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Action Comics 355
"The Death of Luthor!"


Writer: Unknown Artist: Jim Mooney

Because he has been beaten time and time again by the man of steel, Lex Luthor is obsessed with defeating his arch-foe! The day comes when the twisted scientist finds someone he hates even more than Superman... the maid of might known as Supergirl! How did this come to pass? Learn what leads up to the events which end with... "The Death of Luthor!" On the splash page, Luthor's lifeless body lies on a road next to a wrecked car. As police arrive to take his gang into custody, an officer wonders if Supergirl knows what she means when she says that she'll going to bring Luthor back to life!!

It's late afternoon, and Dick Malverne has been invited to dinner by Linda Lee Danvers and her family... They listen to the news bulletin that the man of steel has left Earth with his robots on a space mission... There is no fear of a crime-wave with Superman away! The Earth will be under the protection of Supergirl, who is shown in a film clip flying through the air just like her cousin! Dick thinks the maid of might is the greatest, then turns to Linda and reassures her that she's tops in his book, too. Mrs. Danvers smiles since Dick doesn't realize that Linda is really Supergirl! At the dinner table... Dick is talking with Mr. Danvers, while Linda turns and sees that the soup pot is boiling over on the stove. She uses her frigid super-breath to freeze the overflowing soup before her mother gets scalded. After dinner, Dick compliments Mrs. Danvers on the meal, and tells her that she's a super cook. She smiles and knows that Linda is the one who's really super!

The following morning at Metropolis Prison, Lex Luthor receives breakfast in his "solitary" cell... He was placed here because of his boast to escape within 48 hours... and he will! Once the guard has left... Luthor has added some mouthwash they had left for his supposedly sore throat into a cup of orange juice he hid... and now he drops in two aspirin tablets! He drinks down the concoction and knows that the chemicals and acids in the drink will help him out of the prison very, very soon! (Holy Selegue, Batman! He's really a mad scientist!) From the hollow heels of his shoes, Luthor takes out two radio parts, which will play a very important part in his escape! (Holy Radio Shack, Batman!) In the prison yard, during the exercise period, Luthor has radio part "A" in his left hand (the positive power-center) and radio part "B" in his right hand (the negative power-center)... He's ready! (Holy Ben Franklin, Batman! For what... Arkham Asylum?) Seconds pass... and the criminal scientist has become invisible! The prison siren's noon signal vibrations have amplified the radio parts, causing the concoction he swallowed to become transmuted into an invisibility serum! (Holy Lyle Norg, Batman!)

Now unseen by the guards, Luthor rides on the back of a truck! As he enters his secret hideout, Luthor sees that his gang are playing cards, and miss their boss, who would surely take care of Supergirl! The three men turn upon hearing Luthor swear that he'll take care of that so-called maid of might! The serum wears off and the gang compliment their boss on his invisibility gimmick. The criminal scientist doesn't believe that there really is a Supergirl, and guesses that the man of steel has made a robot to deceive the underworld! Luthor will prove this by destroying it immediately!

The following day finds Linda changing to Supergirl... then flying into the secret tunnel for her patrol. As she emerges from the tunnel exit in the woods, she sees a policeman walking a beat, and starts to hide! The maid of might then recalls that she no longer has to hide from public view now that she is no longer Superman's Secret Emergency Weapon! She flies past and greets the police officer, who wishes that he could fly so that his feet could take it easy. In a cave outside of Metropolis, Luthor sets off an explosion to lure Supergirl, and then use a concealed weapon to destroy her! When she arrives to investigate, a big blast cannon emerges from the ground and fires... but the bursting shells fail to harm her!

As Supergirl rips apart the cannon, then departs, the gang sees that she's as real and as strong as Superman, but Luthor vows to use his knowledge of psychology to play on her feminine traits! (Holy Sequential Tarts, Batman!) The next day finds Luthor and his gang donning goggles just prior to the criminal scientist activating a copy of Brainiac's shrink-ray... which has only a temporary effect, while the alien automaton's ray is permanent. The bank shrinks down to a few inches high... with the bank guards running out to fire their bullets on the giants, who are unhurt. Luthor uses anti-gravity tongs to lift up the bank, whose compressed atoms render it as heavy as ever. On her patrol, Supergirl spots this unusual bank robbery... just as Luthor's gang hurls a darkness grenade...

The grenade blankets the city for several blocks, but Luthor and his gang are able to make it to the getaway car with help from their goggles. Unfortunately for them, Supergirl's x-ray vision is able to see through the darkness. Just then, a mother loses her grip on the baby buggy, which begins to slip down the steep street! The maid of might immediately heads for it, but when she reaches the baby carriage, the occupant turns out to be a midget, who hurls a piece of Green Kryptonite at her... as a reward for "saving" him! The midget and the "mother" enter the getaway car, and Luthor gloats at how easy it was to destroy the mere Supergirl.

The Kryptonite radiations are weakening the maid of might, but she still has enough strength to unscrew a fire hydrant cap... The stream of water sends the Green Kryptonite down through a sewer opening, and Supergirl's strength returns! On the outskirts of Metropolis, Luthor and his gang steals the tiny funds, then leaves the building on a field... where it begins to regain its normal size! As they continue down the road, they discover that state troopers are chasing them, but Supergirl has also resumed the chase, as well! Determined that a mere girl not make a fool of him, Luthor prepares to fire his nuclear Kryptonite Ray-Gun, which will steal away the maid's might, and the fall will kill her! But the getaway car skids around a sharp curve... the criminal scientist bangs his arm... EEYAHH-HHHH! The ray strikes Luthor instead!

After the car overturns, the police arrive to take the gang into custody and declare Luthor dead! As they radio for an ambulance to take him to the morgue, the lawmen remember how Luthor used his criminal genius to threaten mankind. There was the time that he drove everyone out of Metropolis with giant sun spheres, while he and his gang wore insulated suits to rob, but were stopped by Superman. Figuring that Luthor shouldn't be allowed to escape his life-term jail sentence by death, she is determined to restore him to life! She heads for Atlantis, where an isotope element may counteract the type of nuclear stun-shock which killed Luthor. Jerro and Lori Lemaris are dedicating a museum, when they agree to assist the maid of might in finding the rare Isotope Element Z! Giant sea horses are equipped with isotope counters to search the region where it may be found! (Holy Belmont, Batman! What a horse race!)

The isotope counters indicate that it may be found in the form of seaweed under a long-sunken viking ship! As Supergirl lifts up the ship, her microscopic-vision find what she's been looking for! Lori and Jerro thank her for what she's found... the shrine of Garr Rindaz, who tied a super-explosive around himself, then attacked a sea-monster who threatened Atlantis... destroying the creature and himself! The ship settled on his own burial place... After placing the seaweed in her cape's pouch, Supergirl discovers that she must go to another planet because "Isotope Element Z" won't do the trick by itself! After flying billions of miles away... she arrives at a planet with a crystalized atmosphere, and burrows down through the crystal to get a weird flower containing another element she needs! As she compresses the flower, then places it in her cape's pouch, Supergirl heads into space, where a space-ship begins to attack...

Not harmed by the space-weaponry, the maid of might heads through the hull to attack the robot crew, and theorizes that the original atmosphere was transmuted to crystal after a space-war... leaving these mechanical soldiers to fight an unending war. Once the foes have been disposed of, Supergirl flips a switch, and the device causes the crystal to dissolve back into a normal atmosphere... where the evolutionary process may begin again on that world! On Earth, the police officers watch as Supergirl combines two rare elements, creating plastic fibres of a miraculous substance, and wraps Luthor in a cocoon! Seconds pass... and Luthor begins to move! He sits up... alive!

After removing the remaining strands, Luthor wonders why Supergirl isn't dead, then learns that she just brought him back to life! Upon hearing this, Luthor seizes a machine-gun, while the officer can't believe that the scientist hates the heroine for bringing him back from the dead! He believes that gangland will regard him as a laughingstock -- where once he was respected! Now they will laugh behind his back because he was saved by her! The bullets bounce off of her! The maid of might tells him that she saved his life so that he could finish paying his debt to society! He believes that she's lying, and loathes her even more than Superman! The police ask Supergirl to return the stolen bank building to Metropolis, while they return Luthor to prison! At a gangland meeting, the group considers Supergirl to be as tough a foe as Superman because she made Luthor look foolish! At the Danvers' home... both are proud parents is proud of their daughter, who is pleased that she can operate... openly!

Mr. Danvers sits at the dinner table, then smokes a pipe, but oddly, he doesn't have any lines in the story. Not even a thought balloon.

It's amazing what can be done with mouthwash, orange juice, aspirin tablets, a couple of radio parts, and the vibrations from a siren. Right up there with Professor Zoom using an electric razor to change his appearance to that of police scientist Barry Allen.

Luthor seems to have gained some weight in his prison greys. Who knows what else this mad criminal scientist has consumed in his numerous escape attempts!

Interesting that Supergirl doesn't use her x-ray vision of super-hearing to track down Luthor and his gang after the business with the cannon!

Could Luthor's male ego have gotten the better of him after seeing what Supergirl did to the cannon's turret? Is this why he's so determined to defeat a mere girl?

Interesting that the darkness bomb renders people blind rather than casting darkness, as in the case of Shadow Lass's power, for example.

The mother is a male member of Luthor's gang, while the midget pretending to be a baby is smoking a cigar.

Supergirl's clever use of a fire hydrant flushes another of Luthor's death-traps down the sewer!

Interesting that Luthor's getaway car is just that... a car! You'd figure that there'd be some ingenious transformation from car... to robot... to rocketship...!

In flashback, the sun spheres are shown to be red, so if Superman stopped them, there must still have been a yellow sun, or perhaps he used some Superman-Robots to defeat Luthor and his gang.

For such a rare element, it's interesting that Jerro and Lori Lemaris knew where to look for it.

Another character who was revived via cocoon is Him... Adam Warlock!

Spirit from the Kamandi comic book series was wrapped up in a cocoon, and emerged with the power to spin cocoons of her own!

Steve Chung
"The Review of Luthor!"