New Reviews of Old Comics
Was there a rule back in the 80s that stories in Action Comics had to be lame? Maybe it was a marketing thing, maybe it was a just-fire-off-a-bunch-of-stories thing, but this is the second issue of Action Comics that I’ve been disappointed in (the other was #557). Disappointed is a strong word. It implies I had higher expectations, which isn’t entirely true. Let’s face it, no one reads Action Comics thinking it’s going to be Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns, however one would hope it would be at least as interesting as the average Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. Not exactly setting the bar real high there, but many SPJO stories are at least enjoyably cheesy.
The cover has Superman in the clutches of a giant demonic looking hand which a blond chick appears to be controlling. Really looks like a life or death struggle for our hero (maybe the giant hand has Kryptonite under his overgrown nails). Looks promising; however the words “Watch out, Superman! It’s the Yellow Peri! Uh-oh! Too Late!” Just a couple more exclamation points and they might have made this issue look REALLY exciting. Someday I’m going to write an entire review with every sentence ending with an exclamation point.
Our story opens when a dorky looking dude with a molester mustache sees a meteorite crash through his new roof. Inside his hot blond wife is holding a book, which she announces gives her the power to be Yellow Peri. Who? Clark Kent over hears a news report about the meteorite crash and remembers0 the woman as Yellow Peri from Superboy #s 34 & 35. Dorky-Husband-With-Molester-Mustache hatches a scheme to use Yellow Peri’s spells to make them, literally, a basket of cash. Through\out his daily activities Clark/Superman keeps an eye on them. Although they’re not doing anything illegal, he thinks they’re up to something. Superman is like an all powerful Big Brother spying on people with criminal intent. Someone call the Thought Police! Basically Yellow Peri and Dorky-Husband-With-Molester-Mustache follow dark clouds that bring dirty rain to unsuspecting towns. Yellow Peri cleans up the towns that are so grateful they hand over fistfuls of cash. Superman collects the dirty rain before it falls on one town with his stretchable cape (did you know he had that? I didn’t) and gives a speech to Dorky-Husband-With-Molester-Mustache. Eventually Dorky-Husband-With-Molester-Mustache tricks Superman into grabbing him in front of Yellow Peri who defends him with the giant hand from the cover. This lasts about six panels before Superman breaks it up and gives another speech. He gives Peri her spell book back and flies away. Dorky-Husband-With-Molester-Mustache begins making more plans for Yellow Peri. Apparently writer Bob Rozakis and artist Kurt Schaffenberger have plans for a follow up to “The Once and Future Peri(l).” I won’t have high expectations for it, but I’m sure it will be better than…
“A Superman of a Different Color” written by Paul Kupperberg with art by Alex Saviuk and Dennis Jensen rounds out this issue with the action filled story of Clark Kent getting a haircut. Amazingly enough even Superman’s hair is invulnerable so how are mere scissors cutting his hair?!?!? Insomniacs everywhere are thankful the man of steel recounts the tale for us as he gets a bit off the top. While flying through the cosmos he wound up on an Alice-In-Wonderland type psychedelic world complete with an oddly orange colored rabbit. There is also an orange looking gorilla type creature that instantly hates Superman (perhaps he read the lead story in Action Comics #557). A three page fight scene ensues until Superman figures out the creature hates his black hair due to the planet’s different color spectrum, so the last son of Krypton rubs a native flower on his head that gives him orange hair similar to the rabbit, the gorilla and Jimmy Olsen so the gorilla no longer hates him. With no one left to fight Superman flies home. The alien flower made his hair vulnerable long enough to get a haircut. Predictably the flower power wears off before the trim is finished and the barber breaks his scissors. Of course Clark leaves without tipping.
On the upside, issue #560 has Ambush Bug!! I think I have that one down in the basement. I used to love Ambush Bug. Maybe Action Comics can be redeemed at least for one issue.
Best Ad: Action Comics was so bad in the mid 80’s they couldn’t even get good ads into this issue. The best of the worst is a Fig Newton ad showcasing a kid with a disproportioned cranium holding a comic book. Send in proof of purchase from three fig or apple Newton packages before 12/31/84 and they’ll send you a special Batman comic collection the first stories of Batman, Robin and The Joker; never before published in one comic. It even features the line “So ask your mom to buy…FIG NEWTONS cookies and APPLE NEWTONS cookies…” what if the kid’s mom is a crack head so the dad has to do the shopping? Seems a little presumptuous. Anyone know why Young America, MN was like the rebate capital of the world in the 80s? I’m actually a big fan of fig bar cookies, but don’t see much difference between Fig Newtons and the kind I buy at the dollar store that have a picture of an Amish man on them.