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Adventure Comics 216
"The Wizard City"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND September, 1955

Story: Unknown Art: Curt Swan

(Originally Reviewed On 07/02/02)

A fragment of the late planet Krypton has found its way to Earth, and this remnant of Krypton City has the one element which is deadly to Superboy -- Kryptonite! The Boy of Steel faces this threat with the aid of -- The Man of Steel... Superman! How can such a meeting take place? The answer can be found in the story of "The Wizard City" (Holy Garebville, Batman!) On the splash page, Superboy is floating in the air, telling Superman that their target is Krypton City (perched on a foundation of Kryptonite) ,which must be destroyed, and The Man of Steel agrees that Superboy is the boss on this adventure!

The story begins as one evening, a telescope at an observatory see a large meteor crashing towards Earth, and in Smallville's Natural History Museum, a professor reads the seismograph, which shows that the meteor crashed somewhere in the continent of Africa. The curator calls a meeting of the board of trustees, asking their permission to search for the meteor, for if he should find it, the Smallville Museum would become famous throughout the world. They argree, and the curator begins his expedition, but weeks pass, and no communication has been received from him, and he is presumed missing in Africa! Young Clark Kent is visiting the family of the professor, and is chronicling the story for his school newspaper. The professor's son asks his mother if his father will be back in time for his birthday, and she holds onto the framed picture of her missing husband, and tells Jimmy that she hopes so. Clark tells Jimmy not to worry,for he'll contact his friend, Superboy, who'll go and bring his father back for the boy's birthday!

Soon, The Boy of Steel heads for Africa, and uses his telescopic-vision to search the dense jungle growth of Africa, but there's no sign, and the professor must have gone to an unexplored territory! He soon sees a wooden castle, and the professor being chased by knights on horseback! (Holy Hard Day's Knight, Batman!) The professor is suprised to see Superboy, who bends one of the knight's lance with his super-strength. One knight believes him to be a sorceror, while the other believes The Boy of Steel to be a sorceror's apprentice, and not much of a threat to all of them at once, but Superboy uses his super-speed to disarm the knights of their lances!

He then uses the lances to pen the knights in, then carries the professor to safety. The curator tells him how he came upon a hidden forest, where armored knights dwell, and he found it by chance when he and his guide, Vedders were seeking the meteor, then got lost, and met them! The professor figures that these men must be the descendants of the knights believed to be lost in Africa during The Crusades, and have lived far from the outside world. The professor made friends with the knights and was given both food and shelter, then learned from Sir Roland that diamonds were found in The Wizard City, which is two leagues away, in a hidden valley, where they took some gems! Vedders gazes greedily upon the diamonds and longs to visit the city, but is forbidden by Sir Roland, for it is a place of dark magic and strange machinery, which can bring death to those who dare to trespass! The following day, the professor learns that Vedders has stolen the gems and the map to The Wizard City, and he is to be held prisoner until Vedders returns!

The professor was making his escape when Superboy arrived on the scene, and he hopes to recover the stolen gems so that the knights will learn to trust the outside world. In the jungle, the professor and Superboy watch Vedders climb down a cliff, his concentration on an unseen object. Superboy and the curator peer down and see The Wizard City, and the professor wonders who could have built such a city! They are spotted by Vedders, and Superboy begins to feel weaker the closer he gets to the city, and the professor must help him back. Vedders figures that the city is on a bed of Kryptonite, which is capable of weakening The Boy of Steel. Superboy was a survivor of the planet Krypton, which exploded.

Upon reaching Earth, the baby is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who decide to adopt him and name him Clark Kent. The city was drifting through space for years, until it was drawn to Earth's orbit, then the meteor landed, making the "valley" or rather, the crater, and Superboy tells the professor that the buildings were not destroyed, for they were made of indestructible metal! Vedders discovers many super-scientific weapons, which appear quite advanced, but figures that war must have been outlawed on Krypton, and this building must have been a museum. Vedders steps to the video panel, where he theorizes that the devices must be robot-controlled. He figures that he could become a dictator and leave the city with enough Kryptonite to keep Superboy at bay! The Boy of Steel has super-hearing and telescopic-vision which tells him of Vedders' intentions, and he hopes to stop Vedders before he can learn how to use the more powerful devices!

Time passes, and Superboy strives to make his way down the cliff to The Wizard City, while Vedders looks up and laughs at the weakened Boy of Steel. He falls behind a rock, but then reappears in the form of a costumed adult, to Vedders' dismay! He theorizes that the concentrated Kryptonite affected his glands and sped up his growth into maturity so he is no longer a Superboy, but a Superman! The Man of Steel strides down the cliff and tells Vedders to surrender, but he figures that Superman must be weakened so that the weapons will be able to destroy him. Above, Superboy watches as Vedders flees from Superman, and now he knows that a fight is on their hands!

Using some soft clay to change the shape of the professor's face, as well as dying his hair, Superboy uses super-pressure to make some pliable birch bark for a costume, which he dyes in the right colors, and the curator is sure that Vedders will never recognize him now! The masquerade began when Superboy fell behind the large boulder, where they were able to change places, and Superboy is able to transmit instructions through a tiny radio receiver, which is hidden in the curator's ear. The battle begins when Vedders sends out a giant tank to run down "Superman", but Superboy tells the professor to reach out and pretend that he is going to lift the tank and hurl it into the sky!

On the video screen, Vedders watches as "The Man of Steel" lifts the tank, then hurls it away, but in reality, Superboy is using a huge lodestone from the Earth's core to attract the tank into the air! Since he doesn't know how to use the more complicated devices, Vedders decides to send other gadgets at Superman, such as a multi-catapult which hurls fire balls! Superboy tells the professor to pretend to use his "super-breath" while he does the work. The fire balls are extinguised from afar... by Superboy! He is worried that Vedders will soon learn how to operate the more deadly devices and must stop him now!

Heading for a pile of sand, Superboy uses super-pressure to convert some into molten glass, then cuts off the glass strands, and braids them together, creating nigh-invisible glass ropes! He drops down the ends to the professor, who is told to tie them to his ankles and wrists, then follow the cues! Soon, Vedders sees on the video screen that The Man of Steel is flying towards him, but a rocket plane, armed with a proton bomb should be able to knock him out of the sky! "Superman" is able to fly, for he has become a puppet, dangling from the glass strings being used by Superboy! (Holy Abra Kadabra, Batman!) In one quick move, Superboy de-activates the bomb so that the curator will not be hurt, then smashes the rocket so that it looks like "Superman" did the deed!

"The Man of Steel" is sent flying towards the museum door, and the heat-vision of Superboy breaks down the door's molecules, so that it will enable the professor to break through without injury,while Vedders will see the spectacular entrance of "Superman!" Finally cornering his quarry, "Superman" punches out Vedders! With Vedders in custody, Superboy tells the curator that the world isn't ready for the technology in the future city of Krypton, and so, it must be buried! Tearing through the crater walls, The Boy of Steel must satisfy himself that a part of Krypton is now on Earth!

Superboy regrets that the professor won't be able to bring back the meteor for the museum, but the curator reminds him that the descendants of the crusaders will be a remarkable living archaeological find of the age! Once thing have been explained to Sir Roland, Superboy carried the wooden castle from the jungle to the outside world, where Sir Roland and his knights hope to be able to adjust to this brave, new world. Superboy notes the irony of how he buried a city of the future and has brought back a city from the past! In Smallville, Jimmy rushes to meet his father, who has arrived in time for his birthday. Jimmy embraces his father and smiles at Superboy, and Professor Olsen knows that his son has made a friend for life! In later years, Jimmy Olsen would grow up and become cub reporter to The Daily Planet, and Superman's Best Pal!

An intriguing meeting between Superboy and an older version of himself.

This story shows Clark Kent meeting Jimmy in Smallville, as opposed to the Golden Age, when Superman saved Lois and Jimmy from The Archer.

Knights in a wooden castle would be most likely visited by Rip Hunter or Roy Raymond, TV Detective.

The sight of Superman by Curt Swan. Very formidable, indeed.

It looks like Jimmy inherited his love of disguises from his father, Professor Olsen.

Steve Chung
"The Wizard City Review"