Supergirl #10 (September-October, 1974)
“Death of a Prez!”
“Her Brother’s Keeper!”
Writer – Cary Bates
Penciller – Art Saaf
Inker – Vince Colletta
Letterer – Ben Oda
Cover Price: $0.20
Let’s take a trip to Earth-12! I know what everybody (okay, nobody) is thinking… “But, I thought Prez lived on Earth-72!”. Well, for whatever reason, The Crisis Compendium that came as part of the Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths (2005) has designated this story as having occurred on Earth-12!
So, I guess we can imagine that our old pals Bob Hope, Super-Hip, Jerry Lewis, Binky, and the Inferior 5 are all watching this go down!
We open our first story with the President of the United States, Prez Rickard giving a speech at a Supermarket. Well, how ’bout that? The event is being televised, and watching from the dorms at Vandyre University is Linda Danvers. She spies a man approaching Prez to shake his hand… but thanks to her x-ray vision, sees something the rest of the viewing audience cannot. She suits up and rushes to Rosedale before the fella can assassinate Prez with his hidden gun.
After the police haul the creep away, Supergirl suggests that Prez be a bit more careful. Ya know, as leader of the free world, he might wanna invest in some security detail… if only Presidents were armed with like a service, that was secret or something. Anyhoo… a young boy approaches the President to ask if he can fix his father’s watch… which had stopped when he was killed in Vietnam. Prez pulls a dime from his pocket and fixes it right up… ya see, if he were an actual adult, he’d have pulled the dime from the boy’s ear first for extra “magic”.
Prez heads back to the White House, however, along the way he sees some signage for a Rare Antique Clock Auction in some barn. Well, that’s like catnip! He pulls over the Presidential Caravan and hops out to take a look. Worth noting, the other folks at the auction don’t seem to be terribly moved as the President of the United States saunters in. Anyhoo, he finds the one clock that doesn’t work and decides he’ll bid on it. Just then… Supergirl swoops in, snatches the clock, and flies it clear before it goes boom!
She lands to again suggest he be a bit more careful. We learn that Prez is being watched by a buck-toothed Gabe Kaplan (the Master Killer) and a voodoo witch named Hepzibah. Mistuh Kottuh is pleased with how day has proceeded thus far, and has the witch use her Supergirl voodoo doll to make her kill the Prez.
Meanwhile, Supergirl suggests she fly Prez back to Washington DC straightaway to throw any potential observers off the scent. When they get high enough in the sky, Supergirl is overcome by the suggestion to kill the Prez. She dodges a pair of military jets before dropping the boy-leader into the drink.
We wrap up back at Master Killer’s lab, where Supergirl swoops in and socks him in the mush. He’s disappointed to be caught, however, happy that Prez is dead. Well, not so fast kemo sabe… Supergirl informs him that when she actually dropped Prez at the Fortress of Solitude… and the body she dropped was a (convenient) plastic Prez replica! Ay yai yai.
Our second story opens at Vandyre University where Supergirl is visiting with a Dr. Forte who is conducting research on human cells to attempt to draw correlation between their cellular makeup and their physical traits… which, I thought was already a thing? Anyhoo, Supergirl thinks it’s a great cause… however, poor Forte has been refused University grant money. He hints that Supergirl might be able to “find” him a fortune… but spoilsport that she is, she refuses. Suddenly his electron-scope begins to spark…
Supergirl yanks off her indestructible cape and smothers the equipment before it can go boom. She tells Forte that she’ll return later and help him rebuild his equipment. He thanks her, but says it doesn’t really matter… without the University funds, he can’t conduct his research anyway. She flies off… feeling a sudden sharp pain on the back of her right hand.
Well, it turns out that Dr. Forte rigged a phony electron-scope to explode knowing it would grab Supergirl’s attention long enough for him to enact his real plan. As she smothered the stuff, a hidden Proto-Creator fired a beam into her right hand… grabbing a single Super cell, from which the Doc could create a duplicate Supergirl… well, sorta.
We jump ahead to the next day where in the skies over Vandyre University… a flying blonde can be seen! One of the witnesses happens to be Linda Danvers, who knows something strange is afoot. She hits the skies and meets her… identical twin brother?!
After a very short chat, Superlad (which I guess we’re calling him) flies off into town. Moments later, he returns with sacks of money from the bank he just robbed! Supergirl tries to reason with him, quickly learning that he doesn’t appear to know the difference between right and wrong. The Superblondes briefly tussle… ending with Superlad pounding the ground, opening a fissure which Supergirl falls into.
After freeing herself, Supergirl spies a trail of dollar bills fluttering in the sky. She knows that if she follows the bucks, she’ll find the mastermind behind Superlad.
It’s not long before she crashes through the wall of Dr. Forte’s lab, where the Bad Doc has just finished telling Superlad that he’s a synthetic being. Forte commands his charge kill Supergirl… with a very wacky looking little pistol. Supergirl tries to reason with the Lad that his creator is an evil man. This is all really heavy for poor Superlad, who ultimately decides… rather than shoot Supergirl or Forte, he’ll just blow his own brains out! Wow, that ended on a dark note!
Woof. A couple of pretty “ehhh” stories.
I think I might’ve built this one up in my head… thinking it would be cool seeing Prez interact with one of our “real” superheroes… buuut, it was pretty lame. This whole book felt kinda like a Saturday Morning cartoon. Silly plots, outta nowhere “fixes”, and abrupt/clean endings.
The Prez story ended with a ridiculous bait and switch. It’s like, oh yeah… that Prez that was dropped was a plastic figurine which just happened to be at the Fortress of Solitude. I mean, how many decoys do they have at the Fortress? And, when did she make the switch? Master Killer and Hepzibah were watching everything go down via their monitors… wouldn’t they notice a few frames where she disappears and reappears with a no-longer struggling Prez? Yeah, I’m thinking wayyyy too hard on this. For a silly story, it’s fine… for anything more than that, ehhhh.
The second story is also super-convenient… and ends with (sorta) super-suicide?! I know the Comics Code had already gone a bit lax by this point, but still. I mean, Superlad actually held a gun up to his head and pulled the trigger! Of course, he’s just a dupe… but, still a weird scene that I wasn’t expecting to see!
Really not a whole lot more to say. These were very convenient Supergirl stories… where things just “worked out”. Saturday Morning cartoon is really the best way I can put it. The art was nice… and despite the silliness, I guess it was kinda fun to see Prez in a more mainstream book. Probably worth checking out just for that novelty… (sorta) surprisingly, this is available digitally!