Friday, April 25, 2008

World's Finest Comics #176

World's Finest Comics #176 (On Sale: April 25, 1968) has what has got to be one of the lamest covers Neal Adams ever drew. Can you say "bland?"

"The Superman-Batman Split" is by Cary Bates, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. During an interview between Clark Kent and actor Ronald Jason, the actor unmasks himself and shows Clark that he is an alien. He also reveals that he knows Clark's secret identity and requests the help of Superman. The alien Dur, is the second in command on his world, but assassins have killed their leader. Fearing he was the next target he teleported to Earth to hide. Superman agrees to take Dur to the Fortress of Solitude for protection.

Batman then finds another alien in the Bat-Cave. This alien named Tiron explains that Dur is a criminal who has taken refuge on Earth. He enlists Batman's aid to capture Dur, but warns the Caped Crusader that Superman is involved. Batman then asks Supergirl for her help to stop her cousin while Batman capture Dur.

Superman manages to keep Supergirl and Batman from capturing Dur. He decides to enlist some help of his own and enlists the assistance of Batgirl. Meanwhile, Robin and Jimmy Olsen have made a startling discovery about the aliens. Before they can tell their friends, they are hit by knockout gas.

Batman and Supergirl then face off against Superman and Batgirl. During their duel, Tiron collapses. They unmask him as Ronald Jason. The actor admits that he played the roles of both aliens. His brother had discovered the secret identities of Batman and Superman, but an accident had claimed Desmond Jason's life and was quickly killing Ronald too. His last role has one that could fool both Superman and Batman. Good god is this one popular, being reprinted in Super-Team Family #3, Best of DC #16, World's Finest Comics #302, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC and Showcase Presents:Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

The back-up Martian Manhunter story is reprinted from Detective Comics #226 and is by Jack Miller and Joe Certa. J’onn J’onzz, having recently arrived on Earth, has taken the profession of police detective. Using his martian abilities he has brought several criminals to justice. His lieutenant assigns him to watch a baseball pitcher, Big Bob Michaels, who is an ex-con.

Michaels receives a threat from a gang who know about his secret past. They try to get him to fix a baseball game. Jones looks into the future and sees that Michaels would win the game, so he uses his powers to ensure that outcome. The crooks then attempt to get Michaels for winning the game, but Jones stops them and places them under arrest.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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