Action Comics #567 (1985)

Action Comics #567 (May, 1985)
“Peri(l) in Paradise!”
“The League of Superman Watchers!”
Writers – Bob Rozakis & Michael J. Wolff
Pencillers – Kurt Schaffenberger & Alex Saviuk
Inkers – Dave Hunt & Dennis Jensen
Letterers – Ben Oda & Bob Lappan
Colorist – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.75

Had so much fun “meeting” the Yellow Peri yesterday… I figure why not keep it going?

I became curious enough yesterday to check the DC Wikia and see how many appearances this young lady made… and found that… welp, there weren’t all that many!  I also found that… outside of the New Adventures of Superboy issues that introduced her… I’ve pretty much got all of em!  My not knowing that ought to tell you just how large and unruly my “to read” pile(s) are.

Anyhoo… we’re going to jump nearly a year later than the story we read yesterday and check in with our favorite gal… and third or fourth favorite Alvin.

We open in Coaltown… which we’ll assume is in reference to an actual town in Pennsylvania (that may or may not be called “Coaltown”).  It’s here that Superman is being honored for extinguishing an underground coal fire and saving the entire town.  Lois Lane has been sent to cover the event for the Planet… and doesn’t seem terribly happy to be there.  The Coaltowners erect a statue of Superman… made of coal.  To ensure people can see it from far and wide, Superman super-heats the thing and encases it in an airless glass canister so it glows a bright red.

After the ceremony, Superman offers to fly Lois home… knowing full well that she has other business nearby.  Kind of a silly thing to do… but whatever gets ya the “good guy points” I guess.  We learn that next up on both Lois and Clark’s agendas is a visit to another Pennsylvania town where weird stuff is afoot.  They are to pose as a married couple and look into a real estate scam.  Perry White is very adamant that they do so… and has (for reasons that are never explained) instructed them both several times over.

And so, we jump ahead to Paradise Pines, Pennsylvania where Lois and Clark meet up and prepare for their little real estate sting.  As they pull in, we see some very familiar faces… why, it’s Alvin and Loretta York!

Big Al’s the man behind the scam, and immediately goes into salesman mode.  He has Loretta encase the foursome in a climate control bubble… and then makes it snow outside.  Gotta say, this is probably the best way to “experience” snow.  I ran into my first snow in about twenty years last month… and good God, that stuff’s cold!

Anyhoo… since this is the Yellow Peri… every spell comes with a bit of trouble.  As she “shuts down” her exhibition… the snow melts, causing a terrible flood!  Didn’t see that coming!

Clark uses the distraction of… ya know, everyone nearly drowning, to “supe-up”.  Once in uniform he uses his super-breath to freeze the water… with Alvin precariously inside it… which seems a bit risky, don’t it?  He frees the geek then carries the ice off where it can safely turn into rain.

Once the dust (and waters) settle… we move on to the Yorks’ next trick.  Here in Pleasant Pines… you can plant a seed in the morning… and eat what you planted for lunch!  Lois, Clark, and the rest pick their produce and proceed to picnic under the pines (imagine how much I might’ve spit if I said that out loud!).  Lois, oddly, doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with the use of magic to make plants grow… after all, it’s not “illegal”.

We rejoin the gang as they chomp away… and suddenly, Clark is overwhelmed by a strange urge… to tell the truth!  And so, he removes his shirt… revealing to the group that he is Superman!  He then admits to being in love with Lois Lane… and proposes marriage!  Also worth noting, Alvin admits that his entire deal is a con game!  There must be something in the produce!

The Yellow Peri is overwhelmed by the romance… and goes to hug her husband… who admits that he only married her to win a bet!  And, the only reason he stuck around is to exploit her magical powers.  Moments later, Superman arrives… with a Justice of the Peace under his arm… and the wedding is underway!  Boy howdy, is it romantic!

Before the JoP can officially declare Lois and Superman to be man and wife, the Yellow Peri admits that she’s in love with Superman… and won’t allow anyone else to be his bride!  Suddenly, the fruits and vegetables begin exploding… and so, Superman springs to action.  Lois, realizing she’ll never be Superman’s first priority calls off the wedding.  Wow, we’re not wasting any time, are we?

What follows is Superman fighting tomatoes… and shielding the crowd from explosive popcorn.  It’s somehow even sillier than I’m making it sound.  The Yellow Peri tosses her spellbook at Alvin, but Superman is able to intercept.  He goes to throw it into the Sun… but finds that the tome is stuck to his hand!

Paradise Pines is soon overtaken by giant roots… and Superman still can’t get rid of the book.  He attempts to destroy it using his heat-vision… but that doesn’t work either.  Alvin runs up to grab the book… but gets blown away for his efforts.

Superman (somehow) deduces that if he can coat the book in lead… it would cancel out the spell, and everything will go back to normal.  Only problem being… he still can’t let go of the thing.  So… he digs a hole revealing Galena Ore (the main ore of lead, donchaknow)… with which he wipes the book.  Bada-bing bada-boom, everything’s coolio.

Everyone and every-thing returns to normal… and nobody remembers why they’re hanging out in this weird Pennsylvania lot.  Lois and Clark head home… without a story… and also, without that spellbook.  Will the Yellow Peri come back?  Well… not for like twenty years…

Our back-up story… because (sigh) there is one… opens in the apartment of a Mr. Philip Strick… a man who desperately wants to join “The League of Superman Watchers”.  The, uh, what now?

The League of Superman Watchers!  A group of grown people who are enamored by Superman.  A group, that Clark Kent speaks to like… all the time.  He’s been their guest speaker a whole bunch of times.

After his presentation, Clark chats up… some guy, perhaps the Chairman of the League of Superman Watchers (imagine having that title on a business card!).  Clark inquires about… Philip Strick… and it’s here that we learn that our LoSW hopeful is… blind!  Seems like the League of Superman Watchers might be a bit “ableist”.

We shift back to Strick’s pad, where his Superman diagnostic computer… thing is interfering with the television signal of his next-door neighbor.

The ne’er do well neighbor heads over to give the poor blind man a piece of his mind… but before he can, he overhears just what he’s up to.  Turns out our man has nearly deduced Superman’s secret identity!

Superman peeks in to check on Strick… and is shocked at the progress the man has made.  He’s even more shocked to discover that his next-door neighbor is nogoodnik Walter Perkins… who is also hard at work cracking the Superman case.

Superman ponders his next move.  He could simply squash the proceedings, but that would ruin any chance Strick has of joining the League.  I dunno, Superman… I think you should risk it.  Anyhoo… he heads off to talk to that League Chairm… er, President to discuss strategy.  Meanwhile, Perkins is off trying to sell his secret to “Boss” Sweeney.

Luckily, Sweeney ain’t buyin’ what Perkins is selling… and kicks him out of his office.  I’m guessing the Superman Watchers just flooded him with fake “leads” on Superman’s civilian identity?  Maybe?  Enraged, Perkins heads back to the apartment with all intentions of beating up his blind neighbor.  Unfortunately for him, Superman is there… and, everything works out… I guess?  I dunno… this ending doesn’t really stick the landing for me.  I guess what’s important is Philip Strick joins the Watchers.

You ever spent an entire night cramming for a test you have to take the next morning?  All this information… maybe half of it makes a lick of sense… and you just know that by morning, most of it will have evacuated your brain?

That’s kinda the story of Action Comics #567.  We have a pair of “ehh” stories… with so much weird and half-explained information… and I really can’t make much sense out of any of it.

To add to the “cramming” analogy… I must admit, there were entire pages of this issue I had to reread, because I kept feeling like I missed something!  Turns out… I didn’t… the stories were just really light on explanation.  Not that I need to be guided by the hand (well, maybe I do), but I think there’s too much here that we’re just supposed to “accept”.

It’s like… okay, we’ve got this magical produce… that makes people tell the truth?  Wha–?  I looked to see if there were any clever wordplay to allude to this… but came up empty!  I’ll always concede that I might be too dense to pick up on something… but I really don’t think this one’s on me!

Even the tiniest plot points left me scratching my head.  Why did they make a point of saying Perry White repeated himself when giving out this assignment?  Was that supposed to lead somewhere?  Does it lead somewhere later?  I dunno… just seems an odd thing to spend any time on (and here I am typing an entire paragraph about it!).

Then… there’s the spellbook.  Five seconds earlier, Superman was attempting to hurl it into the Sun.  But instead, leaves it with Loretta (and Alvin) to discover all over again?  Da hale?  Luckily… judging from the fact that she won’t surface again until the mid-2000’s, it seems as though she doesn’t.

Also worth noting… Superman doesn’t exactly use “kid gloves” when dealing with Alvin here, does he?  I mean, he froze the poor dude in the flood… and blew him into a giant watermelon!  Seems a bit “fast and loose” with the powers there, pal.

The art here was what we’ve come to expect from late-pre-Crisis Superman… though, I’ll never be able to accept Lois’ Dumb and Dumber bangs.  She really looks nothing like she does on the cover.  Then again, Superman kind of looks like a creep on the cover, and looks normal on the inside.  Whattayagonnado?

The back-up story… was, well… something that happened.  It really didn’t do much for me… and I haven’t the foggiest idea why it exists.  The League of Superman Watchers seems like something out of the Silver Age… not something I’d expect from a mid-80’s book.  I can’t get mad at it as a concept… but the execution was a bit lacking.

This felt like a full-blown fill-in issue shrunk in size to fit a back-up strip… it opened so slowly… then, out of nowhere, kicked into high-gear and… ended!  Ehh.  Not for me.

Overall… if you’re only going to read one Yellow Peri story… read the one we discussed yesterday.

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