Monday, June 22, 2009

In Which a Huge Debut Occurs

As you may or may not know the issues of Superman covered thus far are simply reprinting earlier Superman stories from Action Comics. Superman would eventually become its own stand-alone comic, but we haven't reached that point yet. (Edit: I was very wrong about this!) I mention this because Superman #4 begins with a story centering on a character who had been introduced in an Action Comics story that the publishers had not seen fit to reprint in Superman. The fools!

I however couldn't do that to ya'll, as this character is someone you'd want to witness the first appearance of. So today we will be looking at Action Comics #23, the first appearance of "L.L." (Lori Lemaris? Lana Lang? Lois Lane? Linda Lee? Hmmm...)

We join events already in progress, as Clark Kent and Lois Lane are covering YET ANOTHER WAR. That's creativity! Lois n' Clark are caught in a bombardment which knocks Lois unconscious, allowing Clark to become Superman and throw the shells back from whence they came. Regaining consciousness Lois is disappointed to learn that she missed Superman saving their sorry asses. Because, in case you don't get it, she loves that guy.

Our heroic reporters are next seen speaking with the head general of the Galonian forces General Lupo, who tells them that he has an impending appointment to discuss peace with his Toran opponents. Yes we have seen this before, but rest assured that this is merely the calm before the storm of insanity this story is preparing to unleash upon us.

Someone blows up the approaching Toran diplomats, allowing the war to continue. Clark suspects it was done on General Lupo's orders and asks him what the hell is up wit dat!? The General denies any involvement, but a departing Clark's supersensitive ears overhear him making a suspicious phone call.

And so it comes to pass that Superman follows the general as he drives up to a mountain, exits his car and disappears. Superman is utterly dumbfounded "No entrance anywhere!" he shouts "What happened to him is beyond me!" immediately following this statement he shoves the rock blocking the hidden entrance out of the way. Was he just being sarcastic or what?
Also, special attention is called to the fact that Superman used his "bare hands" to move this rock. If all this attention needs to be brought to the amazing power it requires for Superman to move the the hell did Lupo do it!? That guy must work out.

Having busted into this secret cave hideout (and why does the evil leader of an evil army need to be evil in secret?) Superman observes from afar as Lupo stares at a stalagmite with shiny lights swirling upon its surface. Suddenly, the lights coalesce into a giant Asian guy's face! Lupo informs the face that the war has been prolonged, and it happily disappears.

Superman takes this opportunity to emerge from his hiding spot and threaten to crush Lupo's skull if he doesn't tell him what the hell is going on. I love when he does that! Lupo reveals that Luthor's plan is to send planes to bomb a neighbouring country and bring the entire continent into this war. "Who" asks Superman "is Luthor?"

That's right friends, we just got our first glimpse of Lex Luthor! EVER! And he was a giant Asian face on a stalagmite! What an entrance.

Lupo is about to reveal Luthor's identity (he's Luthor...what the hell more do you need?) when the "incredibly ugly vision" appears once again before him, and shoots some totally sweet lasers out of its eyes. Luthor does not allow for traitors.

The evil face turns its laser eyes on Superm-hold on. Luthor had laser eyes before Superman did! DAMN!

Anyway he lasers our hero to no effect, before Superman punches the stalagmite in its stupid face destroying it once and for all. Unfortunately, this must have been a load bearing stalagmite as its destruction leads to the collapse of the cave. Superman escapes from certain doom here in the dorkiest possible way.

Seriously, "flails about"? What is he, a dandy?

Upon his emergence from the earth's bowels fortune is, as always, on Superman's side. The planes sent to sow the seeds of war across the continent happen to be directly above him. He leaps onto one plane, beats up its gunner and uses the mounted machine gun to shoot down others. Running out of bullets he simply grabs two planes and smashes them into each other (!!) before flying his commandeered plane into the last remaining one.

Having prevented the war's expansion, Clark Kent now wishes to put a stop to it all together. He informs the two factions of a third party's plan to prolong the war, but his information is dismissed as mere fantasy. Why? Because he is entirely unwilling to cite his source. "Superman told me..." or "My investigations of General Lupo's activities revealed to me that..." aren't good enough? Why is he being so secretive? Oh right, because otherwise the story would be over.

The diabolical Luthor somehow learns of Clark's attempts to end the war OR SOMETHING I DUNNO, but he orders his followers to kidnap the reporter for knowing too much. They then proceed to...not do that at all...

Unable to kidnap anyone but the first person they happen to see, Luthor's hired muscle fail him once again. Seriously, I love that one of them is even pointing out that they've got the wrong person. "D'uhhh, hold on! This woman isn't Clark Kent!"

Next time: Luthor's glorious flowing locks of beautiful red hair! Would you dare ask for more??

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