Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Superman #189Cover date: August 1966
Penciller: Wayne Boring
Inker: Wayne Boring
Cover: Curt Swan & George Klein
"Krypton Lives Again"
Chapter I - Krypton Lives Again
One night at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent stood to leave and was met by Perry White's steely glance. "Pretty punctual when it's quitting time, aren't you Kent?" grumbled White. Kent put on his hat and walked towards the door. "You wouldn't want to have to pay me overtime, would you Perry?" he said with a chuckle. "Besides, I have a date with a star." Actually, with a TelStar satellite that NASA had asked Superman to repair.
Leaping skyward, Superman soared into space to repair the TelStar not knowing that beneath him millions of televisions of Metropolis tuned to the Batman TV show were interrupted with urgent news that a rogue planet had been discovered on a collision course with earth. The people of Metropolis became frantic, wondering "Where on earth is Superman?"
While repairing the satellite, Superman "overheard" the alert, and after completing the task at hand, sped off at super-speed to intercept the runaway world. As Superman approached the planet, he was immediately taken with how much it resembled Krypton. Then, suddenly, he saw that a red sun accompanied the planet, and that sun's rays immediately erased his super-powers.
With his powers gone, Superman fell to the planet's surface at an alarming rate of speed and as the surface rose to meet him, a strange craft appeared from nowhere grabbing him with a mechanical arm. Gaining his wits, Superman saw that the craft was Kryptonian, and that the words "Sky Rescue Patrol" were printed on the craft in Kryptonian. Once on the surface, Superman was even more surprised to see that the inhabitants all spoke Kryptonian, and that the clothes, homes, pets and cities were all from his former home.
Using a Skycar, the Kryptonian form of mass transit, free to everyone, Superman began searching the planet. On a large Billboard were signs advertising the natural wonders of Krypton: Rainbow Canyon, Jewel Mountain, the Fire Falls and Scarlet Jungle. With every new sight, Superman wondered if he had somehow gone through a time warp, but stopping at an observatory, the resident astronomer focused his powerful telescope on earth and Superman saw the 1966 Dodgers playing baseball in Los Angeles. There was no time warp.
After seeing this, Superman was more confused than ever. Suddenly, a thought struck him. "My father, the scientist Jor-El, must also live here in this "re-born" Krypton. I'll go to his lab for the answers to this maddening mystery." Before long, Superman was standing in Jor-El's laboratory, facing his father. Explaining his dilemma that only served to confuse Jor-El, too. "Son? From Earth? There is a family resemblance in your face," stammered Jor-El. Abruptly Jor-El turned and told Superman that perhaps the answer was in his secret files, and he began searching, giving Superman permission to look around the house. As he walked down the halls of the laboratory, Superman swelled with pride. Before him were all of the many honors his brilliant father has received for inventing Krypton's first synthetic food machine, a super-gyroscope, and invisible cloak and the horrible Phantom Zone projector.
Returning to his father, Jor-El held up a file he said would explain the mystery of the "Second Krypton" when an explosion ripped through the lab killing Jor-El and blowing Superman through a window. Outside, people passing by didn't even seem to notice. "Have they all gone off their rockers?" asked Superman. Hoping to stop the fire, Superman noticed a fire-extinguisher robot, grabbed it, aimed it's extinguisher arm at the fire and pulled a lever. Instead of water, bombs flew out of the hose, wrecking a skyscraper, and killing dozens of people. Again, the people who witnessed the catastrophe acted indifferent to the disaster.
Realizing that he could do no more there, Superman decided to go to Jor-El's home to see his mother, Lara. There was no answer when Superman called her name, so he slowly entered. Coming through the door, a young Krypto barked at him, then went to him as if he recognized him. Around him lie children's toys and using his microscopic vision, Superman saw fingerprints... fingerprints identical to his own only from a child's hand.
Superman's concentration was broken when he suddenly heard a scream and he ran out of the house to find a woman being kidnapped. In an instant, he recognized the woman trapped in the glass cylinder as Lyla Lerrol, the beautiful actress that he had fallen in love with when he had traveled into the past and visited Krypton (Superman #141, see previous review). Grabbing a brick from the street, Superman smashed the cylinder, and caught Lyla as she fell to the ground. Holding Lyla again, visions of their love flashed through his mind... the caresses at Rainbow Canyon, the tender glances.
But, this Lyla is incensed. Struggling away from his grasp she screamed at him. "You crazy caped idiot," yelled a man running up to him. Lyla ran to Zik-Tul, the director, and threw her arms around him. "This is the man I'm going to marry," she said, kissing Zik-Tul. Looking at the crowd, Superman realized that these people were scared of him. Suddenly, Kryptonian robot police arrived, and forcibly removed him to the Psycho Observation Ward. After a quick examination, it became obvious that the physicians did not believe his story and felt that he was delusional. Strapping him into a rigid chair, they prepared to use the Mento Ray, a machine that will turn insane men sane, but would also make a sane man insane. Suddenly, the beam swung around, striking the doctors, and Superman took the opportunity to free himself.
Escaping to the street, Superman wandered to a weather control tower and was met by Kir-Du, a scientist who had known Jor-El. The scientist allowed Superman to observe him create weather, and instructed Superman to strike a particular key on the console, however when he did Kir-Du erupted in anger, telling him that he had struck the wrong key. Suddenly huge hailstones pummel the city of Kryptonopolis. Grabbing Kir-Du, Superman begged that he explain what was going on, but just as Kir-Du began to explain what had happened, a hailstone hit the tower killing the man. Realizing that there was only one way to stop the horrible weather, Superman wrapped his cape around his arm as insulation and grabbed the high-voltage power cable.
Chapter II - Krypton's Second Doom
The shock of the high voltage from the power line had knocked Superman unconscious, and when he awoke he could not believe the destruction that had been caused. In the city below, Superman walked among the many dead until he heard a voice... Lyla. "I'm alive, Kal-El," she whispered, "but Zik-Tul, my beloved fiancé, perished."
Looking around him, Superman was wracked with guilt. Moving to comfort him, Lyla spoke softly. "It was fated he die. And now, Kal-El, we can continue our romance which was cut off when destiny sent you away from Krypton." Superman looked at her in horror. "But Lyla, I'm a mass murderer," he said. "But I tell you," implored Lyla, "it was destined that they all die. What's done is done. Forget the past and live for the future."
At first Superman was confused. How was it that Lyla had no memory of him earlier, yet remembered their romance now? Why had she shown no grief at the holocaust produced by the weather machine and the death of her fiancé? But, with a kiss from Lyla, his mind is wiped clean. Suddenly, he was swept away to a happier time. The couple climbed aboard an arrow-mobile, and was shot from a giant bow. "If you steer through the heart, it means your courtship will be a success," whispered Lyla, snuggling close. Superman easily guided the car through the heart, to the Cloud Castle, where many couples spend their honeymoon, then on to the Grotto of Images, where prisms reflect the couple's images and multiplies their love.
From his cape, Superman pulled photos of Lois Lane and Lana Lang and showed then to Lyla, who immediately got gets jealous, but Superman tore the photos to shreds. "My heart beats solely for you," she said. Climbing back into the craft, the couple flew over the crater left when Brainiac stole Kandor and amazingly saw the wreckage of hundreds of spaceships crashed into the surface of Krypton... except one. There was one intact ship!
Superman and Lyla ran to the craft and lifted off, but the engine was defective and they don't travel far before they returned to the ground, landing at Mt. Mondru, the highest peak of Krypton. The craft crashed into the mountain slope, and slid, triggering an electronic eye. Suddenly, a giant cannon appeared destroying millions. Then a fleet of space bombers arrived, sewing even more death when the bombs create a belt of radioactivity which continues to kill the population until no one is left.
Watching the bombs continue to fall, Superman was beside himself, but Lyla was quite blasé. Suddenly, one of the bombs exploded nearby causing a boulder to land on Lyla. With her dying breath, Lyla told Superman that she loved him, then flipped a small viewer at Kal-El. Superman was again upset because he could do nothing to save her.
With no reason to go on, Superman plopped to the ground, and picked up the viewer, a microfilm projector. Starting the mechanism, Jor-El appeared before him and explained that this planet was created to hide the real Krypton from a huge armada readying to attack and invade. Scientist attracted flocks of meteors to duplicate the planet, then created androids to act like the original inhabitants, with robots, booby traps, even an artificial red sun to deceive the invaders. Then the android Jor-El took over, explaining that many of the invaders were destroyed even before reaching Krypton, and those that did make it to the planet fell into one of the many traps and were destroyed. Once Krypton exploded, Krypton II drifted aimlessly through space with its sun.
Feeling tremors shake the planet, Superman realized that Krypton II was about to plunge into its own red sun. Locating one of the escape craft from the alien armada, Superman lifted off to escape Krypton II just in time. From a safe distance, he watched Krypton II fall into the sun and become consumed. Once he had reached a system with a yellow sun, Superman's powers were restored and he continued his flight back to earth. Returning to the Daily Planet office, Lois Lane hopeful that Superman would visit. "I'm his very best girl on earth, don't you think so, Clark?," but Clark and Superman cannot take their mind off of Lyla Lerrol. "Even though she was only an android, I'll never forget her, or the original Lyla."
Story - 4: Over the years, Superman #141 has remained a personal favorite. In that story, Superman inadvertently sped through time, traveled to Krypton, met his parents and fell deeply in love. In many ways, this was a duplicate of that story with some added twists that make it a fun story to read, and different from some of the other Superman stories of that year. While the writer for this story is not credited, my guess is that Jerry Siegel wrote this tale as he did Superman #141, even though it was two years after DC again fired Siegel. For one thing, it was not credited, something DC refused to do. The story also contains many of Siegel's literary signatures. There is an amazing compassion that shows through in the love scenes with Lyla Lerrol in both of those issues, with tenderness and sensitivity that you don't often see in comic stories. This story also established Lyla Lerrol as the principal woman in Superman's life since her memory would continue to surface in a number stories of the mid-1960's. This made me think that Lois Lane never, ever had a chance of being Superman's true girl friend.
Art - 4: If there was one constant in all of Superman's comics from the mid-1940's through the mid-1960's it was Wayne Boring's art. In twenty years time, it did not change. His style was so bold and recognizable that anyone picking up a Superman comic could immediately tell if he had drawn the story. Yet, Boring's art seems to shine when the story calls for sensitive moments between Superman and a woman. His art in Superman #141was breathtaking and his work here with Lyla Lerrol was just as beautiful.
Cover Art - 5: Curt Swan and George Klein combined for a spectacular cover showing a confused and amazed Superman standing in a Kryptonian street, dead bodies strewn asunder and, Krypto barking at him savagely. Swan captured an amazing body-language in Superman's figure, and the horror of the murdered Kryptonians as the Red Sun sets on the horizon. It was a very strong image, combining well with the story inside.
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 LaneŠ DeadŠ 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!
- Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (Spring 1978)
- 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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