Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Superman #328Cover date: October 1978
"Attack of the Kryptonoid"
Writer: Martin Pasko
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
"Clark Kent, How Would You Like to Meet Your Real Father?"
Writer: Cary Burkett
Penciller: Kurt Schaffenberger
Inker: Tex Blaisdell
Cover: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and Dick Giordano
Reviewed by: James Lantz
As Superman is destroying an unstable Laser Defense Satellite (L.D.S.), a system designed to defend Earth from laser attacks from space, General Daniel Webster Derwent, the mastermind behind the L.D.S., speaks of his resentment of the Man of Steel. Superman, in the meantime, is angry that the United States government kept the L.D.S. a secret from him. He listened to the Joint Chiefs of Staff's explanations, but they felt like evasive double-talk to Kal-El.
A strange piece of space-jetsam has entered Earth's atmosphere. While scanning for more L.D.S. debris with his superhuman vision, Superman notices a warning of danger written in Kryptonian on the jetsam. The message says that micro-organisms deadly to all life forms are inside the craft. Superman notes that this Kryptonian object is not turning into Kryptonite while melting. Most elements from Superman's home world would become Kryptonite upon heating up as a result of the destruction of Krypton.
Superman descends to Earth to follow the jetsam. It changes course to collide with the Man of Tomorrow, and it takes a humanoid form. The creature wants to unite with Superman. However, the collision of the two beings only results in the Man of Steel's unconscious form landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The Kryptonoid remains undaunted as he realizes that Superman is like the ones that had exiled it. The shape-shifting organism wants to punish the Man of Steel.
The Kryptonoid has now landed on Mooney Island, where the secret lighthouse command center for the L.D.S. is located. It sees Superman and believes it can lure him to come into contact with the creature. It unites with a piece of a chain-link fence. Superman dismantles the fence. The Kryptonoid can now attempt to unite with the Man of Steel. But is the being that is lifting the fencing really Superman?
The real Superman has just come out of the ocean with the debris of the L.D.S. satellite. General Derwent confronts the Man of Steel, who doesn't like the fact that the United States government lied to him under the general's orders. It's clear that Derwent hates Superman, and he explains to his assistant Gurney why.
A few years ago during a weapons test in which Superman was a volunteer target, a tiny piece of shrapnel went into Derwent's left arm. Infection and blood circulation problems began to occur, and by the time the medics had examined the arm, Gangrene had set in. Derwent's arm had to be amputated. The general blames Superman for the loss and believes that the Last Son of Krypton should have taken precautions to prevent any damage.
Gurney now expresses reservations about not telling Superman about the L.D.S. Had Kal-El not known about it, he may have been able to help defend the lighthouse base. Gurney feels that his men might not have been able to do anything against an L.D.S. attack. Derwent responds by saying that the base has its own Superman.
Gurney and his men had found a dismantled Superman robot some time ago. Gurney wanted to contact Superman about it, but Derwent had ordered that the automaton be reprogrammed and rebuilt. The robot is hidden in a lead-lined shelter to hide it from Superman's X-ray vision. It is in the shelter now removing some chain-link fence. This was the Superman that Kryptonoid saw. The alien changeling has escaped the real Superman's detection by being in the shelter disguised as fencing.
The Superman robot has just made contact with the fencing containing the Kryptonoid. The shape-shifting creature has begun the fusion process, and a new version of the life form is now born.
Superman has returned to the Galaxy Broadcasting Building. In his Clark Kent persona, he dials a telephone number that connects him to the computers in his Arctic Fortress of Solitude. The computers tell him of Ser-Ze, a biochemist friend of Superman's father Jor-El. Ser-Ze wanted to use Kryptonian micro-organisms called Commensals in experiments to create new artificial limbs for those that had lost arms or legs. The Commensals could live on a host body without feeding off it like a parasite. Unfortunately, as the organisms evolved, they needed more room. Being a replacement limb was not enough for them. The Commensals began to add their hosts' bodies and minds to their collective consciousness through rapid evolution. They also had gained the ability to change their shape.
The Commensals had set out to take control of Krypton and eventually killed Ser-Ze. In their efforts to stop the creatures, the Kryptonian police discovered that the Commensals are vulnerable to intense cold. Jor-El found the remaining microorganisms that Ser-Ze had not used in his artificial limb experiments, placed them in a refrigeration unit and shot them into space. Somehow, the Commensals were awakened when they reached Earth and took over the capsule in which Jor-El had placed them to become the Kryptonoid.
The Kryptonoid has just encountered General Derwent. It convinces him to join his consciousness with that of the Commensals' collective. He agrees to do so in hopes of getting revenge on Superman. However, after Derwent's essence becomes one with the Kryptonoid, his body is destroyed.
WGBS Anchorperson Lana Lang has just come in for work. She sees Clark Kent in the telephone booth. She has suddenly become frightened. Someone or something destroyed the booth with Clark inside. What actually happened was that the Kryptonoid moved at superhuman speed to attack Clark. Clark had seen the creature coming and moved outside a split-second before impact.
Now in full Superman costume, our hero is in the skies confronting the Kryptonoid, who mistakes the Man of Steel for Jor-El. The Kryptonoid uses his vision powers to make a traffic light pole wrap itself around the Last Son of Krypton. For some reason, Superman cannot break free of the unusual trap set by the creature. It stretches its hand out to touch Kal-El. This time, the Kryptonoid is intent on destroying Superman, and it looks like the Man of Tomorrow cannot escape his lethal foe.
Story - 5: I don't know exactly what I expected from this book before I sat down to read it, but I'm surprised I liked it. The bulk of the story lets readers know what happened in previous issues and tells how the Kryptonoid came to be. There's only a few pages of the real Superman encountering his strange foe. However, like the first act of a film, stage play or TV episode, most of this comic sets us up for what will eventually happen in the next act - or in our case, the next issue. I only wish the powers that be had used all the pages in Superman #328 for "Attack of the Kryptonoid" instead of giving us a useless back-up story. (More on that later.) Still, I was entertained immensely by what they did use for the main tale. A lot went on in this part of the comic, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the story turns out.
Art - 5: I was blown away by Curt Swan's visuals in this issue. The look of the Kryptonoid's changes, and everything else in this book for that matter, is simply stunning. The scene with the possessed Superman robot meeting General Derwent was classic Swan. Seeing his art makes me wish more Superman artists could pull off what he did.
"Clark Kent, How Would You Like to Meet Your Real Father?"
Writer: Cary Burkett
Penciller: Kurt Schaffenberger
Inker: Tex Blaisdell
Private detective Jeff Landis approaches Clark Kent while he's having lunch with Steve Lombard and Jimmy Olsen in the WGBS cafeteria. He asks Clark to roll up his right sleeve. Kent does so and reveals an hourglass-like birthmark on his arm. This mark is the lead Landis needs to solve the Linden kidnapping.
Millionaire architect Robert Linden's young son was kidnapped years ago and brought to the Smallville orphanage around the same time the Kents found Clark and placed him there so they could legally adopt him. Linden's wife died shortly after the police failed to find the boy, and Linden himself doesn't trust policemen after they didn't bring his child home to his family. Linden also became a recluse after the kidnapping.
After talking in Clark's office, Landis takes Clark and Steve to the Linden Estate. Unfortunately, Linden will only allow Clark and Steve into his home because he doesn't trust lawmen of any kind, even private investigators. Clark, however, refuses to enter the house without Landis. Linden reluctantly decides to walk with Clark and the others around the estate grounds.
Clark gives Robert Linden all of the proof needed to convince the architect that he is his son. He even tells Linden of the stuffed red elephant that the Linden baby had as a favorite toy. It was with the boy when he was kidnapped.
Suddenly, Matthew Curtis, a former business partner of Linden's, pulls a gun on the group. Linden sent Curtis to jail after learning that he'd used inferior construction materials, and Curtis vowed revenge on the millionaire recluse. Curtis removes his chauffeur's disguise and is about to shoot Linden when a flash bomb in Jeff Landis' jacket blinds the gunman. Landis then knocks out Curtis while Clark secretly uses his super breath to take care of the men working for the villain.
After Matthew Curtis and his crew are dealt with, Robert Linden learns the truth. Police officer Jeff Landis is actually Linden's son. He had grown up with Clark in Smallville and told the TV anchorman his story. Clark knew of Linden's distrust of law enforcement authorities. He put the same birthmark on his right arm that Jeff has in order to talk to Robert Linden. Both Jeff and Clark knew of Curtis' attempt on Linden's life. They came up with this plan to save Linden's life. Robert Linden shows pride in his son as Clark and Steve leave to return to WGBS.
Back-Up Story - 1: Why in the heck were trees sacrificed to print this story, and why in the name of Rao wasn't the Kryptonoid continued until the last page of this comic book? I like stories about the Pre-Crisis Clark Kent of the Julius Schwartz era, but this back-up seems like a bad episode of any soap opera you can think of. The only thing missing is cheesy organ music while some narrator says, "Will Mr. Linden find his son?" Dental surgery is less painful than this garbage. This one made me miss the Bruce Jones' run on The Incredible Hulk, and I hated that more than the Spider-Man Clone Saga of the 1990s. Skip this tale, and move on to the next issue, folks.
Back-Up Art - 3: The art isn't bad. However, nothing really sticks out in my mind. It tells the story, but that's about it. If this tale had been written better, maybe the images would have impressed me more.
Cover Art - 4: The caption on the top reading "The Most Off-Beat Superman Story of the Year" and the blurb for the back-up story kind of distract the reader for what is an otherwise perfect cover. Had those things been removed from the image, I would have given it a five. Still, it has what I look for in an image. When I view a comic book's cover I search for two things:
1. The art has to be good.
2. The image has to make me curious about what's going on inside the comic book.
The cover for Superman #328 fits both of those requirements a thousand times over. It just needed some things taken away in order to get a rating of five.
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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