Thursday, July 27, 2017

So, if Superboy can't build a robot to beat his ass; I'm guessing God can't make a stone so heavy he can't lift it.

The happenstance is less than random today, as I specifically sought out this one: from 1981, the New Adventures of Superboy #18, "Superboy's Do-It-Yourself Doom!" Written by Cary Bates, pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger, inks by Dave Hunt.

We saw the previous issue some time back, wherein a speech by Carl "Moosie" Draper badmouthing gives Clark the completely logical idea of building a robot to beat him, just to test himself against it. The robot, Kator, gives Superboy a pretty good fight; then approaches Moosie with a lot of promises that sound like Moosie is about to be lured into a windowless panel van...Meanwhile, Pa Kent is at home, with his finger on the button: usually that's a metaphor, but in this case it's literal! Pa is maintaining a constant vigil over the button that will deactivate Kator, waiting for Superboy's super-ventriloquism signal. On patrol the next day, Superboy may not have noticed his dad hasn't slept or bathed in days, but does notice Moosie giving him a big cheerful wave; right before Kator jumps him and drags Superboy into deep space!

Superboy thinks the change in venue is just Kator protecting Smallville from destruction, but the robot thought it through: their fight is near a comet that recently passed a red sun, and that radiation is quickly reducing Superboy's powers! Thinking quickly, S-B does the unexpected, and dives into the comet's tail, with enough speed to throw himself clear of the radiation before his powers were completely gone. Moreover, Kator is kicked into a sun, and the robot burns up. Home in time for dinner, Pa throws away the button; and Clark's learned his lesson; but we see Moosie hiking out to a cave in the woods, where he finds Kator's fallback plan.

As "Kator the Second," Moosie kidnaps Lana to lure in Superboy. (Superboy wonders who would take "the girl of his dreams" to the deserted football field, and, um...maybe when you're older.) While a bit tubby in his new outfit, Moosie knows he's got an advantage: Superboy is sworn to never take a human life. After some scuffling, Superboy races home to find the button, which isn't in the trash! Worse, Moosie meets him there, Kator having filled him in on Clark's secret identity...except, Pa Kent had fished out the button for Superboy's trophy collection, as a little reminder, and pushes it, cancelling Moosie's powers. And after that, it's a simple matter to rewire his "mind-prober ray" to erase Moosie's memories of the experience; what the hey, Superboy figures why not erase Lana's as well, so she doesn't resent Moosie. (Probably have to erase Lana's dad's memory, and fix their house, too.) What Superboy couldn't suspect--and I didn't catch either--was that Carl "Moosie" Draper would still go on to become a super-villain! He'd grow up to be the Master Jailer: nowhere near as major as the captioning would want you to believe, but I've read an issue or two with him, usually still stalking Lana!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Whoever designed that outfit for the Master Jailer should be locked up in jail and throw away the key.