Thursday, September 2, 2010

Episode #142: Revenge Is Life - Death To Superman: SUPERMAN #414!

This episode features part two of the main story which was published in DC Comics Presnets #87, featured in Episode #138: The Origin Of Superboy Prime: DC Comics Presents #87! Superman #414, December 1985, was published on September 12, 1985. It contained 32 pages and sold for 75 cents.  The editor was Julius Schwartz, and the cover artist was Eduardo Barreto. The story was written by Elliot S! Maggin, pencilled by Curt Swan, inked by Al Williamson (in the podcast I misidentified the inker as Murphy Anderson), lettered by Ed King, and colored by Gene D'Angelo. There have been no reprints of this story, but you can read it online here:

The story began with a tank, crewed by the Superman Revenge Squad, destroyed a Superman statue in Metropolis. Then they sliced into the Superman Museum. From there the Revenge Squad flew to the Fortress of Solitude and hacked into the Fortress's computers and leave a message.

A beam shot from the Fortress, across space, to New Krypton. Van-Zee had just returned home to his wife Sylvia after a day's work, when he received an alert from Superman's Fortress.

The scene then returns to the ending of DC Comics Presents  #87, when Superboy Prime was sucked into a vortex and Superman was knocked out by an energy beam from the Superman Revenge Squad ship. Then the Man of Steel was wrapped like a mummy, as Jimmy Olsen followed the story from the Daily Planet's flying newsroom (helicopter). Jimmy called the story in to Clark Kent at the Planet office. We see that Clark's computer simulated Kent, including his voice, and typed up the story as Jimmy reported it. That's one way to protect a secret identity. Another of the developing news stories is the recent report of Supergirl's death.

The Superman Revenge Squad ship left Earth and flew to New Krypton. The ship displayed the mummified body of Superman, exposing his face, to the citizens of New Krypton. Van Zee led the Superman Emergency Squad, now the Kandorian Armada, in defending New Krypton from their attackers. The Revenge Squad ship was actually a hologram, broadcast from the real ship.

Superman had been retreived inside the Revenge Squad ship, unwrapped and shackled to a wall. The Man of Steel watched the attack. Van Zee learned that the invasion was controlled remotely, and began searching for the site.

The Superman Revenge Squad activated a mind control device, affecting the entire population of New Krypton. Then Superman grabbed the back collar of one of the Squad's crew, who dropped a remote control of some kind. When one of Superman's bonds disappeared, he was able to grab the device with his free hand and free himself.

Superman was attacked by the Kandorians, and defeated by Van Zee. His wife Sylvia dropped a small device into Superman's hand, and he used the device to send the Superman Revenge Squad to the Phantom Zone.

Free from the Revenge Squad's control, Van Zee explained to Superman, and us readers, what happened after he received the alert from the Fortress of Solitude. The message they received from the Fortress was for Van's wife Sylvia to carry a portable Phantom Zone projector. Since she was from Earth, and not Kryptonian, Sylvia was not affected by the mind control device.

Superman flew to Earth in a spaceship, since New Krypton orbited a red sun, which rendered Superman powerless. He retreived the body of Supergirl, wrapped in her cape and suspended at the point in space where the gravity of the Earth and Moon were balanced. Superman then returned to New Krypton so that her parents could grieve for their late daughter.

Next Episode: Superman Legacy Month, Week I: My Favorite Superman Artists, After Curt Swan Of Course!

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