Friday, February 22, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 8, Finale): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Superman has the hots for Supergirl but she's his cousin so he doesn't have the hots for her at all. Instead, Supergirl checks on the computer for a double and finds Luma Lynai on the planet Staryl. Luma and Kal-El fall instantly in love and he asks her to return to Earth with him.

Oh no! This is terrible! As soon as Luma Lynai gets to the earth's solar system she becomes weak and unpowered! (Today's No-Prize goes to Jim for nailing the ending to this final bit of match-making.) Naturally, Supergirl is still spying on her cousin. It's beginning to feel like the Maid of Might is a stalker. And it's still creeping me out a bit that Superman's dream woman is his cousin. I always thought they had a very brother/sister vibe about them. Then again, Lois Lane is the only woman for him in my book. (You couldn't tell I was a Lois fan? Are you even reading this blog?)

Superman speeds Luma back to her home planet with the blue and/or orange sun, depending on which panel you're reading. Actually, it appears they've settled on orange now. Luma takes her time telling Superman she's feeling better (all the way home, actually. Guess she didn't recover as soon as they left the earth's yellow sun behind. Or maybe she just feels that being carried by a big, strong superhunk was kinda ginchy).

She doesn't quite understand what happened, so once again we're treated to Superman talking about growing up on Krypton and then coming to Earth and getting powers under the yellow sun. (Yeah, I know -- my whole beef about the weird placement of that backstory in another scene was silly but you have to admit it was a clumsy way of getting the info out. Right in the middle of their love discussion Superman and Supergirl tell each other about where they both grew up and from whence comes their powers? It was weird, I tells ya! Okay, I'm over it. Let's move on.)

When he finishes telling her his backstory, he offers to move to Luma's planet, but she won't have it. Earth needs its Superman. Her thought balloon, however, is a classic romance comic "I'll always love you..." said with the tearful turned face. This was done at a time when romance comics were selling well so a little borrowing from that genre couldn't hurt.

I'm wondering if Superman's offer was sincere. He's spent most of his life dedicated to truth, justice and the American Way. He's earth's greatest hero. He's more tied to that planet than he ever was to Krypton. And yet he's willing to leave it forever for a woman he met five panels ago? He didn't even take a whole story, let alone a whole comic ("...in a booklength adventure!") to fall in love. It rings a wee bit hollow to me. Especially since she says, "No! Earth needs you! Go – forget me!" and the next panel he's back home. Didn't take much to convince him. No argument, no fuss, no goodbye.

Then again, how serious was she? He made the offer. She could've said yes. But instead, she pushes him back into the arms of another, er, planet.

Perhaps I'm wrong. The next panel has him back on Earth with Supergirl in his arms. Maybe it's he's feeling so blue that the hand that's touching him turns blue itself. (oooh, spooky! Coloring error or subliminal message? It's a Superman story from 1962 – coloring error.)

Resigned to his bachelorhood, Superman bids Kara adieu. "Maybe fate had a purpose in foiling your three attempts to get me married off!" Supergirl ponders her own summing up of the experience, thinking that perhaps Lois Lane (yes!) or Lana Lang (no!) could be fate's plan for him.

Back home in her Linda Danvers identity, she tells her adopted parents the entire story. Linda swears she's learned her lesson and will never play cupid again. But what's this? While doing her homework, she comes across a picture of Cleopatra. Immediately, her mind starts whirring, wondering if she would make a perfect mate for Superman.

SLAM! She shuts her book and with a somewhat evil expression (not sure why she looks evil, but that arched eyebrow and pursed lips kinda give me the willies) catches herself. She made a promise not to interfere and by gosh by gum by golly, that's what she's gonna do! No more cupid! From now on her only other persona will be as Supergirl!

And that's the end of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID! I hope you enjoyed it. If so, let me know in the comments!

As has become my custom, I won't be posting next week so that I can find the next comic to give the business to. There's a lot of prep needed – searching for the right story, making scans, etc. so I'll need the time. Come back March 3rd for the next comic book revisit! And while you're waiting, tell all your friends that this blog is the best place on the web to revisit the gems of the golden age, atom age, silver age, and bronze age. Share the love!

9 comments:

F.S. said...

Wow. Just, wow. Just when you think it can't get weirder, it does. And then it stops, literally with a slam. I loved it. It made my head hurt, but I loved it.

At the risk of sounding like an ageist, sexist male, this storyline really seems tailored toward the preadolescent girl who would be more interested in Superman's romantic life than in whose ass he kicked, and how hard. (That would be the stereotypical preadolescent male concern.) Were the DC folks trying to expand their demographic (as, unfortunately, we sometimes say in the marketing business)?

P.S. I knew that Luma Lynai wouldn't work out, because her flying posture (your previous entry) looked like a swandive and all of the buildings on her otherwise lifeless planet looked like saltshakers.

Joanna Sandsmark said...

Yes, Supergirl stories were written for little girls and it's no surprise that she was one of my favorite characters when I was young. I would have adored this story had I owned it then. And in those days, little girls like me were already a comic-buying demographic.

It's modern comics that are marketed almost exclusively to males. Although there are occasional attempts to get females back, it's difficult because sexism and exploitation of the female form is rampant in comics. Giant, gravity-defying breasts and vapid facial expressions can be off-putting. Not that all comics do that, of course. When I came back to comics I read tons of modern titles and eventually I just couldn't take it anymore. However, I never lost my love for the oldies.

Enough editorializing. I'm primarily speaking from my own experience and others may not agree.

F.S. said...

Well, there you go, teaching me stuff again. Thanks for the lesson -- and don't apologize for editorializing!

Coincidentally (sorta), there's an article in today's San Francisco Chronicle about gay comics (strips, books, graphic novels).

If the link doesn't work, the URL is http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/22/DD0RV4KQH.DTL

John Wright said...

Does Luma Lynai ever appear in any later comic? That is the kind of trivia these modern comics love to pull out of the old storage vault. Maybe Frank Miller or Alan Moore could do a Luma Lynai limited series starring her as a psychopathic leather-clad she-butcher atop a continent sized heap of corpses, slain due to her grief at losing Supes.

On second thought, maybe not...

Joanna Sandsmark said...

Hi, John,

I don't know if Luma ever makes another appearance. She would be a fun one to resurrect, I have to admit. There are so many wacky characters from the silver age that could be brought to life again. Ah, the old days.

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