Action Comics 392
"The Shame Of The Super-Son!"
September, 1970
Story: Robert Kanigher (?)
Art: Ross Andru
(Originally Reviewed On 05/30/02)

The cover features The World's Finest Team watching their sons diving into a swimming pool, with Batman's son performing at olympic level, while Superman's son is landing with a belly flop on the water, and both boys are clad in versions of each of their father's costumes!

A montage of images on the splash page, with The Man of Steel using Gold Kryptonite to remove his son's super-powers, while protected by lead glass, Superman being kayoed by a Green Kryptonite trap, and he and his son face off against a Kandorian version of a four-headed dragon!

The Man of Steel returns to the estate of Clark Kent, with his wife asking him about the whereabouts of their 14-year old son, since he has come back alone. Superman strides up the stairs towards his son's room, while his wife calls out in vain, and knocks feverishly on the door for answers! He recalls the Father And Son Day, when Superman, JR. sought to vault over a pole with his hands and feet tied from a standing start, but his father stomped the ground...

Causing the bar to fall, even though the boy managed to clear with inches to spare. Not aware of what his father has done, the boy vows to make his father proud of him. Superman JR. hurls a 100-ton hammer, but The Man of Steel soars into the air and shatters the hammer! The boy can only wonder if his father is jealous of his super-powers. In the final event, Superman JR. is in the lead of a sprint, even though he's given his competitors a lead and is jumping while inside a sack! His father, however, sends some super-breath his way...

The boy is blown off the track and is disqualified. When the two meet with the reporters and TV cameras, Superman tells them that he and his son sought to entertain the audience, and insists that his son wasn't really going to be in competition against ordinary athletes. In the air, Superman tells his Super-Son that he is not to use his powers to discourage other teens from competing in sporting events, but use it to help people by fighting crime. Superman recalls how his son was sent running by some fake Kryptonite, while Batman's son managed to capture the fleeing gunmen. On this day, The Man of Steel took his son to The Fortress of Solitude, then left him to handle an emergency, and the boy sees another teenager in his midst. He strikes out against the other Superboy...

His father returns and shows him that the "Superboy" was a robot which was made to help him, but it and the Fortress was wrecked in the fight. Placing his son in a lead glass booth, he exposes the boy to Gold Kryptonite, and when they came home, his son is in tears over not being able to carry on the tradition of being Superman, while The Man of Steel calls out to him in vain. Superman's wife heads next door to the Bruce Wayne Estate, where The Caped Crusader is watching a western on the tube, and he soon heads for his JLA teammate's side. The tearful Superman tells Batman that he's taken his son's powers away... forever!

Since their estates are on the boundary between Gotham and Metropolis, Batman invites Superman and his son to join him and Batman JR. for some poolside fun. While the adults sit in the deckchairs, Batman JR. and Superman JR prepare to dive into the water (wearing their costumes of course!) Unfortunately, Superman JR. has forgotten that he has lost his powers and makes a belly-flop! The boy goes under, and fearing that his son will drown, Superman pulls the boy out, only to be rebuffed by him! He walks off with Batman JR, while The Caped Crusader is sure that Superman's son will come around, but The Man of Steel knows that he will never have his son's forgiveness. Riding on Bat-Bicycles, the two teens pick up their dates for a dance, with Superman JR.'s date wishing that she were out with Clark Kent JR., instead!

The emcee has the boys at the dance jump for a balloon, which contains a ring for their date, but as the girl is confident that her Superman JR. will win, it is Batman JR. who catches the balloon, leaving The Boy of Steel without a date. The following day, Clark Kent JR. gets a phonecall from his father, who is to sign Superman dolls made by the blind at the River's End Street Workshop, who contacted him via The Daily Planet. The Man of Steel signs the dolls at super-speed, only to be kayoed by a doll which contains green kryptonite!

The blind men are in reality a gang of crooks who planned to put Superman out of the way so that they could pull off the biggest holdup in history! Superman JR. has entered the store, and is also kayoed by a Superman doll with green kryptonite. Superman and son are placed on the back of a truck, where they are to be dumped, while the crooks plan to rob an armored truck carrying six million dollars. Suiperman JR. manages to get his hands on the wheel, to the crook's collective disbelief over his ability to recover from the green kryptonite!

The truck crashes, with a bruised Ex-Boy of Steel laughing because the crooks didn't know he no longer had his powers and is no longer affected by kryptonite! The Man of Steel takes his son to The Fortress of Solitude, where they enter The Bottle City of Kandor, and meet with The Science Council. It's Superman JR's 14th birthday, and he and his father are given matching bracelets to show that he is his father's son and heir! Upon regaining their normal size in the Fortress, they are set upon by an alien creature from Superman's interplanetary zoo!

To the boy's shock, The Man of Steel is knocked to one side, and he tells his son that it's up to him to save them. As the creature begins to claw at them, Superman JR. urges his father to move, but the boy is told that their fate is in his hands! Figuring that this will be their final moment, and knowing that he is powerless, Superman JR. vows to defends his father, whom he wouldn't trade for any other in the world. Clenching his fists, Superman JR. delivers an overhand uppercut which sends the beast into dreamland.

As the boy wonders how he was able to do this, Superman tells his son that during the meeting with the Science Council, they gave him cosmo-kinetic bracelets, which would siphon all of his super-powers and transfer them to his son... permanently! The boy wonders how his father could have made such a sacrifice, and he learns that any dad would have done the same. Once outside The Fortress, Superman JR. wants to race his father, but The Ex-Man of Steel no longer has any super-powers, but will be on his son's side, cheering him on from his retirement! The boy vows to continue the Superman tradition, while his father wonders how The Caped Crusader will take it when he learns that he's retired before Batman did!

The cover looks to be by Murphy Anderson, and makes one wonder if The Super-Sons have ever heard of swimming trunks. Viewers of The Batman TV Show will no doubt remember Batman challenging The Joker to a surfiing contest, with both men wearing their baggies on the outside of their pants!

I wouldn't call this story a flop, but it does take the edge off of the never-ending story of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive Murderer.

In this imaginary tale, Superman's wife has blonde hair, making me wonder if he married Black Canary?

It's funny to see Batman watching TV in his costume, and one hopes that this story took place on Earth-B.

Superman JR.'s date resembles Lana Lang. Face it, Tiger... you've missed the jackpot.

Green kryptonite would seem to be in abundance for crooks to get a drop on Superman!

Some folks have Nega-Bands, while others have Cosmo-Kinetic Bracelets.

In the letterspage, Richard H. Morrissey of Framingham, Mass writes: "Dear Editor, Naturally, the cover of Action #388 was one of the most thought-provoking in a long time, as was the story it illustrated. to thing the scene on that cover actually took place - ableit on Professor Nurd's mad world of swimming watermelons, Icebag Soldiers, and concrete-eating termites. This was undoubtedly your most uproarious story since Superman's inception! While saying that I found mistakes in this story is like saying I found three that are not explained by the parallel world. (a) The other Mxyzptlk says it was 70 days since Supie tricked him into his own dimension; but later on, it's only 50 days. (b) Supies recognizes Sgt. Rock. When did they ever meet before? (c) Why wasn't the original duplicator sent into the other dimension when struck by its own rays, as the original Earth was?"

The Man of Steel would meet Sgt Rock in the pages of DC Comics Presents.

Steve Chung
"The Review Of The Super-Son!"