Monday, March 08, 2010

Action #314

This is one of the few Action issues from around this era that I didn't have in my collection until recently, and all I can say is, good Lord, I didn't know what I was missing. It starts with Aquaman and a few other JLA members signaling Superman to visit them on a remote island, where we learn:

Of course, Jor-El sent dozens of such messages to Superman during the Silver Age; indeed it would be a chore to catalog them all. At any rate, Jor-El wants to tell his son how Earth was chosen for his new home. It turned out that there were six possible worlds he could be sent to. Fortunately, one of Jor-El's friend has a future predictor:

It turns out that on the first world of Xann, he would be tiny compared to the other inhabitants, although he would retain his super-powers. Jor-El decides not to send him to Xann, because there he'd have nobody to marry. The second world, Valair, has no land, only water, and Kal-El's unhappy living his life under the seas. The third world has a red sun, so Kal would not have any super-powers there, but he does learn to compensate:

But he finds that some of the natives want to use his arrow-inventions for evil and leaves society to live on his own. Obviously that world is out. On the next one, it's always night and Kal-El takes on a lawman role:

On the penultimate world, Superman's adoptive father invents a ray that would give him super-speed, but the scene shown on the cover occurs when he gets a little too enthusiastic about trying out his powers. So Earth it is:

Comments: A silly story, obviously set up to deliver that surprise at the end where we realize that Superman would have been a one-man JLA. It does leave me feeling a little sad that he didn't end up getting sent to the planet of Amazonia, where he could have become Wonder Woman with the aid of a gender-transforming ray invented by his adoptive mom. ;)

But it is in the Supergirl story that things really get wacky. Remember, when Supergirl originally arrived on Earth, her parents had supposedly died when meteors struck Argo City. However, in Action #309, it was revealed that they had survived by beaming themselves into the Survival Zone, a dimension much like the Phantom Zone. Zor-El and Allura decided that they wanted to live among their fellow Kryptonians in the bottle city of Kandor, while Supergirl remained on Earth with the Danvers. However, all was not well:

As you can probably guess, she's heart-sick for her daughter, who never visits, never calls. Then one day:

So you can see she's gone completely mentally unstable. The authorities take back the android, without apparently considering that maybe, just maybe, they could make a similar doll for Allura that would ease her pain. They decide to contact Supergirl, but as it happens, she's out and the Danvers receive the call. Realizing that Allura's health is more important than their love for their adopted daughter, they decide to, wait for it, practice mental cruelty on Supergirl so that she will rejoin her natural parents. No, I'm not kidding:

But eventually Kara overhears the Danvers tearfully discussing how hard it is to be so mean to their daughter and discovers the reason why they've been treating her badly. She visits Kandor and suggests that she should stay their permanently, but apparently Mom realizes Earth needs its Supergirl. The only solution is for the Danvers to move to Kandor while the exchange ray brings out Zor-El and Allura. At first this looks like a great solution, as Supergirl's parents can join her in protecting Earth. But what of the Danvers?

The Chief Healer comes up with a solution:

The story ends as a cliff-hanger; will Supergirl's parents be happy on Earth? Can the Danvers find love in their heart for Dar-Lin?

Comments: Wow, what a wild story. I confess that I always enjoy these psychological dramas more than the run-of-the-mill secret identity stories, but this tale was completely wacked-out.


Peter Gray said...

Wowser! It makes my haed spin.just love these fun stories

Blaze Morgan said...

"Zahn-Zar, can your predictor really show future events?"

"Given sufficient data, it shows a high probability."

"And you're one of Krypton's leading scientists? Not some working-in-his-garage crackpot?"

"Well, modesty prevents me from pointing to the editorial caption above your head, but yes."

"That's swell! Can we wheel your predictor over to the Council Chambers and shove some 'high probability' about an exploding Krypton up their wazoos?"

The Ghost Who Blogs said...

You had me at Aquaman.

David said...

Wow, Dar-Lin? Really? On the subtlety scale, that ranks right up there with Kru-El. Interesting to learn that Kandor has an orphanage, though.

I like Kara as much as anyone, but honestly would being out of her presence for a few days really send not just one, but two sets of parents to the psychiatrist's couch? And wouldn't the time period following Argo City's destruction have been a longer separation? Why didn't Allura go stark raving mad during that period?

Hard to muster up much suspense over a "problem" that's so easily solved; just have Kara visit more often. Big whoop.

I don't have this one, either, mostly thanks to that cover, which even my Silver Age-loving 6-year-old son declares the stupidest of all time. Thanks for the free peek inside.

Jacque Nodell said...

The mental cruelty thing seemed to work well for Lois Lane in "Weep for Lois Lane's Baby" (Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #96)!

Anonymous said...

There was a modern day remake of that One Man JLA story which was slightly saner (and, therefore, much less fun). Jor-El's simulation shows Kal-El being sent to Oa, Raan, Thanagar and New Mars, and taking on the roles of Green Lantern, Adam Strange, Hawkman and Martian Manhunter.