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Adventure Comics 313
"Father's Day On Planet Krypton!"


Story: Unknown Art: George Papp

(Originally Reviewed On 07/01/02)

On the splash page, The Boy of Steel is in outer space, where the Green Kryptonite statues of his ancestors, Val-El, Sul-El, Tala-El, Hatu-El, and Gam-El, plead with him not to disgrace his father, Jor-El, on this day, which he must honor them, his father's ancestors, as Jor-El always dreamed he would, but Superboy can only wonder how he can do such a thing... when he doesn't know how they used to observe Father's Day on Krypton! In Smallville, Father's Day is being celebrated, and Clark Kent meets Lana Lang and Pete Ross, who are carrying packages, which she tells him are Father's Day presents, then asks Clark what he's getting for his father. He scratches his head, then tells them that he'll not tell anyone what he's going to get Pa Kent just yet! Lana knows that she and Pete have not time to guess what that might be, but they know that Clark has little time since the store's about to close!

Once he's alone, Clark changes to Superboy, and realizing that his father deserves a special super present, he soars through the air towards Arizona, where there is a mile-deep meteor crater! The next moment finds The Boy of Steel heading down through the Earth's crust, and he takes a small piece of the meteor, which will serve as part of his Father's Day present for Pa Kent. At their home, Clark gives Pa a pipe carved from the meteor with his own hands and fused it with his heat-vision. Ma Kent has something, as well. She hands Pal a box of his favorite tobacco, which will compliment his one of a kind pipe. Lighting his pipe, Pa asks Clark if there ever was a Father's Day on Krypton, but thinks that Clark wouldn't remember since he was an infant back then. Clark does have a glimmer of memory...

In his lab, Clark tells Pa that even with his power of total recall, there are gaps in his memory which were caused by exposure to Kryptonite over the years. (Holy Schwarzenegger, Batman!) Using a mind-prober ray, which he invented, Clark is able to chronicle his Kryptonian memories into a book, whose fourth chapter will be devoted to the celebration of Father's Day on Krypton! The ray probes Clark's mind, and he recalls being a baby, and his father, Jor-El, telling him about today being a special day, because he's a proud father! Lara gives Jor-El a present,which Jor-El is curious to see, and sets Kal-El down into a seat. He is pleased with the minature 3-D set, which shows a Kryptonian boxing match! Baby Kal-El wishes to play with the small set, switching channels, while Lara asks Jor-El that since Kal-El isn't old enough for the Father-Son test, if he can at least take him to the family vault since he's never been there, and Jor-El agrees! (Holy Scrooge, Batman!)

Taking him by the hand, Jor-El and his son head down a winding path for the private family crypt, where each Kryptonian family, good or bad, has one. Baby Kal-El sees the statues within The House of El. Jor-El tells him that in a few years, his son will be brought to the family crypt on Father's Day to pay honor to his father, and his grand-father, and his great-grand-father, and all the fathers of the El line, which is when Kal-El will make Jor-El proud of him! Baby Kal-El sees a strange chest and wants to see what's inside, but Jor-El tells him not to see it until the next time he is brought to the crypt, and then he hopes that his son will know what to do with the contents. Clark walks away from the mind-probe ray, and tells Pa that the chest was probably destroyed when Krypton exploded.

Pa regrets bringing up the subject of Father's Day on Krypton, for this may be a mystery which even Superboy won't be able to solve, and Clark knows that it may haunt him for the rest of his life. In his sleep, Clark is having a nightmare, as Jax-Ur taunts him about the secret of the chest of his ancestors' statues. Upon awaking, he perspires from his brush with The Phantom Zoners! On his patrol, the following day, Superboy spots a crippled airliner, and eases to the ground in order to repair it, grateful that this good deed will keep his mind occupied from the El Family secret and The Phantom Zone villains! As he sleeps, the nightmare continues, as Jax-Ur knows the secret, but Clark doesn't. In The House of Ur, his ancestors are considered great villains of the past, such as Vas-Ur, his grandfather, who invented a molecular ray gun which could kill without leaving any trace of the body! (Holy Hoffa, Batman!)

Jax-Ur's great-grandfather, Mal-Ur, engaged in forbidden experiments which destroyed all sea life in Lake Trom! Clark awakens from this latest nightmare, and wishes that he could solve the mystery, wondering if Jax-Ur is telling the truth or if he and The Phantom Zoners are just taunting him. Weeks pass, and Superboy is in space, where he sees a fragment of Kryptonite in orbit near our solar system. He sees the remains of Planet Krypton, the El family statues, and the chest! He knows that he can't get close to the statues or else the green kryptonite would kill him! He heads 100,000 miles away at the speed of light, and enters The Sargasso Sea of Space, which contains the remains of wrecked spaceships from other worlds, where he'll find the parts he'll need. He exits interplanetary ship graveyard, armed with a giant super spray-gun, which he made to order, but he'll need to fill it at The Sea of Molten Lead on Asteroid LB-289!

Upon reaching the bizarre sea, he fills up the sprayer with 3,000 gallons of molten lead, then returns to the statues of El in orbit, then gives the Kryptonite statues a lead spray, which will cover them, and protect him from the deadly rays! He is now able to stand before the statues of his ancestors, and fortunately,.they are intact! Opening the chest, he sees a bunch of objects, wondering about their significance, and their function. A moment passes, as Superboy gazes at the objects in the chest, then at the statues, then gets the answer!

In the hands of Val-El, Superboy places a ship's wheel, since he was the first of Krypton's great sea explorers! Sur-El is handed a telescope, for he was the inventor of Krypton's first telescope! Tala-El is handed Krypton's constitution, while Hatu-El discovered electricity and receives a lightning bolt symbol. Gam-El was the pioneer of Krypton's architecture. Soon, each ancestor's statue is fitted with the symbol belonging to it. Superboy has solved the mystery of his family crypt, which was what Jor-El intended for him to do on Father's Day, to honor each father for his great achievement, and this was how fathers were honored on Krypton!

Superboy only regrets that his father did not live to see him complete this task. As he heads through space, he pays farewell to The Phantom Zoners, who have been observing him, and they who thought The Boy of Steel stymied, are indeed surprised that he was able to honor his own father as he wished. Clark tells Ma and Pa about the El Family Crypt and how Jor-El was finally honored, but regrets that it happened after Father's Day, but Clark tells him that on Krypton, their Father's Day comes a few weeks after Earth's holiday, and today would have been Father's Day on Krypton.

Young Clark has a delightful way of answering straightforward questions in a befuddled way,which would serve him in his adult years, as a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper.

Each statue's pose gives the reader a hint of what symbol would go with which statue.

The Phantom Zoners are their usual, cheerful selves, but one wonders if the father of one's father was evil, would the son also be evil? In past stories, such as the first World of Krypton miniseries, Jax-Ur was a scientist at the same missile base as Jor-El, and was denounced as a villain when his experiment caused the destruction of Wegthor, one of Krypton's moons.

Vas-Ur was the destroyer of Lake Trom, "Mort" spelled backwards. Mal-Ur and Can-Ur are other members of Jax-Ur's ancestors.

Things work out for Superboy, as he solves the mystery in time for the Kryptonian Father's Day Holiday.

Steve Chung
"Father's Day Review on Planet Krypton!"