Wednesday, August 6, 2008

World's Finest Comics #179

World's Finest Comics #179 (On Sale: August 6, 1968), AKA 80pg. Giant #G-52, has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "The Origin of the Superman-Batman Team" from World's Finest Comics #94 by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Lex Luthor has escaped prison, and Superman will not let Batman help him recapture the criminal. He has instead taken a new partner, Powerman. Batman and Robin trail Superman to learn why he has refused their help.

Robin recalls the first time he and Batman met the Man of Steel. They had run across some Kryptonite smugglers and gone to warn Superman. They teamed up, but at the final stage Superman refused their help in order to protect them. Batman disguised himself as Superman anyway to assist his new friend. Together they defeated the gang.

Batman suspects Superman is protecting him again. He returns to Luthor’s cell and discovers that Luthor is using a powerful new weapon. He devises a shield to protect himself from the weapon and captures Luthor. Superman then reveals that Powerman is a robot. He used the robot to get close to his foe, because Luthor was also using Kryptonite.

Next is "The Mightiest Team in the World" from Superman #76 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and John Fischetti. This is the story where Superman and Batman discover each other’s secret identities. Both Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne board a cruise ship and end up sharing a cabin. When a fire breaks out, both switch to their alternate identities of Superman and Batman. Batman rescues Lois Lane, while Superman puts out the fire.

Later aboard ship they protect their identities from Lois Lane, while tracking down a jewel thief, John Smilter. Superman must save the ship from danger, while Batman captures Smilter and once again rescues Lois. When the ship arrives at port, the duo once again protects their secret identities from Lois.

This is followed by "Batman – Double for Superman" from World's Finest Comics #71 by Alvin Schwartz, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Superman rescues Batman and Robin, when the Bat-plane is shot down by crooks. In the process, Lois Lane witnesses Clark Kent change into Superman. Batman and Superman agree to switch identities to confuse Lois, so she won’t realize she has discovered Superman’s secret identity.

Superman disguised as Batman follows the crooks, but is felled by a piece of Kryptonite. Meanwhile, Batman disguised as Superman tries to convince Lois that Superman is Bruce Wayne. When Superman fails to return Batman tracks him down at the crooks’ hide-out. Lois also arrives, discovering Clark wearing the Batman costume. Batman rescues Clark from the Kryptonite and apprehends the crooks. Lois is still confused by the secret identity situation and believes it was a prank perpetrated by Superman.

Next is "When Gotham City Challenged Metropolis" from World's Finest Comics #76 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Superman and Batman compete in a contest to determine which whether Gotham City or Metropolis will host a science convention. Superman patrols Gotham and performs four feats in the allotted time frame. Batman is able to perform five feat in Metropolis, earning him the victory for Gotham City.

Batman tried hard to win the contest because one of the inventions on display at the convention emits Kryptonite rays. When the machine is tested, Superman is nearby and weakened. However, the machine malfunctions and destroys itself. Superman then reveals he performed a fifth feat, so the convention is held in both cities.

"The Dictator of Kandor" from World's Finest Comics #100 is next, by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Luthor has invented a belt which reduces him and his gang to tiny size. Using the belts, Luthor sets up a trap for Superman. Unknown to Superman, he brings Luthor into the Fortress of Solitude inside a machine Luthor has built to use as a Trojan horse.

Once inside the Fortress, Luthor infiltrates the bottled city of Kandor. Superman follows him inside, but without his powers in the Kandorian City, he is captured by Luthor’s gang. Luthor then forces the citizens of Kandor to give him their advanced weapons.

Following a lead of their own, Batman and Robin arrive at the Fortress and enter Kandor. They rescue Superman and take on Luthor with him. Luthor is victorious and leaves Kandor. However, the heroes are still alive and follow him outside. Superman and Batman remain tiny in size because the belts they used were broken, but Superman’s powers return. Together they defeat Luthor and his men.

Lastly we have "The Club of Heroes" from World's Finest Comics #89 by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Superman, Batman, and several heroes from around the world are called together to form a Club of Heroes. The members decide to elect the chairman of the club based on heroic deeds performed that week. Each hero is selfless and wants another to be elected chairman, so they don’t take credit for their own rescues.

Superman is knocked unconscious by an unknown force while stopping a lightning storm. An unknown hero, Lightning-Man, appears and accomplishes Superman’s duties. The next day a similar event happens and Lightning-Man once again makes the scene while Superman is incapacitated.

Batman suspects that Lightning-Man is behind Superman’s problems. He suspects that the new hero is trying to win chairmanship in the club which is exactly what happens.

When Lightning-Man appears again however, Batman proves that the identity of the new hero is Superman himself. An orbiting piece of Kryptonite is affecting him causing him to assume another identity. The Kryptonite is removed, Superman returns to normal, and he remains chairman of the club.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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