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"The Evil Factory!"
Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Vince Colletta
Superman and Jimmy heads: Al Plastino
Cover: Neal Adams
Reviewed by: Charlie Niemeyer
Meanwhile, Superman and the Mountain of Judgment are streaking down the Zoomway to The Project. Stopping just outside, Jimmy and the Newsboys disembark in the Whiz Wagon and head into The Project, where they meet the adult versions of the Newsboys, aka the "Dads." While both sets of Newsboys get reacquainted, Superman explains to Jimmy what it is that The Project actually does: cloning.
Back at their lab, Simyan and Mokkari cover their giant with a fine mist of synthetic kryptonite before reporting to Darkseid. During the conversation, Darkseid uses his power to send the giant on an uncontrollable spree of destruction. However, before he can cause too much damage, Simyan uses their Penetrator Beam to send him to The Project.
The giant shows up in the room where Superman and Jimmy are. While Superman fights the giant, Jimmy tells the adult Newsboys about what's going on. Superman's blows seems to have little effect on the giant, but does dislodge the giant's face mask, revealing that it is a clone of Jimmy. This catches Superman off-guard enough to allow the giant to land a clean blow on the Man of Steel. The combination of the hit and the kryptonite knocks Superman out.
Watching on a monitor, the adult Newsboys tell Jimmy that there is only one man who can save them now. In a strange containment unit, a costumed man is fitted with a golden helmet and a golden shield, and the golden Guardian leaps into battle.
To be continued...
Story - 4: This is Kirby's best issue so far. You can really feel that he's starting to get a better handle on pacing. Two things keep this from being a 5, one big thing and one little thing. The little thing is the awkwardness of some of the dialog (and I mean by 1970's standards, not today's). Things like each member of the adult Newsboys explaining to no one in particular why they are there before getting the Guardian, meanwhile Superman is unconscious and helpless. The second is that Superman seems to be taking the whole cloning thing really well. Granted, this is a different history than post-Crisis, so he wouldn't have the same reasons for being against cloning. However, he has always had problems with people having too much power, even himself in some cases, so him being somewhat nonchalant about a secret project that can create a seemingly limitless number of clones seems a little out of character. Actually, at one point it seems that the Hairies, Jude in particular, had just told him about the cloning in between issues, but when he tells Jimmy about it, it's like he's known about it the whole time. Also, this issue also changes Flipper Dipper's name to Flippa Dippa. Weird.
Art - 4: I'm not sure of Kirby's art is just growing on me more or if it is actually improving, but I'm liking the art in this issue. The heads inked by Plastino aren't nearly as jarring this time around either. Also, the full page splash of the Guardian is awesome.
Cover Art - 5: Nothing says, "Buy me!" like showing Superman being attacked by several smaller Supermen with Jimmy Olsen gloating in the background. Beautiful!
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