Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Superboy #65Cover date: May/June 1958
Writer: Jerry Coleman
Penciller: John Sikela
Inker: John Sikela
"The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse"
Reviewed by: Justin "NotSuper" Adams
The scene opens up with a panel of a humanoid mouse in a Superboy costume juggling wheels of cheese; Superboy looks on, astonished just like the rest of the crowd (this scene does not actually appear in the story itself). The actual story begins in Smallville during the evening. Tommy Ewell, a young boy, is watching his pet mouse play with a mini piano. The mouse's name is Fuzzy and it wears a tiny black mask with a white star on it. Tommy's mother comes into his room and informs him that he must get rid of his pets, claiming that he spends too much time with them. Tommy's mother says he can have a few days to find good homes for them. Feeling that no one would want to adopt a mouse, Tommy sets the rodent free.
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.
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!
- 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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