Action Comics #568 (June, 1985)
"The Amazing Matchmaker of Metropolis!"
Writers - Elliot S! Maggin & Craig Boldman
Pencillers - Curt Swan & Howard Bender
Inkers - Al Williamson & Alex Nino
Letterers - Ed King & Ben Oda
Colorist - Gene D'Angelo
Editor - Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.75
Gonna start off today by extending a big thanks to joecab for pointing me in the direction of some more fun Craig Boldman Action Comics stories! Today we'll be covering one of them. It's funny looking at this cover, you'd think that the Matchmaker story would be the main one... but, nope, it's just the back-up! I'm guessing this was not an uncommon occurrence, as the Ambush Bug back-up we discussed late last month also got the front cover treatment. Couldn't imagine anything like that happening today...
We open up with an Amtrak "Windbreaker Express" train about to run off the rails after the tracks are taken out by an asteroid (?). It's lucky for the passengers that Superman was in the vicinity... as he hoists the train over the gap in tracks and ensures their continued safe travels. Among the passengers is famed magician, Jinx Turner.
The next morning, the train safely arrives at it's destination... Metropolis. Clark Kent is among the members of the press present to solicit comments from the passengers. Clark recognizes Jinx, and attempts to pry a comment from him. The magician shuts Clark down flat, saying he's only in town to perform an act at the Children's Benefit Show.
We shift scenes to an oddly forgetful Perry White taking his grandchildren to a certain Magic show. He drops them off in the parking lot, and leaves to pick up his wife and Clark.
On stage, Jinx Turner performs all the classic illusions one would expect... all leading up to his climax, conjuring an elephant! A task that would prove too difficult for this illusionist... as his trick platform appears to be on the fritz!
Halfway across the globe, the children find themselves outside an Indian palace (?). They are suddenly chased by an elephant... so I guess ol' Jinxy showed them one after all! After witnessing the elephant to run headlong into the palace's protective wall, the kids run to the palace gate, and are granted access by a guard...
Back in Metropolis, Jinx is displaying his true magic prowess for the Whites and Clark by making some "Golden" Milk disappear... ew. Clark realizes that Superman is needed, and so fires some heat vision into a cloud to make it look as though Superman is flying overhead... which serves as the perfect (though ridiculous) distraction... he then hops in Perry's car to "give chase".
Moments later Superman arrives, alone. He claims CK was pulled over by the police for speeding. He gives Jinx a scan and finds a "Krilian Trail" that will lead them where the children have been sent. He grabs a fear-of-flying Jinx and heads India way.
Back at the palace, the Majarajah is showing Perry White III his chemistry set. He claims that he summoned them there to help shoo away the rogue elephant from outside. Apparently, it has been long threatening the palace... and Majah wants it gone-ski. While Perry Jr. Jr. is getting a closer look at a bottle of anti-locust formula, the elephant rocks the walls and White finds himself covered with the "gooey junk".
Superman arrives and proceeds to stomp his foot until the elephant lumbers away. It is ultimately revealed that the anti-locust formula from inside the palace was driving the beast crazy. Superman goes ahead and... sucks all the air out of the elephant's trunk... ew. He tells the Maharajah to deep-six the chemistry set so that peace can return to the land.
|Feel like I should censor this one...|
Now, for the story we/I came for. Jimmy Olsen: Metropolis Matchmaker. We open with Superman nyoinking young Olsen from out of the Daily Planet offices at the Galaxy Building. He's expecting a Legion of Super-Heroes villain to arrive, and wants Jimmy present for the photo-op.
Just like clockwork the future thief arrives, right on the putting green of a local golf course. He thinks he's a tough fella, and gives Superman a helluva punch. It's not long before Superman takes him out though... the thief activates his force-field, and Superman uses his heat vision to turn it into a sort of microwave oven. The day (and future!) is saved!
Superman takes the thief and flies off... accidentally dropping one of the thief's briefcases. Jimmy snags the case, files his story at the Planet and heads off for his date with Fifi. Fifi, however, has other plans. She's got a date with her old friend Bradley... she's sure Jimmy understands.
Poor cuckolded Jimmy heads back to his lonely pad and... begins playing with the device the future thief dropped. It appears to come equipped with a headband... so what does our Jimmy do? Well, he puts it on of course! With it, he sees a vision of a Metropolis corner where he knows he must go. Once there, he is shocked to come face to face with his one true love... Archie Andrews! er, I mean, Jenny Crocker. Honest mistake... Either way, it appears that Jimmy's exploits are being watched from the shadows
The next day, Jimmy reports to the Daily Planet office to tell Lois and Clark about his discovery. He even goes as far as to suggest he open his own dating service "Dream Dates, Inc." (currently a Michigan-based company... or, an organic date farm). He wants to zap Lois and Clark with his headband and find their perfect mates. Lois goes first. The trio are directed to a sleazy diner in town, where Lois' dream date is apparently a hobo! Nah, it's really undercover cop Preston Chandler, who blows his cover to flash both his badge and pearly whites! Jimmy and Clark drop Lois off at the Galaxy Building, and once again... it appears as though Jimmy's being watched.
Now it's Clark's turn. He and Jimmy are directed to the Metropolis Public Library, where Clark is drawn to a very "Clark Kent type" librarian called Mindy. He goes all "gosh, yer purty" and they plan themselves a dinner date.
Outside a bit later, a helicopter is getting dangerously close to a blimp... Clark and Mindy both take flee the scene... moments later, Superman and... Nova-Woman both arrive to save the day! Clearly, Superman's found himself a Super-mate.
That night there's a triple date, featuring Lois and Preston, Clark and Mindy, and Jimmy and
The stalker is revealed to be a member of the Science Police from the 30th century, and she wants the device back. We learn that the device is not a love-finder, but in actuality, a thought-actualizer... ruh roh, it just showed our trio what they wanted to see. Dream dates, indeed! The Science Cop hops into a time bubble and leaves... and our Planeteers mates vanish into thin air. We close out this silly story with the Daily Planet newsroom looking more like a lonely hearts club.
The very definition of a mixed bag. The main story was pretty blah... luckily the back-up story more than made up for it.
The magician story was the kind of story that made me shy away from DC Comics in my youth. Just felt like it didn't matter. Even just post-Crisis I couldn't see them publishing something so... I dunno, unremarkable (?)... Outside of Perry White's apparent onset dementia, this could have been published back in the mid 70's and I wouldn't have been able to tell.
Speaking of Perry White... it is interesting that they added a dementia/Alzheimer's twist to him. I gotta wonder if this was part of the long-term planning for the character, or if this was just a result of the Crisis being in the offing, and perhaps DC taking an "all bets are off" approach with a soon-to-be-reintroduced supporting cast. Either way, it is interesting... and has potential.
Curt Swan's art here is about what you picture when you think of Swan art. Very good stuff, though not terribly exciting. The Howard Bender art in the back-up is a bit of a mix as well. Certain panels look great, and I really dug the look of Nova-Woman... however, Jimmy look shifted from the deformed kid from Mask to Sloth from The Goonies... not Jimmy's best day.
|Yeah, guess I didn't need to sleep tonight...|
I appreciated the reveal of what the "love-finder" actually was. It was quite telling that Superman's dream girl would have been another Meta (yeah, I know they weren't called that yet), perhaps due to him feeling she would be the safest romantic partner. A woman who could take care of herself, and one he may relate to. Jimmy's pick of a... well, female Jimmy was a bit weird... but Jimmy's a weird dude. Most interestingly, Lois' dream man was one that had an undercover secret identity... hmmm... that's a really cool touch!
Definitely check this one out, for the backup story! Thanks again to joecab for the recommendation!