Action Comics #493 (March, 1979)
“The Metropolis-UFO Connection!”
Writer – Cary Bates
Penciller – Curt Swan
Inker – Frank Chiaramonte
Letterer – Ben Oda
Colorist – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.40
You ever have that thing where you hold down the Shift key to capitalize a letter… but wind up typing the next letter before letting off the Shift key? I have that at the best of times… but today, ho’boy I got it bad!
I wish Blogger had a way to auto-fix that… then again, that probably wouldn’t be the first feature I’d add if I had the power (a better spellcheck would be nice).
Anyhoo… let’s hope this doesn’t mess with us too much today as we head back in time to my birth year, 1979 for our 82nd installment of the #Action100 Endeavor.
We open with the… familiar sight of UFO’s soaring across the skies of Metropolis. This is apparently something of a regular occurrence these days, as none of the Metropolitans appear to be all that worried… they do wish Superman would get around to checking into them though. Speaking of that guy, Clark Kent is among the looky-loos, and he’s just as confused. He is approached by his favorite Co-Anchorperson, Lana Lang who informs him that their boss, Morgan Edge has been looking for him. Edge wishes to send him on… a mandatory vacation (that monster!).
As Clark heads out, he runs into Mr. Action himself, Jimmy Olsen. After taking a swig from the water fountain, our favorite cub repor… photog… er, whatever it is Jimmy did back in the 70’s… collapses. He is rushed into the GBS infirmary… which is a pretty convenient thing to have. It seems there’s been a new strain of flu terrorizing the Galaxy Building’s staff. Anyhoo, as Jimmy is wheeled in, he asks Clark to fill in for him on a big interview. He also hands over his Superman Signal Watch… just in case.
Clark “supes up” and goes about his normal patrol before getting ready to conduct that interview. It’s set to be with one Lyle Corliss. Anytime I learn a new Golden/Silver/Bronze Age name, I always run it through an anagram maker to see if the writer was being a sneaky-sneak. In doing so with Lyle Corliss… I don’t get much… notable names are “Closer Silly” and “Ice Rolls Sly”. Anyhoo, he’s a mysterious millionaire who lives in seclusion. Superman happens by just as Corliss is being attacked by… some sort of thing.
Superman makes short work of the… floating turret… thing, and Corliss thanks him for saving his life. Superman wraps up the pieces of the busted thing in his cape to take a closer look at later.
Moments later, he returns to the interview site as Clark Kent. Unfortunately, this is when Corliss reveals that he is… a Manhu… er, alien (with very Manhuntery shoulderpads). A telepathic alien who knows that Superman and Clark Kent are one-and-the-same. I swear, not an issue of Bronze Age Superman goes by without at least one person figuring it out!
Corliss reveals that he had intended on using Olsen as a hostage in order to draw Superman to him… and then has him sucked into a nearby television! It’s like Persona 4 up in here!
With Superman stuck in the TV, Corliss proceeds to Bond-Villain his entire plan. You remember those UFOs from earlier? Well, those were actually just Yota-Pulses, with which he was communicating with his comrades. He and his pals plan to use Earth as a giant garbage dump!
Corliss leaves Superman flapping in the static to go send his final Yota-Pulsation (which sounds really gross). Amid the static, Superman is unable to adequately focus… and pull himself from the “other side”. He then recalls that he’s wearing Jimmy’s Signal Watch. He manages to trigger it into Zee-Zee-Zeeing, which gives him a sound to focus on… and from there, it’s elementary!
He bursts from the set… and proceeds to pummel Corliss, before heading off to catch up with the Yota Pulsation.
He manages to catch up, and follows the pulses into space… all the while attempting to “crack” their code. When he finally does, he fires off some x-ray vision to alter their molecular structure (just go with it).
This altered message informs Corliss’ Comrades that Earth ain’t the right place to dump their junk… and so, they leave. They don’t even bother to fetch Corliss either!
We wrap up with the publication of the Corliss expose in The Daily Planet… and the rescinding of Clark Kent’s compulsory vay-cay. You’d almost think he was being punished!
This issue was a lot of fun!
Perfectly silly for a one-off… with a clever enough angle in the Signal Watch to really do it for me. Built a threat from nowhere, and did away with ’em by the end. Might be my “current year comics” speaking, but we could do with more books like this!
This leaves us with a bit of a challenge though… it’s a one-and-done that doesn’t give us a whole heckuva lot to talk about. It’s a good issue… and I had fun with it, but it doesn’t really move the needle excitement-wise.
If I were to dig for a problem, it would be… well, the same as it usually is when we discuss pre-Crisis Superman. Here we have yet another guy who knows that Superman is Clark Kent! A year ago I’d suggest he’d make a good Mr. Oz… but that train’s already left the station…
Instead, it’s just a dude… who knows Superman and Clark are the same guy… and, presumably, Corliss would have a bone to pick with him… right? Well, I suppose I should report that this is the one and only appearance of Lyle Corliss… maybe I ought to get this bugger slabbed!
Overall… despite not having all that much to say about this issue, I think I’d recommend it! It’s just a fun Superman story… and sometimes that’s all it’s gotta be!
Before we go… tomorrow is our 775th daily discussion, and I suppose we ought to find out “What’s So Funny…” about that!