Monday, May 18, 2009

Superman and the Case of the Malignant Mine

Here begins Action Comics #3.

Upon hearing that a lone miner is trapped within a collapsed coal mine Clark pleads with Editor to be allowed to cover the story and is quickly speeding to the scene as only Superman can.

This is the last time we'll see him in the Superman costume for the entire story, leading me to wonder if this wasn't just some mine adventure story they tacked Superman into at the last second.

Arriving to find the mine cordoned off by police, Superman disguises himself as a miner and pretends to fall into the shaft. Because creating further panic by making it appear as if another innocent life is in danger is much better than just showing up and saying "Hey. I'm Superman. I'll handle this."

Superman quickly discovers that the shaft is filled with poisonous gas released in the collapse, and while this obviously has no effect on a man whose strength is born from the increased gravity of his home planet it has managed to knocked the rescue party unconscious.

Superman returns them to the surface via the elevator, and immediately discovers the man he was initially there to save buried beneath gigantic boulders. I don't need to tell you that these boulders are "putty" before the man of tomorrow's impossible strength.

Visiting the rescued miner in the hospital ace reporter Clark Kent learns that the mine was known to be dangerous, but the owner callously disregarded this information. A negligent mine owner? Yes, I think we may have at last found an enemy greater even than a butler. Stay on your toes, Superman.

Generously allowing the owner to share his side of the story Clark finds him to be a bit of a jerk, unwilling to offer a pension to the now crippled miner, and uncaring about the possibility of safety hazards within his mine.

Because this really doesn't seem to be a Superman story at all Superman, dressed as a miner, returns to the owner's house later that night and attempts to sneak in to a fancy party the man is throwing.

You can tell it's a gay party because that woman is being asked to leave at gun point.

Quickly caught by security Superman is brought before the owner, where he pretends to be a simpleton who wanted nothing more than to experience life on the other side. Seeing an opportunity for a laugh, the owner declares that the miner will now lead the party down into the mine so that they can experience life from his point of view.

While the socialites enjoy their ironic entertainment, Superman...he...I...uh...?

Holy shit, what's your problem Superman!?

The collapsing mine causes the revellers to panic, a woman faints, the owner imagines he is suffocating, and Superman helps the situation by saying they may never be rescued. The party goers turn on the owner, until he remembers the safety devices which will call rescuers to their aid immediately!

Gee, do ya think they'll work?

The safety device having failed, the owner now decides that everyone should work on digging their way out. Superman helps by refusing to dig, and once again pointing out that they may never escape.

Learning what it's like for the miners as they dig, the party goers feel terrible regret for their actions. None more so than the owner, whose repentance causes Superman to spring into action and...wait around until everyone falls asleep so he can remove the barrier. Well at least he did it eventually. To end the story Clark visits the owner for another interview, learning that his mine will from this day forth be the safest in the country. HOORAY.

Damn, another great issue of Adventures in Mining! This one really painted Superman as not only a reckless dick, but a bit of an idiot. He shows up at this party dressed as a miner (why?) and upon the owner's suggestion that they visit the mine THAT is when he concocts his plan to bury them alive and put a group of innocent lives at risk (really, check the image up there. He comes up with it on the spot). So what was his initial plan? Go to the party and get kicked out? Yeah, that'll show 'em. Oh well, I guess Batman always has been the smart one.

Next time: Do you like football? Well so does Superman!

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