Thursday, July 30, 2015

Action Comics #392

Action Comics #392  (On Sale: July 30, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson featuring the Superman/Batman team. This is an great example of the due personality of DC at this time. The company that was brining you the Dark Knight and Deadman and Bat Lash and Green Lantern/Green Arrow was still being brought down month after month by the likes of Mort Weisinger and his ever silly "imaginary stories." Poor Superman, his sun is a klutzy loser! Yikes!

The lead off "imaginary" tale, "The Shame of the Super-Son" is the work of Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. I think the less said about it the better. Thankfully it has never been reprinted.

The back-up feature is the Legion of Super-Heroes in "The Legionnaires Who Never Were," 12 pages by Cary Bates, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra are sent after the space renegade Pozr-Du. After spotting his parked ship, they approach only to be blasted by the villain's ray gun. When they awake hours later, they find that Pozr and his ship are gone. They return to Legion headquarters to find their cruiser suddenly surrounded by the H.Q.'s energy-grappler. The girls are ordered to identify themselves. Confused, they comply and ask permission to land. Their request is refused, and their ship is brought to a landing dock by the energy-grappler. The heroines leave the ship only to find themselves at gunpoint, surrounded by Legionnaires.

Karate Kid says that the two of them must be crazy spies to try to infiltrate Legion Headquarters by pretending to be two Legionnaires who don't even exist. Projectra demands that they get a chance to prove that they really are Legionnaires. She takes them to the clubhouse's archive computer, which has pictures and data on all members, but discovers that Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra are not included. There are two blank slots on the board, but Karate Kid explains that they have just admitted two new members - two male members - and their data is not yet in the computer.

Next, Projectra takes the others to the Legion's Hall of Trophies, but she and Saturn Girl are upset to discover that none of their own awards are present. The two girls try to demonstrate their powers but find they no longer have them. Karate Kid presents to them the new Legionnaires, who turn out to be male versions of the heroines: Prince Projectur and Saturn Lad. The boys demonstrate the super-powers of illusion-casting and telepathy before the girls are imprisoned in the team's detention sphere.

Projectra wonders if Pozr's weapon might have caused them to have a weird but realistic dream. Saturn Girl theorizes that they have been hurled into a parallel dimension in which they don't exist. When Projectra notices that Karate Kid has left them their flightrings, she comes up with an escape plan. She and Saturn Girl use their rings to propel them in opposite directions, putting pressure on the elastic detention sphere. Finally, it snaps and the girls are free to discover what has happened to them.

Projectra asks Saturn Girl to stay in hiding while she tries something. The Princess makes her way to Karate Kid's quarters and asks him to tell her if the whole thing is a hoax. When the Kid acts distressed that an enemy spy knows his real name, she begs him to remember that he once confessed his love for her. She then kisses him. When the two part, Karate Kid turns away and tells her it was a nice try, but he doesn't know her. Before he can try to re-capture her, however, he blacks out.

Projectra had stopped by the equipment lab earlier and concocted a knockout serum that only works on Earth people and had coated her lips with it. She had also slipped a miniature device on his neck when she kissed him, which she then checks. Projectra tries to return to Saturn Girl but finds her missing; instead, she comes upon Prince Projectur.

The Princess finds that she has regained her power and creates an illusion of an alien gas-creature threatening her. When her boy double tells "Jeckie" not to panic and then races to her rescue, she drops the illusion and snatches a mask off of "Projectur" revealing Brainiac 5's face beneath. He admits that he had used a device to simulate her power. When she asks why, he tells her that the new archive computer predicted that she would break down in a time of crisis and jeopardize other members. They had to check the accuracy of the computer by putting her through a test, which she has now passed. Saturn Girl arrives, saying that she had previously only made Projectra think she had lost her power.

Sun Boy had been disguised as "Saturn Lad" and Chameleon Boy had been Pozr. They ask how she figured out she had been hoaxed and she tells them how she put a truth disc on Karate Kid's neck which indicated that he was lying. Also, Brainiac 5 had called her "Jeckie" when he thought she was in danger, a nickname only her friends would know.

Karate Kid comes up to embrace Jeckie and says that tomorrow he is going to order the new computer dismantled and repaired. Mon-El breaks in and says that he will issue the order, since it is past midnight on Karate Kid's last day in office. At a ceremony the next morning, Mon-El is sworn in as the new leader, with Element Lad as his deputy. Projectra asks Val if he is sorry he's no longer leader and he wishes he had left office a week ago so he wouldn't have had to put her
through that ordeal.

Reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC and Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

No comments: