Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1945: Atom Man in MetropolisReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: November 07, 1945-December 03, 1945
"Atom Man in Metropolis"
With his identity unknown, Superman is in a coma in a hospital fifty miles away from Metropolis. He had been defeated earlier by the Kryptonite-powered Atom Man. Meanwhile, Henry Miller, who is the dreaded Atom Man, is atop the Metropolis Bank Tower, the highest point in the city. His intention is to destroy Metropolis and its entire population for Germany. Putting on his converter and gloves, the Atom Man hears the hum of the Kryptonite energy. However, no lightning comes from his fingertips. Miller remembers that Der Teufel, whom he killed earlier, had told him that the Kryptonite in his veins can be exhausted. He must find the Scarlet Widow to get more of the lethal meteor.
Henry Miller is now speaking with a former ally of Der Teufel named Sydney. Since the war ended, the portly Sydney has only been interested in money. Miller needs Sydney to help him find the Scarlet Widow. The fat spy agrees to aid Miller if the Atom Man follows his plans to threaten to destroy major cities in the world for profit. Miller reluctantly does so, and Sydney leaves to meet with the deadly Scarlet Widow.
Superman is still in the country hospital. He is mumbling incoherently. The doctors do not think he will live through the night because it is impossible to give him the injections necessary to help bring him out of his coma.
Sydney is meeting with the Scarlet Widow and her Cockney henchman Sniggers. The Widow has sold two of the three remaining pieces of Kryptonite to the Laugher and the Vulture. She has been waiting for Papa Rouche to arrive to pay for his share of the glowing green meteor. However, Sydney promises to make it difficult for the Widow and Sniggers to leave the country since the police and F.B.I. are looking for them. The nefarious fat man wants the remaining Kryptonite. The Scarlet Widow agrees to give it to him if he pays the same price that Papa Rouche had promised to pay. Sydney makes the business transaction and leaves to make "arrangements" for Papa Rouche.
Sheriff Simpson has brought Jimmy Olsen with him to identify Superman in the hospital. Unfortunately, Jimmy never saw the Man of Steel's face when the Atom Man had attacked him. Simpson and the doctors believe that Superman is unconscious. However, when the sheriff and Jimmy enter the hospital room, they find that the bed is empty.
It is now the next morning in the offices of the Daily Planet. Jimmy is telling Perry White of the recent events involving Henry Miller and what occurred in the hospital with Sheriff Simpson. Perry is skeptical about the Atom Man's abilities. Both Jimmy and Perry are worried about Clark Kent, who has just arrived after Doctor John Millicent, who has been trying to find a way to protect Superman from the Kryptonite, called to give him an important message for the Man of Steel. Kent is in a dazed state and is wearing dirty overalls. He was in pajamas when a farmer found him. The farmer gave him the clothes he is wearing. Clark is struggling to tell Perry and Jimmy that Henry Miller is the Atom Man. Jimmy believes him, but Perry wants to take Clark to a doctor and a vacation.
Perry has just left with Clark as Doctor Millicent calls again. He tells Jimmy that it's urgent that he contact Superman.
Sydney is in a drug store phone booth calling Henry Miller, who has written down his father's formula for dissolving the Kryptonite that the fat spy has gotten from the Scarlet Widow. The initial phase of his plan for the Atom Man and the Kryptonite has begun. All that is needed is a chemist to use the formula to place the deadly meteor's liquid form into Miller's blood.
Sydney and Henry Miller are meeting with a Nazi chemist named Josef Bush. He is attempting to dissolve the Kryptonite with the formula Miller had written. However, it seems that Miller has forgotten an important part of the mixture that will make a liquid from the green powder Bush has made. After much thought, Miller remembers that he had boiled water in a teapot for his father while Professor Mirk was working on the mixture. The boiled water reacted with the ingredients to create the Kryptonite solution. Bush thinks this is absurd until he himself sees the tea water combine with the rest of the chemicals. The Atom Man shall be powerful again very soon.
Clark Kent and Perry White are taking a private airplane for a vacation in Florida. However, Clark is still dazed from his battle with the Atom Man. He mumbles about needing to stop Henry Miller before he destroys all Superman holds dear. It may very well be too late, for our hero is now getting further and further away from Metropolis.
Professor Bush is injecting the Kryptonite solution into Henry Miller. After some time, Bush fears that Miller is dead. He gets more scared when the police ring his doorbell, but they only wanted his car moved away from a nearby fire hydrant. Bush becomes more calm when Miller awakens. He feels the power of the Kryptonite coursing through his veins. The Atom Man has returned to destroy all of Metropolis.
Later that evening, Sydney and the others see in the Daily Planet that a mystery man found on the beach fifty miles from Metropolis has disappeared from the hospital where he was taken. The Atom Man knows that that man is Superman. He tells Sydney of a plan Der Teufel had before his death. Miller wouldn't listen at the time, but now he tells Sydney the plan that involves Superman's double identity. Sydney now knows that Superman is reporter Clark Kent.
Despite his tremendous powers and abilities, Superman still needs food and water like humans do. The Atom Man wants to starve Clark Kent to death while exposing him to the Kryptonite in his blood, but Sydney thinks of an addition to this idea, which he will tell Henry Miller on the way to the Daily Planet.
Clark has just awakened for breakfast with Perry on a hotel balcony in Florida. Perry is still having trouble believing in the existence of the Atom Man. He then tells Clark of the calls from Doctor Millicent. Clark leaves Perry to speak with Millicent in Metropolis as Superman. Millicent shows the Man of Steel the belt that now serves as the Kryptonite detector. An alarm will warn Superman of the presence of the lethal piece of his home-world when it's within one hundred yards of our hero. Superman wonders if it will be able to find the liquid Kryptonite in Henry Miller's veins. Millicent theorizes that the detector will warn Superman when Miller is thirty feet from him.
Clark has returned to the Daily Planet. He's written a telegram to Perry to apologize for leaving him in Florida. Beany Martin then tells Clark that Sydney wants to see him. The fat Nazi spy tells Kent that Superman is his hobby, and he will publish all the information that he has on the Man of Steel, including his secret identity. A shocked Clark agrees to meet with Sydney at his home in the country called Green Meadows tonight to check how accurate Sydney's documents and data are. Clark then asks Jimmy to call Metropolis Police Inspector Henderson and private detective Candy Meyers. Candy and Henderson are to investigate Sydney and take the fingerprints the fat man left on Clark's desk.
Superman flies over Green Meadows to examine Sydney's home. Aside from some mirrors with lead-lined backings and lead painted ceiling that prevent him from seeing through the closet, he finds nothing. However, the Atom Man is inside preparing to trap both Clark Kent and the Man of Steel tonight.
Clark has returned to the newspaper's offices. Jimmy has told him that both Inspector Henderson and Candy Meyers found nothing suspicious about Sydney. According to both, the spy is only a retired business man that used to work for a glass company.
It is now time for Clark to meet with Sydney. He flies to Green Meadows as Superman. After resuming his reporter's guise, Clark is led by Sydney to the study where the lead-lined closet is located. The Atom Man is inside the closet waiting to trap Kent like a vulture with its dying prey.
Sydney has just told Clark that he knows that the reporter is Superman. Clark denies this despite Sydney's saying that he has proof of this fact in the lead-lined closet.
Wearing the Kryptonite detecting belt, Clark tries to convince Sydney not to publish Superman's secret identity. Sydney promises to do so if Clark reveals that he himself is Superman. Clark refuses as Sydney pretends to get something from the closet. The detector on Clark's belt goes off when Sydney opens the door. The Atom Man is now facing his foe once again.
Superman is trying to fly away, but he can't in the presence of the Atom Man. The Man of Steel jumps through a window in an attempt to escape. The Atom Man follows him and shoots Kryptonite bolts at the fallen Last Son of Krypton. Once again, it looks like the Atom Man has defeated Superman.
Sydney has stopped Miller from killing Superman with the atomic Kryptonite energy. Sydney's Asian butler Chito and Miller are carrying Clark Kent to the house's garage. Sydney and the Atom Man go into a secret area under the garage while Chito eliminates all traces of Clark's being in Green Meadows. The police will not find Clark if they search Sydney's home or garage. The Atom Man is to stay with Sydney in the underground hideout to guard Clark. They will stay down there for a month or two in order to make sure Kent is starved or dehydrated to death.
Three hours have passed since the Atom Man has brought Superman to Sydney's secret hide-away. Miller's hair has now been dyed to disguise him. The Kryptonite-powered maniac is restless. Clark is weak, but he's only pretending to be unconscious. The Atom Man wants to walk around the grounds of Green Meadows, but Sydney is afraid that Kent will awaken if Miller leaves the underground hideout. All hope seems lost for both Clark Kent and Superman.
Three days have passed since Clark Kent had disappeared. Jimmy Olsen and Candy Meyers are searching the mild mannered reporter's apartment, but they find nothing. Candy calls his office to see if anything new had been discovered about Sydney. His secretary Mary says that the Metropolis Import Glass Company, which Sydney had owned, was tied to the Nazis. After the call is ended, Candy and Jimmy go to talk to Sydney about this.
Sydney and Henry Miller are in the secret hideout under the spy's garage. Miller is nervous and needs to do something. He'd always been like that, but the Kryptonite in his blood makes him worse. Chito calls Sydney that Candy and Jimmy want to speak with him. After calming Miller down, the fat man waddles back to the main house of Green Meadows. Candy questions him about his Nazi ties and Clark, but Sydney claims to have only seen Clark in his office at the Daily Planet. Sydney had invited Kent to come to his home to discuss Superman, but the reporter had a previous engagement according to the Atom Man's new ally. Sydney also says that he resigned from the Metropolis Import Glass Company after learning of its connections with Nazi Germany. Seeming satisfied with Sydney's answers, Candy and Jimmy leave.
Meanwhile, Clark Kent has heard Jimmy and Candy. He wants to call out to them, but his exposure to the Kryptonite has made him too weak to do anything. Kent hears them leave Green Meadows realizing that his friends have unwittingly doomed him, Superman and the free world as we know it.
The Atom Man is becoming more agitated and restless. He wants to deal with Germany's enemies after reading various newspaper articles. However, Sydney will not permit him to leave the garage bunker until Clark/Superman is dead. Miller gets angry with Sydney, but eventually goes to sleep. Sydney keeps a close eye on the Atom Man with a gun nearby. He begins to read until he too falls asleep. Henry Miller carefully sneaks closer to Sydney. The mercenary spy awakens to find the Atom Man wrestling his gun away. The two men fight with each other while Superman's life hangs in the balance.
To save his skin while Miller puts on the Atom Man's converter and gloves, Sydney tells him that the Scarlet Widow divided the original Kryptonite meteor into four pieces. One was stolen by Der Teufel for the creation of the Atom Man, and Sydney bought another fragment. The Vulture and The Laugher bought the final two chunks from the Scarlet Widow. Unfortunately, the Atom Man does not believe Sydney. He uses his atomic power to kill the overweight spy and his Asian butler Chito. Looking over a weakened Clark Kent, the Atom Man also fires Kryptonite bolts at our hero before leaving Green Meadows in Sydney's Sedan.
Some time has passed since the Atom Man killed his former allies and left the underground hideout. Clark is staggering to the door that leads to the garage, but he finds that Henry Miller pulled out the entrance control's wires. He must now try to find the strength to break through the walls.
It is just before midnight. Henry Miller, who is disguised as an American Army officer, is in a drug store calling the mayor of Metropolis Eldritch Thomas. He's threatening to destroy the Metropolis Stadium. The mayor thinks Miller is bluffing. Unfortunately, Miller has every intention of going through with his plan. A huge explosion has just obliterated the stadium, and Superman is nowhere to be seen.
Police Inspector Henderson, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen are discussing the Atom Man and the Metropolis Stadium's destruction with Mayor Thomas. Jimmy is telling all he knows of Henry Miller and what Clark Kent had told him of the Atom Man. The mayor then receives another call from Miller. He orders Thomas to remove the American flag from city hall and replace it with the Nazi Swastika. If the Atom Man doesn't see the change by sunrise, the entire city of Metropolis will drown like rats tomorrow night. Henderson has the call traced to the Metropolis Central Railroad Station. He then goes there with Perry, Jimmy and some policemen to capture Henry Miller. However, only Clark Kent knows that Miller has changed his appearance, but he's too weak to leave the underground hide-away thanks to the exposure to the Kryptonite within the Atom Man.
It is now close to sunrise. Inspector Henderson and his men failed to capture the Atom Man. Jimmy had thought a dark-haired army captain was Henry Miller, but he thinks that he's wrong. He later learns that he was right after the Atom Man calls Mayor Thomas again. Miller now promises that everybody in Metropolis will drown, and both Clark Kent and Superman will not be able to save them. They're dead along with the fat spy Sydney.
Perry has brought Jimmy and Candy Meyers to Green Meadows to see if the Atom Man's words about Clark were true. They are about to leave when they hear a knocking coming from the garage floor. Clark is trying to signal them, but he is extremely weak from exposure to the Kryptonite, starvation and dehydration.
Thinking that Kent is dead, Candy, Jimmy and Perry hear a buzzing noise coming from the phone Chito used to call Sydney while he and the Atom Man were under the garage. Candy hears the parched voice of Clark, who tells him that he is in the garage. Puzzled, the trio finds nothing, but Candy finds the controls to the secret door to the garage cellar. He and Jimmy go down to call to Kent, but the mild mannered reporter is not responding to them. Candy finds him alive, but his pulse is extremely weak. Jimmy brings some water and food for Clark.
After gaining a little of his strength, Clark tells them of Henry Miller's atomic power. Candy and Perry help Clark up the stairs to get more to eat and drink.
Inspector Henderson is ordering his men to search the entire city for Henry Miller. So far, there has been no trace of the dreaded Atom Man. Clark tells Inspector Henderson, Perry and Jimmy that Superman had nearly died at Miller's hands, but he's slowly recovering. However, Clark is unsure if the Man of Steel will be strong enough to stop Miller from flooding Metropolis. He will surely try. Clark says that he can contact Superman and mysteriously says goodbye to his friends as if this will be the last time they will see the mild mannered reporter.
It is now twilight. All of the various bodies of water around Metropolis are heavily guarded. Superman flies over the skies in search of the Atom Man. A truck driver has just dropped off a disguised Henry Miller not far from the Metropolis Reservoir Dam. This is the Atom Man's objective. Once the dam is destroyed, the entire city of Metropolis and its people will be flooded and drowned.
The Daily Planet staff is all on edge. Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Perry White wonder if they will see the next day, but at the same time, part of them holds onto the hope that Superman will save them from the threat of the Atom Man.
Speaking of Superman, he's had no luck finding the Atom Man. While he patrols elsewhere, Henry Miller is shooting his atomic Kryptonite energy at the reservoir dam. Having heard the dam's explosion, Superman returns to the reservoir. The Atom Man shoots Kryptonite lightning at Superman. Despite losing his strength, the Man of Steel fights valiantly against the Atom Man. Jagged green sparks of energy hit both Superman and the dam. The nearby forest is scorched by the Kryptonite bolts. The screaming, mad Atom Man gloats as his green lightning strikes Superman causing the mighty Man of Steel to fall in the water of the reservoir.
Two minutes have passed since Superman fell into the water. All hope seems lost as the insane Atom Man begins to attack the dam once again. At tremendous speeds, Superman launches another attack on the Atom Man. Green Kryptonite bolts hit the Man of Tomorrow, but he stuns the Atom Man with a fallen tree. The Last Son of Krypton grabs the Atom Man and then flies into the skies. The Atom Man clamps his hands onto Superman's large shoulders. The Kryptonite causes agonizing pain and weakness in our hero. This makes Superman drop the Atom Man.
There are two sickening thuds as Superman and the Atom Man strike the Earth. The Atom Man was killed in the fall, but Superman has survived. Inspector Henderson and General Niles of the U.S. Army congratulate him on saving Metropolis and stopping the worst threat America has ever faced. Superman says that a greater danger to him and the entire world is still at large. What does he mean? Find out next week when Superman goes "Looking For Kryptonite" and enlists the aid of Batman and Robin to do so in the next serial in The Adventures of Superman.
My main problem with both "The Atom Man" and "Atom Man in Metropolis" is minor, and I didn't want to discuss it until I got to the latter serial. I do wish there had been more use of the Scarlet Widow. It would have been especially interesting to see a face-to-face meeting between her and the Atom Man. It was great to see her and Sydney, but I would have loved a scene or two with the Widow's reaction to Miller's Kryptonite powers. Aside from all this, "Atom Man in Metropolis" is an exciting story that is 100% pure action, adventure and suspense.
There is, however, a kind of a plot hole in "Atom Man in Metropolis." It's one that really depends on the mind's eye I guess. Superman was in the country hospital, and yet, Clark Kent was found by a farmer and given overalls. Was he wearing his glasses? If so, how did he find them? It could very well be possible that the horn rims were found in the remains of his costume by a nurse or doctor. Clark entering Perry's office without his spectacles would have raised questions similar to those created by the George Reeves TV episode "Panic In The Sky." Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that the glasses were found somehow and just enjoy this serial.
Henry Miller sure did a number on Superman in the past two serials, but in "Atom Man in Metropolis" we see what havoc he can wreak on the citizens of the City of Tomorrow. Between the destruction of the football stadium and his plan to flood Metropolis, the Atom Man makes the Yellow Mask look like the leader of a boy scout jamboree. This is one thing that makes this serial so great. A hero is only as good as his villains. There has to be a challenge to make things more interesting. Otherwise, the reader/viewer/listener gets bored and goes on to something else. The Atom Man provides necessary conflict to make the audience wonder how Superman will survive this titanic battle with a being powered by the one substance that can destroy him, and this makes us care about the character more.
There isn't that much of Clark Kent and Superman in "Atom Man in Metropolis." Sure, both are peppered here and there throughout the serial, but the audience doesn't really get all that much of the main characters until Candy Meyers and the others find Clark in Sydney's hideout. The supporting cast of characters carries the bulk of the serial. However, like "Funeral for a Friend," they do an excellent job of showing the emotions of the situation. A battle between Superman and the villain of the story is great, but it's also nice to see the reactions of the rest of Metropolis and the Daily Planet. This helps add more humanity and feeling into the story arcs.
If you think that the Kryptonite saga is over, Superfans, you're mistaken. Next week, Superman, Batman and Robin are "Looking For Kryptonite." We'll see what they find in seven days or so. Until then, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky.
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