Friday, March 5, 2010

Superboy #165

Superboy #165 (On Sale: March 5, 1970) has cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

This issue begins with "The Super-Dog from Krypton" by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Fishetti and reprinted from Adventure Comics #210. This story tells the origin of Krypto, Superboy's dog. Superboy encounters a super powered dog on the streets of Smallville. The dog seems to recognize him and is friendly. Superboy follows the dog to a rocket that has recently crashed on Earth. Inside the rocket he finds papers which reveal that the dog came from Krypton. The dog was sent into space by Jor-El to test a rocket which was deflected by a meteor. The dog, Krypto, belonged to Kal-El as a baby. Krypto's ship eventually made its way to Earth.

Superboy is thrilled to have his dog back. However, Krypto's frisky nature and super powers cause several problems for Superboy including threatening his secret identity. Superboy constructs a super doghouse for Krypto, but the dog is easily able to free himself.

Eventually Krypto takes off into space to chase meteors. Superboy is happy that he won't have to deal with Krypto's antics anymore, but he is sad that his friend is gone.

Next we have "Superboy's Last Day" by Otto Binder and George Papp and reprinted from Adventure Comics #251. This story tells of Superboy's first encounter with Kryptonite. While cleaning house, Clark Kent recalls how one of his Superboy robots saved his life. Many years before, Pa Kent brought home a green glowing rock for Clark’s mineral collection. Clark immediately took ill and was on his deathbed. To replace him as Superboy, a recently constructed Superboy robot was sent out controlled by Jonathan.

When the robot returned, it inadvertently stepped in front of the Kryptonite. Being made of lead, the robot blocked the radiation. Superboy recovered but relapsed when the robot moved away. Pa Kent realizes that the rock must be responsible and places it inside the robot. Superboy recovers and learns that the rock was Kryptonite, a fragment of his home planet, which is deadly to him.

This is followed by "The Girl Who Saw the Future Superboy" by Jerry Coleman and Al Plastino and reprinted from Superboy #90. While helping her father clean a scientist’s lab, Lana accidentally activates a machine that allows her to see the future. Although the image only lasts for a moment, Lana sees Superman and his girlfriend, Lois Lane. Lana become jealous and tries to alter fate by getting Lois to enter a different career.

Lana visits Lois’s school and tries to sabotage Lois’s attempts to join the school paper. Failing in that, Lana tries to get Lois to pursue a career in science and later, sculpture. Each attempt fails due to the Unbeknownst actions of Superboy and Krypto.

Next we have "The Phantom Superboy" by Robert Bernstein and George Papp and reprinted from Adventure Comics #283. This is the first appearance of the Phantom Zone. Professor Lang discovers a box of Kryptonian weapons which he delivers to Superboy. While Superboy examines and tests the weapons, he is accidentally sent into the Phantom Zone, a dimension which exists near ours in which beings can only exist in a ghostly state. Kryptonian criminals were banished here before the destruction of the planet.

Unable to be seen or heard Superboy can not communicate with anyone in his own dimension. Eventually he discovers that his super thought is enough to activate an electric typewriter on which he types a message to Pa Kent. Jonathan rescues Superboy from the Zone, and then the Boy of Steel disposes of the box of weapons.

We end with "The Death of Ma and Pa Kent" by Leo Dorfman and Al Plastino and reprinted from Superman #161. While on vacation in the Caribbean, Jonathan and Martha Kent find a buried pirate’s treasure. The chest contains a scrap from the diary of Pegleg Morgan and presents them a mystery. Superboy carries them into the past to learn how Pegleg was stranded on the island by Blackbeard the Pirate.

When they return to present-day Smallville, the Kents become ill from jungle fever. Doctors are unable to find the cure, and Superboy is likewise helpless. Superboy tries to send them to the Phantom Zone, but solar flares prevent the projector from functioning.

Without a cure, the Kents die. Superboy blames himself for their deaths and gives up his Superboy career. He donates their money to charity, maintaining their house and store for himself. When searching through his father’s belongings he finds the diary scrap and learns that the chest the Kents found in the sand was the actually source of their illness. Relieved that his time-trip was not responsible for the death of his parents, Superboy resumes his career and treasures the memory of his Earth parents.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

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