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Author Topic: Saddest Superman  (Read 33169 times)
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DoctorZero
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2005, 01:34:06 AM »

I would say the saddest was the (second) Virus X story, with "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" ranking behind it.
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Gary
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2005, 03:59:06 PM »

This story isn't well-known, but except for the ending it's one of the saddest Superman stories that I can remember.



In this three-parter, Superman has to help with an emergency in the future, but he's warned that breaking the time barrier under his own power in the next twenty-four hours will cause some sort of disaster. So he is forced to use a surplus LSH time bubble. (No explanation's given for why he can't just wait the twenty-four hours and then go -- the future, by definition, can always wait -- but oh well.) Unfortunately, the time bubble is defective, and causes Superman to show up in the future as an old man. Then things go from bad to worse as the Time Trapper puts a curse on Supey to prevent him from going back to his own time, and some well-meaning future scientists give him a treatment that makes him immune to all of his usual vulnerabilities.

So, the result is, you have a Superman who's physically old and feebled, who can't get back to his own time and isn't really needed anymore in the far-future era in which he's stuck, but is uncapable of ending it all. Though given the way the story ended, the last is certainly a good thing.
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TELLE
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2005, 11:00:33 PM »

My own vote is for Action 300, "Superman Under the Red Sun," a story full of an enormous amount of melancholy and sadness wherein the hero is trapped in the far future with only android duplicates of his friends for company.



http://superman.nu/tales2/redsun/
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Maximara
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2005, 12:54:38 AM »

My vote is for "May the Best World Win" (Action #574) which Rad Zonon of the planet Ostok (withint Krypton's solar system) challanges Superman to a contest. The contest ends with Zonon winning that taking the Krytonian flag home but Jimmy reveals that a burst of energy interfered with the tabulator of the last contest. Superman reveals that Ostok was devistated by radiation from Krypton's explosion leaving Zonon the only one alive. Zonon used high tech treatments to makes himself younger but which would eventually kill him. The energy Jimmy detected was the terminal stage of Zonon's treatments. Superman comments Zonon has reached home with his trophy (we the reader see that Zonon is dead)

When a scientist points out Superman was the actualy winner Superman replies with a tear in his eye "When you're Superman what's one more victory?"
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2005, 03:47:40 AM »

The saddest story I can think of involving Superman may not *technically* be a Superman story, but called up very simple, basic emotions just the same. It was a 9-page back up story by Cary Bates and Curt Swan inside

SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #195 (1973)

In this one, the Legion of Super-Heroes have their usual tryouts; after instant messages and pop music stopped existing in the 30th Century, apparently Legion tryouts were invented to crush the self-esteem of teenagers. To this one, a strange youth attended, known as ERG-1 (Energy Release Generator).

ERG-1 showed that as he was made of pure energy, he had powers that were casually omnipotent: he could pass through objects like Shrinking Violet, he could shrink or grow like Colossal Boy or Shrinking Violet, he could change one element into another like Chemical King, and had super-senses like Superboy and Supergirl, and so on. The Legion however, being the popular, dickish, coiffured handsome young caucasians that they somehow transform into temporarily in these ego-squashing try-out stories, told ERG that he had no original super-power and thus he could not join the Legion. But ERG said that he did have one original superpower - but he couldn't show it to them.

Not dissuaded in the least, ERG-1 sneaks aboard a space cruiser while the other Legionnaires because he wants to prove himself to the others. All does not go well, however.  The other Legionnaires are soundly captured by a deadly robot and in eminent peril of death. Then, the young Drake Burroughs. He cries out "Get back! I can save them!" The thought bubble, however shows: No choice... I have to use... THE POWER!!!!" There was a titanic explosion from the visor of ERG-1's suit that melts the giant robot.

The Legionnaires were awed by the one that saved them - only to find a cracked visor and an empty containment suit hissing smoke.

You see, the reason ERG-1 could not demonstrate his power is because he could only use it once...because it would kill him.

...by the way, did I mention Cary Bates was a genius?
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Maximara
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2005, 09:06:23 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
The saddest story I can think of involving Superman may not *technically* be a Superman story, but called up very simple, basic emotions just the same. It was a 9-page back up story by Cary Bates and Curt Swan inside

SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #195 (1973)

In this one, the Legion of Super-Heroes have their usual tryouts; after instant messages and pop music stopped existing in the 30th Century, apparently Legion tryouts were invented to crush the self-esteem of teenagers. To this one, a strange youth attended, known as ERG-1 (Energy Release Generator).

ERG-1 showed that as he was made of pure energy, he had powers that were casually omnipotent: he could pass through objects like Shrinking Violet, he could shrink or grow like Colossal Boy or Shrinking Violet, he could change one element into another like Chemical King, and had super-senses like Superboy and Supergirl, and so on. The Legion however, being the popular, dickish, coiffured handsome young caucasians that they somehow transform into temporarily in these ego-squashing try-out stories, told ERG that he had no original super-power and thus he could not join the Legion. But ERG said that he did have one original superpower - but he couldn't show it to them.

Not dissuaded in the least, ERG-1 sneaks aboard a space cruiser while the other Legionnaires because he wants to prove himself to the others. All does not go well, however.  The other Legionnaires are soundly captured by a deadly robot and in eminent peril of death. Then, the young Drake Burroughs. He cries out "Get back! I can save them!" The thought bubble, however shows: No choice... I have to use... THE POWER!!!!" There was a titanic explosion from the visor of ERG-1's suit that melts the giant robot.

The Legionnaires were awed by the one that saved them - only to find a cracked visor and an empty containment suit hissing smoke.

You see, the reason ERG-1 could not demonstrate his power is because he could only use it once...because it would kill him.

...by the way, did I mention Cary Bates was a genius?


While an intersting read the story fell apart because by that time the 'no original power' idea was known to be bunk - it had been revealed that Superboy and Supergirl had been simutanious Legion members but thanks to Saturn girl had forgotten they knew each other. Then there was the fact that Ultraboy was a member along with Superboy even though his power set was identical to Superboy's except that he could only use on power at a time.

In fact there were times when the LSH could be real jerks. Like the time when performing a trial Supergirl encounters some red K which turns her into an adult. Forgetting that mentally she was still her real age and the effects are temporary the LSH denigh her membership.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2005, 02:40:02 PM »

The Legion constitution was later revealed to have the caveat that Superboy's and Supergirl's powers were the exceptions to the no duplicated power rule. (It wouldn't do to rule out a guy with one or two powers of theirs since they had so many in one person.)  Anyway, even without that caveat, it may be argued that the difference in gender made their powersets different just as real men have greater strength but lesser stamina and the reverse applies to women, etc.  Push comes to shove, Kara could have children and Kal couldn't. Wink

Ultra Boy had the unique power of Penetra Vision that could see through lead and his Flash Vision was said to be greater than Heat Vision.  He also had a different set of vulnerabilities making his invulnerability distinct from Kryptonian invulnerability.

Mon-El was invulnerable to kryptonite and his anti-lead serum let him keep his powers in red sun/high-G environments.

The red K incident was a technicality.  The Legion used a physiological equivalency age scale given the various worlds and races in the U.P.  The red K had made her physically too old for application at that time.

But the deal with Bouncing Boy being originally rejected was an example of them being jerks, IMHO.

BTW, I prefer ERG-1 had remained dead as that makes his first story that much more meaningful.  Bringing him back like that to make Wildfire cheapens that first story.  Ironically, I just reread that tale last night.  While Bates had his high points, he was notorious for his poor research.  In that particular tale, he had Chemical King creating elements from the air -- such as blasts of radioactive Cobalt-60 -- which wasn't his actual power (controlling chemical reactions).
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2005, 04:09:36 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
The red K incident was a technicality.  The Legion used a physiological equivalency age scale given the various worlds and races in the U.P.  The red K had made her physically too old for application at that time.


The Legion went by biological and physical age instead of chronological - for instance, they accepted Mon-El into Legion Membership despite the fact he was over 1018 years old as a result of being trapped in the Phantom Zone, because as no one ages in the Phantom Zone, he was still 18 years old.

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
BTW, I prefer ERG-1 had remained dead as that makes his first story that much more meaningful.  Bringing him back like that to make Wildfire cheapens that first story.  Ironically, I just reread that tale last night.  While Bates had his high points, he was notorious for his poor research.  In that particular tale, he had Chemical King creating elements from the air -- such as blasts of radioactive Cobalt-60 -- which wasn't his actual power (controlling chemical reactions).


Wildfire also had something of a duller personality as well - none of the decency and desire to be liked and accepted that defined ERG-1's first story.

As for Cary Bates' mixing up Chemical King's power...well, can't say I don't understand that. I mean, that was one rather confusing and complicated power: accelerating chemical reactions. A few friends of mine that are chemistry majors explain to me that this is a truly terrifying power in its implications. Then again, they're the type that laugh at the math jokes in FUTURAMA.  Cheesy  It lacks the untangled straightforwardness of Cosmic Boy's Super-Magnetism or Chameleon Boy's Super-Disguise.
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
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