Monday, June 8, 2009

Savin' dem Orphans

Quick refresher: Clark saved an orphan and returned him to his hellish orphanage to act as his "inside man". Clark, Lois and two unwanted tagalong reporters are now investigating the orphanage, attempting to expose it for what it truly is.

Upon the reporters' arrival the orphanage's Superintendent, a man named Lyman, rushes out the back of the building and orders the children to stop their work and begin to play. He also threatens anyone who reveals the shabby treatment with severe punishment.

While Clark disbelievingly listens to Lyman's tale of loving the children as his own, Lois speaks with a little girl with bruises on her arm who immediately tells the reporter that Lyman "never hits" them, she simply fell down the stairs. She also meets with a little boy unable to leave his bed who tells her that he's layed up from playing too hard.

Lois and Clark, ace reporters that they are, suspect they aren't hearing the whole truth. Just then Frankie pulls Clark into an empty hallway and is about to reveal Lyman's deception when the two are interrupted by the arrival of Lyman himself. Unable to find any definitive proof, the reporters all leave, the two outsiders scoffing at the pedestrian subject matter Lois and Clark felt was worth investigating. These two are never seen again, but boy were they important to the story! In case you missed it I will explain exactly how their presense was instrumental to the entire plot, for you see

Back at the office Clark tells the chief of his failure, and is himself told to never act on another hunch. That's gotta be a blow to the old super-esteem!

With the reporters gone Lyman has the children cleaning floors and chopping wood, while he laughs to himself about fooling the reporters. That night Superman reveals his really good timing superpower, as he arrives outside Lyman's window just in time to hear the crook talking to himself about the "secret account book" he is certain the reporters would love to get their hands on.

Meanwhile little Frankie finds himself locked in the attic: a reward for his earlier attempt at betrayal. Being a bit of an idiot, Frankie decides that if he makes a giant racket Lyman will have no choice but to release him!

No stranger to idiocy himself Superman thinks nothing of it when Lyman, still talking to himself, announces that he is going to "fix" the brat in the attic for causing such a disturbance. Instead of rushing to Frankie's aid Superman uses Lyman's absence to read the secret account book. Hey, what's a child casualty when there's a secret book to look at!?

The book lets Superman know that Lyman has purchased food from the Star Groceries company, at an unusually high price! Now it's my turn to be the idiot because I have no idea what this is meant to imply, but Superman feels it is worth investigating and rushes to the aforementioned company's office. Meanwhile Lyman whips the shit out of Frankie for being a nuisance, while back in her home Lois finds herself unable to sleep from worrying about the children. She leaves her house to get to the bottom of things herself.

At the grocery company Superman breaks into their files and discovers that Lyman's book lied about how much he payed for groceries, the actual prices being much less. It is decided that this is all the evidence he needs to put Lyman away for good, so it's back to the orphanage for our hero.

Lois however arrives first, and catching Lyman in the midst of whipping Frankie declares that she will report this story right away. Realizing that his game is up, Lyman overpowers Lois and locks her in the room with Frankie. Grabbing his ill-gotten funds he then sets fire to the orphanage, before fleeing into the night.

Fortunately Superman arrives on the scene and manages to pull him from his car, before applying a Kryptonian Death Grip to the back of the man's neck. Lois and Frankie are quickly pulled from the burning building, while the police drag Lyman away for setting fire to an orphanage.

A Clark Kent penned article is then shown declaring Frankie to be a boy hero, despite having done nothing. Why did Clark even need an inside man for this story? The tactic at no point payed off, and instead demonstrated Superman's shocking callousness towards the safety of children! As usual Superman learned everything he needed by listening to someone else's conversation (in this case with themselves) through a window.

Heck, check out these panels:

Presented exactly as they appeared in the book itself, Lyman in the upper panel torturing kids, Superman in the lower standing around looking all sexy and buff. The parallel here is undeniable, with the implication being that the two men are no different from one another. Perhaps Lyman is better for not hiding his true child hating nature.

Next time: Have you ever seen a dam in a work of fiction that doesn't burst?


  1. Ah, c'mon. Give the Super Guy a break. It's the writers who forget to make him save the kid first. And I'll bet they never noticed it made him seem like a child abuser.
    Doncha think?

  2. I see your point. The next time Superman is made to look like a jerk in one of these stories I'll discuss the writing, rather than his actions.