Thursday, March 9, 2017

Giant Luthor Issue

Okay, it wasn't really Luthor's issue, but a collection of Superman-Luthor battles in 80 Page Giant #11 (June, 1965) with a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein.

Collected here are a few of the best of the fights between these eternal foes, as well as a more than a little bit of Kryptonite, and even just a few other foes as well. 

Let's dive right into the collection, and see what evil plans Luthor unleashed on the Man of Steel....

Action Comics #249

Superman faces "The Kryptonite Man" from the story originally presented in Action Comics #249 (February, 1959 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino).

Luthor returns with a new plan, having made a formula that allows the scientist to radiate Kryptonite from his body, which forces Superman to go on the run to stay away from Luthor, eventually making a lead suit to shield himself from the rays and approach Luthor.  Luthor ups the ante by turning all lead on Earth into glass using a satellite...which forces Superman to go to the moon to make another lead suit, with Luthor in pursuit...Superman destroys the satellite as Luthor destroys the new lead suit, and Superman appears to be unaffected by Luthor's Kryptonite radiation, so he takes an antidote to the formula (to allow the scientist to sneak up on the Man of Steel as he was glowing from the formula....Superman is now able to capture Luthor; having hidden how much the Kryptonite was weakening him).

Superboy #85

Back to Superman's youth, with a story of Superboy and "The Impossible Mission" from Superboy #85 (December, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp (though this story isn't reflected on the original cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

Superboy gets the bright idea of going back in time to save President Abraham Lincoln from assassination at Ford Theatre....but, an adult Lex Luthor arrives back in time (escaping Superman from other battles), with Luthor incapacitating Superboy with Red Kryptonite (thinking the Boy of Steel was there to capture him).  Only after Lincoln was assassinated did Luthor realize his error, heading back to his own time, as Superboy then did himself as the effects of the Red K wore off.

Superman #88

Technically, the story of "The Terrible Trio" from Superman #88 (March, 1954) by William Woolfolk, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye was a tale of the original, Golden Age Superman instead of the Silver Age Superman....but it was still a heck of a read!

This story saw a team-up of Superman's most dastardly villains of the time...Luthor (who was Alexei Luthor, not Lex....who had kept his red hair, though not depicted as such in this story), the Prankster (Oswald Loomis), who used practical joke items (usually laced with Kryptonite or set to endanger others to occupy Superman), and the Toyman (Winslow Schott), who used toys (again, sometimes with Kryptonite) to menace Superman (and innocent victims around him) resulting in giving Superman the opportunity to capture three of his foes at once!

Action Comics #277

"The Conquest Of Superman" was the lead story of Action Comics #277 (June, 1961) by Bill Finger, Curt Swan and John Forte, and what a story it was (though it didn't make the original cover, which was quite a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

While Superman was on a space mission, Luthor escapes and heads to one of his "Luthor's Lairs" in Metropolis (his version of Superman's Fortress of Solitude, but Luthor's version has statues of his "heroes"...Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Captain Kidd and Al Capone).  While relaxing there, Luthor comes up with a plan to rob Fort Knox of its gold, which Luthor was successful, turning Superman away with artificial Kryptonite.  Problem is, Luthor finds out it wasn't Superman, but one of the Man of Steel's robots, that the scientist defeated.  Dejected he didn't defeat Superman, Luthor returns the gold he grabbed, as he didn't want reminders of his failure to defeat Superman!

Superboy #86

Back to the days when Superman (and Luthor) were boys, with "The Army Of Living Kryptonite Men" from Superboy #86 (January, 1961) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp (under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

Luthor comes up with one of his most dastardly plans, inventing a helmet that allows him to animate stone, and he uses it to animate Kryptonite to attack Superboy, luring the Boy of Steel to an asteroid in a plan to kill his nemesis.  Luthor's plan seemed to be fool-proof, as it took help from the future, specifically Lightning Lad of the Legion of Super-Heroes, to help defeat Luthor (to enable Superboy to grow up, and the future of the Legion to exist).  But, Luthor wonders, if the future has a Legion of Super-Heroes...might it not also have a Legion of Super-Villains?

Action Comics #210

Our next adventure has plenty of action, as it has "Superman In Superman Land", which was originally presented in Action Comics #210 (November, 1955) by Bill Finger, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.

Reporters Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen were at the opening of a new amusement park, Superman Land....which has a motif reflecting the Man of Steel.  While touring the area, Clark performs a few low key rescues, then finally appears as Superman to sign autographs.  Not likely the fact that Superman is getting so much love, Luthor arrives to try to kill Superman with synthetic Kryptonite, planning to launch the Man of Steel into space, until Superman foils Luthor's plans.

Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #23

The last (but not least) of the reprints of this giant was from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #23 (February, 1961) by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger, dealing with "The Curse Of Lena Thorul" (though an imaginary story makes the cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

This story introduces Luthor's sister, Lena Thorul, in the town of Cardiff.  Lois meets her first, with the young woman thinking she is being beset by strange occurrences (as she does resemble Louella Thompson, whom had been sentenced as a witch in the area, and Lena might have been her reincarnation).  Instead, Superman and Lois found out it was a recently escaped Luthor that was vexing the girl, but he didn't want her identity revealed to the girl, whose parents told her that her brother died in a fire and changed their name, moving to this area away from their original home, to allow Lena not to grow up with the burden of being Luthor's sister.

Now, this 80 Page Giant also had a few special features on Superman's vision powers and Superman's family from Superman Annuals, and quite a few of these stories found themselves reprinted in other collections featuring Superman's most deadly foe....Lex Luthor!

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