Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Superman #222

Superman #222 (On Sale: October 7, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson featuring Superman's Secret Family.

We begin with "Superman's Lost Brother" by Ed Hamilton and Al Plastino from Superman #80.

Next is "The Sweetheart Superman Forgot" by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino and reprinted from Superman #165. Superman encounters Red Kryptonite which causes him to lose his powers and suffer amnesia. This time the effects last for weeks.

During his period of amnesia, Superman takes the identity of Jim White and gets a job as a lumberman. He falls in love with a wealthy farm girl, Sally Selwyn, and plans to marry her. Bart Benson, a lumberjack jealous of Jim, causes a rodeo accident leaving Jim crippled.

Though Jim postpones the wedding, Bart still tries to cause him harm. Bart rolls a boulder at Jim’s wheelchair, causing him to fall into the ocean. Sally believes Jim to be dead, but Aquaman rescues him and takes him to Lori Lemaris to recuperate. When his memory returns, Superman has no recollection of Sally or his other life as Jim White.

"The Fantastic Story of Superman's Sons" from Superman #166 is next and is by Ed Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein. In this imaginary story, Superman becomes the father of two children. One of the boys, Jor-El II, inherits super powers; the other, Kal-El II, does not. Kal-El II grows up with an inferiority complex because he can’t perform super deeds.

Superman takes the boys to Kandor, where they become a new Nightwing and Flamebird. Despite the fact that both boys now lack powers, Kal-El II still feels inferior. The boys track down a masked criminal, who escapes Kandor to Earth.

Superman and Jor-El II pursue the criminal, while Kal-El II takes a time bubble back to Krypton and meets the original Jor-El. Kal deduces the identity of the mystery criminal as Phantom Zone escapee Gann Artar. He also develops a way to reverse the effects of Gann’s new weapon. Kal returns to the present and defeats Gann by sending him back to the Phantom Zone. He also rescues Superman and Jor-El II from Kryptonite. With his success, Kal overcomes his inferiority complex.

We end with "The Story of Superboy's Sister" from Superboy #36 by William Woolfolk and John Sikela. When Lana's parents are presumed dead in the African jungle, she moves in with the Kents. Superboy stops a pair of radium thieves, but the crooks escape. Suspecting that Superboy is still radioactive from the radium, the crooks use a geiger counter to find where he lives. The trail leads to the Kent home.

Superboy discovers that the crooks are following him as Clark, but eventually switches their focus to Lana. The crooks begin suspecting that she is really Superboy. When Lana overhears them, she play along. Superboy is able to help Lana secretly, until the crooks are convinced.

Superboy doesn't apprehend the crooks right away because he fears that the radiation evidence could lead them back to his Clark Kent identity. When he learns that a package sent to Lana by her parents contained uranium ore, he is able to explain the radiation and apprehend the crooks. Lana's parents are then discovered to be alive, so she returns home to them.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

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