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Superboy 167
"The Super-Mammoth Mystery!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND July, 1970

Art: Bob Brown and Murphy Anderson Story: Frank Robbins

(Originally Reviewed On 07/12/02)

It's summer in Smallville, and on this hot morning, the circus has come, and Superboy has arrived to check out the largest trained elephant in captivity, but his sudden appearance causes the elephant to break her chain, and flee for the countryside!

Superboy heads for the elephant, holding his hands in front of him in order to halt the elephant, but it flees once again, and he dare not try to lift it, for he might hurt it in the struggle. Spotting a peanut vendor, he borrows the wagon, and waits to see if the elephant's fear or desire for peanuts is stronger.

The elephant follows the aroma of the peanuts, while at the train station, Kuku The Clown wonders how the circus will be able to open without their star attraction, but he and Nardu The Ringmaster see Superboy heading back with the elephant close behind. Superboy apologizes for startling the elephant, and Kuku is grateful for the save, while Nardu is certain that their future is guaranteed. Nardu gives free passes to The Teen of Steel, and as Superboy heads off, he notices something odd about the elephant.

Kuku laughs at the trick they pulled on Superboy, while Nardu is certain that if The Teen of Steel was fooled, then no one will be able to figure out the "stampede" act later. The citizens of Smallville turn out for the grand opening circus parade down main street, with Lana pleased to be Superboy's date, and The Teen of Steel eager to see Trixie The Elephant, who follows Kuku and is slamming cymbals with her front feet, and banging a drum with her tail. Kiku is carrying a Smallville Sanitation Dept garbage bag and is on a anti-litter campaign. While he is looking for litter, Trixie's trunk heads his way...

Trixie's trunk sends the clown into the air, and Superboy soars into the air to catch him, but before he can reach him, Kuku opens an umbrella for a safe landing. Walking with him later, they pass by the lion's cage and Lana laughs at Superboy's facial expression, when all turn and see Kuku's next act, as he is about to dive into... a pail?

Kuku has his eyes on an armored car carrying gold, and Nardu uses a knife to cut the rope holding up the circus tent. Lana urges Superboy to stop Kiku from performing his stunt, but The Teen of Steel doesn't want to be burned twice. He relents and heads for Kiku's rescue, but the clown's suspenders enable him to rebound as a bungee cord would work today. The tent collapses, and Trixie is startled!

Seeing the tent collapse and Trixie fleeing, Superboy heads to pull the center-pole, and flies upward to prevent the crowd from suffocating, and on the highway near Smallville, a guard tells the armored car driver that too bad they can't stop and enjoy the circus, and his pal assures him that they can't stop for nothin'!

Around the next corner is Trixie, who comes charging for the armored car, causing it to swerve into a tree! The guards revive from the crash, to find their truck and the gold -- gone! With the tent up, Superboy heads to find Trixie, and he's determined to catch her.

As he raises the elephant, his super-hearing picks up a police radio alert concerning the missing armored car carrying the U.S. Treasury Gold. He decides to return Trixie and continue the search. At night, the circus leaves Smallville, and Nardu gloats that they pulled off their scheme beneath Superboy's super-nose, and Kuku knows that once they've cleared Smallville, they'll open up and count their loot! Out of town, Nardu activates the mechanism which reveals inside the Trojan Elephant... the missing truck! But, inside the missing truck is Superboy, who knew about the flaws in Nardu and Kuku's near-flawless crime!

The first flaw was when "Trixie" wouldn't eat a single peanut after following the wagon back, which is quite unlike a healthy -- hungry -- living elephant! Kuku admits that he programmed the elephant to do many things, but not that, while Nardu chastizes the so-called brilliant toy-maker's mind. The other clue was when he and Lana were walking by the lion's cage, where there was meat for the cats, but no hay for the large elephant. When he caught up with "Trixie" and overheard the police-alert, he used his x-ray vision to inspect the elephant and fold the gold truck inside! When Kuku asks why Superboy waited until now to catch them, he tells them that he wanted to verify that they were the ones behind the Trojan Elephant. While the citizens of Smallville slumber, Superboy makes like Sabu, and has a triumphal entrance to police headquarters while riding atop "Trixie", as Nardu and Kuku languish inside their elephantine cell.

The title says it all. An enjoyable mystery which takes all of ten pages to tell, and the clues are there for the readers to find them.

Steve Chung
"The Super-Mammoth Review!"