Friday, August 28, 2020

Hey!! Kids Comics: Superman 329 (1978)

Superman, Vol. 40, No. 329

Cover date: November 1978

Cover artists: Ross Andru and Dick Giordano

"I Have Met The Enemy... And He Is Me!"

Writer: Martin Pasko
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Letterer: Jean Simek
Editor: Julius Schwartz

Plot: Superman, while trying to figure out how to stop the Kryptonoid before it conquers the entire world, discovers a tragic secret about the creature that could give him just the break he needs in order to defeat it.

"The Secret of the Talking Car"

Writer: Cary Bates
Penciller: Kurt Schaffenberger
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editors: Julius Schwartz

Plot: The Kents' new sedan is stolen but the worst part is that Lois left her tape recorder with proof that Clark Kent is Superman in the car.

Previously in Superman Magazine:
Deadly microscopic organisms, known as the Commensals, tried to conquer Krypton but were incapacitated by extreme cold and collected into a refrigerated capsule and shot off into space by Superman's daddy, Jor-El. These Commensals arrived on Earth, revived by the heat of entry into the planet's atmosphere, and have now become this creature which calls itself the Kryptonoid! Now it wants to kill Superman, who it thinks is it's enemy... Superman's father, Jor-El! It attacks Clark Kent, who is in a phone booth in the Galaxy Building, making it appear as if has been vaporized by an explosion. Clark escapes and changes to Superman but the creature has somehow transferred some if it's number into a light pole which animates, entangling the Man of Steel in it's grasp...

The Commensals in the light pole, unable penetrate Superman's indestructible costume, must touch his flesh directly in order to assimilate him. Realizing this along with the fact that the Commensals are vulnerable to exteme cold, the Man of Steel uses his super-breath to incapacitate the creature and spray cold water from a nearby fire hydrant on the light pole to effect his escape!

Superman also notices that the Kryptonoid speaks with two distinct voices, recognizing one of the voices, but unable to place it. We however, know its the one armed General, Daniel Webster Derwent, whom we've already met... See, the General hates Superman, whom he blames for the loss of his arm. More on that later...

Anyway, Superman takes the fight to the skies. The Kryptonoid shifts it's shape into a flying wedge looking thing, trying to invelope itself around Superman! The man of Steel attempts to freeze the creature with his super-breath while avoiding and direct skin contact with it. But, the Kryptonoid counterattacks with a blast of heat vision.

Remembering Clark Kent needs to make an appearance, Superman collides with the creature causing a tremendous explosion, leaving behind only his empty costume! Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane have witnessed the whole thing and now they fear the worst has happened.

Meanwhile a buck naked Clark Kent emerges from the rubble of the destroyed phone booth! Initially startled by Clark's sudden appearance, Lana immediately becomes suspicious, accusing Clark of being Superman for having seemingly survived sure death. Clark distracts her by begging her to go get him something to cover up with.

Seems Superman, using super-speed, stripped, wrapped the Kryptonoid up in his costume, and hit it so hard it sounded like an explosion. Snatching only his glasses from the costume, he used his super hard heels to dig a hole for Clark for crawl out of!

With Lana gone, Clark zips outside at super speed to retrieve his costume. When the Superman costume disappears, Lois and Jimmy breathe a sigh of relief, realizing that Superman is still around. Meanwhile back in the Galaxy Building, Lana returns with a raincoat, she tries to question Clark, but he doesn't have time for all that and hightails it off to the wardrobe department in order to fetch himself some new duds.

Once he's out of sight, Clark quickly changes back to Superman, stopping off to retrieve a huge vat from a chemical factory before heading to Mooney Island where this whole sordid affair initially began. Superman is beginning to put the pieces of the mystery together and has just about figured out how everything ties together...

The Kryptonoid has also returned to Mooney Island, intent upon absorbing Gurney, the General's assistant! But before it can, it is repelled by a stream of jagged broken glass! Superman forms the glass into a glass suit of armor for himself so the creature can't touch him. By now, Superman has figured out that General Derwent is part of the gestalt creature.

Confronting the creature, Superman wants to know why Derent allowed it to take over his body. Derwent, more than happy to oblige the Man of Steel, rants about how Supeman is responsible for the loss of his arm, recounting how during a secret weapons test, Superman carelessly allowed a tiny piece of shrapnel to ricochet off, piercing the General's arm, causing the infection that led to it's amputation! This last little bit of information clues in Superman to what the other part of the creature is!

An old smashed up Superman robot washed up on the shore of Mooney Island and the General had it repaired and reprogrammed to defend the base. The Commensals fused with this robot when they first arrived, mistaking it for the real Superman. Later the mutated robot fused with the General creating what is now known as the Kryptonoid. Now the General has all the power and strength he needs to enact his revenge on the Man of Steel!

Superman, distracted by the tale the creature has told, failed to realize that it was using its powers to make a giant ice-pick, which it uses to shatter Superman glass armor! As the creature plots how it can get to Superman, Superman lays some heavy news on it. That wasn't Superman on that fateful day at the weapons test... No, it was a malfunctioning Superman robot... A robot with a dented belt buckle... A dented belt buckle just like the one on the robot the Commensals fused with!

Derwent goes into a rage, realizing that he has become one with very being responsible for all his woes! He is now forever a part of the very thing he hates with all his soul and seeks to destroy! Derwent's madness is just the distraction that Superman needs to use his super-breath to blow the creature into that vat he brought with him. A vat of liquid helium which freezes the Kryptonoid into suspended animation at 300 degrees below zero!

Superman drops the creature off at the Fortress of Solitude before heading back to Metropolis, arriving just in time for Clark Kent to emerge from the wardrobe department in a spiffy new pinstriped suit and catch the third degree from Lana Lang. Fini.

Once again Pasko delivers a pretty solid story... add a little mystery to solve and our boy in blue has do some super-quick thinking to get out of this mess. Curt Swan's art is just delicious in this, and I certainly can't complain about Chiaramonte's inks either.

Here is another comic I had as a kid and it was one of my favorites. I never got around to reading the first part back then, nor did I ever seek to find it -- the recaps had told me all I needed to know.

The Kryptonoid is a rather tragic creature, isn't it? Poor ol' Derwent, he allowed his obsessive quest for revenge to lead him into doing the unthinkable. The Kryptonoid never returned to menace Superman again, and that's a shame.

Now lets get to the back-up story with Mr. and Mrs. Superman.

This is the original Superman on Earth 2 who has now married his long-time sweetheart, Lois Lane. Set in the past shortly after they got married, Lois and Clark have just purchased a new car with their combined savings and on the way home Lois is bragging about being married to Superman.

The next morning Lois can't find her miniature tape recorder, the new car has been stolen, and to make matters worse all that blabbing she did the previous day was caught on tape... in the missing recorder... which was left in the car! dun-dun DUN!

Superman finally tracks down the thieves, recovering the car along with the missing tape recorder. But not before they had a chance to listen to the tape! But its OK... the tape was erased after the crooks accidentally recorded themselves cracking up about Lois going on about being married to a superman, they figure him for a bespeckled 97-pound weakling and love has blinded her. Har Har Har.

I actually kind of liked this little ditty. Cary Bates is a good writer, telling an entertaining homourous tale. It was my first of many Mr. and Mrs. Superman stories, but I would be reading those in Superman Family because there would be no more back-up features in Superman after this. The DC implosion would make this the last 50¢ issue with extra pages.

I generally don't like it when Schaffenberger pencils a Superman story... I guess that I'm so used to his work on Superboy, that well... instead of Superman it just looks like Superboy to me. However, I don't mind him doing Mr. and Mrs. Superman though, this is supposed to be the golden age Superman and he isn't the same character that Curt Swan is drawing, so he should look strikingly different.

This issue of Superman also contains a touching memorial to long-time Superman editor Mort Weisinger, who had just passed away in May of 1978...

Lastly for a special treat, check out the back cover... Witness the AAU Shuperstar murder John Lennon by kicking his nasty hippie ass into outer space!

Here is the whole comic for you to download and read as a CBR file, just follow the link on the left.

CBR files hold comic book pages as images in a compressed archive format enabling them to be viewed, sequentially, from within a comic book reader program or app such as CDisplayEx.

What are your thoughts on today's adventure showing the conclusion of Superman's battle with the Kryptonoid? Were you able to solve the mystery before Superman did? Do you have a favorite Superman story from the Bronze Age? Please take moment to leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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