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Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Non-Stop Parade of Horrors That Is Superboy #105, Part One

Rising from the aftermath of COUGARBATTLE 2006, the ISB returns to its all-action format! Expect nothing less from the only comics blog willing to fight a mountain lion to bring you the best in reading comics so that you don't have to.

Back in the Silver Age, DC comics were generally produced in a format that allowed for two or three separate stories--or, on occasion, an astounding three-part novel complete in this issue--and one of them was pretty much guaranteed to be completely and utterly insane.

But every once in a while, they pulled off the hat trick.

That's the case with 1963's Superboy #105, a book in which each story is so monumentally crazy that I'm going to go ahead and devote the next three days of the ISB to reviewing the same comic book.

This is probably why I'm not as popular as Dave Campbell.

Now, on with it!

PART ONE: The Return of Retarded Superboy!

Last week, I reviewed a story from Action Comics #259, wherein Superman was forced to team up with--and of course, fight--a younger version of himself that was, to be charitable, somewhat lacking in the smarts department.

Well, he's back.

The lead story, as pictured on the cover, begins with Superboy rescuing some miners from a cave-in, and considering that this is a Jerry Siegel story, I'll let you guess which mineral-related plot contrivance is about to show up and wreck his day.

Yes, it's our old friend Red Kryptonite. Oh, Red K! Is there anything you can't do? I mean, besides stuff that doesn't involve making Superboy an idiot.

The answer, apparently, is no, as revealed shortly thereafter, when Superboy gets flagged down in order to repair a snack truck's custard machine so that the utterly helpless people of Smallville don't have to go without dessert. But it's a repair... with disastrous consequences!

Personally, I always read Superboy's dialogue in that panel as being really sarcastic. You know:

">Gasp!< Your heat vision melted all the custard!"

"Did I? Gee, I'm sorry. Really sorry. I promise I'll try and do a better job the next time I stop my anti-crime patrol to fix your Goddamn ice cream machine, you ignorant hick."

That's probably another Red Kryptonite story, though.

Anyway, later, Superboy runs into Lana Lang, who points out that he could've just frozen all the custard again with his super-breath, then strikes up a conversation with a nearby veteran about how dumb Superboy's been acting lately, and they proceed to play Armchair Super-Hero for a while.

Not that you can really blame them; Superboy goes on to blunder his way through a fire (using his super-strength to pull the alarm rather than actually putting it out) and a mishap at a local bank (where he counts money so fast that it bursts into flames, incinerating ten Gs in the process).

But here's the thing: None of those things actually require Superboy. We of the human race are perfectly capable of counting money, putting out fires, and, yes, even getting our own desserts and performing light machine repair. They're not even difficult tasks! And yet the well-meaning blockheads of Smallville go yelling for someone who can break the time barrier under his own power every time they have a flat tire.

No wonder Lex Luthor was so mad all the time.

Anyway, word of Superboy's idiocy eventually spreads to the criminal hotbed that is the small-town Kansas underworld, here represented by "Specs" McGurk and "Scarface" Malone, who concoct a foolproof plan to gain Superboy's trust and make him do their bidding:

Toy Badges.

Seriously? That little "Made in Japan" on the badges is hilarious.

Slightly less funny--at least, intentionally--is the Mobsters' plan for Superboy:

Oh dear Lord.

Yes, you read that correctly: The mobsters send Superboy to China to bring back a freight car full of opium. Comics Code Approved!

Fortunately, before young Clark can get around to dealing heroin on the street, the real G-Men show up, and he reveals that he actually hasn't been stupid at all! It's all been part of--and feel free to say it with me--an elaborate ruse designed to smoke out the gang's ringleader.

The actual effect of the Red Kryptonite? It gave Superboy an extra finger on each hand. Seriously, check out the panel with the Custard Truck guy.

So, to Review: In order to catch a gang of small-time mid-Kansas hoods, Superboy--who can see through walls, hear conversations from space, and move so fast as to be undetected by the human eye--relies on a plan that takes days to accomplish, involves acting (literally) like a complete idiot, and stealing a few tons of Opium from China, which I'm pretty sure somebody's going to miss.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

And it's not even close to being the craziest thing that happens in this issue.

Next, on the ISB!

Lana Lang gets fed to a shark.

No, really.


Blogger minifig said...

Great post - made me laugh out loud a few times. I wonder what the long-term effects of the boy of steel having an extra finger would have been...

9/03/2006 7:33 AM

Blogger Mark Hale said...

With all thsoe pinkies, he'd be the classiest superhero to ever sip tea.

9/03/2006 11:19 AM

Blogger Kevin said...

Damn you Chris!
You've already forced me to get the Haunted Tank, Superman Family and Metamorpho Showcases and if you keep this up I'm going to have to get all the Superboy and Legion Showcases when they're released too.

9/03/2006 12:24 PM

Anonymous Vincent J. Murphy said...

So, what you are saying is that Superboy is so lame, even Red Kryptonite gave him the finger.

(Pause for laughter)

I'm here all week, folks!

9/03/2006 12:53 PM

Blogger Dorian said...

Uhm, I just spent five days reviewing the same comic. Three days is only mildly obsessional.

9/03/2006 3:07 PM

Blogger Brandon said...

I choose to ignore the twist ending of this story so that Supertard will live on forever in my memories and dreams.

9/03/2006 3:08 PM

Blogger Mike Haseloff said...


Mysterious jungle God, or Hal Jordan's latest catch cry? U-Decide!

9/05/2006 3:46 AM

Anonymous Christopher said...

This reminds me of that episode of the Powerpuff Girls where they get fed up with the people of Townsville constantly asking them to do completely menial tasks, like finding the remote.

They strike, and they have to walk the incredibly stupid people of Townsville how to do things on their own.

I never knew it was based on real comics.

9/05/2006 10:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I always read Superboy's dialogue in that panel as being really sarcastic....That's probably another Red Kryptonite story, though.

How awesome would a Red K story about a Superman afflicted with super-sarcasm be?

Totally awesome, that's how awesome.

9/06/2006 11:20 PM


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