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Action Comics 333
"The Duel Between Superwoman and Superboy!"


Story: Unknown Art: Jim Mooney

When the maid of steel first arrived on Earth, she was trained in secret by Superman, before she revealed her existence to the world. As is known, Supergirl passed with flying colors, but in this imaginary story, things have been reversed, and it's an adult Superwoman who trains a teen-age Superboy! This, however, is not the only change in store for... "The Duel Between Superwoman and Superboy!" On the splash page, the boy of steel is pushing Superwoman out of his laboratory, and tells her that being sick of being told what to do, he'll release the Phantom Zone villains, then destroy her, and conquer the Earth! She recalls Superboy's arrival from Argo City, and how her willful and stubborn cousin has become both her enemy and a traitor! When she tried to train Kal-El, he was eager to prove himself, but unaccustomed at using his super-powers, such as the time he broke the key to the Arctic Fortress of Solitude...

He is shown the many secrets within the Fortress, such as the boxes containing different types of Kryptonite which only affect those from their native world. Only the lead containers keep them from harm. He sees the box containing Gold Kryptonite... and some Gold K capsules, coated with lead... which would be used in an emergency against a escapee from the Phantom Zone! When Superwoman turns away... Superboy takes some Gold K Capsules... in case of an emergency, and knows that his cousin will never miss them. Moments later, the reckless boy of steel opens the box containing Red Kryptonite, which causes weird effects... and both he and his cousin begin to feel a strange tingling! Superboy grows bigger, stronger! He becomes a Superman, while Supergirl shrinks into a teen-age Supergirl! The effects of the Red K end, in time for Superwoman to respond to an emergency at the Atomic City Nuclear Plant!

When she returns to the Fortress of Solitude, Superwoman finds that her cousin has released monstrous creatures from a parallel dimension, but fortunately she reverses the control knob to draw them back to their own world! Fed up with his childish behavior, she tells Superboy that it will take years before he is ready to be her secret weapon! He sees that his cousin is jealous and wants to be the only super-being on Earth! At Midvale Orphanage, he resumes the identity of Cal Ellis, and is determined that the world will soon learn about Superboy! One evening, Superwoman checks out an explosion at an abandoned junkyard... and finds Superboy trapped in an underground laboratory... with Gold Kryptonite! Before rescuing him, she uses her heat-vision to make the wall hot enough to melt the piece of lead above the Gold K! He tells her how he was trying to find a Kryptonite antidote when he created artificial Kryptonite, the furnace exploded, and the gold-colored rock flew out, and he felt his powers leave him! She tells him that he accidentally created Gold Kryptonite, and it has destroyed his super-powers forever! He is now a ordinary boy, and must return to the orphanage.

He has fooled his cousin completely. He still has his powers and throws the fake Gold K into outer space! The following day, Superwoman visits Cal at the orphanage and promises to find a way to restore his super-powers, but she is unaware that he's planning to leave there as soon as he can! He sees Dr. Kean, famous physicist, who are interested in adopting an orphan named Diane. Inside her room, Cal sees the dolls she collects, and has an idea how to make the Keans not be interested in adopting her! He shoots some marbles at the dolls at super-speed, making it seem that she destroyed them herself! His cruel scheme succeeds, and the Keans see the mutilated dolls. They are fearful that the girl may become destructive and harm their pets.

The girl weeps and casts her broken dolls into a nearby brook, while Cal watches from behind a rock, and hopes for a chance to be adopted by the Keans. To his chagrin, they are interested in another boy... Stan is very responsible and is in charge of the reception desk. The bright, manly young boy is just what they want, and the Keans tell the matron to get the papers ready! While Stan heads to his room to pack, Cal has a fool-proof scheme. He opens the orphanage safe by using his super-hearing to listen to the tumblers. The valuables are placed in Stan's suitcase while he is saying goodbye. As he goes through the door, Cal uses his heat-vision to melt the metal link of Stan's suitcase! The matron sees the valuables drop from Stan's suitcase and comes to the conclusion that he was stealing them, while the Keans are ready to forgive him. The matron is sorry but the orphanage can't release Stan until he's been cured of stealing. They don't want to give the orphanage a bad name. The Keans then ask if there's anyone else she can recommend...

Inside, while he waits, Dr. Kean uses a blackboard to work out an mathematical equation. When he is called into an office, Cal finishes the equation at super-speed. When Dr. Kean returns, he is amazed to see that Cal solved the complex equation. Seeing the boy's talent, Dr. Kean asks if he'd like to come live with them. The papers are signed and Cal is taken to Metropolis where... he is shown the penthouse apartment complex, where Dr. Kean offers him its use anytime he likes! While his foster-parents are at a physics conference, he has the lab to himself, and begins to work on delicate blueprints for his anti-Superwoman plans!

He dons his Superboy costume and begins to get to work. One morning, having heard that Cal Ellis was adopted, Superwoman arrives to see how he's doing... and wonders why he's not in his Cal identity! She sees that he's using his heat-vision to weld some metal parts, and realizes that he lied about losing his powers. Superboy is tired of being told what to do... he doesn't want to be her stooge... he'll use his powers any way he sees fit! She sees that he's building a device to free the Phantom Zone criminals. He knows all about the eerie twilight dimension from his time on Argo City, and plans to free them so that they can conquer Earth. She is reminded of Van Dal, the worst juvenile delinquent on Krypton. He was coached by his mother, Tir-An, a criminal scientist, who praised her son's every evil deed! One such deed involved the use of a tornado projector on a city below!

The mother and son were captured, and sent into the Phantom Zone! Superboy is interested in Van Dal and Tir-An, then declares war on Superwoman. In her other identity as Carole Zorelle, private eye, she asks her fellow private eye, Jimmy Olsen, for help on an important case! She ducks into a closet and at super-speed, becomes Superwoman! At the Fortress of Solitude, two Superwoman robots have been monitoring Superboy's progress, and decide that their creator is too soft-hearted to do what must be done! They plan to erase the boy of steel's powers with Gold K. In his lab, he hears the alarm which detects Gold Kryptonite, and activates his protecto-belt, just as the Superwoman robots approach!

The protecto-belt creates a force field to repell the Gold K, hurling it into the sea... and then the belt sends a blast of hyper-energy to demolish the robots. As he continues his work, Superboy receives a telepathic message from the Phantom Zone. He is told to take his device to Riverside Park, where he sets up the Zone-Release Machine. The dial is set to zero and he peers through the view-finder, where Van Dal and Tir-An appear! He agrees to free them, then activates his force-shield just in case...

The two materialize and Van Dal offers to create a Kryptonite antidote to protect Superboy from all Kryptonite effects. Tir An is directed by her son to squeeze the sap from an oak tree, then crush a limestone rock to powder, and extract the juice from a thorn bush at super-speed. The boy of steel refuses to drink the potion, and since he wishes to be immune to Kryponite, Van Dal drinks the potion. Half the cup is drunk, and Van Dal flies to show that he is unharmed by the antidote. When Superboy begins to drink the cup, he begins to feel the effects of Red K and begins to lose his super powers. Tir-An is really Superwoman, who tells Superboy that both Tir-An and Van Dal never existed. Van Dal is really Jimmy Olsen in disguise, and is flying with a anti-gravity belt that Superwoman gave him. It was the Red K pebble in the cup which took away the boy of steel's powers, and won't do the same to Superwoman since she's been exposed to it before.

When Superboy asks how he could have seen them as phantoms, his cousin tells him that this was caused by fog from the combined use of her heat-vision and super-cold breath. She intends to use the Phantom Zone projector on the boy of steel, but he still has enough super-power left to melt it with his heat-vision. Her super-hearing picks up an S.O.S. at sea, and Jimmy is to handle Superboy. The detective removes his anti-grav belt to meet as equals, and when Superboy rushes him, Jimmy punches him on the jaw! The boy of steel feels his strength returning, and Jimmy recalls that although the effects of Red K last 24 hours, this time it hasn't! Superwoman returns just in time to see the boy of steel lose his powers a second time, but this time not due to Red K!

In shooting marbles at Diane's doll collection, one of the lead-coated Gold K capsules was lodged in one of the dolls. The discarded doll floated downstream and was lodged beneath a lead-bearing boulder... the same one which Superboy lifted to use on Jimmy! The capsules lead-coating was rubbed off... and the boy of steel lost his super-powers permanently. The Gold K is safely re-buried beneath the boulder... and Superwoman uses super-hypnosis to cure her cousin of his evil tendencies by causing him to forget his past. She invents an excuse for Cal's disappearance... and in a faraway orphanage, an unknown lad awaits adoption... He is an amnesiac, knows nothing of his past, except that he is an orphan, but he is bright, and will have a great future one day.

Things tend to take a cruel twist of fate in the Weisinger imaginary tales in order to assure us that things are as they should be, and would be disasterous, otherwise.

Unlike Supergirl, this Superboy is malicious and rebellious.

His cruelty towards his fellow orphans ultimately sets him up for his super-downfall.

Jimmy Olsen would still have a connection to a super-being in this imaginary tale.

This Review Is Dedicated To Bob Buethe and Mike Norwitz

Steve Chung
"The Review Between Superwoman and Superboy!"