Tuesday, January 09, 2018

An Imaginary Story

Action Comics #391 (DC, August 1970, 15 cents)
"The Punishment of Superman's Son" Script: Robert Kanigher, Pencils: Ross Andru, Inks: Mike Esposito. (15 pages)

I haven't read and don't really get the appeal of the idea behind the Super Sons, but they've returned. This older issue of Action Comics, featuring a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, tells an imaginary story about the Super Sons in which Superman's son is overshadowed time and time again by Batman's son. "How can I think about wigs when I see Batman's son, everywhere I turn—doing the things our son should do!"

Superman, Jr., accidentally destroys a Flowering Fugue, the rarest plant in the universe, after his father collects it from a distant planet for the Metropolis Music Festival of Rare Instruments. He also races Batman, Jr., while Batman teases Superman—and Superman, Jr., decides not to help Batman, Jr., apprehend a gang because he mistook fake Kryptonite for real Kryptonite. (Wouldn't you be able to feel whether it was real Kryptonite?)

In the Fortress of Solitude, Superman, Jr., destroys a helper robot, accidentally freeing several dangerous beasts. At the end of the story, Superman is about to "destroy your superpowers forever" using some gold Kryptonite. Whatever, dude; it's an imaginary story. Who the heck cares?

Were you to determine your reading list based on the books on Superman's shelves on the first page, however, you'd be pretty well read. Text lettered on the spines of the books includes Art, Modern Art, Plato, Spinoza, Socrates, Space, Engels, Reid, Bacon, Ross, Ayer, Aquinas, Broad, James, Scotus, Zeno, Russell, Santayana, Spencer, Sartre, Einstein, and Taylor.

"The Ordeal of Element Lad" Script: Robert Kanigher, Pencils: Ross Andru. Inks: Mike Esposito. (10 pages)
In this tale of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Saturn Girl gets a job assisting Wandar, chief assistant for President Peralla on the planet Lahum—a cover to "get info on the mysterious chemical humanoids used by the dictator, Peralla." Meanwhile, Element Lad, Timber Wolf, Karate Kid, and Brainiac 5 confer with a rebel leader.

Chameleon Boy, disguised as a rebel lieutenant, determines that "his" girlfriend likes another rebel. "The revolution comes first, sweets!" The humanoids attack, but Brainiac has figured out the humanoids' formula, allowing Element Lad to make short work of the attackers. The rebel leader, however, is overly greedy. Pp. 6-7—especially the first panel on the latter page—are fun visually. The issue also includes a one-page letter column, "Metropolis Mailbag" including a letter from Martin Pasko.

Availability: DC has published at least two volumes of imaginary stories. The Legion of Super-Heroes story was collected in Showcase Presents: The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4 and Legion of Super-Heroes - Archives, Volume 9.

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