Monday, June 1, 2009

Superman Champions Universal Peace Part 2

When last we left our hero he had just finished wasting time pretending bullets hurt him before wasting more time revealing that they actually do not. Stock in seat edges went up about 100 points.

Now back to the story! Having given the villains enough of a head start to make the chase interesting Superman once again sets off. While running through a battlefield Superman notices that a town is under bombardment, endangering the lives of innocent women and children. Fortunately it is but a single long range canon that is responsible for the deadly barrage and Superman quickly dismantles it. Taking its powerful payload into his arms Superman turns the army's own weaponry against them and blows their munitions factory to pieces.

I'll get nit-picky here: It appears as if Superman traveled all of two steps before bombing the factory, which implies that the town being bombarded was in fact right next to the now former-factory. Thus it is not much of a stretch to assume that this army was destroying one of their own villages. That's fucked up.
That accomplished, Superman is next confronted by a dirigible. This sequence is fantastic. I absolutely love the art, which truly captures just how imposing these things were at the time. Of course, it is nothing to the symbolic power of Superman. See for yourself:

Superman just be killin' folk left and right this issue! I hope no one in that factory or dirigible crew had families. Next we flash back to mere moments before Superman's bombing raid where the vile Bartow arrives in the wicked Lubane's office to deliver the terrifying gas formula. The formula is given to some sciencey guy who is ordered to put it into production immediately, and no sooner has the man left than the building is rocked by explosions which we already know the source of.

Despite Bartow's warnings Lubane ain't afraid of no Superman, as he feels his gas is just the thing to bring The Man of Steel to his knees. Good luck, buddy. Bartow takes his money and leaves while we see Superman, say it with me now, listening outside the window. He plans to instill a little fear of Superman into Lubane.

Finally alone Lubane seizes the opportunity to do some villainous cackling about the deadly weapon he as acquired, but his revelry is cut short when Superman bursts through the window to confront him.

At this point Lubane somehow has a sample of the gas. How did that happen? Surely it would take a bit of time for that scientist earlier to round up the ingredients and create the stuff. How long was Superman hanging around outside this guy's window before getting up the courage to burst in, and why didn't he do it before the gas was completed? I guess when you're Superman you intentionally make things more complicated than they have to be or you'd just get bored.

Lubane threatens to release the gas on the both of them, but Superman bravely calls his bluff which causes the bumbling oaf to drop the gas vial shattering it. As Lubane dies he shouts at Superman, demanding to know why he doesn't die. Because he's Superman, geez! Honestly, I think modern Superman might have tried to save this guy instead of watching him succumb to a slow and agonizing death. That's sort of monstrous, really.

Having killed this mean guy, Superman's job is not done yet! He leaps through the roof of the building and toward another containing representatives of the two warring factions in the midst of peace negotiations.

Peace negotiations which are quickly breaking down! Superman arrives just in time to tell the negotiators that he isn't going to let them leave until they reach terms. The arbiter tells Superman to get out, because seriously who the hell is he anyway!? Superman demonstrates that he's got more than one screw loose when he destroys the pillars supporting the ceiling and threatens to bring the whole place down on the men unless they listen to him. Bit of an extreme reaction, but I guess he's pretty wound up after all the murders he's just committed.

And so peace is reached under the watchful eye of Superman! The Boravian people celebrate, while Clark notices that he is about to share a plane home with the loathsome Bartow. Kent sends a telegram to Editor requesting that police meet them at the airport. It's important to note that here we finally learn Editor's name: George Taylor. And with that piece of information at your disposal you shouldn't have any trouble winning any future Superman trivia games.

Clark goes to court and testifies against Bartow and his men in the murder of Runyan, resulting in them all being sentenced to death by electric chair. That's great and all, but what about justice for that monkey!?

After the trial Clark hopes Lois' opinion of him might have improved since his war story scoop, but she brushes it off as mere luck. Editor George Taylor asks Clark about the secret gas formula, which Clark claims to know nothing about. However!!!! he is next shown tearing it in two, so that it can never be used again. The end.

Next time: Superman and the Skyscrapers!

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  1. Okay, in your opinion, despite some of the gaffs, etc. in the early stories - why did everyone like them so much?

  2. I'm not going to pretend to know everything here, so if anyone reads this and feels like they can clear some stuff up I encourage them to do so!

    Masked heroes had always been around in comics and radio plays, but Superman introduced the concept of super powers. The Phantom had mind control, but he was still just a guy underneath it all. Superman was something more than human, and I think that had to have played a part in capturing the imagination of so many. He could simply do stuff that none of the other heroes could. Not even Tarzan could have lifted that car back in Action Comics #1.

    And there's definitely some awesome stuff! I really liked him killing that blimp. We're simply desensitized in this age, and not easily impressed by an invincible man who beats up generic crooks.

    Also, we have to face the fact that these stories were written for children and they'll love anything.