Thursday, June 12, 2008

Superman vs. Star Stapphire (DC Comics Presents #6)

DC Comics Presents #6 (1979, "The Fantastic Fall of Green Lantern") promises a Superman-Green Lantern team-up, but it doesn’t quite deliver on that promise. Nope, the story it contains gives much more coverage to a slugfest between Superman and Star Sapphire. However, the deceptive billing doesn’t make the story any less entertaining. It's GOOFY -- and more than a little twisted -- but it's entertaining.

The story opens at a Metropolis Press Club ceremony (which for some reason is decorated with banners of Justice League members), where Clark Kent and Lois Lane are receiving awards.

Suddenly, everyone hears a familiar sound. Is it Superman?

Nope, it isn't Superman, and it isn't a perfect landing, either. Quite the opposite.

Hal’s crash takes out the entire podium and leaves a small crater in the stage, but no one (except Hal, of course) gets hurt -- because Clark apparently heard him coming and “tripped” to knock everyone out of the way. “I had almost a full tenth of a second to act,” Clark thinks to himself. Bully for you, Clark.

Hal sits up and looks around rather groggily. Then he removes his power ring and hands it to Clark ...

... and promptly passes out again. In fact, Hal remains unconscious for most of the story.

Lois Lane obviously hasn’t been around Green Lantern very much or she would know that being delirious is a pretty common condition of his. Still, she’s all over the poor dear, wanting to help him. In the meantime, Clark puts on the power ring:

(Prior to this, I didn’t think anyone could look bad in a Green Lantern uniform. Silly me.)

Clark gives Green Lantern’s powers a test run, but Lois is not impressed.

Clark even uses the ring to generate a fake Superman, to help protect his identity.

(NOTE: This was during a time in comic book continuity when any idiot with two brain cells to rub together could get a GL power ring to work. That certainly isn’t the case anymore!)

So, Lois thinks Superman won’t have any trouble against whoever took out Green Lantern, huh? *Snicker* ...

Superman flies off, using the ring to change into his regular uniform and feeling rather envious of Hal for having a power ring (“Protecting my secret identity would be a breeze ...!”) He then asks the ring to tell him what happened to Hal, and asks it to take him to the “scene of the battle.”

Well, that scene turns out to be in Star City, where at this very moment, Star Sapphire is hanging around in the “middle of the sky.” She’s not doing much of anything else besides attracting attention from a lot of spectators who witnessed her battle with Green Lantern.

Apparently, Sapphire blasted the bejeezus out of Hal and sent him hurtling out of Star City to his rather unceremonious landing in Metropolis. Wow. The lady certainly packs a heck of a punch -- especially when she's following her unofficial mantra of, "I'm gonna beat the living crap outta Hal until he loves me!"

Star Sapphire expects Hal to come back fighting. Instead, she gets:

Sapphire is not one bit impressed with Superman’s power -- and, besides, he isn’t as sexy as Hal.

She chains Superman to a building.

Superman uses the power ring to get himself free ...

... but then Star Sapphire steals the ring from him by summoning it right off his finger:

Yeah. To hell with Hal -- Superman has a date!

Actually, the “date” involves interviewing Lois Lane about how Green Lantern was abducted from his hospital bed right out from under her nose. (Geez, these cutthroat journalists ... I tell ya ...) Clark has the decency to remain at least a little worried about Hal.

(Unbeknownst to them, Lois and Clark are also being monitored by Qwardians -- but that’s another story.)

Meanwhile, Star Sapphire has packed a still-unconscious Hal into a space ship and taken off with him to go find the Zamarons. (So, why does Star Sapphire need a space ship? Oh, well.) All the while, she’s monologuing (nay, GUSHING) to Hal:

In all the time since the Zamarons made my weak human self into their queen, I’ve never wavered from desiring you! I’ve given you a DOZEN chances -- even though you always FOUGHT me! Why, even when you took away my gem and Carol (Ferris)’s foolish personality dominated, I STILL loved you! While she rejected your love, I waited impatiently -- and now SLEEP, my darling -- and you shall be MINE!

(Whoa ...!)

Suddenly, something starts punching the heck out of Sapphire’s ship. It’s SUPERMAN. He's found the ship by using the equipment in the Justice League satellite -- having wrapped up his interview with Lois Lane. He's still gotta take care of things in time for his next broadcast, though.

Star Sapphire is ticked.

Meanwhile, poor ol' Hal finally wakes up:

Superman lands the ship on a nearby planet and manages to get Green Lantern's ring away from Star Sapphire. He quickly learns, though, that Sapphire is not quite down for the count:

Hal comes wandering out of the space ship, and -- D'oh! Superman's in a jam! Time to step in!

Hal and Sapphire blast the heck out of each other for a couple of panels. Then Hal wills up a water faucet to revive Superman, just as Sapphire manages to put Hal to sleep again.

As Hal passes out, Superman first uses his heat vision to incinerate Sapphire’s tiara, and then uses his “super-breath” to pull the Star Sapphire gem away from her. (Why didn't he do that in the first place? Oh, well ...)

Superman is DONE dealing with this weird fiasco. He wakes up Hal so Hal can take Carol home.

Geez, there's hard up, and then there's hard up -- and Hal must be REALLY hard up if a life of domestic violence is actually starting to look pretty good to him. Superman remains polite through Hal's explanation, but he shows signs of wanting Hal and his sick-and-twisted love life to just go away.

Just as Hal takes off, though (“Thanks for the save!”), a Qwardian pops up and blasts Superman: “NEXT ISSUE: Superman and the Red Tornado trapped in Qward--!”

Superman and Red Tornado in Qward? Maybe ya shoulda made Hal stick around a while longer after all, Supes!

Written by Paul Levitz, drawn by Curt Swan.


Anonymous said...

How did the ring make water? Or a full color superman... I guess we can just chalk it up to the silver age. Awesome story, though.

SallyP said...

This is awesome! In a totally ludicrous way of course, but still awesome.

But there is something I don't understand! Usually Hal lands on his HEAD! Here, he lands on his beautiful beautiful behind...and THAT is what makes him pass out? I guess Hal is just built differently from the rest of us.

I did enjoy the fact that Superman basically just dumped Hal and his little problems so that he could go and rub Lois's face in it for a while. "More confused than usual..." is pretty snotty when it comes right down to it.

Oh, and Superman actually did look pretty horrible in a Green Lantern outfit, which is odd.

I must FIND this!

Sea_of_Green said...

Hiya, Person! Yeah, power rings can generate objects in colors other than Green, and during the Silver Age, they could do ALL SORTs of things that they don't seem to be able to do anymore -- like generate water and even turn people into other things. (Hal's ring once turned Tom Kalmaku into a bird, and even once turned Hal into a robot -- without Hal knowing about it!)

Sally -- I think Superman was just angry that Lois found an excuse to run her fingers through Hal's beautiful hair. ;-) He does have a point, though -- Lois has a long history of being REMARKABLY clueless. I mean, here, she didn't seem to notice that Green Lantern knew Clark's name. How did Green Lantern know who the heck Clark is?

(Not only that, it IS rather remarkable that Hal crash-landed right where Superman happened to be. So, his ring couldn't stop him from falling, but it could steer him toward Superman?)

Bob said...

That story had the dubious distinction of being possibly the only superhero team-up ever written in which the two heroes were never both conscious at the same time until the very end.