Superman: Earth One Vol. 3
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Writer: Jerry Coleman
Penciller: John Sikela
Inker: John Sikela
"The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse"
Reviewed by: Justin "NotSuper" Adams
Fuzzy scampers through the wall to the next-door apartment. A scientist named Egglehead is performing an experiment designed to smash the atoms of kryptonite. Unknown to him, Fuzzy has slipped under the piece of kryptonite. After pulling the wrong lever, Fuzzy is blasted with the atomic Krypton ray and quickly makes a retreat back into the wall. The mouse quickly grows to a large size and leaves a hole in the wall he was hiding in. Egglehead is astonished and states that the mouse will have all of Superboy's powers for the next 48 hours.
Growing larger and larger (and taking on a humanoid shape), Fuzzy returns to his former owner. After inadvertently performing some super-feats, Tommy realizes that his pet has gained all the powers of Superboy. Giving Fuzzy a Superboy costume he got for his birthday, Tommy decides to turn his pet into a super-hero and dubs him "Krypto Mouse."
Unfortunately, Krypto Mouse still thinks like a mouse, and attacks a sign for "The Black Cat" club. Since the people of Smallville only noticed the costume and not the giant mouse in it, Superboy is blamed for the property damage. Tommy is disappointed in his pet and decides to take away his costume until he "earns the right to wear it." Instead of fighting injustice, Krypto Mouse is instead drawn to a parade featuring a reenactment of the Pied Piper story (complete with kids in mouse costumes). Unknown to Krypto Mouse, several mobsters have tracked down a traitor called "Louie the Rat" to the reenactment. Correctly deducing that he's disguised as one of the mice, they try to kill him. Unfortunately, they get Krypto Mouse instead. After their attacks prove fruitless, they come to the erroneous conclusion that Louie has gained super-powers. Fearing for their lives, they turn themselves in to the police. Superboy is again credited with the actions of Krypto Mouse and becomes even more curious about what's going on. Tommy praises Krypto Mouse's actions and reveals to his pet his intentions to tell the world about him soon.
The next day, Superboy answers a distress call by sea. He helps out a crew by tossing their cargo (several crates of cheese) onto the shore. This attracts Krypto Mouse, who steals the cheese. Superboy conducts a thorough search and finally finds the culprit and the cargo (some of which Krypto Mouse has already eaten). Krypto Mouse flees as Superboy arrives, leading the Boy of Steel to chase after the super-powered rodent. After losing the culprit, Superboy decides to change into Clark Kent and think the problem over. Lana Lang is passing by and screams something about Superboy. At first thinking his identity has been revealed, Superboy is relieved to discover that Lana saw Krypto Mouse and assumed Superboy had been changed into the form. Around this time, the 48 hours end and Krypto Mouse returns to his original size, with no powers. Superboy is thankful that the trouble is over.
The mouse makes its way back to Tommy's house just as he's trying to tell his mother the truth. Tommy notices that his once super-powered pet has returned to normal. Proof that he really did have super-powers comes when his father finds a diamond under Tommy's bed... apparently coal squeezed by Fuzzy. Noting that the diamond will pay for his son's education, Tommy's father allows him to keep his pets. Tommy says that his pet really is super.
Story - 1: Where to begin? I'll start off by saying that I'm not opposed to silly stories in Superman (or in this case, Superboy) comics. But there's a good way to do those kinds of stories and a bad way... this is the latter. During this time period, Superman was out of the Golden Age but not quite in the Silver Age. Writers were presumably still trying to figure out which direction to take Superman in. Because of this uncertainly, overly silly stories like this one occurred. However, many key parts of the mythos were formed during this era and in this particular year... 1958. Some of the bigger ideas were the Legion of Super-Heroes and Brainiac. Now that context has been established the story can be analyzed.
The two biggest problems with the story are the many coincidences and the lack of Superboy. Indeed, the story focuses mostly on Krypto Mouse and his owner, Tommy. This approach doesn't really work because neither one is that interesting. Besides Tommy's obvious love for animals, he seems to be the prototypical kid of his era. Krypto Mouse (which I don't find to be a very creative name) does what one would assume a super-powered mouse would do. For the majority of the story he just follows his instincts. Also, who exactly makes miniature masks for mice?
As noted, coincides are really bad in this story. First there's the parade featuring kids dressed as mice. What are the odds that this would occur right after a mouse has been turned into a humanoid shape and gained powers? Furthermore, the fact that a criminal named "Louie the Rat" (we never do find out what happens to him... or even see his face) would be involved is too much. And don't even get me started on the barrels of cheese.
Tommy also seems to expect a lot from his mouse, expecting him to be a hero right after he gets his powers. He then criticizes his pet when it fails. I'm probably reading too deeply into this than I should, but there's really nothing interesting at all in the surface story. Frankly, I found Krypto Mouse's analogue, Squeaky from Alan Moore's Supreme to be far more interesting.
Another big problem with the story is that it doesn't make much sense. Why would an experiment involving kryptonite give a creature Kryptonian powers? Granted, kryptonite has had weird effects on all kinds of creatures, but I felt this situation was forced.
Incidentally, I'm not rating this story by modern standards... I'm judging it within its context. Even during its time period this story would be seen as far lesser than other stories.
Art - 3: The art here is nothing special, but it's not bad either. Krypto Mouse looks overly cartoonish, which drags the story down a bit. Other than that, there are no real problems here.
Cover Art - 3: The cover art isn't related to this story. The cover features a caged Superboy begging to be let out by his foster parents. The characters are rendered well here, but I could easily see this being on one of those "unintentionally funny cover" sites.
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