Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Superman and the Miracle Drug

Hold onto your hats and batten down your hatches, because Morton EFFING Craig has been arrested for grand larceny!  I'm not even kidding, but I wish I was.  Morton Craig.  I mean, wow.  Since we've never actually heard of the guy before Clark informs us that he is the most honest man in the world and his sudden turn to crime is shocking, which clues us in to the fact that Something Is Up.  After being needlessly sassed by Lois Clark interviews Morton who refuses to speak.

As Clark goes to leave a man by the name of Dr. Bren enters to give Morton an injection.  Clark, who has super hearing this issue, listens in as the two men discuss the fact that Dr. Bren is somehow related to Morton's imprisonment.  Clark observes that Bren himself looks worried, but I would be too if he was flirting with me like that.

Dat ass looks attention worthy.
Changing into his alter ego, Superman now follows Bren as he leaves the police station.  Arriving at his destination Dr. Bren meets with a man named Carlin, who Morton has promised to squeal on if he is not let out of jail.  Hearing this, Carlin orders a hit on Morton and I find myself wishing there were less boring names to remember.

Obviously our hero isn't going to allow any murders that he doesn't commit himself, so he waits for the hitmen to enter a car, picks it up and throws it at a police officer.  It should be no surprise that this leads to them all being arrested, Metropolis having outlawed any and all accidents the year prior.

Yeah, drive there.  In your freshly crashed vehicle.

Spying Carlin walking somewhere Superman follows him on the sly, and is led to a mysterious building.  Stealthily breaking in by throwing a tree at the guard Superman finds Carlin congratulating a professor on his creation of a drug named Parabiolene, which does something nebulously positive.  The professor is not aware of Carlin's criminal background, and believes him simply to be a business investor, thus we know we are meant to sympathize with this brilliant man of science.  Actually this whole thing calls to mind a parable for the creation and use of the atomic bomb; brilliant scientist doing sciencey stuff for the love of science, their creation doing more damage than they had ever dreamed, except this story predates even the first testing so I guess it's meaningless.  So close.

Suddenly another crime boss comes and tries to kill Carlin and really, who cares?  Superman stops the guy, but allows himself to be caught, then fakes his own death when Carlin has his men shoot him.  And if you haven't had enough "Superman follows someone somewhere" action then you are in luck, because he follows his murderers to a factory!

Shocked to see Superman alive after having killed him the thugs shout to a random factory worker to stop Superman, and boy does he try!

Was that really necessary?  An intruder in the factory you are paid minimum wage to work in?  Better melt his features off.  Superman then tears the place to shreds because he figures it can't be doing anything good, except at this point we know it's producing the Parabiolene which cures...things, so how bad can it really be?

We next see our hero delivering a Macho Man Randy Savage elbow drop to the roof of the building he left both the drug's inventor and Carlin in.  At this point, having seen Carlin have Superman killed, the professor is realizing he's not the kindly business tycoon he once seemed to be.  Superman saves the professor from Carlin, though if he thought he was in peril why did he waste all that time with allowing himself to be captured and killed?  Expert story telling is the answer.

Finally the entire master plan is revealed, Carlin uses this miracle drug to save people's lives and make them steal for him in order to keep receiving their fix of life giving drugs, a plan bold in its flagrant stupidity.  Let's look at this for a moment, why would you ever force people to steal for you when others would do it willingly?  That's just adding an extra headache.  Why, if you had control of the world's entire supply of a miracle cure-all, would you waste it on this boneheaded plan instead of selling it?  Especially since it requires regular doses and could be sold eternally.  Could anything be more valuable than this??  But sure, use it to make people steal candy bars, whatever.

The professor feels terrible regret over having created the drug that allowed Carlin to commit crimes, and kills himself.  Superman has the hospital put the body in an artificial fever machine, "and keep the temperature high," which at this point couldn't possibly do anything but speed up decomposition and create a lovely smell, but Superman has a plan;  he rushes off to Dr. Bren (remember him!?) and gets him to inject the professor with Parabiolene which...cures his death.  Brilliant.  Bravo.  The existence of this drug invalidates all future tension in any possible storyline.

Finally, Superman goes and arrests Carlin, but not before he does whatever the hell this is:

Practicing for the X-Games.
And thus ends the story so dull it made me quit for over a year.

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