answer him and goes outside to look for Clark (who went out to “get some air” last issue). Superman recovers and flies home just in time to change back to Clark Kent. He pretends not to believe in the ghost, but sketches the Dwalu warrior and hides the sketch in his secret vault downstairs, which is full of all kinds of crap from his Superboy days. Chief Parker asks him if he’s hot for Lois, but Clark says “no comment”. That night, Chief Parker and Lois wait in the living room with a bunch of ghost-hunting equipment, while Clark sleeps upstairs. A weird energy tendril emerges from the secret vault and floats upstairs, causing Clark to have a memory-dream of his Superboy days. He remembers saving a planet called Zoltam from a huge space dragon called a Gnmod. Dwalu attackBut Zoltam’s power source was a crystal that converted sound into energy and when Superboy punched the Gnmod, the noise blew up the crystal and the Gnmod. The Zoltams gave Superboy a trophy (which is now in his secret vault) and he went home. When the memory-dream ends, the Dwalu manifests in Clark’s room and attacks him again. Chief Parker and Lois hear Clark’s scream and run upstairs, but only find a smoking hole in the middle of the bed, which freaks Lois out. Outside, the Dwalu confronts superman, saying he’s looked forward to a return meeting, which confuses Supes since Dwalu warriors died out ages ago on Krypton. The Dwalu admits it’s really the astral essence of the Gnmod from Zoltam all those years ago. When it blew up, it’s astral form was freed from its body and resided in Superboy’s trophy until it could reincorporate into a new form. Since the Dwalu comes from Superman’s own memory as an unbeatable Kryptonian warrior, Supes thinks he might be in trouble. He starts fightingsword catch the Dwalu and has trouble holding his own, but soon recalls a way to defeat a Dwalu. He disarms the warrior with his cape and tosses it away. The Dwalu starts crushing him, but it turns out Superman actually threw the Dwalu’s sword right around the world and back into his own hand! Since a Dwalu can only be defeated by its own sword, Superman uses it and the Dwalu disintegrates. The Gnmod’s astral form thanks Superman for freeing it so it can continue its journey to the next level. It then flies off to find nirvana, leaving superman to change back to Clark Kent. In Clark’s room, Lois is crying over the smoldering bed and almost confesses the depth of her feelings toward Clark, when Clark pops up from under the bed. He claims to have hidden under the bed and passed out for the whole night. You’d think Lois would be suspicious, but she’s so happy he’s alive that she hugs the shit out of him. Chief Parker walks in and shows them the hallway rug with a farewell message burned into it. Parker and Lois assume the departing ghost left the message, but it was really Superman using his heat vision. I guess a fake ghost was preferable to the truth. Chief Parker wonders about Lois and Clark’s little display of affection, but they both try to downplay it. They should just bang and get it over with.

Noticeable Things:

  • I’m not sure why the Zoltams gave Superboy a trophy for destroying their main source of power.

DC Presents 9 coverDC Comics Presents #9 – “Invasion of the Ice People” – Martin Pasko/Joe Staton/Jack Abel

This one starts with Clark and Lois at a mountain cabin near Metropolis, trying to interview a famous-but-reclusive sculptor named Lupescu. He says he’s not really up for an interview right now, then seems to go into a weird trance. He goes outside and starts working on a huge ice sculpture. His housekeeper, Mrs. Quinch, says he’s been acting weird for a while, running outside to work on the sculpture at odd times, acting like he’s under some kind of spell. Lupescu stumbles in and says he’s finally finished the sculpture, then passes out. He wakes up right away and says he remembers everything and that the sculpture he just finished is evil and should be destroyed. A giant icy hand crashes through the wall and grabs Lupescu, dragging him outside. Clark pretends to fall down the stairs and changes to Superman. He goes after the giant ice-monster, which says it’s going to keep Lupescu quiet, then throws him off a cliff.Lupescu saved Superman saves him, but the ice-monster disappears. At Metropolis airport, Diana Prince is on an incoming flight when the ice-monster attacks the airport. It’s ranting about being too hot and wanting to chill things down, so Diana changes to Wonder Woman and attacks it. Superman shows up and tries to melt the monster, but gets slapped down. The monster’s melted arm regenerates and Wonder Woman’s magic lasso has no effect on the creature. It slams her to the ground, injuring her shoulder and Superman smashes right through its middle. But the creature regenerates from that too and creates a bunch of icy duplicates. But they turn out to be illusions and the real creature escapes. Superman realizes it must have telepathic powers. He and Wonder Woman return to the cabin and find Mrs. Quinch unconscious. Wonder Woman vs ice monsterShe says the ice-monster came back and took Lupescu, but he told her the whole story before he was taken. Apparently, the ice-monster’s consciousness comes from a cold planet called Skryn, where the sun was going to go nova. A Skrynian thought Earth might be cold enough to live on, so it came to check things out. It forced Lupescu to sculpt an icy body for its consciousness to reside in. Mrs. Quinch isn’t sure why the creature took Lupescu, but remembers it heading north. Superman and Wonder Woman track it down and find it freezing up the Atlantic Ocean as it heads for the North Pole. Lupescu is entranced again, sculpting another icy body, which a portion of the Skrynian’s consciousness goes into. Superman realizes if the creatures reach the North Pole they’ll start another Ice Age. He and Wonder Woman attack, but his heat vision backfires, fucking up Wonder Woman’s arm even more. Wonder Woman steals an idea from the Flash and she and Superman race around the two ice-monsters atsuper speed fake out super-speed, creating multiple images of themselves. They stop suddenly while the creatures are confused and smash the shit out of them. Superman uses his heat vision (and a thermal container he just happened to retrieve earlier from his Fortress) to trap the essence of the Skrynian. He says it’ll keep the alien’s consciousness in stasis so it can’t do anymore harm. Wonder Woman questions the Skrynian’s logic in thinking Earth was cold enough for its species, but Superman says if Skryn is thousands of light years away, the Skrynians must’ve been looking at Earth as it was in the Ice Age. You’d think it would’ve realized the truth about two seconds after reaching Earth, but whatever.

Noticeable Things:

  • Joe Staton’s Lois Lane looks a lot like Carol Ferris to me; for that matter, so does his Diana Prince. Maybe Joe only knows one female face.Lois and Diana looking like Carol Ferris
  • I have no idea what happened to Lois or the news crew. They could have gone home, but wouldn’t Lois wonder where Clark went?

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