Monday, June 29, 2009

With the Contest Over, Superman Formulates a Plan

The military developed an earthquake machine, Luthor kidnapped its creator and attempted to steal the machine itself but Superman prevented him from getting it, and now the two of them are involved in a battle of man vs. machine! Superman won the first round, a race around the world, can he win the rest? Let's find out.

The next contest is to see who can rise higher in the sky before returning to the Earth: Superman, or the plane he just beat in a race around the world. Superman uses his muscles of coiled steel to leap straight into space alongside the plane, where the lack of gravity strands both it and its two pilots with no way down. Superman, however, kicks his legs as if in water and swims his way to the ground, securing himself the victory. That's how space works, right? It's thick, sort of like a molasses? Yeah!

Imagine being those two pilots! When you sign on for a fun contest against the planet's mightiest hero, you don't exactly expect to be left to slowly suffocate/freeze in the cold embrace of space.
And their families! "Sure dear, go have fun with that Superman. I know you'll be safe in his hands!"

Next Luthor uses electromagnetism to lift a giant boulder, knowing full-well that Superman couldn't possibly do the same. But somehow, someway, the man who just leapt straight into outer-space finds it within him to lift not only the boulder, but Lex's remaining plane over his head as well.

At this point Luthor gets desperate and simply chucks a grenade at Superman to see "who is the most vulnerable". When the grenade fails he fires a canonball, followed by deadly gas at our hero. Hardly a fair contest! Shouldn't they at least take turns? Superman is slow to cotton to the BS he's being fed, but eventually he has enough and offers to find out which cracks first: Luthor's skull or his plane's hull. At this point Luthor wisely cedes the victory.

Handing over that scientist dude who invented that earthquake thing, Luthor leaves a very confused Superman in his wake.

Hah yes, it's ALMOST as if you just had a contest where the loser had to do exactly what Luthor just did. But, no...this is a mystery that will be forever unsolved.

Superman's doubts were not unfounded however, as the contest was merely a distractionary measure to allow Luthor's henchmen to steal the earthquake machine without Superman's interference. Of course, if Luthor would simply learn to hold his tongue and stop telling Superman every time he's going to steal something then he wouldn't need to arrange these games.

This is amazing. Do you see that panel there? What idea do you think the professor's words gave Superman? Do you think maybe it's to use the professor's self proclaimed ability to recreate the machine in some way? Perhaps to build another one and fight fire with fire?? Well NO, the idea it gave Superman was to destroy the original machine.

Yeah, I'm serious. He needed outside input to come up with that.

So with that plan having been formulated, the professor tells Superman that Luthor held him captive in Satan's Canyon. Arriving at the canyon Superman is met by falling boulders triggered by Luthor's earthquake machine! These pose no threat to our hero. Following that he falls into a pit and is beset by wolves, which post no threat! Emerging from the pit he is hit by a gas which... knocks him out immediately? Well, okay I guess.

Here things get really rushed: Superman's lifeless body is shot with the Earthquake machine causing him to be buried, he once again uses his ability to "flail about" to burrow to freedom, once above ground he kicks a wall which destroys the earthquake machine which was theoretically sitting on top of it but there is no time to show that because Superman has to pose majestically while wishing he could kill Luthor who somehow disappeared but there's no time to dwell on that because now we're back at the professor's lab and he's committed suicide, hold on suicide? Why would he com-THE END!

All he can see is miles of red fabric.

They probably should have devoted the entire issue to those goofy trials instead of shoving them into a story about an earthquake machine, at least then the ending wouldn't have had to be rushed onto a single page. But hey, at least Superman's plan worked.

Next time: Luthor! Again!?

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  1. I love these old Superman stories, so I was pretty excited when I found your blog.

    I actually had the bright idea to read some of these golden age stories to my three year old son before bed, but quickly realized that they were raising more questions and keeping him up later.

    It's good to know that I'll be able to indulge some of that golden age goodness three times a week.

  2. Hey, if your son is questioning the goings-on of golden age comics then he's already a lot smarter than the writers assumed!

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