Friday, September 9, 2016

Action Comics #484 (1978)


Action Comics #484 (June, 1978)
"Superman Takes a Wife!"
Writer - Cary Bates
Penciller - Curt Swan
Inker - Joe Giella
Letterer - Ben Oda
Colorist - Tatjana Wood
Editor - Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.35

Let's take a trip... to Earth-Two!

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We open with a one-page retelling of Superman's origin and "mission statement".  Man, that would take six-issues these days!  We then shift to the Galaxy Buil... OOPS!  I mean the offices of the Daily Star... Welcome to Earth-Two, friends!


We join Superman taking out some robotic drones called the Mechanical Marauders, while pedestrians look on in awe.  The entire affair is cake for the Man of Steel... much to the chagrin of Colonel Future!  Who?  Just some old gaudily-dressed geek who wants to wipe out the Man of Tomorrow.


We shift ahead twenty-one minutes to join Clark Kent emerging from a certain storeroom at the Daily Star.  He runs into Jimmy Olsen and they engage in conversation as they walk away.  We then see Lois Lane enter the storeroom to fetch the infrared camera she planted in there to see just why Clark is so "fond" of this particular room.


We follow Lois to a dark room where a photo-fella tries to develop the film... unfortunately (for her) the footage is a total washout... it seems as though the film had been exposed to x-rays.  Hmm...  here we learn that Lois has a sneaking suspicion that her coworker may in fact be Superman.


We jump ahead three days and rejoin Colonel Future.  In his attempts to erase Superman he has recruited a down on his luck super villain by the inspired name of The Wizard.  He demonstrates his powers by flipping the entire world upside down for a time.  Colonel Future is impressed, and offers to give him the Glastonbury Wand in exchange for ixnayin' Superman.


The next day the news is out that Superman has "declared war" on the C-F Gang... "gang" really?  It's three guys... c'mon.  Anhyhoo, the "gangsters" fire a blast at a Armored Car for a heist right as Lois and Clark are crossing the street.  Clark gives Lois a bit of a shove to ensure her safety... which only emboldens her belief that he's got an "S" behind his necktie.


Clark rushes off to change, and easy wipes out two-thirds of the C-F Gang.  Unfortunately during the fracas, the Wizard is enacting an incantation to erase Superman by drawing the S-shield in the ground in the nearby countryside.  Superman vanishes from the Metropolis streets and reappears in the middle of the symbol... and begins to sink.


Some time passes... and a body begins to rise from the ground... it's not the body of Superman... but of Clark Kent.


Days go by and the Daily Star finds itself the home of quite a courageous Clark Kent... quite different from the weak-spined version they've known so long.  He is outgoing and brave and still hot on the trail of the C-F Gang... but of special note, he is wondering why Superman has suddenly disappeared.


Over the weeks and months (!) that follow, Clark and Lois' relationship grows closer... to the point where Clark takes her for a ride in the country... and proposes marriage!  In a single page we go from proposal... to engagement... to wedding... to the start of the honeymoon.  They did not mess around on Earth-Two!


On their honeymoon, Colonel Future's goons are tailing "nosy newshound" Clark Kent.  They fire a blast at him... and he doesn't even realize it.  Lois looks on, shocked.  This really fuels her suspicions that her new husband may be not quite human.  That night she hatches a plan to test her gut feeling.


The honeymoon ends, and the Kents return to Metropolis... all the while Lois is unsure how to proceed.  She isn't sure if Clark has chosen to stop Supermanning... or if he'd somehow forgotten.  She does a bit of... nebulous research... checking up on some leads within the super villain set.  By this point Superman has been missing for an entire year.  In that time many villains "took credit" for disappearing him.  Including one... even more down on his luck Wizard.


Lois meets with the shlub who's apparently homeless and sleeping on a park bench... but get this, he's still got that hoobeedoobie wand.  She appeals to his ego and convinces him to "reappear" Superman to show the world how powerful he really is.  That night Lois shares what she believes will be her last night as Mrs. Clark Kent.


The next morning, Lois holds a press conference promising the return of Superman.  She brings our phony Abra Kadabra on stage and... well, zaps Superman back!  In an awesome panel, Superman lands and just backhands the dope.  Colonel Future is watching the event on television and is given medicine by an assistant.  I have to assume in the year since Superman's been gone he's taken up residence in a retirement home.


Later that day, Superman returns home to find Lois packing her bags.  He is surprised and upset... as he remembers that they had been married.  Lois feels their marriage wasn't "real", and so Superman... proposes.  It's funny, all three members of the classic Superman "love triangle" have been part of this marriage.  How fitting is that?


Lois accepts the proposal, and this time they get married Kryptonian style... thankfully minus the Matricom.


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Decent enough... if not underwhelming issue of Action Comics.  You'd figure the wedding of Lois and Clark... even on Earth-Two would have... I dunno... been a bigger deal than one page featuring the proposal... and the wedding!  Maybe I'm just more accustomed to the more decompressed storytelling of the past several years... but, c'mon... not even a scene where they announce their engagement at the Daily Planet Star?  Oh well.

The villains here, and to anyone who has read this blog for awhile, I'm gonna sound like a broken record... they are just so boring.  I've said it before, it's mostly the DC villains that kept me a Marvel guy for so long.  Outside of a few rogues galleries... it's just dudes.  Here we have Colonel Future and the Wizard.  For a second, I thought it was Abra Kadabra, and thought that was kinda cool... but, no... just the Wizard.

The seventies-era and Earth-Two Supermen are something of a mystery to me... so, I really can't speak to Lois' suspicions about her coworker's dual life.  Did she think Clark was really Superman?  Or was that just a device for this issue?  Not sure... but, I'm hoping this was an ongoing thing by this point.  Seemed DC was able to "play" a bit more in Earth-Two, and I really don't have any problems with Lois snooping and eventually finding out... it only makes sense for an investigative reporter to, ya know... investigate.

Overall, I suppose this was a fun issue.  Wish it felt more important... but, I gotta remember that I'm peering into the past here.  When my Superman got married... shoot, the engagement lasted several years... was interrupted by the Death and Return... and culminated in an over-sized Wedding Special.  Back in the late-seventies there really wasn't a direct market to support that kind of storytelling.  For what it is... it's a fine issue that I'd recommend any Superman fans check out.

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(Probably in the place of the...) Letters Page:


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1 comment:

  1. It's the time you were raised and the evolving of the character. I bought this off the stands and it packed a whollop for my young self: Superman getting married, gone for a year, saved by his new wife! It was new and different and progressed the Earth 2 Superman in directions the 'regular' Supes couldn't go. It was much more groundbreaking when you consider the time and what had (and hadn't) gone before.

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