Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Action Comics #373

Action Comics #373 (On Sale: January 7, 1969), AKA 80pg Giant #G-57 has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams in a special Supergirl issue. With this issue the 80-Page Giant is no more and the age of the 64-Page giant began.

We begin with "The Battle of the Super-Pets," from Action Comics #277 and created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney. Krypto helps Supergirl protect herself from being adopted which wins her favor. Streaky is jealous of the canine and when he regains his powers begins fighting with the Dog of Steel. Superman and Supergirl arrange a competition between the two animals.

They take the rivalry to an alien planetoid and compete in a series of events. Krypto and Supergirl fall in a hole and land near some Kryptonite. Before Streaky can rescue them, the cat loses his powers, however a wish from Supergirl makes the Kryptonite harmless. They soon discover that the planetoid is a playground for Mr. Mxyzptlk. The hole was really a wishing well, which allows Supergirl’s wish to come true. Streaky and Krypto become friends, but the arrival of Super-Monkey starts a new rivalry.

Next is "The Bride of Mr. Mxyzptlk," from Action Comics #291 and also the work of Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney. Mxyzptlk returns to Earth to plague Supergirl. First, he changes everyone in New York into a Bizarro, then he falls in love with Supergirl. To make her happy, the imp brings Zor-El and Alura back with his magic. Kara now has two sets of parents who fight over her.

Zor-El agrees to allow Mxyzptlk to marry his daughter, but instead slips him Kryptonian Truth Serum, forcing the imp to say his name backwards. When Mxyzptlk disappears back to the 5th dimension, Zor-El and Alura disappear as well since they existed only with the power of Mxyzptlk’s magic. The world forgets the events that happened while under Mxyzptlk’s influence, but Supergirl remembers that her parents were briefly restored to life.

"Supergirl's Farewell to Earth" from Action Comics #258 and created by Otto Binder and Jim Mooney is next. While saving two children from a falling tree, Supergirl spots Krypto. She introduces herself to the super-dog and plays with him. Superman arrives and is upset that Supergirl revealed her existence to his dog. He exiles her to an asteroid for a year.

From the asteroid, Supergirl keeps an eye on Earth and even puts out a forest fire. Krypto arrives a week later and warns Supergirl of a kryptonite cloud approaching. She is allowed to return to Earth for one day.

Her absence as Linda Lee has caused people to look for her. She gets her clothes dirty and pretends to have been lost in a swamp. Amazed by the girl’s ability to survive, a reporter checks her for mosquito bites. When he finds none, he guesses that she is a super-girl. Linda removes her disguise and reveals herself to the reporter. Then she tells the reporter that he is Superman. The reporter was Clark Kent.

The whole exile was a test by Superman to see if Supergirl could protect her secret. He wanted to see if she was worthy to learn his secret identity. She found out by herself which proved her ability to Superman.

Next is "The War Between Supergirl and the Supermen Emergency Squad" from Action Comics #276 and drawn by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. Clark Kent grants a dying man’s wish and reveals his secret identity of Superman. However, the dying man was faking his death. He is secretly the leader of the Anti-Superman Gang, John Kiley.

With knowledge of Clark’s secret, the gang traps him in a mine with a Kryptonite meteor. The gang also uses a device which disables Superman’s robots. Instead, the Man of Steel summons the Superman Emergency Squad and Supergirl for help.

They free Clark from the mine and then trick the gang into believing the drug Kiley used to fake his death gave him hallucinations. With Superman’s secret safe again, the crooks are sent to jail.

Lastly we have "Supergirl's Greatest Challenge." from Action Comics #287 and created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney. The Legion of Super-Heroes summons Supergirl to defeat the Positive Man, a once-human changed into a massive destructive force by the explosion of his home planet. As they watch from their spaceship, the Maid of Might lures a Negative Creature, created by the same explosion, toward the Positive Man, and the resulting explosion causes both to vanish.

Upon returning to Earth, the Legionnaires learn that this explosion has also erased their powers. Supergirl decides to stay with them, and, working behind the scenes with Whizzy, the telepathic descendant of Streaky (aka Super-Cat), helps the Legion deceive criminals into thinking that they still possess their abilities.

However, the real reason that the Legionnaires are powerless is that they are actually members of an alien chameleon-like race who, in the aftermath of the positive-negative explosion, imprisoned the real Super-Heroes and took their places. Having fooled Supergirl and Whizzy, they project them into the Phantom Zone.

From here, the phantom heroes mentally command a scientist at an android factory to construct a bogus chameleon man, who infiltrates the Legion impostors and releases Supergirl and Whizzy from the Zone. Supergirl captures the aliens and rescues the real Legion.

Edited by Mort Weisinger (E. Nelson Bridwell).

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