Wednesday, April 25, 2007

World's Finest Comics #167

World's Finest Comics #167 (On Sale: April 25, 1967) has an interesting Curt Swan and George Klein cover. I bought this one used a few months later, 'cause who could resist this cover?

Inside we have the cover story "The New Superman and Batman Team." This is writer Cary Bates' first full story (he sold some plots earlier that were scripted by Ed Hamilton) and it is a doozy, drawn by Curt Swan and George Klein. This story is an imaginary story, which was DCs way of doing stories that did not take place in the "real" world of DC Comics, and may be the only Superman-Batman World's Finest issue without Bruce Wayne. "How can you have a Batman story without Bruce" you ask? Take a look.

Jor-El sends his son Kal-El to Earth as Krypton is destroyed. On the trip to Earth Kal-El's rocket passes a Gold Kryptonite meteor which removes his super powers permanently. Kal-El then lands on Earth, is found by the Kents, and named Clark Kent.

Clark grows up in Smallville and becomes friends with genius Lex Luthor. While Clark doesn't possess powers, Luthor creates a serum to give himself powers and becomes Superboy. Meanwhile, the Kents are killed by a hoodlum. Clark vows vengeance and is sent to live with his uncle Kendall in Gotham City where he eventually grows up to become Batman.

Luthor later moves to Metropolis and becomes a reporter at the Daily Planet. He also continues his career as Superman. On a case involving Brainiac, Superman and Batman join forces, then discover each others secret identities.

In his personal life Clark meets and falls for Lois Lane. The two marry, then Clark shares his secret identity with Lois. When Supergirl lands on Earth Lois and Clark agree to adopt her and she becomes Linda Kent.

Still later, Toyman battles Superman, Batman, and Supergirl. During the fight Batman succumbs to one of Toyman's weapons which reacts with the Gold Kryptonite poisoning from Kal-El's infancy. Clark then learns of his Kryptonian heritage. This was reprinted in Best of DC #19.

Jack Selegue over on the DC History list mentions that by today's standards this much plot would require at least a six-issue mini-series, but Bates packs it into one neat little package. How economical is the scripting? There is room for a back-up story!

And what an odd choice for a back-up story in a Superman/Batman book: "The Three Prophecies" is a Jack Kirby reprint from House of Secrets #3.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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