The Super-Dog Arms Race
With a string of bad luck and a rather expensive bit of car trouble, you might imagine that I haven't been having a lot of fun lately. But since I subscribe to a philosophy of Candide-esque optimism, there is one thought that's been giving me comfort over the past few days:
At least my dog doesn't have an arch-nemesis.
And that's more than you can say for Superboy.
Look upon him, ye mighty, and despair: He is DESTRUCTO, a name that gets me excited just on general principle, and he manages to not only be Krypto the Super-Dog's arch-nemesis, but also overcomes all obstacles and the common sense of an entire city to fall neatly into the role of an "evil twin." But the question remains: Who is Destructo, and how did he come to be?
Well, in a shocking turn of events that will come as a surprise only if you have never read a Silver-Age Superman comic in your life, a young Lex Luthor has invented a ray-gun that will give him super-powers, hoping to ambush Superboy when he gets back from moving an entire civilization from one planet to another. Unfortunately, Lex is working on his new super-power machine while hanging out with his dog Wolf--who ironically shares the name of Chuck Norris's heroic pet from the Karate Kommandos--who promptly jumps up onto Lex's lap just as the ray activates.
Lex is reasonably upset, considering that like all great scientific achievements, the super-power ray functions purely by accident and only works once. But Lex too is an optimist, and when life hands him lemons, he's the kind of guy that gives the lemons super-powers and brainwashes them into a destructive engine of vengeance.
But before he can unleash Destructo's canine fury on an unsuspecting Smallville, Lex decides to train Wolf, a process that includes liberal use of a movie projector and some slides of bones projected brightly against the night sky (which nobody seems to notice) and hiding dog food behind brick walls that Lex presumably built himself. By the time he wheels out what appears to be a pirate-era cannon and starts shooting at Wolf, the logic behind the training seems to be a little tenuous, but then he tops himself.
He sews up a cape for his dog...
...and then tells his dog that he can't have it until he's thoroughly humiliated his arch-enemy's dog.
Clearly, this man is a genius.
Thus, Destructo embarks on his smear campaign, fooling the entire population of Smallville despite looking absolutely nothing like Krypto whatsoever. Fortunately for Destructo's sinister master plan, the people of Smallville just tend to define people solely based on what color cape they're wearing.
Anyway, after a crime spree that involves coating himself in metal and stealing a powerful magnet conveniently located in a room with an open window and pointed directly at the street, Chief Parker decides that Krypto's going to have to be put down, and pulls out a chunk of Kryptonite roughly the size of a cantaloupe that doesn't really seem to bother Krypto that much aside from hurting his feelings.
Still, it's enough motivation for Krypto to track down Luthor and Destructo, and after breaking into Pa Kent's general store and stealing a bag full of spare change and chewing a hole in it to leave a trail of nickels, Krypto leads the cops to Luthor's hideout. Eventually, thanks in no small part to a ray-gun that steals Krypto's powers and gives them to Destructo, making him both double-powerful and double-vulnerable to Kryptonite, everything works out okay. But not before we get what might be the best example of the braindead pack of idiots that populated Smallville back in the day:
When they burst into Lex Luthor's Secret Criminal Mastermind Lair (which, in this case, appears to be a log cabin of some kind), Luthor takes the time to remove his dog's cape and replace it with another cape before the big fight begins. That's fine, he's got the excuse of being bat-shit crazy to fall back on. Chief Parker and another of Smallville's Finest, however, stand there waiting patiently for Destructo to get his new cape, for which there can only be one reason:
They can't tell these two dogs apart even when they are standing right in front of them.