Friday, October 09, 2009

Superman Under the Green Sun!

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Well, we can tell from the splash panel of this great two-part novel that Superman is in a bit of a pickle. The dictator of this crummy little planet has taken away all his super-powers!?! How?
Well, while on our summer vacation, Superman was just flying around in space when he came across a planet full of beautiful people. However, for some reason the folks he noticed didn’t seem to be aware of the great saurian beast bearing down on them. After he has dispatched the beast, he lands and introduces himself, learning to his shock that everybody is blind!


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They’re not a naturally sightless race. No, the evil dictator Drago, who has seized power over them, has set off a “blindness bomb” to handicap all who would oppose him. Kall, one of the scientists who opposes Drago, introduces Superman to Aton, twin brother of Drago, who tells how his sibling and his henchman wore goggles to protect themselves while setting off a blinding flash-bomb.

Well sir, that gets Superman’s attention, and he zips off to set ol’ Drago to rights. But the evil creep is ready for him – everybody knows about Superman! – and flips a switch, activating a satellite that interposes a blue lens before their sun. So the sunlight turns GREEN, and Superman is suddenly powerless!

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His fall from the sky mercifully broken by shrubbery, the Man of Steel resolves to investigate further, to help the rebels any way he can. Like Moses, he soon intercedes to rescue a slave laborer, and leads a few slaves in an escape. The man from Krypton commandeers one of the strange robot insects used as personal mounts by Drago’s men. Using it to shepherd the other captives, he follows their directions to the hidden cavern refuge of the revolutionaries. Although safe from Drago, they are short on supplies. Only Superman’s bravery and quick wits enable the fugitives to find food and water.

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However, Drago now knows that Superman is still alive, and launches a wide dragnet. Superman is captured and, in a scene of tortuous exuberance, Drago strikes Superman blind like all the other rebels.

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Soon, like the biblical Samson, the sightless Superman is a slave to an oppressor. What can he do now? Not just his powers, even his eyes are useless. Whipped and driven like the other captured rebels, he’s ready to give up.

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But a conversation with a fellow prisoner, who urges him to take heart because a stranger named Superman is on their side, gives the Man of Tomorrow hope and new resolve. He must carry on – he realizes that he’s a symbol of hope for these defeated few. He – has got to – keep trying! (as Captain Kirk might say)

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He manages to escape by falling into a river and makes his way back to the rebels’ cave. Putting his wits to use, he manages to cross-wire the captured slave-driver’s helmet with the video circuits of the robo-insect. Wearing the helmet, he … can … see!

Well, then. What to do? Why, take down the dictator, of course! Sightless or not, super-powered or not, he’s Superman, and he’s got to try!

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Using his seeing-eye bug, he makes his way into Drago’s citadel and to a certain control switch. He deactivates the blue-lens satellite, and hey presto! Super-powers and eyesight return!

Now for Drago! But the dictator, having seen that the jig is up, decides self-immolation is a better course, and blows up his tower. Superman flies away to his friends, Kall and Aton and the others, along with a relic of Drago’s plans.

You see, he’d intended to force his slaves to rework the contours of the entire planet into his own likeness! When you take a look at the sculpture of Drago’s plan, you can really see how much, by a strange coincidence, Drago also seems to resemble a certain German dictator of Earth’s World War II.

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But then, in a final twist, we see that Superman is not only a super-scientist, but a super-detective, too! A little matter of a missing watch crystal exposes Drago as alive (briefly) after all!
But justice is served after all, and the people are free of domination, and soon their blindness will too disappear, thanks to Superman!

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And after several months, the Man of Steel swoops past the planet, only to find that the terraforming project took place after all – but with a different image than Drago’s!

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