Friday, March 11, 2011

This Is What Happens to Cheaters, Orella!

Ever since being lured to the island of Florena by a bunch of sneaky women, Superman has been manipulated at every turn.  Now he has been told the ladies' real plan:  He is to father a new generation of girls who will be hardy enough to return to their home planet, Matrion, where all the women are strong, and the men are subservient.

Orella bested the Man of Steel in three ceremonial contests, and now has begun the Matrionettes' (is that right?) marriage ritual.  First up, she was to build a honeymoon cottage.  But somehow when she started to drive the nails into the wood, she hit them so hard that they shot out the other side of the beams like bullets.  And that's where we are at the top of the above page.  The nails, like red-hot bullets, puncture a bunch of cocoanuts and give everybody a cocoanut-milk shower!

Ummm, it's not supposed to work out that way.  Orella didn't SEEM to have been THAT strong, although she DID best Superman in those feats of strength . . .

Next, while Orella prepares the wedding feast, Superman goes off into the jungle and returns with some natural cosmetics.  He offers some of the face powder to Orella, and she powder-puffs her already-lovely face.

Vanity, thy name is Orella!  The stuff acts like sneezing powder, as (through a thought balloon) we read that Superman intended.  But she gives off a SUPER-sneeze that flattens the dinner table!  Man, this is getting to be an awkward wedding.

Next up, we have the last feat, where Orella must remove a magnetic sword from its stone scabbard, to prove that she is worthy to lead the women back to the home planet, Matrion.

Or, as Maxwell Smart would say, "Ah yes.  The old sword-in-the-stone trick."  Or, perhaps, "That's the SECOND biggest sword I've seen this week."

Well, Orella's bad luck holds true.  She yanks the hilt so hard that the sword dissolves.  And Superman was expecting it . . .   Hmmm.

So, having messed up the three rituals, surely Orella can perform the last, cutting off a bit of her hair to give to her groom as a symbol of love.

Note that Orella wants to shed her bracelet, but Superman asks her to keep it on.  Hurry up things, people, he says.  He's anxious for the wedding to start!  (Boy, is he mean!)  Soon we will find out why . . .

Sure enough, when they try to cut Orella's hair, the scissors shatter, just as when somebody tries to give Superman a trim.

And now comes the revelation.  Earlier in the story we saw how Orella, scheming minx that she is, cheated on the matrimonial sweepstakes so that SHE would be the Matrion to become Superman's bride.

Now we find out that she cheated again.  When she gave those three ceremonial gifts to Superman on his arrival, they were booby-trapped with superpower-stealing technology . . . powers absorbed by Orella through that bracelet.

Rember our cover image of Orella giving Superman the old heave-ho?  Well, you'll remember that in the story his aerial ride ended against a palm tree, where Orella's gifts fell from his cape pouch.  Now, in flashback, we see that at the time Superman took a closer look at them, and discovered Orella's trickery.

So, using his heat vision, he rewired the gizmo to make it a little TOO effective.  Orella's borrowed super-strength became super-DUPER-strength, and she couldn't control it.

Now, Orella did this all in secret.  Sophroni, the older woman who is the last survivor of the original colony of Matrionettes, didn't know anything about this.  Even though offworlders, they share our sense of decency and fair play.

So, Orella has been revealed to all as a cheat and a liar.  A darned pretty one, though!  What will be Superman and Sophroni's next move?  Will there be a wedding with the space girl?

Tune in after the weekend to find out!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Let the Marriage Contest Begin!

On these two pages we see Superman get into a bit of a pickle.  He must marry the lovely offworlder Orella if she can best him in a few tests of strength.  The reason is that these beautiful gals are of an Amazon-like race of space warriors.  Regrettably, they are the weakest of their race.  They hope that introducing a little fresh blood into the gene pool, they can raise up a new generation of stronger women and be worthy of joining their race again on their home planet of Matrion.

The last of the original generation of spacefarers, Sophroni, will act as referee for the three contests of strength.  And, as depicted on the story's splash panel, Supes is immediately dragged across the "line in the sand" in the tug-o-war.

Now what?  If not for the giveaway of the story title and splash/cover pictures, we would never have expected something like this.  Man, if these are the WEAKLINGS of their race, what are the strong gals like?!?!?

Now we see more embarrassment for the Man of Steel, but also, when those items fall out of his cape pouch, there's a "Hmmmm" moment.  The wheels start to turn in the ol' Kryptonian noggin, and the more contemplative of us begin to remember that, besides his super physical powers, this guy is also a Kryptonian scientist and the offspring of two Kryptonian scientists . . .

Well, the three tests are over, and Supes is now bound to marry Orella.  So, in the first of the wedding rituals, she is to build their first home.  What's this?!?!?  She's TOO strong now?

And what's with that smug smirk on Superman's face?

We'll have to wait until next time for more information . . .
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© by Mark Alfred