Friday, June 26, 2009

Superman vs. Luthor at the FUNlympics!

Earthquakes are a rare sight in Metropolis, so when Superman #4 opens with one The Daily Sta-...sorry, The Daily Planet's editor sends ace reporter Clark Kent out to cover it. Clark suspects something is afoot, and so delegates the job to his good friend Superman.

Yes, it's The Daily Planet now and no longer The Daily Star! As us prideful Canadians know Metropolis was initially based on Toronto, and The Daily Star was named for Toronto's own Daily Star (now known as simply The Star). As the story goes the creators were concerned with copyright issues regarding using established newspaper names, and opted to change their fictional one to avoid potential lawsuits. The change first appeared in the Superman newspaper comic strip, followed by Action Comics #23 and Superman #4. You might notice that I missed this when summarizing Action Comics #23, and in that case I ask that you look at something distracting while I make my escape.

Superman saves people from the earthquake, including a kid trapped under a massive steel girder:

Notice that he's lifting that girder between his legs. The resultant shuffle to the side before awkwardly dropping it must have looked real super! Also, I'm fairly certain that kid is dead.

Reporting back to the Planet Clark Kent reveals that he somehow learned the source of the earthquake while offpanel: a military device designed to create earthquakes that went haywire! Clark immediately heads out to interview the machine's inventor, who welcomes him with open arms. Then he shouts "Meddler!" and strikes Clark in the back of the head with a blackjack, which is completely awesome. Following this he throws Clark's limp body out the window of his apartment building. In broad daylight.

Now this seems like an absolutely moronic thing for a scientist trying to keep a secret to do, but it isn't at all and you are the stupid one for thinking it! What it actually is is an absolutely moronic thing for a thug trying to keep a secret while pretending to be a scientist to do. Either way you don't really want the attention that dumping a body out of your window and onto the street is likely to bring. I guess what I'm saying is that I just want my hired thugs to be written a little more intelligently!

Clark Kent, now Superman, grabs hold of the building and begins the ascent back to his point of origin. Meanwhile the evil thug reports in to a mysterious red-haired man via a video screen embedded in his suitcase. The red-haired man notices Superman outside the building via his own suitcase, and sends a "weird plane" to drop a bomb on him!

Superman catches the bomb and tosses it back at the plane, adding yet another hit to the list of things that don't pose a problem to Superman. So far nothing DOES pose a problem, and I can see why they would eventually introduce Kryptonite.

The plane destroyed, Superman returns to the lab to find it empty apart from a talking suitcase. Superman recognizes the man in the suitcase as his brand new arch-enemy: "LUTHOR! The mad scientist who plots to dominate the Earth!" Luthor reveals that he has kidnapped the real professor, but he has thus far failed to force the man to build him an earthquake machine.

Having admitted incompetence to his super-powered foe, Luthor next all but gives away the next step of his plan when he states that he "may be more fortunate with the army itself!" Is he trying to be foiled? Come on.

So yes, Luthor next sends his men to the army camp containing an already constructed earthquake machine with the intention of stealing it. Superman, thanks to Luthor's subtle clue, is on hand to stop them! WOW!

As the men try to flee in their autogyro, Luthor makes them blow up real good so that Superman can't follow them back to his lair. Which is pretty effective at establishing him as evil, in this otherwise goofy story.

Suddenly, a tree with Luthor's face challenges Superman to a series of tests! Science vs. Muscle, loser retires from crime or crime fighting, whichever they like more. Superman has never been led astray by a tree, so he immediately agrees.

You might think it was stupid of Superman to agree to this, but he could still be written dumber! At least he isn't punching the tree and claiming victory. You half expect him to though.

Shortly, Luthor arrives in a nice red plane and tells Superman that the first challenge will be a race around the world. Superman vs. airplane! What oddly lighthearted fun from the man who just blew up his minions so Superman couldn't find him.

And so the race is on! WOO!

This. This is the weakest burn of all time.

I hope your intelligence doesn't feel insulted when I tell you that Superman wins in no time at all! It wasn't too obvious was it? Luthor is impressed by the fact that his opponent hasn't even broken a sweat, and lays down the next challenge: Who can fly higher in the sky? The airplane, or Superman using his mighty jumping ability?


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1 comment:

  1. I love the name The Daily Planet, I'm not sure why. And when you think about it, The Star or Daily Star is a very odd thing to call a newspaper. We may be starlight, but we ain't living on no star.