Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
World's Finest #129Cover date: November 1962
Penciller: Jim Mooney
Inker: Jim Mooney
Cover: Jim Mooney
One day, Batman and Robin sped to Metropolis to alert Superman that the Joker had been spotted there. It was a wise move, because the Joker was just about to begin the wildest coup of his career. That very day, on the fairgrounds of Wilson Park, an exhibit of exotic clocks began with Hilton Webb serving as the Master of Ceremonies. The feature of the show was an amazing floating clock, kept aloft by small jets that Webb controlled. As the amazing clock began to chime noon, the fairgrounds are not filled with a ringing, but rather a hysterical laughter. To everyone's amazement, the clock's face opened to reveal the Joker and Luthor sitting within the mechanism.
From out of nowhere, Superman streaked to the scene. Suddenly Luthor aimed out a strange gun and pulled the trigger. "I made this for you, Superman. An atomic disperser with a Kryptonite base." Cackling wildly, the Joker looked on as Superman was transformed into an electronic stream utterly incapable of action. "It worked!" yelled the Joker. "I'm so glad that I chose you for a partner."
Since Superman was unable to stop the pair, Batman and Robin swung into action. However, as the moved toward the clock, the Joker shot the clock's mainspring at the duo. Rising away from the fairgrounds to safety, the Joker yelled to Batman, "Farewell friends. Maybe we'll meet again in the spring!" What was a typical comment for the Joker, was enough to begin an argument with Luthor. "Joker! Sometimes you talk too much," spit Luthor. "And you talk too little," the Joker bit back. "Matching wits with a worthy opponent makes crime a pleasure and not just a money-grabbing chore!"
Back at the exhibit grounds, Batman and Robin kept watch as Superman slowly returned to normal. "That weapon of Luthor's is extremely dangerous," said Superman. We must find him and destroy it."
The next day, Clark Kent and Lois Lane were assigned to cover an elaborate flower show, part of the continuing exhibit at the fairgrounds of Wilson Park and saw that Batman and Robin had already arrived to watch over the proceedings. The Dynamic Duo wondered how Kent might slip away if needed with Lois tagging along. Fortunately, Hilton Webb arrived and offered to give Lois a personally escorted tour of the exhibit. And lucky that was, because just as they left a giant model of a tulip, intended for a special part of the flower show, begins to descend and appeared to become planted in a giant flowerpot. A cute show until the Joker leapt from the petals of the giant blossom. As quickly, Luthor appeared in a giant model of a flying Bee. Quickly, Kent changed to Superman and flew up to face Luthor, but before he could close enough to do anything, Luthor pulled out the disperser ray. "Here's your daily dose of my Kryptonite x-beam, Superman," laughed Luthor. And, as before, Superman became a helpless stream of electrons forcing Batman and Robin to leap to action.
Using their batarangs, Batman and Robin climbed up toward Luthor's bee, but seeing his partner about to be captured the Joker ran to a coiled high-pressure fire hose. "A may flower brings an April shower," squealed the Joker turning on the water. The force of the water knocked Batman and Robin from the robot bee. Then, turning quickly, the Joker grabbed a number of rare flower bulbs there on display and gleefully made his escape.
Lois had been watching the action. Up in the air, she saw Superman still in his electrified state, and then noticed that Kent was also absent. Looking around for her fellow reporter, she finally came across him interviewing Hilton Webb. Turning around, she mumbled to herself, "I guess my suspicions were kind of silly." Slowly, Superman returned to normal and materialized. Standing beside Clark Kent, Superman was thankful that Batman had the foresight to disguise himself as Kent to protect his identity.
The next evening, a record crowd turned out for the finale of the exhibit, an amazing gem show, featuring a fortune in rare and beautiful gems. This night, Hilton Webb oversaw the transfer of the gems in the center of the arena, in a huge dome made of shatterproof glass appears. As the guards handed Webb the bags filled with the valuable stones, Superman's senses were on heightened alert and he heard a whirring sound, the sound made by a movie camera and realized that he has heard it before. "That's what I heard in the giant clock Luthor and Joker used the first time we met here," said Superman. "I think I understand now."
Suddenly, the Joker and his men appeared over the fairgrounds in purple helicopter. Swooping down, they tried to smash the glass bubble with no luck. Batman and Robin ran to combat the Joker's men, while inside Hilton Webb frantically gathered up the precious gems. Banging on the glass, Webb pleaded with the guard to let him out, but was told that there is no way out. "Relax, Mr. Webb," said the guard. "They can't break through that glass dome and you can't get out."
"That's what he thinks," laughed Webb. Strapping portable jets to his legs, Webb suddenly soared out of the dome carrying five million dollars in gems. "Just a minute, Luthor," yelled Superman streaking after Webb and pulling a mask from his face. Luthor could do nothing but frantically try to evade the Man-of-Steel, but regardless of his efforts he was apprehended within moments.
Seeing that Superman had Luthor in hand, Batman and Robin turned their attention toward the Joker's helicopter. "The Joker has Luthor's weapon," yelled Batman. Seeing the Joker aim the weapon at his partner, Robin leaped into the cabin to grab the gun. As Robin grabbed the Joker's arm, Batman landed a terrific left to his chin, and the battle was over.
After the Joker and Luthor had been turned over to the police, and the real Hilton Webb released, Batman took Superman aside and asked him how he saw through Luthor's ruse. "I realized that the whirring in the giant clock was caused by a movie camera. I knew that the whole first crime was a blind for taking pictures of Webb. They used those pictures to study Webb's movements and voice. Then, I used my x-ray vision to see through Luthor's mask and was ready to strike when he grabbed the gems."
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson relax in the study. Bruce picks up the Gotham Gazette and begins to read the story of the Joker's capture. Looking over, Dick sees the headline and laughs. "I hope we've seen the last of the Luthor Joker team."
Story - 3: This was the second time that DC teamed the Joker and Luthor against Superman and Batman. The first time was World's Finest #88. While a fun story, it is a rather typical Superman-Batman story from the early 1960's, having a number of interesting plot elements, including models of giant clocks and plants and the flying clock and Bee. But in the end, the heroes defeat these "super-villains" just a bit too easily and their defeat becomes a foregone conclusion. Certainly, this story is nowhere near the tale that the first Joker-Luthor story was.
Art - 4: In the 1940's, DC began hiring a group of artists that would produce exceptional work for them for over thirty years, and even today. Among them were such greats as Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth, Russ Heath, Carmine Infantino, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, Ross Andru , Mike Esposito, Ruben Moriera, Sheldon Moldoff, Kurt Schaffenberger, Mike Sekowsky, Mort Meskin, Ramona Fradon, Lee Elias, and George Papp among a score of other famous illustrators. Also among this group was Jim Mooney, who drew this story. Mooney began working for DC in the mid-1940's, and is credited with both cover and interior work in Batman and Detective Comics as early as 1944 (even though the art was signed by Bob Kane). Mooney also produced a great deal of art for the Robin backup stories that appeared in Star Spangled Comics during the late 1940's. In the 1950's, Mooney's efforts were turned toward DC's fledgling science fiction line. He produced some quality work for early issues of Strange Adventures (illustrating a Manley Wade Wellman story) and Mystery in Space, then taking over the Tommy Tomorrow strip from Curt Swan in Action Comics #172. But Jim Mooney is probably remembered best for his wonderful work on Supergirl. Starting with the second Supergirl story in Action Comics #253 (June 1959), Mooney would work on this feature for the next nine years. Readers who followed this strip in the back of Action were always in for a treat. Mooney's Supergirl was sweet and young, his faces were wide-eyed, yet expressive, and when Supergirl flew it became a ballet with sweeping graceful motion. Those that followed the Legion of Super-heroes might remember that it was Jim Mooney who introduced such heroes as Sun Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy among many others when they appeared in the Supergirl strip. Because of his ability to draw both Superman and Batman, Mooney was then asked to do the World's Finest stories drawing issues 125-130, and 131-140. In the late 1960's, Mooney left DC and went to work for Marvel, taking on the inking chores on Spiderman and to work on several other projects.
This particular story is a very good example of Mooney's work on the book. His art is solid, and easily recognizable. Also in this issue is a nice Aquaman story by Ramona Fradon and a Green Arrow job by Lee Elias. Not a bad issue at all!
Cover Art - 4: The cover for this issue was pencilled and inked by Mooney, and contains all of the quirky elements that we will find inside. The cover is "multi-layered" having the villains furthest back in their flying clock, the "electron-stream" Superman in the mid-ground, and Batman and Robin in the foreground dodging the spring the Joker has shot from the clock. Overall, an effect that works well for this issue.
Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews
- Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
- Action Comics #2 (July 1938)
- Action Comics #3 (August 1938)
- Action Comics #4 (September 1938)
- Action Comics #5 (October 1938)
- Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
- Action Comics #7 (December 1938)
- Superman Archives: Volume 1 (1939)
- Superman #1 (Summer 1939)
- Action Comics #8 (January 1939)
- Action Comics #9 (February 1939)
- Action Comics #10 (March 1939)
- Superman #13 (November/December 1941) - The Archer
- Superman #19 (November/December 1942) - Case of the Funny Paper Crimes
- Action Comics #60 (May 1943) - Lois Lane - Superwoman
- Superman #30 (September/October 1944) - The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk
- Action Comics #80 (January 1945) - Mr. Mxyztplk Returns
- Superman #38 (January/February 1946) - The Battle of the Atoms
- Superman #42 (September/October 1946) - The Death of Clark Kent
- Superman #45 (March/April 1947) - Lois Lane, Superwoman
- Superman #53 (July 1948) - The Origin of Superman
- Action Comics #124 (September 1948) - A Superman of Doom
- Superman #60 (December 1949/January 1950) - The Two Identities of Superman & Superman Fights the Super-Brain
- Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - The Mightiest Team in the World
- Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - Superman's Lost Brother
- Superman 3D (1953) - The Man Who Stole the Sun, Origin of Superman and The Man Who Bossed Superman
- Superman #87 (February 1954) - The Prankster's Greatest Role
- Superman #88 (March 1954) - The Terrible Trio
- Superman #89 (May 1954) - Captain Kent the Terrible, Superman of Skid Row, and One Hour to Doom!
- Superman #91 (August 1954) - The Superman Stamp and Great Caesar's Ghost
- World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes
- Superman #115 (August 1957) - The Midget Superman!
- Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse
- Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - The Super-Duel in Space
- Superman #123 (August 1958) - The Girl of Steel
- Superman #127 (February 1959) - Titano the Super Ape
- Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - The Menace of Metallo and The Supergirl From Krypton
- Superman #129 (May 1959) - The Girl in Superman's Past
- Superman #130 (July 1959) - The Curse of Kryptonite!, The Super-Servant of Crime!, and The Town that Hated Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal
- Superman #134 (January 1960) - The Super-Menace of Metropolis
- Jimmy Olsen #42 (January 1960) - The Big Superman Movie!, Perry White, Cub Reporter!, and Jimmy the Genie!
- Jimmy Olsen #44 (April 1960) - The Wolf-Man of Metropolis
- Adventure Comics #271 (April 1960) - How Luthor Met Superboy
- Jimmy Olsen #46 (July 1960) - Jimmy Olsen, Orphan
- Superman #141 (November 1960) - Superman's Return To Krypton
- Superboy #85 (December 1960) - The Impossible Mission
- Jimmy Olsen #51 (March 1961) - The Girl with Green Hair
- Jimmy Olsen #52 (April 1961) - Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man
- Superboy #89 (June 1961) - Superboy's Big Brother!
- Action Comics #279 (August 1961) - The Super-Rivals
- Superman #147 (August 1961) - The Legion of Super Villains
- Superman #149 (November 1961) - The Death of Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #57 (December 1961) - Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl
- Superman #155 (August 1962) - Superman Under the Green Sun and The†Downfall of†Superman
- Justice League of America #13 (August 1962) - Riddle of the Robot Justice League
- World's Finest #129 (November 1962) - Joker-Luthor, Incorporated
- Superman #158 (January 1963) - Superman in Kandor
- Superman #160 (April 1963) - The Mortal Superman
- Superman #161 (May 1963) - The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent
- Superman #162 (July 1963) - The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue
- Superman #163 (August 1963) - Wonder-Man, the New Hero of Metropolis and The Goofy Superman
- Justice League of America #21 & #22 (August/September 1963) - Crisis on Earth-One! and Crisis on Earth-Two!
- Superman #164 (October 1963) - The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman
- Superman #165 (November 1963) - The Sweetheart Superman Forgot
- Superman #166 (January 1964) - The Fantastic Story of Superman's Sons
- Superman #167 (February 1964) - The Team of Luthor and Brainiac
- Superman #168 (April 1964) - Luthor - Super Hero and Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor
- Superman #169 (May 1964) - The Man Who Stole Superman's Secret Life
- Action Comics #314 (July 1964) - The Day Superman Became The Flash
- Justice League of America #29 & #30 (August/September 1964) - Crisis on Earth-Three! and The Most Dangerous Earth of All!
- Superman #173 (November 1964) - The Triumph of Luthor and Brainiac
- Action Comics #318 (November 1964) - The Death of Luthor
- Action Comics #319 (December 1964) - The Condemned Superman
- Superman #175 (February 1965) - Clark Kent's Brother
- Superman #181 (November 1965) - The Superman of 2965
- The Legion of Super-Heroes - Archives Volume 4 (1965)
- Superman #184 (February 1966) - The Demon Under the Red Sun
- Action Comics #338 (June 1966) - Muto - Monarch of Menace
- Action Comics #339 (July 1966) - Muto versus The Man of Tomorrow
- Superman #189 (August 1966) - Krypton Lives Again
- Action Comics #346 (February 1967) - The Man Who Sold Insurance to Superman and The Case of the Superman Imposter
- Superman #194 (February 1967) - The Death of Lois Lane
- Superman #196 (May 1967) - The Star of Steel
- Superman #199 (January 1967) - Superman's Race With The Flash
- Superman #200 (October 1967) - Super-Brother Against Super-Brother
- The Flash #175 (December 1967) - Race to the End of the Universe
- Justice League of America #63 (June 1968) - Time Signs a Death Warrant for the Justice League
- Superman #211 (November 1968) - The Name of the Game is Superman!
- Superman #215 (April 1969) - Lois Laneä Deadä Yet Alive
- Superman #224 (February 1970) - Beware the Super-Genius Baby
- Action Comics #393 (October 1970) - Superman Meets Super-Houdini! and The Day Superboy Became Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #133 (October 1970) - The Newsboy Legion
- Action Comics #394 (November 1970) - Midas of Metropolis and Requiem for a Hot Rod!
- World's Finest #198 (November 1970) - Race to Save the Universe!
- Action Comics #395 (December 1970) - The Secrets of Superman's Fortress and The Credit Card of Catastrophe
- Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970) - The Mountain of Judgement!
- World's Finest #199 (December 1970) - A Race to Save Time!
- Superman #233 (January 1971) - Superman Breaks Loose!
- Jimmy Olsen #135 (January 1971) - The Evil Factory!
- Superman #234 (February 1971) - How to Tame a Wild Volcano
- Jimmy Olsen #136 (February 1971) - The Saga of the D.N.Aliens
- Superman #235 (March 1971) - The Sinister Scream of the Devil's Harp
- Superman #236 (April 1971) - Planet of the Angels and The Doomsayer
- Jimmy Olsen #137 (April 1971) - The Four-Armed Terror!
- Superman #237 (May 1971) - The Enemy of Earth
- Superman #238 (June 1971) - Menace at 1000 Degrees
- Jimmy Olsen #138 (June 1971) - The Big Boom!!
- Superman #240 (July 1971) - To Save a Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971) - The Guardian Fights Again!!!
- Superman #241 (August 1971) - The Shape of Fear
- Superman #242 (September 1971) - The Ultimate Battle
- Jimmy Olsen #141 (September 1971) - Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?!?
- Jimmy Olsen #142 (October 1971) - The Man from Transilvane!
- Jimmy Olsen #143 (November 1971) - Genocide Spray
- Jimmy Olsen #144 (December 1971) - A Big Thing in a Deep Scottish Lake!
- Superman #247 (January 1972) - Must There Be A Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #145 (January 1972) - Brigadoom!
- Jimmy Olsen #146 (February 1972) - Homo-Disastrous!
- Jimmy Olsen #147 (March 1972) - A Superman in Super-Town!
- Jimmy Olsen #148 (April 1972) - Monarch of All He Subdues!
- Superman #292 (October 1975) - The Luthor Nobody Knows!
- Action Comics #458 (April 1976) - Make Me a Super-Hero! and Masquerade of the Nutty Kid!
- Action Comics #484 (June 1978) - Superman Takes a Wife!
- Superman #328 (October 1978) - Attack of the Kryptonoid
- Action Comics #489 (November 1978) - Krypton Dies Again and Where There's a Will... There's a Fray
- Superman #329 (November 1978) - I Have Met The Enemy... And He Is Me! and The Secret of the Talking Car
- Superman #330 (December 1978) - The Master Mesmerizer of Metropolis!
- Action Comics #490 (December 1978) - No Tomorrow For Superman
- Action Comics #491 (January 1979) - A Matter of Light and Death
- Superman #331 (January 1979) - Lockup at 20,000 Feet
- Action Comics #492 (February 1979) - Superman's Secret Afterlife
- Superman #332 (February 1979) - The Eternity Cage
- Action Comics #493 (March 1979) - The Metropolis UFO Connection
- Action Comics #494 (April 1979) - The Secret of the Super S
- Action Comics #495 (May 1979) - Attack of the Ultimate Warrior
- DC Comics Presents #14 (October 1979) - Judge, Jury... and No Justice!
- The Superman Story (1979) - The Life Story of Superman
- DC Comics Presents #57 (May 1983) - Days of Future Past
- DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984) - 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas
- DC Comics Presents Annual #3 (1984) - With One Magic Word
- Superman: The Secret Years #1 (February 1985) - Dreams and Schemes and Feeling Proud!
- Superman: The Secret Years #2 (March 1985) - Reach Out and Touch
- Superman: The Secret Years #3 (April 1985) - Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #80 (April 1985) - A World Full of Supermen!
- Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985) - Beyond Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #85 (September 1985) - The Jungle Line
- Superman Annual #11 (1985) - For The Man Who Has Everything
- World's Finest #323 (January 1986) - Afraid of the Dark
- DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986) - Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter
- Superman #423 & Action Comics #583 (September 1986) - Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?
- Showcase Presents: Superman Family - Volume 1 (October 2005)
- Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons (December 2007)
- Not Brand ECHH #7 (April 1967) - The Origin of Stuporman
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