Sunday, February 7, 2010

In Which Superman Investigates a Strange Odour Part 2

Continuing from where we left off...

Superman had just destroyed the autogyro in which the villainous Mosely was escaping, sending the both of them hurtling towards the ground and certain death.  We pick up as Superman trails Mosely on foot post-crash.  What?  We know how Superman survived, but how did Mosely?  Sucka didn't even have a parachute!  And if he survived the fall why would he assume Superman of all people didn't?  Well if Siegel and Shuster don't care, neither do I.

Mosely eventually reaches a solid mountain wall, which he pushes upon to reveal a secret passage.  Following him into the mountain passage Superman quickly encounters a motorized door which requires a spoken password to enter.  Loudly musing to himself that he has no idea what the password is, Superman activates a trap door beneath his feet sending the Man of Tomorrow careening into a deadly spiked pit trap:

That is actually awesome.  Deciding this is no time to relax, Superman rises from the pit only to be met by a vat of acid being poured directly upon his head.  This, of course, does nothing and Superman tears the vat from its hinges before throwing it at the locked door, destroying both.  More importantly than that though we learn the first ever explanation for why Superman's costume never gets damaged when it really ought to be!  Are you ready for this?  Here it is!

Wow, that tells us a lot!  We learn that Superman's costume is invincible and that we were fools for ever viewing it as a plothole, that Superman is secretly a brilliant scientist despite this fact never having been hinted at before, and we even learn that he's kind of a dick for not sharing this miracle cloth with the rest of the world.

Behind the door Superman finds Mosely talking to Lex Luthor himself via television screen (WHY DID HE COME ALL THIS WAY THEN).  Mosely ask's Luthor for stock-market advice, which Luthor gladly gives, reminding Mosely that he gets 75% of his profits (!!) for this information.  Coulda done this by phone you guys, seriously.

Superman bursts onto the scene, shouting that Luthor's "evil career is ending NOW!"  This guy is smart enough to invent invincible cloth, but he can't tell a tv from a real person?  Superman's bullheadedness leads him into a trap: as two antenna zap him with powerful electricity the Man of Steel feels no ill effect and is instead charged as though he had spent the past year rubbing his feet on a carpet, a static charge he uses to destroy the vile television with a single light touch.

Protecting Mosely from the exploding tv's shrapnel, Superman then must rush from the cavern (Mosely cradled gently in his arms) as it does what evil caverns do best and collapses.  Once safely outside Superman asks Mosely just what the heck is up with that incense!  Remember that?  It's such a mystery!  You will be absolutely floored to learn that Luthor uses the incense to enslave prominent men across the nation.

Okay you probably figured that out quite a while ago, but don't get too cocky thinking you're better than Superman, I doubt any of us have invented invincible thread.

Superman asks Mosely for a list of the men Luthor has enslaved, which Mosely conveniently has in a giant walk-in safe back at his office.  As Superman enters the safe to retrieve the list, Mosely unsurprisingly locks him in.  Equally unsurprisingly Superman breaks out immediately!  As if it wasn't bad enough that Luthor used his own face to emit the mind-control gas, he also gives us underlings lists of everyone under his control? The guy wants to be stopped, it's all a cry for help.

Asking Mosely where Luthor's hideout is, the Man of Tomorrow learns that he will be meeting with his victims at the Garriston Tower. 

Fearful of what will become of him should his betrayal be found out, Mosely opts to kill himself by jumping from his office window.  Sadly for him, Superman leaps after him and tosses the man back inside before he can reach the ground.  Climbing back through the window himself, Superman then pinches a nerve in Mosely's neck, knocking the man unconscious.  I feel like I should that at the start of the story Mosely had black hair and was clean-shaven, while at this point he has white hair and a moustache.  This is obviously very inept continuity, but it's also important because...

By concentrating really hard Superman makes himself look exactly like Mosely, complete with gray hair and moustache.  Oh, cool!  We're just learning so much about Superman today.  I wonder how often he turns himself into Lois and stares at himself in the mirror before collapsing in a weeping heap on the floor. [edit: John Dyne of the Something Awful forums rightly notes that this power would be mighty useful in protecting a secret identity.  But why bother, eh?]

Superman, as Mosely, attends the Garriston Tower meeting but is quickly recognized by Luthor...who for some reason has gray hair.  But only for two panels, as his hair becomes brown for the next two.  Which is cool, except it's established that he's a flippin' ginger!

Having recognized Superman, Luthor orders his guards to attack which naturally does nothing.  Luthor, always one to plan ahead, makes escape in a plane built into the building's wall somehow.  God, I don't know.

Superman catches the plane in a single mighty leap, and sends it crashing into the ocean below.  Declaring this to be "The end of Luthor" Superman doesn't think to search for a body, and we end with Editor George Taylor congratulating Clark on finding the list of Luthor's victims and having restored the United States to its former prosperity.

Note the "moustache dissapearing" lines.  Classic.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In Which Superman Investigates a Strange Odour

Superman has once before done battle with a failing economy, but has he done it within the pages of issue 5?  No, so it's all new to us!

Editor George Taylor sends ace reporter Clark Kent to interview Metropolis' "leading men of finance" to learn just what is up with the "worst depression" in United States history!  Frustratingly for the reporter, Clark is fed placating words by these rockstars of the financial world, and his questioning leads him no closer to discovering the truth of the matter. He does however notice that in every office he visits there is the same "sickeningly sweetish odor of incence".  His curiousity getting the better of him Clark eventually asks one of the men, Gregory, what the source of the odour is only to be met with nervous uncertainty.  Not believing the man's explanation that the odour is just a "peculiarity" of his, Clark stops and listens outside his office, an act which causes him to overhear Gregory reporting Clark's presence to a mysterious person on the other side of the phone.

Once outside the office Clark notices a bomber flying over the city, ready to discharge its deadly payload on the unsuspecting populace.  Leaping into an alley, Clark removes his outer clothing instantly transforming himself into his alter-ego: Superman!  I hope he uses a phonebooth soon.  Give the public what they crave!

Superman leaps toward the bomber, noticing in mid-air that its bombs are headed directly for The Daily Planet offices!  Catching the bombs before they can reach their target, Superman then drops them in the river...thus making them someone else's problem I guess.  Defuse them?  Detonate them somewhere harmless?  Nah, just drop 'em in the river.

Reassuming his guise as Clark Kent, our hero deduces that Gregory likely ordered this hit on the Planet in order to put a stop to the reporter's snooping.  Really?  I think having Clark quietly killed might be a little more effective than bombing his workplace from the sky!  You can't even play something like that off as an accident!  Hell, he didn't even allow Clark time to get back before trying to blow the place up.

Clark's next course of action is to return to Gregory's office and interrogate him about what the hell just happened.  Gregory tells Clark that he has just phoned the police and informed them someone is coming to kill him.  As Clark turns to look out the window in search of confirmation, Gregory shoots himself explaining that his orders were to frame the reporter for murder.

Clark obviously has no intention of being arrested, and leaps out the window before the police see him.  Circling the building Clark re-enters as though he had just arrived and informs the police that it is not a murder case at all, but (noting the bullet's angle of entry) a suicide!  No one finds it strange that Clark noticed the angle of entry at a glance from the otherside of the room.

Witty references abound!

Having phoned the office to deliver his report thus far, Clark next heads back to the previously visited (offscreen) finance office of Mr. Mosely to get to the bottom of the strange incence mystery.  Unforuntately Clark's revisitation is cut short as he is denied entry by the office's secretary, and summarily tossed on his ass.

Having no intention of giving up Clark uses his superior strength to dig his fingers into the brick of the building, and Spiderman his way to Mosely's private office.  Hiding in a closet, Clark overhears Mosely and two generic thugs gloating about all the money they're raking in while the rest of the country suffers.  In a baffling sequence one of the thugs hangs his coat on a hook next to Clark's face while Clark thinks "-Didn't see me!  Whew!-", only to have his feet be spotted in the subsequent panel.  What was the point of that?  Was it meant to be funny?  When telling a joke the audience shouldn't have to wonder if it was even meant to be one.  Here, take a look for yourself:

Is that funny?  Does it even flow naturally? 

Back to business, the thugs yank Clark out of his hiding place, only to have him break free and dash to a previously unmentioned curtain from behind which the strange odour is apparently emanating.  Pulling back the curtain, Clark reveals:

YYYEEESSSS!!!!  Finally, a real villain again!  I mean sure, it's the same one it always is, but beggars can't be choosers as they say.

The thugs sock Clark in the kisser for having seen too much, and lead him at gunpoint to an open elevator shaft, down which he is subsequently thrown.  You know, Clark is really lucky no one ever shoots him, unless he's constantly carrying around some ketchup packets to burst he'd have a hard time explaining himself.

The thugs come to dispose of Clark's body and are met with a man in blue/red underwear who, they are surprised to find, cannot be hurt by bullets.  Disposing of the thugs, Superman then climbs to the roof of the building across from Mosely's and watches (using X-Ray vision!) as the villain is ordered via statue to meet with Luthor himself.

Mosely climbs aboard a newly arrived autogyro and heads toward Luthor.  Superman gives chase, but is quickly spotted.  Annoyed by the gyro having turned its guns on him, Superman leaps into the air and tears its whirling blades apart.  This results in both him and the ejecting Mosely plummeting toward the earth, and their certain doom...

Terrible perspective -OR- How does Mosely even fit in that thing?

The exciting conclusion tomorrow!

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