Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Action Comics #360

Action Comics #360 (On Sale: January 9, 1968) AKA 80-Page giant #G-45 features a Curt Swan and George Klein cover on Supergirl.

The issues begins with "The Unknown Supergirl" by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney from Action Comics #278. Superman has decided to reveal Supergirl’s existence to the world when he and Krypto return from a mission in another dimension. While he is gone, a ring of Kryptonite dust surrounds the Earth, causing Supergirl to retreat under the oceans. From long distance, she keeps her eyes open for crooks on the surface who believe that Superman is helpless. When she stops them, they believe it is Superman acting from underwater.

Eventually the Kryptonite dissipates and Supergirl returns to the surface. The Man of Steel returns as well, but when he tells Kara it is time to reveal her existence, she discovers her powers have disappeared. Superman checks her out and discovers that the power loss is permanent. Heartbroken, Supergirl returns to the orphanage, unable to be revealed as Superman’s secret weapon.

Next is "Supergirl's Secret Enemy" also by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney, which first appeared in a slightly longer version in Action Comics #279. Kandorian scientist and Supergirl look-a-like, Lesla-Lar, has used a special device to cause Supergirl’s powers to disappear. Without her powers, Supergirl, as Linda Lee, allows herself to be adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers. Superman constructs a hidden closet in her bedroom for mementos of her past deeds.

The jealous Lesla-Lar then switches places with the sleeping Linda Lee, allowing Linda to live her life within Kandor. Lesla then breaks Luthor out of jail and joins him in criminal activities as Supergirl. However, Linda’s memory begins to return when she sees the new Supergirl appear. Lesla returns each of them to their rightful places to preserve her secret, but plans to take Linda’s life again later.

The story continues in "Trapped in Kandor" also by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney, which first appeared in Action Comics #280. Linda Lee visits the Daily Planet for a school project and meets with Clark Kent who, as Superman, has been trying to restore her powers. When she returns home that night, Lesla-Lar exchanges places with her and once again visits Lex Luthor as Supergirl. Lesla meets Superman who does not realize that she is not the real Supergirl. She tricks Superman into believing that he has restored her powers and then upstages him in some rescues. Superman decides it is time to tell the world that Supergirl exists, while Lesla schemes to destroy him.

The same creative team brings us "The Three Red 'K' Perils," from Action Comics #283. Supergirl, having been given immunity to Kryptonite by Mxyzptlk, decides to locate and destroy several Red Kryptonite meteors. Her immunity does not extend to Red Kryptonite however, and she begins to undergo several transformations.

First her body begins to expand while at a carnival with Dick Malverne. She disguises herself as a giant balloon until the effect passes. Next while at a movie, she is transformed into a wolf-girl, inspiring a screen writer to come up with a new movie idea. Finally, she shrinks to tiny size and enters Dick’s father’s bloodstream to defeat a life-threatening disease.

Having been affected by six pieces of Kryptonite, Supergirl knows she will undergo three more startling changes.

The story continues in "The Super-Mermaid" from Action Comics #284 and also by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney. Supergirl continues to be affected by Red Kryptonite to which she has been exposed. She grows a second head that has no memory of her identity. Since she is at a carnival, she is mistaken for a side-show freak. After the effect passes, Linda has a hallucination in which everyone she looks at dies. She is relieved when it passes, and she realizes it was only a dream.

Finally Supergirl grows a mermaid tail and travels to Atlantis to be reunited with Jerro. Lori Lemaris’ sister Lenora is jealous of Supergirl and runs off. The Girl of Steel is forced to follow her and rescue her from being grabbed by some giant hands.

The final effects pass and Supergirl is restored to normal. She realizes her temporary invulnerability to Green Kryptonite has passed as well. Superman returns from the future and explains that Mxyzptlk was responsible for her immunity. Finally, he tells her that he plans on revealing her existence to the world.

The issue ends with "The World's Greatest Heroine" from Action Comics #285. Superman decides it is time to announce Supergirl to the world. First they tell Linda’s parents that their adopted daughter is Supergirl, then the big announcement is made. The world celebrates and honors the young hero.

Superman has to leave Earth, so when a monster threatens the world, Supergirl is called in to help. At first she has trouble, causing the people to wish Superman was around. She perseveres and defeats the monster with help from Brainiac 5. Then Superman returns and gives Supergirl her own wing in the Fortress of Solitude.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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