Friday, November 30, 2007

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Action Comics #358

Action Comics #358 (On Sale: November 30, 1967) is like a line of demarcation in the history of Superman covers. Neal Adams' dramatic staging of a grieving and distraught Superman is just a stunner. If you ever needed an indication that this was not your father's Superman, this cover was it.

Inside is a different story though as "Superman... Guilty of Homicide" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein is only a marginal departure from the standard Superman fare. Members of the International Crime Exchange develop a plan to frame Superman for murder. Dr. Frost has created a method to temporarily resuscitate the dead. He uses the procedure on Bullets Stacey, a dead crook, now given about ten hours of new life. Before Stacey can meet Superman in a boxing match, his revived heart gives out, and he dies.

Ron Noble the chairman of the Crime Exchange volunteers to take Stacey's place. During an exhibition boxing match, Noble swallows a poison pill which kills him after a Superman punch. The hidden poison makes it look like Superman lost control of his powers and hit his opponent too hard.

Frost then complicates Superman's defense by posing as the coroner and further demonstrating Superman's lack of control. Superman is then taken into custody and will be tried for murder.

The back-up Supergirl story is "Superboy in Argo City" by Cary Bates and Jim Mooney. While retrieving a space jewel for his mother, Superboy is captured by a space-probe. He is taken back to Argo City which is currently floating in a red sun solar system. Superboy was hit in the head and has amnesia. He is taken in by Zor-El, though neither one knows that they are related. Superboy befriends Zor-El's young daughter Kara and gives her the space jewel that he intended to give to Martha Kent.

Zor-El eventually completes his project to build engines which can transport Argo City to another solar system. The city soon enters a new system inhabited by hostile alien life forms. The Kryptonians agree to leave the system, but the aliens demand that someone remain behind. Superboy volunteers.

The aliens then erase the memory of Superboy from the minds of the people in Argo City. Zor-El then pilots the city to a different solar system. Superboy regains his powers and is able to escape from the aliens, but he has no memory of his time in Argo City. Reprinted in Four Star Spectacular #3.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

1 comment:

Tony Isabella said...

The concluding chapter isn't as good as this first part, but this two-issue story is still one of my favorite Superman stories of the era. Well worth seeking out.