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Superboy 159
"The Day It Rained Superboys!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND September, 1969

Pencils By: Bob Brown Inks By Wally Wood Story By: Frank Robbins

(Originally Reviewed on 07/09/02)

On the Neal Adams' drawn cover, the citizens of Smallville are unable to take cover from the "Rain of the Superboys" (Holy Dogs and Cats, Batman! They're lucky that it wasn't raining Kryptos and Streakys!)

Above the nation's capital, The Teen of Steel is startled to find himself under attack by World War I biplanes, and although he cannot be harmed, he is at a loss to explain it!

At Smallville Airfield, aviation hobbyists have come to see the coming of the world's newest, largest, lighter-than-aircraft, which has completed a atlantic test crossing... The Graf Luft-Ballon,which is referred to as an amazing aeronautical wonder... the hydrogen-filled zeppellin is able to carry over 100 passengers, with a crew of five, but its arrival signals the approach of Superboy, who uses his heat-vision... causing The Graf Luftballon to go up in flames!

Thanks to the swift action of stand-by-fire squads, are the would-be victims of Superboy's assault able to survive, and they wonder if The Teen of Steel has gone mad! Smallville Central Broadcasting sends a radio report that Superboy was allegedly responsible for the attack, and with the demonstration of his super-powers, there can be no doubt, and the commentator wonders what will happen next? Even before the short-wave transmission has been sent, and even as the attack on The Graf Luftballon begins, another Teen of Steel drops an iceberg into the waters of a southern shipping lane, causing a sudden water spout!

The captain is surprised to see an iceberg so far south, and his first mate wonders why the coast guard hasn't told them about it, as they seek to turn the ship hard aport, able to avoid disaster by a narrow margin! Both men see Superboy soaring away, rather than coming to their aid! In London, the ship has communicated with shore about the incredible occurence, and even as that disaster was prevented, in France, the construction of a new bridge is foiled when it begins to collapse... but Superboy has arrived, apparently in response to a radio alert!

The startled citizens watch in horror as The "Supair Garcon" has shattered their work! In Italy, a village has been evacuated, for there is a break in the dam, but Superboy arrives on the scene, only to soar through the crumbling structure!

Although the village is destroyed, the citizens manage to escape the destruction of their homes and possessions... no thanks to "Super-Bimbo!" (Holy McGoohan, Batman!) Throughout the world, reports come of a tidal wave in Australia, an earthquake in Tokyo, The German Luftwaffe attacked by a super-sonic weapon, and Moscow claims that the imperialists are seeking to provoke them, and the common cause to these reports is... Superboy!

In the Kent household, Ma listens to the radio report concerning Superboy's evil escapades, and she knows that he hasn't been home in a day. Pa Kent arrives, telling her that he's seen the sad faces of his fellow citizens, and feels that their faces are accusing him, even though they cannot be aware that he and she are Superboy's foster parents! The radio report continues, as it seems that the disasters took place simultaneously, as all over the world, it literally rained Superboys! Pa Kent rubs his brow and wonders if this could have happened again, and Ma wonders what he could possibly mean?

He reminds her of the time that Superboy's robots turned against him ("Revolt Of The Teen-Age Robots!" #155) and she can't believe that their son would do such a thing, and reminds him that Superboy destroyed the robots after the ham operator gained radio-control of their motor centers! Pa tells her that Superboy has made new robots, which he told Pa he'd do when he left for his "Cave of Silence!" He reminds her that the report said that the attacks took place at the same time, and this could only be because the robots were aiding him!

Ma believes that if Superboy has rebuilt the robots, someone else could be controlling them again, but Pa remembers that Superboy told him that they would be redesigned so that the robots would only obey him! Ma wonders if Superboy has lost his mind, and in "The Cave of Silence," sinister thoughts surrounding the matter of supremacy are in the air. In Washington, D.C., the commander in chief gives a "fireside chat" declaring Superboy World Outlaw #1! (Holy Bizarro #1, Batman!)

In his Cave of Silence, Superboy is determined to fulfill his responsibilities to the world by having his robots cooperate in coping with the disasters and threats which affect the planet, and he is determined that they be tamper-proof, and that those built in his image will never be used for evil. He orders the robots to head for his secret cellar lab in the Kent home, while he changes to Clark Kent, after following them home. Each of the four robots are to take a different route to Smallville, and for reasons of security, this is best for them not to be seen together.

In London, the flying figure sees them holding war games in case Hitler decides to attack, and wonders how well the barrage-balloon is as a defense? In answer, two high-voltage arc between the balloons, bringing the Superboy robot down! In Canada, another robot is blown up, not being as invulnerable as its master. Above Tokyo, torpedo-aerial launch causes the third robot to meet its demise!

In Moscow, the fourth robot is brought down by a multi-rocket attack! Superboy is unaware of what's happened to his robots, as he's grateful that his "Cave of Silence" remains hidden by a glacier, and as he heads for Smallville by taking an orbital route under the south pole, he passes through Washington, D.C. and is attacked by the air corps!

As the defense corp break off the attack in frustration, Superboy wonders why they're treating him as an outlaw, and at ground control, The General hears his advisor tells him that they should have anticipated the real Superboy's arrival in the nation's capital!

The General asks Professor Ruthol if Superboy will attack, and the scientific advisor tells him that it will occur only when his paranoia is at its peak, but thinks inwardly that The Teen of Steel would not engage in such behavior! Professor Ruthol reminds The General that Superboy is vulnerable to Kryptonite, and he humbly offers his own supply. The General wonders why they would need The Professor, when they could find their own supply, but Ruthol reminds him that time is of the essence, and it's no hair off his head if The General doesn't accept his offer.

The General reluctantly agrees to buy The Professor's supply of Kryptonite, and at that moment, a troubled Superboy heads home, where he sees a boy falling from a tree! He saves the boy, whose friend and his dog run away, even as the saved boy refers to him as an outlaw, and also runs off! At home, he sees that his Superboy robots have not arrived!

Ma and Pa Kent demand to know what he's been up to, and that the robots have been up to deviltry. When he asks Pa to explain further, Ma wonders if he's ignorant of what's been happening. Superboy listens to the radio report which details of the destruction of his robots, and his apparent attack attempt in Washington! The unknown geologist, Professor Ruthol, has offered a vast supply of Kryptonite to enable the government to develop an anti-aircraft network to bring down The Teen of Steel! Superboy can only wonder who could hate him so, damaging his reputation,a nd speculates that Professor Ruthol is behind it!

Pa wants to believe his son, but Superboy is determined to find out who framed him, and Ma believes that as Clark, he would also be powerless. Ma's comment about power has given him an idea! Later in the day, "Clark" goes to school, while Ma and Pa Kent drive off, and in a mountainous area, they open the trunk, and the origin of the super-being from planet Voltra... Voltran The Unconquerable has arrived!

Determined to make an impression, the new super-star must make a dramatic entrance! He uses a meteor, bores into it, and uses his super-breath to send it towards Earth! Upon hitting the atmosphere, its descent is sighted by an observatory, while inside the meteor, he is using his super-breath to cool it so that it's not consumed by friction-heat!

The fiery meteor heads down towards the capitol dome,and as soldiers prepare to fire upon it, when Superboy uses his muscles to shatter it from within, causing the meteor to explode into millions of tiny fragments! He uses his super-breath to cool the fragments so that it will give a snowy effect, and enable none to be hurt on the ground! The soldiers are surprised by the sudden summer snowstorm, and are introduced to Voltran, from the distant world Voltra, who asks them to take him to their leader!

The Anti-Superboy Defense Council meet and Voltran tells them that he has been sent by his people as an emissary to capture and punish The Teen of Steel, while Professor Ruthol believes that if Voltran takes down Superboy, he, and not The Professor, will get the credit! The Professor wonders if this super-being could be The Teen of Steel in disguise? The vote is for support is unanimous and The Professor suggests that he work with Voltran, which the new superstar agrees to, telling them that when they are ready, he'll hear them, and The Professor is sure that Voltran will hear them, especially if he's Superboy!

Using a whistle signal, The Professor summons Voltran to an abandoned mine, and tells him that Superboy has entered it, revealing his hand in the plot to ruin Superboy, but Voltran resolves to let him trap himself! Inside the mine, The Professor tells him to attack Superboy, and Voltran begins to fight with The Teen of Steel, to Professor Ruthol's delight!

Voltran shatters the Superboy robot with a single blow, only to stumble back in horror from the Kryptonite hidden inside of it! The Professor removes his disguise, and Lex Luthor savors what many years of planning has wrought, and he prepares to unmask Voltran...

He is grabbed from behind by Superboy, who used his last robot to become "Voltran" and causing Luthor to reveal himself! The Teen of Steel knows that his Clark Kent robot pretended to be Superboy, while he went off to school as Clark in his place. He was aware that whoever framed him was using Kryptonite, but fortunately, his robots are not affected by it, and Luthor will be forced to tell the truth of his misdeeds!

In the letterspage, we learn from Wally Wood that he was: born in Menaga, Minn, June 17, 1927... served in the Merchant Marine in World War II, then joined Army to become an instructor inthe paratroops... Studied at Minneapolis School of Art, then at Hogarth's Cartoonists and Illustrators Institute, now called the School of Visual Arts.

Began lettering comics while attending school, then doing lettering and backgrounds for Will Eisner, followed by similar chores for Harry Anderson, who was doing advertising comic magazines... In 1949, started really doing art work, first inking exclusively, then complete pages... Worked for nearly every company, then settled down to one ("MAD") for 12 years... Meanwhile, did children's books, toy box designs, advertising, science-fiction overs and illustrations, bubble gum cards, flash cards, coloring books, gag cartoons, and illustrations for men's adventure magazines, worked on three newspaper strips ("Sky Masters," with Jack Kirby, and as a ghost on two others) posters, slide films, even a mural.

Quit "MAD" and started to draw a super-hero for one of DC's competitors... created, wrote, and drew the characters for three new books (war, science-fiction, spy) for a couple of other publishing firms... Wrote and designed two animated commercials, which did - on color television... Wrote and drew a special Christmas strip, which a syndicate ran for three weeks, starring my character, Bucky Ruckus... Created, scripted, and drew two features for a giant, newspaper-size comic offered by a toy company.

Three-time winner of the National Cartoonists' Society Award as best comic magazine artist... Winner of a Gold Medal from the Art Directors Club of New York... Founded and published my own magazine, "Witzend," a small, mail-order mag for fans.

Tony Isabella of Cleveland writes: "Blackout For Superboy in #154 was an excellent use of a fairly old theme," in his ever-running comics critique. "Superboy lost control of his vision a number of times but never so effectively. I"m also glad to see that Frank Robbins is stressing the boy part of Superboy, making the world's mightiest teen seem human. I like the subtle moral that Frank worked in; even a Superboy, no matter how much he knows, needs guidance from the older generation... No doubt you'll get some complaints that the wafer-thin transmitter was too far ahead of its time, but ignore them. The greatest of the pulp heroes, Doc Savage, was also ahead of his time." (Thanks, Tony, for spotting what we've been subtly doing, showing the human side of Superboy. -Ed.)

The poses of the startled citizens of Smallville is amusing. They are either shading their eyes from the glare of the falling Superboys or they are attempting to yodel.

William Gaines was an enthusiast of zeppelins.

Voltran's costume looks like a cross between Electro and Lightning Lad.

Who would hate Superboy enough to frame him?

Who would have a stockpile of Kryptonite for sale?

Could it be Ruthol... errr... Luthor?

This Review Is Dedicated To Tony Isabella and Mike Norwitz

Steve Chung
"The Day It Rained Reviews!"