Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Classics - Action Comics #252

   This issue of Action Comics (#252) is famous because it's the first appearance of Supergirl, a brilliant addition to Superman's mythology - but that's not what I'm talking about in this column.

   Instead, I want to focus on the solo Superman story in the issue, which features the first appearance of his classic foe, Metallo.

   I'm pretty sure I first read the story in a mid-'60s reprint (a Superman Annual, perhaps), but it really impressed me.

   The original story from 1959 follows a criminal mastermind who has a terrible car crash - but he's discovered by a brilliant scientist who realizes the only way to save the man is to give him a robot body - one that uses uranium as a power source for his mechanical "heart."

   When he discovers that the perfect fuel for his heart is kryptonite, he becomes a formidable foe - and nearly puts an end to Superman.

   What's funny about reading the story now is that the villain - John Corben - is supposed to be a double for Superman, but he really looks like Tony Stark, and finds himself trapped in an armored form, just like the original Iron Man.

   Coincidence? Certainly.

   Still, it's a great story and surprisingly grim for the time, given the deadly conclusion to the adventure (yet somehow Metallo returned eventually - I have no idea how).

   Oh, the Supergirl story is great, too.

Grade: A-


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