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Action Comics 402
"Superman Vs. Supergirl: The Feud Of The Titans!"


Story: Geoff Browne Art: Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson

(Originally Reviewed On 06/06/02)

Suddenly, the Superman/Supergirl team has come to blows, so much so that the cousins enter The Fortress of Solitude via separate entrances, as The Man of Steel and The Maid of Might have come to despise one another. Entering The Fortress of Solitude, Superman finds it filled with noxious fumes, which fortunately cannot affect The Bottle City of Kandor, which has its oxygen from a special tank. Using his super-breath, he vacuums the air!

Not about to tolerate what he sees as a women's lib movement, he is determined to move Supergirl out of his Fortress, but the entrance to The Supergirl Wing has been barricaded by an invisible super-wall! On a monitor screen, he sees her, and Supergirl tells her cousin that although they'll share the headquarters, she wants nothing to do with him, and has created a barrier to cut him off from her side of The Fortress. Indeed, The Supergirl Annex is heavily fortified, just as formidable for the hatred which they have for one another.

In The Hall of Trophies, Superman breaks the sword which Supergirl received for saving the gem planet of Tresor from space pirates, as well as melting a gold statue of her from the amazon world of Feminol. He sees a twin-headed bird which they both brought back from the planet of Duplor, where the lifeforms have evolved into siamese twins-- but doesn't destroy it since it would be against his code against killing. He sits and wonders how things become as they are, which began one day as they returned from a mission for The U.N. Disarmament Commission to destroy a bunch of outlawed weapons, which would pollute, as well as destroy the world!

Beneath The Fortress of Solitude, the disintegration pit, which is fueled by radioactive Kryptonian elements The Man of Steel retrieved from Kandor, will dissolve the super-weapons into their molecular component parts. The Jigsaw-Ray Gun, which can destroy a city, is hurtled in by Superman, while Supergirl hurls in the seismotron,which can create earthquakes, as well as a vapor bomb, which a tyrant used to control his subjects! As the weapons are destroyed, Superman's x-ray vision sees that a super-weapon was hidden beneath some rocks by Supergirl, a laser-pistol which could destroy his uniform!

Supergirl's x-ray vision spots the cryogen freeze wave projector, which she believes her cousin would use on her, and in that moment, both know that their partnership has ended, as each hates the other with every fiber of their being. The weapons are fired, to no effect, and the two separate, for it is now war between the two of them. Having treated his cousin like a sister, and teaching her how to use her super-powers, Superman feels betrayed!

Not content to use his super-powers on her trophies, The Man of Steel plans to disintegrate the trophies in the atomic cauldron, but The Maid of Might has spotted his plan with her x-ray vision, then bores through the ground at super-speed to catch him! She confronts him, and orders her cousin to return the trophies or she'll clobber him, but Superman is not intimidated!

As Supergirl flies across the cauldron, she is being affected by the radioactive Kryptonian fuel, while Superman laughs, but his instinct for the preservation of life kicks in and he reaches out to her, telling her to take hold of his hand, while her impenetrable costume is shielding her, but she'd rather die than be helped by him. Nevertheless, The Man of Steel rescues her, even as she knows that they hate each other, but didn't have the guts to watch her die. He agrees and knows that something made him want to save her. She tells her cousin not to expect gratitude, even though she doesn't know why she hates him, but Superman sees the answer, and takes the twin-headed bird outside of The Fortress, where the two fighting heads are now billing and cooing, as they reveal the source of the Super-Feud!

They use their x-ray vision and see The Fortress filled with clouds of fumes, and Supergirl wonders where they came from. He tells her that they came from the brainwash bomb which was thrown into the cauldron, and contained a hate gas which was used by the tyrant to make his armies loathe the enemy. When the gas met the radioactive Kryptonian elements in the furnace, it affected them, and caused each cousin to hate the other. In the fresh air, Supergirl feels the hate leaving her, and Superman tells her that he suspsected the gas when the two heads of the bird began to fight with one another, whose minds normally worked together as a team! Thankfully, it was only the gas which would make them hate each other, and they shake hands, grateful that the feud is over. Once the fumes have been swept from The Fortress, Supergirl disposes of the door, now that they are once again a super-team, and it's one Fortress for the both of them!

The difference between Marvel and DC is that The House of Ideas would have a clash of the titans, while D.C. would have a feud of the titans. (Holy Harryhausen, Batman!)

I wonder if writer Geoff Browne was watching The Odd Couple when he wrote this story?

One could make a joke about Superman discovering that Supergirl filled the Fortress with noxious fumes, but that would be most ungentlemanly of me.

Under the influence of the gas, it's interesting to see The Man of Steel's slant on Women's Lib.

Since he couldn't reach his cousin, he smashes her trophies, and seeing how large The Fortress of Solitude is, this could take a while, even for Superman!

Shades of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, both he and Supergirl are dismantling outlawed weapons!

Under the influence of the gas, each cousin must have surreptiously placed a weapon beneath the rocks while the other wasn't looking, and it was interesting to see that Supergirl selected the laser-gun to be rid of Superman's costume, while he allegedly selected the cryogen freeze wave projector to use on her. It would be too much to bear if it were the other way around.

Speaking of super-costumes, Supergirl is wearing the Adventure Comics uniform designed for her by Mike Sekowsky in this story.

Seeing Superman about to disintegrate Supergirl's trophies is about as scary as seeing a parent about to throw away your comic book collection (which thankfully never happened to me, but we did move a lot in the '70s.).

The twin-headed bird is kind of creepy, but then again, Transmetropolitan has a three-eyed cat. (Free Steve Chung Plug.)

In the letterspage, Richard H. Morrissey of Framingham, Mass writes: "In the Fortress story, we all know that no Earth-plant hormones could harm Superman or Supergirl."

Roger Schoolcraft of Follansbee, West Virginia writes: "Spawn of the Unknown didn't measure up to its title. Or should I say measure down? For an unoriginal title, you gave us a highly original story and one which I consider Leo Dorfman's best. (You'll have to excuse me if I use Geoff Brown's real name.) I must admit, I was as stumped as Superman until the explanation was given."

The editor replies: "What would YOU have titled the story? 'A Plant Called Supergirl'? 'The Girl With The Green Thumb'? Or 'Superman Goes Down The Garden Path'?"

Steve Chung sez: "It's letterpages like these which make me appreciate and prefer them over the current ones all the more, or to put it another way, when was the last time you saw an editor disagree with a reader whose letter was printed?"

Steve Chung
"The Review of The Titans!"