Monday, January 14, 2008

Action Comics #138 (Part 5 - Finale): SUPERMAN SCOOP-PARADE

When last we read: Superman turned a lump of coal into a diamond and this gave Herb his next scoop and saved Joe's coal mine. Now on to Part 5 of SUPERMAN'S SCOOP-PARADE!

Back at the Daily Planet, Lois comes racing in with a scoop she's certain will top all of Herb's. Police just captured the South River Bank Bandits! (Instantly, we know this scoop is meaningless. Not only didn't Superman have anything to do with it, but not once have these bandits been mentioned in the story. Without a build-up, they're meaningless. Poor Lois. Does she not read the comic? Shouldn't she realize that red herring bandits have no relative worth when a lump of coal has just disappeared? C'mon, Lois! An entire lump of coal! And in its place is a diamond that can be seen from great distances! Your bandits are nothing compared to that!)

Perry tells Lois her story is "tame" compared to the "lightning-diamond" scoop. It "tops it by a mile." Immediately, the other nameless reporters begin jeering, teasing Lois about becoming "Miss Lois Lovelorn".

Finally, we get a glimmer of savvy out of Lois as she voices her suspicions about Herbert's string of scoops. In her words, he's "too terrific." Perry tells her that every story has been affirmed but Lois is undaunted. She heads to the office of a "noted scientist" and asks him "What are the chances of a landslide, a meteor and lightning happening near the same person in three successive days?" The scientist replies, "The law of averages claims that it's almost impossible for all those phenomena to happen to one individual." Oh ho! Now she's got some ammo. As she walks down a Metropolis street wearing a large red hat (Ah, the days when everyone wore hats. It's all so 1940s), Lois concludes that there is something or someone behind Herb's scoops. "Hmmm... I've an idea now who's making those scoop-stories and I'm going to follow it up!" You go, Lois! Catch that scooper right now! (Gee, I wonder who she suspects? If only there were someone she knew who was capable of causing those things. One would almost have to be some sort of enhanced being to do them. Hmmm...)

Fast forward to Herbert's seventh and final day of his scooperama. Herb walks down by the ocean and says, "Maybe I can find a last scoop-story down along the coast!" Flying discretely behind Herb, Superman notices that a cape (not his red, flashy cape, the kind you find along the coast) is dangerous because ships have to go around it. While Herb's back is turned, Superman dredges out a canal through the cape, even as he tries to think up some way to get Herbert the Ace Reporter to notice a miraculously new passage through the land mass he was just staring at moments before. To Herb's credit, he finally sees the scoop for what it is. With his hat hovering above his head, he says, "The sea must have cut a canal across the cape – it's be safer for boats now! That's my final scoop!" Weird how the sea just happened to do that in the space of a few minutes, isn't it? Like any good reporter, Herbert doesn't question the story, he simply phones it in.

Superman is relieved that his scoop-parade is finally at an end. But wait! What's this? Lois Lane sneaks up behind Superman – caught in the act! Lois gloats as she tells Superman she's going to expose the Man of Steel's intervention. This is the "scoop of the year!" Eat that, Superman! "The scoop-story of how Superman arranged all those stories for [Herbert]!" Superman begs her not to print it, as it will ruin Herbert's career, but Lois takes off in her roadster leaving a chagrinned Superman behind. All that hard work for naught, eh Mr. Man? (Personally, I don't think Herbert deserves anything except a ticket home and a buh-bye, but then, I'm heartless that way. The lad simply hasn't got an iota of reporter's instincts in his body. He should take up some other profession and immediately, so as not to hurt the rep of a true reporter like Lois Lane!)

Superman heads back to the Planet as Clark Kent, resigned to what's about to happen. Back at the office, Perry White happily hires Herbert. The Journalism major is humble (you can tell cuz he's holding his hat in his hands in a most humble fashion) and says, "Gee, thanks, Mr. White! I know I only got those scoops by luck, for I'm just a beginner." We see a shot of Lois reacting to his humility as he continues, saying, "But I'll work hard – I want to be a real reporter like Clark Kent and Lois Lane!"

Suddenly, Lois realizes that Herbert had no idea that Superman was behind his string of scoops. It's not Herb's fault at all. If she submits her story, Herb won't get the job and Superman will look foolish. But if she doesn't, she'll have to edit the Lonely Hearts column. Oh, what to do? What to do?

Perry asks Lois for her scoop and she nobly takes the altruistic choice. "...I'm afraid I can't top Herbert's story!" The other reporters gloat, rubbing it in that Lois will be Miss Lonely Hearts. One of them even puts a little crown on Lois's head, just in case she wasn't humiliated enough. Silently, Clark recognizes what she has done. She's "a peach" and he wishes he had a way to tell her what he thinks of her self-sacrifice.

Days later, Clark stands before Lois's desk, now piled with letters. He notes that she doesn't look "so blue about it all now." With a dreamy smile, Lois hands him a a piece of paper. "Read this letter and you'll see why!"

On the note is written, "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts, Can you tell me of any girl half so wonderful as Lois Lane?" It's signed, "Superman".

Awwww. A very sweet ending to a rather crazy story. I hope you had fun learning about Superman's Scoop-Parade because I had a lot of fun telling you about it. Come back next time for a brand new story from days gone by. Which story? I haven't a clue. You'll have to wait to find out.

Don't forget to let me know what you thought of this story!


Jim Perreault said...

Part of me wishes that Lois had exposed Superman; goodness knows he deserved it. I guess that would be punishing Herb, who was just an innocent.

But it was nice to see Lois do some real reporting, and without Superman's help. I love the panel where she gets the drop on Superman.

Overall, a great ending to a weak story.



Joanna Sandsmark said...

This story was a little frustrating because Herb was such an idiot. It would be one thing to help a guy who deserved the job, but Herb, innocent as he was, had to be the worst reporter ever born. Meanwhile, Lois has earned her place (Superman wasn't always around). She didn't need his help getting scoops, just staying out of danger. To me, that's a big difference.

I do agree that the ending is stronger than the story and there were some really nice panels in it (wish I could post them all).