Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 5): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Helen of Troy turned out to be a bad choice, especially when Supergirl stole all the attention from her. When Supergirl and Superman returned to the Fortress of Solitude, however, the Maid of Might put her sites on a new possible mate for Man of Steel: Saturn Girl! How's that going to work out? Read and find out in Part 5 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Supergirl cleans up the Fortress of Solitude. (Okay, I was sort of expecting a plan to be put in motion. You know, she's got to pursuade Supes into heading into the future. I don't get the connection between cleaning and the whole storyline.) Superman is pleased. "Some day, when you're married, it'll be your wife who will do your housecleaning!" says Supergirl. And there we have it. I totally missed it because I don't live in the early 60s. "Wife" is no longer solely defined by housecleaning and cooking meals (the two things we've seen in this story that are traits of a "good wife"). Yeah, I could see Helen of Troy cleaning the oven. And Saturn Girl is certainly suited to cleaning the grout in the shower with a toothbrush.

Take a deep breath, Joanna. It's a snapshot of another era. In the time period this comic was written the thought of a woman running for President would've been as fictional as the time log. Okay, I'm better now.

Superman scoffs at the idea of getting married because protecting earth against "various perils" comes first. Undaunted, Supergirl smiles while thinking, "That's what you think! Little do you know what's cooking in this eager little brain of mine!" (argh! A pet peeve. The use of the word "little". Little is often used by males to describe female accomplishments. "Nice little song you wrote there." "That's a good little picture you drew." So the male comic book writer has Supergirl self-describing her super-brain – capable of just as many mental gymnastics as Superman's super-brain -- as little. Okay, I'll quit. I promise.)

Still obsessed by how clean the fortress is (did he never pick up a broom?), Superman says, "What a fine cleaning job! Is there some way I can show my appreciation?" And now the plan has hatched! I should never have doubted Supergirl's super-brain. Immediately, she asks him to follow her into the future to attend a legion party. Superman's game and both jump into the rainbow time stream. But what's this? They aren't exiting in the usual spot. Supergirl is flying past the point where the superheroes were young.

They land 10 years past the usual exit so the teens are now adults. (Of course, Superman doesn't seem to think about the fact that he, too, is an adult.) Lightning Lad is Lightning Man (but Supergirl is still Supergirl because she hasn't aged). Always a keen observer, Supes notices that there's a fake Santa in a rocketship and concludes that it's Christmas.

Inside the clubhouse, there's a space-age fake Christmas tree and what's this? Phantom Girl has become Phantom Lady and she's a teapot! (I always keep my promises, F.S.)

Cosmic Man and Phantom Lady give Superman and Supergirl photos of their Kryptonian parents as gifts (I'm not sure how they knew they were coming, but we'll just assume Supergirl set it up somehow). They photographed them off the time scope "to give you if you came to the party." Oh, so it wasn't a sure thing. I have a feeling we're supposed to accept this without questioning, so I'll move on.

Superman and Supergirl slip out the back because they didn't bring presents. Wonder what they'll get? It has to be pretty super because, well, that's obvious. And where's Saturn Woman? They came all this way to see her and so far they've just run into a couple of guys and a teapot. Oooh, the anticipation is too much!

Well, not too much not to make you wait until Friday. Yeah, I got started really late on this entry so I'm cutting it a bit short. Still, I can promise you this: there's kissing ahead! What? You were hoping for a superhero battle, a villain, or some sort of action? Well, those warriors did poke at Superman a couple pages back. That doesn't count? Too bad. This is a primo silver age Supergirl story and that means there's kissing ahead! Besides, what else did you expect from this Valentine's edition of Comic Books Revisited? What better story than WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!


F.S. said...

I was so transfixed by that layercake Christmas tree that I missed the teapot. Thanks for the call-out. (I never doubted your word.)

Jim Perreault said...

Love that panel where Supergirl is hatching her plot . . .

I can just imagine Saturn Girl ( that is, Saturn Woman) "What, you expect me to clean! That went out centuries ago!"

This is the best installment yet.


Joanna Sandsmark said...

The Christmas tree is hysterical. They always have to make everything futuristic for the legion (it being 1000 years into the future and all) so of course they had to have an orbiting planet layer cake tree. And a teapot.

And Jim, that whole cleaning thing was such a look in the wayback machine. There isn't a thought that things might eventually change (1000 years later women are still glorified maids? uh huh). And Superman's face in that panel is too funny. It's the pursed lips and half-a-teapot pose along with the shiny trophy behind him, to show it was freshly cleaned by Supergirl.

More on Monday, I promise!