Friday, October 31, 2008

Action Comics #370

Action Comics #370 (On Sale: October 31, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "100 Years... Lost, Strayed or Stolen" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Superman is haunted by strange dreams. His analysis of them leads him to perform a test on the rocket which brought him to Earth where he discovers that it is over 100 years old. Superman is unable to solve the mystery.

The reason the rocket is older is that during Kal-El's trip to Earth his rocket entered a space warp that took it to another universe. Young Kal-El was found and raised by a race of primitive people. While he did not possess super-powers on this world, his body emitted radiation which accelerated their evolutionary advancement. In the span of his lifetime, the people developed from barbarians to a race with advanced technology.

Kal-El, known as Sonn on this world, grows up to become a respected leader of his new planet. However, his adopted sister Ruoa is jealous of her brother. When exposed to the evil-beam of a devil-dragon, she becomes Sonn's greatest enemy. Her ultimate scheme unleashes a tremendous evil on the planet which leads to atomic war. Sonn is blamed for the holocaust and must live the remainder of his life as a fugitive.

When Sonn is an old man he is found by his son Vol who possesses an immunity to the plague of evil. Sonn develops a way to cure the people by devolving them back into barbarians. He also restores Sonn to babyhood, places him back in the rocket, and sends him on his way to Earth. Kal-El arrives on Earth as a baby with no memories of his lifetime in the other universe. Due to a difference in the flow of time between universes, each year he spent in the other universe was equivalent to an Earth minute.

I have to say this is a pretty great story by Bates and the fact that they could cram it into 13 pages should be a lesson to all the writers out there today. Never reprinted.

In the Supergirl back-up, "Supergirl's Shattered Marriage," a continuation of last-issue's story by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger, Linda Danvers has fallen in love with college playboy Gary Sparks. To win his affection, she approaches him as Supergirl, and they begin dating. Gary agrees to give up his other girlfriends, and the couple decides to get married.

Supergirl returns home to tell her parents about her engagement. They are concerned by the sudden decision. Supergirl decides to use a Prognostron to view the future in which she marries Gary. The machine shows that the marriage will not be a happy one as Gary neglects their daughter Kala and begins cheating on her. Supergirl realizes that she should not marry him after all, but she has given her word.

Back on campus, Gary publicly announces the engagement and destroys his little black book. When he sees Supergirl again, the Girl of Steel intentionally sabotages the relationship. Gary then calls off the wedding. When he returns to campus he becomes a laughingstock when he claims to have jilted Supergirl.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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