Thursday, June 25, 2015

80-Page Thursdays: Superman Family #187!

We have a couple of these Superman Family 80-pagers to go, and my favorite thing about them is probably the covers, which often feature the secondary characters watching the action like they can't believe that business. From 1978, The Superman Family #187, featuring stories by Tom DeFalco, Gerry Conway, Bob Toomey, and more; with art by Curt Swan, Don Heck, Win Mortimer, and more.

In the opener, when Daily Planet columnist Dave Stevens (no, not that one) is nearly killed by a cowboy assassin, Jimmy Olsen fields the case. Even though Olsen was often, and is often, relegated to rookie status; he was an old pro by this point, and even takes the precaution of using his Elastic Lad formula. (That would be the same one Elongated Man used, although I think E-M's powers stuck.) Meanwhile, two other reporters try to follow Jimmy and scoop him, because why research your own stories when you can steal them?

Meanwhile, on Earth-2, the older Jimmy Olsen-2 (who would actually be the first one, except the naming convention favored the then-modern DC universe as Earth-1...) was dying and needed an experimental organ transplant, except he was an orphan with no living relatives--except himself, on Earth-1! Superman-2, racing to Earth-1 to get Jimmy-1...this is exactly why DC had Crisis on Infinite Earths, yeah...accidentally frees an extra-dimensional alien warrior named Krogg, who beats the living snot out of both Supermen! Rather than try to fight Krogg together (an idea Supes-1 as much as scoffs at) Professor Potter uses an ever-popular experimental machine to merge the two Supermen into one, Super-Superman! Sure, it may be psychologically damaging, and possibly blow up the earth, but they give it a shot and collectively beat Krogg by heat-visioning him until his power overloads and he explodes...I thought both Supes were pretty dead set against killing, but they don't seem too broken up about this one. As Supes-2 takes Jimmy-1 to have his organ duplicated or whatever, Supes-1 muses that a man's identity should be his own, and seems to resolve to avoid his counterpart for a while, possibly until Crisis.

Next, another assassin, this time with a mask and rocket-cycle, takes a shot at Dave Stevens in the hospital, but is stopped by volunteer nurse Lois Lane! As she works the story, the assassin takes a shot at her, nearly killing Lois with hidden rockets attached to her car, that launch her off a bridge and into Metropolis Bay! Airbags and "standard driving rules" save Lois, since Supes was out at the time.

Also this issue: a Krypto story, where the Dog of Steel jettisons some of the sillier plotlines he had to accompany a detective friend searching for his lost nephew. Then a Nightwing and Flamebird story that reveals Kandor may run on...cassette tape computers. That are vulnerable to Bizarroification...let's move on. Finally, Supergirl fights a villain with a sled made out of an old Superboy robot...I'm just going to stop here.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Dude, you must seriously love them or have a serious case of nostalgia for those stories, because, they're pretty damn bad from the sound of it, especially the Flamebird/Nightwing stuff.
They're world maybe runs off a tape cassette?
So they like a simulation running in the holodeck from Star Trek then?

That combination of two Supermen should've caused a CRISIS based off their combined powers alone.