Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (

Superman #127

Superman #127

Cover date: February 1959

Writer: ? Penciller: Wayne Boring Inker: Wayne Boring Cover: Swan-Kaye

"Titano the Super Ape"

This night, Lois Lane is the master of ceremonies for the Metropolis Charity Spectacular and the special guest is Superman, who amazes the crowd by applying super-pressure to a common lump of coal to form a huge diamond which he then contributes to the charity. After Superman's appearance, Lois introduces celebrity after celebrity to the audience, finally bringing Toto, the intelligent chimp, out onto the stage. After he performs many feats of amazing knowledge, the poor chimp is accidentally splattered by two comedians throwing cream pies at one another. Only Lois Lane shows any compassion for the animal, bending to wipe the goo off of his neck. Unknown to Lois, she has made a friend of Toto for life.

At the end of the show, Toto's trainer approaches Lois. He informs her that Toto is scheduled to be secretly launched into space for a week's orbit the next day and become the first orbiting chimp. As a way of thanking Lois for her compassion, Toto's trainer invites Lois to cover the story for the Planet. After placing Toto in the small capsule, the amazed scientists are frustrated when the rocket fails to ignite, and very thankful when Superman arrives and hurls the capsule into orbit by himself. But, astronomers watching the progress of the capsule are horrified when they witness two glowing meteors collide near the capsule. From their tests, they determine that one of the meteors was uranium and the other kryptonite, but have no idea what effect this will have on the poor chimp.

After a week in space, the capsule parachutes to earth and returns safely. Lois is on hand to greet the capsule, and an excited Toto. But nuclear rays that bombarded the spacecraft created an amazing biological change and the minute the animal emerges from the capsule it immediately grows to a colossal size. The confused and fearful Toto grabs Lois. From that height, Lois re-names the chimp Titano. Superman arrives to save Lois, and discovers another effect of the nuclear rays: Titano possesses a kryptonite-vision, making Superman powerless.

Even though the chimp is now huge, its curiosity remains intact. Playfully, the giant ape plays with a blimp, inadvertently puncturing the craft like a toy balloon. At the railroad yards, he plays with freight cars like they are a toy train lifting them off of the tracks and casting them aside when he's done playing with them.

While Titano has been exploring, Superman has fashioned a large shield of lead to protect him self from the kryptonite radiation. Using a giant chain Superman flies around Titano, hoping to restrain the ape, but the giant animal snaps the chains like so much twine.

As a last resort, Superman asks Lois to lead Titano to a trap. Once Titano's foot touches a trigger mechanism a giant cage hidden underground swings up to confine Titano. The army had planned to electrocute Titano, but Lois pleads for his life. Noticing that Titano seems to imitate everything Lois does, Superman again uses lead to form a large pair of glasses. Superman tells Lois to put on her sunglasses and, emulating Lois, Titano picks up, and puts, on the lead glasses. Taking advantage of the moment, Superman grabs Titano and flings him across the time barrier to prehistoric times where he can be with animals more his size. Using his telescopic vision, Superman looks across the time-barrier and sees Titano swinging through the trees. "He was out of place here in our puny world," says Lois. "My super-scoop about the giant chimp has a happy ending after all!"

4Story - 4: The origin of Titano is a solid story, albeit filled with a number of typical 1950's sci-fi elements. This story was written at the beginning of the "space-age" and at a time when "the bomb" was at the forefront of everyone's thinking. People often worried about the effects of radiation and the horrible anomalies it might produce on living things. This theme was quite common in science-fiction tales/movies of the period, with Godzilla being a very good example. It was also a time when Ham, the space chimp, had just been launched into space by NASA as a prelude to manned space-travel. So there were many elements of current events utilized in this story. Here, though, Lois takes main stage, and the theme is more about her relationship with the ape (a beauty and the beast tale, if you will) and her compassion for an experiment gone wrong, than about anything Superman does. The most curious thing about this story, though, is the last page where Superman uses his telescopic vision to look across the time-barrier. To my recollection, this was the first time Superman ever utilized that power.

3Art - 3: By this time, Wayne Boring's work on Superman had become almost a standard for Superman and this story is a solid example of his work. The one thing that even the casual viewer of Boring's art would notice after looking at more than story is his use of stock poses of Superman and Lois and that is seen often in this story from the flying scenes to Lois's poses at the launch site.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover for Superman #127 was done by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. It is a strong cover showing Superman debilitated by Titano's kryptonite vision and Lois urging Titano to imitate her by putting on lead sunglasses, all of which are key elements of the story.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • 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”




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