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Believe me, NO ONE comes out of World's Finest #243 looking particularly good (Except Robin perhaps), but Superman displays a whole new level of Superdickery


Forgive the scans being a little poor, these scans are from my rather tattered second hand copy of a comic from 1977. About six pages from an 18 page story.

We start with an impressive scene... (slightly marred by the narrator referring to such impressive monuments as "giant things")



Bruce Wayne has financed this project to ensure these mysterious giant statues are preserved. College student (remember when he went to college, DC apparently sure don't) Dick Grayson has also been assisting noted archaeologist Professor Bazraki whose project this was, in investigating their unknown origins, and the intriguing hieroglyphs which adorn them, and which have no link to any known language. (Can you guess where they might originate then?)

Dick notes that it cost a fortune to relocate them up the sheer cliffs, and that it would have been much easier had Superman just lifted them, and he's STILL not sure why Superman didn't help. Since he clearly doesn't remember standing right there (in the same safari suit he's wearing in the desert) when Superman told them why, Bruce reminds him. (The story is FULL of odd little moments like the following)

This is the bit which stunned the hell out of me.... Superman said no, and flew with Dick and Bruce to a certain dead-letter office, to explain why....





Yeah, I can imagine why Dick might be a little snippy, I was speechless myself. So preserving unique cultural artefacts is suddenly beneath Superman's interest? He could have flown there, lifted the ruddy things and been back in the time it took to present this Philistine attitude in so detailed a manner. (Oh, and apparently the Philistines weren't nearly as bad as their named being used like that suggests)

Sadly, the casual "blown up" reference thing DID remind me of the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan

That night, whilst the locals hired to help with the project celebrate the successful end of it, Dick and Bruce retire to their tent. Whilst Bruce catches some sleep, Dick keeps trying to break the secret language of the hieroglyphs, when he's disturbed by some weird noises from outside. Waking Bruce, they switch to Batman and Robin and race out to find two mysterious cloaked figures moving through the camp heading towards the heavy machinery of the projects.

Bruce immediately assumes they are Bedouins looking for something to steal. However, they do seem to be a little more than that as one fires an energy beam at Batman which slams him to the ground, and Robin is hit with one of the most kinetic looking punches the 1970's DC titles ever saw!



Recovering they discover that their attackers have not only vanished, but something very odd has happened.



Slightly paranoid there Dick, don't you think?

On the contrary as it turns out, now that there's something INTERESTING going on (Rather than just, y'know, rare cultural artefacts under threat of destruction) Superman is happy to help move them back up.

That night the World's Finest trio stake out the Colossi, and the Dynamic Duo watch astonished as a beam of energy hits the Colossi and they levitate up from where Superman left them to their old location (again).



Superman is tracking the beam back to where two cloaked figures are operating a giant ray gun (next to a spaceship and when he tries to tackle them finds himself outclassed.



Not only are they as strong as he is (pretty much) but they possess the powers of intangibility (making them impossible to hit) and bio feedback, which means they can generate a field of energy which redirects Superman's strength right back to him, meaning he's paralysing himself. They then fire a force-beam which blasts him near into space.

They boast that Superman should feel no shame at having succumbed to the power of "Two of the Twelve Immortals of Cy-Tor" which Superman recognises as the name for a barren asteroid out past Pluto's orbit. They are insulted by this, as it's NOT barren if THEY live there.

Batman and Robin have also followed the beam back to it's source, but Robin, being the impetuous soul he hasn't been in years, decides to storm the saucer himself...




I can see the tactical thinking there Bruce, but it does make you seem like something of a wussie.

Now he's been properly zapped, the aliens collect Robin as ar souvenir of their visit to planet Earth (And I commend their taste) and fly off with him as their captive. Batman immediately angsts along thelines of "Oh woe is me, I should have put up a better fight, what have I done to my little buddy".

Still under the effects of the force beam, Superman heads to Cy-Tor where he finds the hidden base the Immortals live on. They explain that they used to live on Earth, but had to move away millions of years ago, after the atmosphere became toxic to them. They like Cy-Tor because the atmosphere suits them, and the Colossi on Earth are needed to keep Cy-Tor stable. A flaw in it's gravitational field means that if the Colossi are not left EXACTLY where they are (even underwater) then the planetoid will blow up.

They don't want to hurt anyone (sort of), but to ensure no further interference from Superman they have set a plan in motion.



Aw sweet, they not only took Robin as a souvenir, they turned him into an ornament! (All he needs is some glitter in there to be a snowglobe! Hmmm... there might be a commission to be had out of that idea!)

Back on Earth, Bruce is feeling pretty useless, Robin was last seen being carry-on luggage on a hostile spaceship and Superman has vanished. And then...



Bit of a guilt trip there... but a sort of effective distracting technique.

Probably pretty much bored out of his mind, and there not being any sudoku in his utility belt, Robin tries to find something to help pas the time and since he's been spending so long studying the hieroglyphs on the Colossi, why not make use of the Rosetta Stone the Immortals have unwittingly just given him,



Dick is so excited he stands up to get Superman's attention, but in doing so unhooks his helmet's air hose. He's surprised to find that he's not choking on the alien atmosphere he's been told the bubble has been filled with. He realises that if the atmosphere the Immortals need is oxygen / nitrogen, just like Earths is now, then a lot of things can be sorted out



Since, even knowing what he knows, he can't leave Robin to go BOOM on some passing space debris, and since apparently he's not equipped with a radio or JLA signalling device, Superman, who remember is beyond the orbit of PLUTO, uses his heat vision to write a message one of the Colossi explaining things, but a meteor shower heading toward Robin's prison bubble means that Superman can't complete the message and he has to hope Batman is smart enough to work out the rest.

Of course, he's BATMAN, and he does, he attacks the Immortals who came to warn him about messing with their plans but they prove able to deflect his batarangs, and he's no match for them physically, which means he needs to get sneaky.



So ends happily, with the Colossi restored to their promontory ridge ahead of the flooding. Professor Barzacki says that it's like a miracle...



For what it's worth, I don't think the Immortals ever DID appear again. On the plus side, I don't think Superman was seen leaving valuable antiquities to miserable fates again.

Date: 2012-04-01 11:59 pm (UTC)
chocochuy: Kobato Hanato on a Sunny Day (Queen of Cuteness)
From: [personal profile] chocochuy
My mind vaporized the moment Robin started "flashing" Superman in code. That goes to show how much I missed Scans_Daily.

Date: 2012-04-02 04:53 pm (UTC)
leorising: (batvibe)
From: [personal profile] leorising
Yep, I went there too. Something about, "Dick can flash me any time, code or not!" >:D

Date: 2012-04-02 12:59 am (UTC)
freezer: (That's Good Batshit)
From: [personal profile] freezer
These aliens can criss-cross the solar system at will, move megaton objects around with ease, counter Superman at every turn... yet don't have air quality meters.

Guess the aliens from Signs arent' alone in the universe.

Date: 2012-04-02 01:23 am (UTC)
michael_ellis_day: (Default)
From: [personal profile] michael_ellis_day
You hid one vital clue in the tags rather than leading off the post with this vital information: Bob Haney. This would have allowed readers to adjust their expectations for logic and consistency of characterization accordingly.

(Don't get me wrong, I've loved a lot of Haney's work and he was a great human being...but there were times when it seems he just didn't care for comics. Eh, his work is still more fun than a lot of other comics writers who didn't like comics.)

Date: 2012-04-04 01:50 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
That is an important bit of information, since my immediate reaction to the above was that someone had read (in National Geographic, maybe) about some of the potential and unforeseen archeological and environmental impacts of the Aswan Dam and tried to make a "relevant" comic out of it. Haney's Wikipedia article says, "by the late 1970s and early 80s, Haney struggled to produce material that DC's editors considered timely or contemporary." IIRC, wasn't he the writer who at one point had the Titans all put on street clothing and basically be social workers?

Date: 2012-04-02 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] silicondream
"If I helped one tenth of them even I'd have to work seventy-two hours a day! And there's no way time travel, an army of robot duplicates, various elements that can give you temporary superpowers, a million Kryptonian dogs/monkeys/cousins/shrunken people, and that nice Daxamite fella I almost poisoned to death and then imprisoned in the Phantom Zone could help me with any of that!"

PC Superman does love his theodicies.

Date: 2012-04-02 02:55 am (UTC)
eaglet_auditore: A happy Jaime is a good Jaime (Default)
From: [personal profile] eaglet_auditore
This was entertaining. Also made me ''lolwut?''
Supes, I'm very disappointed in you. As an alien that's not trying to annihilate your host planet, you should know of the importance of -culture-.

Date: 2012-04-02 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
Leaving aside that it isn't true that he only gets involved in the major planetary crises, he does have a point here. The guy being shot in a mugging at the same time probably wouldn't find it much consolation that Superman wasn't around because he was preserving culture. That's not something we want to look too closely at, though. The people on the schoolbus that drove off a cliff while he was saving the person being mugged probably wouldn't find it much of a consolation that while they all died, the guy in the mugging didn't, and the alien race that was exterminated for some reason probably wouldn't be consoled by the knowledge that while every trace of their species is destroyed, a bus full of people on another planet was saved. And it kind of kills the romance to think that every time he kisses Lois, someone dies.

Maybe that's an argument for preserving culture. He can't do it all, so he might as well just take things as they come.

Date: 2012-04-03 01:18 am (UTC)
eaglet_auditore: A happy Jaime is a good Jaime (Default)
From: [personal profile] eaglet_auditore
I agree with that. It's just that it's not the ''I can't help everyone just because they ask'' message that's the problem (that's actually a pretty good point to bring up in that issue especially), it's the ''why should I even care? Why should -you- even care?'' message I have a problem with.

He's Superman. I'm still new to DC, but I'm convinced he's one of those heroes that always do the right thing. Between preserving Machu Picchu and saving a little girl from been ran over by a bus, he'll save the little girl and we'll all agree it was the right thing to do (I'll still be crying for Machu Picchu).
It's the way it was written that made me go ''lolwut''.

Date: 2012-04-02 05:33 am (UTC)
junipepper: (jumplines)
From: [personal profile] junipepper
And I commend their taste

:-)

Date: 2012-04-02 01:14 pm (UTC)
jkcarrier: me, at my old office (Default)
From: [personal profile] jkcarrier
While it's framed hyperbolically, Superman does have a point. It's true that he can't help everyone, and Bruce is unfairly imposing on their friendship by asking to be placed at the head of the line. And as we see, conventional methods were perfectly adequate to move the statues, so really Bruce was just being cheap.

But never mind...how about that sweet Curt Swan art? Love the extreme foreshortening in that panel of Batman chucking the rock.

Date: 2012-04-02 03:43 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
Oh, Bronze Age, I love you! :)

I've always loved the stories in which the World's Finest ALSO includes Robin! ;)

Date: 2012-04-03 09:45 am (UTC)
mistervader: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mistervader
But of course, he is soooo fine. How can he not be?

Date: 2012-04-03 05:33 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
He is the finest of the fine! :)

Date: 2012-04-04 07:33 am (UTC)
eyz: (Bruce Wayne)
From: [personal profile] eyz
Good ol' classic art!

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