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Superman 159
"Lois Lane, the Supermaid from Earth"

story: Edmund Hamilton (?) art: Curt Swan and George Klein

featuring Lois Lane as Kandi Kan of Krypton featuring Lu Thoria of Krypton, as an Evil Female Scientist featuring Kal-El (Superman) as an Ordinary Mortal

Chapter I - Lois Lane's Flight from Earth

"Everyone thinks you are a farmer!" remarks young Ella Lane to her husband. "Why have you concealed the fact that you're really a great scientist?"

"Because I need secrecy," replies Sam Lane, drawing on his pipe. "That's why I came here . . . to see if I can prevent a catastrophe which is menacing the world. I don't want to panic the public."

In his hidden laboratory in the old barn, Mr. Lane finds there is no way to avert the peril!

"The sun is going to explode!" he concludes grimly. "That means the Earth is DOOMED!"

"No one would believe my warnings! But this POWER RAY which I've developed could hurl humans in space capsules like this tiny model to the distant planet KRYPTON, where they'd be safe! And my ray would give them SUPER POWERS, to make them immune to the greater gravity there!"

But time runs out, before Lane's great plan can be used! And, by the end of page two, little Lois is hurtled into space in the tiny model while her parents tearfully embrace during their last moments on Earth!

"Good bye, Lois! Good bye!"

"Stars bright! Pretty!" murmurs baby Lois, who seems no worse for the wear. Perhaps it's because the RAY has given her SUPER-POWERS!

On Krypton, zoo keeper Khal Kan and his wife, Maurel, have penetrated the wilds of the Scarlet Jungle on a trapping expedition when Maurel spots a bright light in the sky!

"There's a baby in that capsule! And she seems unharmed! It's impossible!"

But that's just the beginning! The Kans discover the little girl is virtually invulnerable . . . and can FLY! Soon, baby Lois is hefting Kryptonian elephants with one hand while Khal mutters about her X-ray vision and heat vision! Baby Lois has the full package! The Kans adopt Lois and take her home to Kryptonville after vowing to conceal her true origin and her super-powers --- for her own protection!

Lois meets her new neighbors, baby Len Landor. "Hmmph . . . a girl!" huffs baby Len. But young Kal-El (whose father is a great scientist) is more enthusiastic. " Me tell my father you my friend!" he burbles ecstatically!

But, Kal's father, Jor-El, is studying a mighty mystery. Earth's sun has gone nova and its solar system has been destroyed! " Just think," opines Lara, his wife, "what if it had been Krypton?"

"Krypton is not in danger any more," snaps Jor-El. " Not since I found a way to halt the atomic reaction that once threatened her." But Jor-El's reverie is interrupted. His sharp eyes have spotted a strange anomaly on the video record of Earth's destruction.

The years pass, and by the next panel, Lois is a young woman. Her foster parents have named her Kandi Kan and trained her to conceal her super-powers. Old Khal Kan donates a pair of glasses to facilitate a secret identity while Maurel contributes a SUPER UNIFORM sewn from the blankets that swaddled baby Lois in the tiny rocket ship.

An emergency soon beckons and Lois begins her career as SUPERMAID! In the days that follow, all Kryptonville cheers their new super-heroine. "Mighty funny," observes red-haired Len Landor, "how I never see YOU around, Kandi Kan, when SUPERMAID is there!"

"Quit teasing Kandi!" Kal-El chides. "My dad's new rocket is being fired today! Come on, Krypto!"

The teenagers rush to Jor-El's backyard to watch the rocket launch --- but foolish Krypto has wandered into the capsule --- and is shot into space!

"Krypto will die in space!" wails young Kal-El, "for there is no one to save him!"

Yes, it's a job for SUPERMAID! And Lois is equal to the task! She quickly brings Krypto back to Kal-El and a grateful family! "What terrific powers she has! Who can she be, Joe-El?" asks Lara. "I have no idea of her identity," answers Jor-El. That kind of curiosity would be nosy! "But I do have an idea of her ORIGIN! Perhaps, some day I can confirm it!" Now THAT kind of curiosity is scientific! See the difference, readers?

The years pass again and Len Landor and Kal-El discuss the future with SUPERMAID. Len wants to become a spaceman and has applied to the Space Academy --- yes, Len is a space cadet. While Kal has been accepted to medical school to become a doctor. "SUPERMAID's always more interested in Len than in me," ponders Kal disconsolately. "He's adventurous, glamorous . . . I guess she'll always feel that way!"

But SUPERMAID has her own secret sadness. Out in space, she carves huge likenesses of Sam and Ella Lane into two passing meteors with her heat vision. "I love my foster parents but this will be my memorial to my real ones, and to perished Earth! No one dreams I come from there!"

But SUPERMAID is wrong! She answers a summons from scientist Jor-El! "Space ships have brought back fragments from your native planet, Earth! I thought you might be interested is seeing them!" he explains.

"I . . . feel . . . weak . . . sick . . ." SUPERMAID gasps!

Jor-El quickly ascertains that the EARTHITE, as he names it, is the culprit, and determines that the element SILVER acts as a shield to the deadly radioactivity. Of course, earthite has NO effect on native Kryptonians such as himself or Kal. Jor-El promises SUPERMAID that he will work on finding a permanent cure.

But further tragedy awaits. Lois learns that her foster parents have perished on a jungle expedition --- victims of Virus-X! She vows never to become SUPERMAID again as using her powers would remind her of Khal Kan and Maurel --- and break her heart!

She decides to leave Kryptonville and move to Krytonopolis to become a nurse but as she closes the house and packs her bags she discovers a taped message among her foster parents' belongings.

"Kandi, dear," addresses Khal Kan from beyond the grave, " if anything should happen to us on our dangerous trips, we want you to know how much we've loved you! We're sure you will ALWAYS use your super-powers for the good of Krypton, your adopted world!"

SUPERMAID vows to not disappoint them and packs her SUPERMAID costume with the rest of her things. She bids good-bye to all the zoo animals and makes her way to her new life in the big city!

Chapter II - The Female Luthor of Krypton!

Kryptonopolis Hospital! The years have passed and we join Lois as Professor Rorr-Ak loses his temper! "Orderly!" he roars. "Where is Dr. Kal-El? And get nurse Kandi Kan! GREAT KRYPTON'S SUN! We have an important operation scheduled and no one is here!"

Yes, readers, Professor Rorr-Ak is an exact double for Perry White!

"Relax, Prof!" offers the orderly. "I'll call the doctor and nurse right away!"

"Don't call me "prof" or I'll transfer you to the "Virus-X" ward!" fumes Rorr-Ak because the orderly is an exact double for Jimmy Olsen!

"Calling Nurse Kandi Kan! Calling Dr. Kal-El! You're wanted at once in the ray treatment room!"

But Kandi Kan (secretly SUPERMAID) is cutting a pass through the Jewel Mountains. Her super hearing picks up the call and she speeds back to her job in Kryptonopolis!

"GREAT KRYPTON'S SUN!" sputters Rorr-Ak. "It took you long enough to get here! And where is Dr. Kal-El?"

"Right behind you, Professor!" answers Kal-El! But Kal wants to chat with Kandi about SUPERMAID's latest feat --- cutting a path through the Jewel Mountains! Wow! News travels FAST on Krypton! No wonder Lois and Kal opted to work at a hospital instead! Less time consuming responsibility! More time to sneak off and cut paths through Jewel Mountains! Reporters are ALWAYS on the job on Krypton!

"Quiet!" commands Rorr-Ak. "Here comes Dr. Lu Thoria with the patient! She's going to demonstrate her new operation technique!"

The patient has lost a hand! And Dr. Lu Thoria instructs the staff on how to aim her new ray! "My ray stimulates the regeneration of new bone and tissue and will grow a NEW hand for this man who lost one in a chemical experiment!"

"Wonderful!" exclaims Kal-El thoughtfully. "If it only works . . . ."

"My wrist!" the patient cries. "It's growing a new hand before my own eyes!"

"Congratulations, Dr. Lu Thoria!" shouts Rorr-Ak! "You'll win the Krypton Medical Prize for this!"

But Kal has already forgotten about it! He wants to talk to Lois about SUPERMAID.

"Bah!" glowers Dr. Lu Thoria. "Despite all my achievements, Kal-El is like everyone else on Krypton! He thinks only of that flashy show-off, SUPERMAID! I hate her!"

"I secretly tried to destroy her once," silently muses Lu Thoria. She recalls aiming a secret Heat Ray at SUPERMAID from the hidden bush of the Scarlet Jungle. But the ray bounced off SUPERMAID's invulnerable body and reflected back at Dr. Luthoria!

"That heat's scorching me!" she agonized. "If the whole ray had been reflected on me, it might have killed me! But she doesn't even feel it!"

Luckily for Lu Thoria, the ray seems to have affected only the top of her head!

But, back in the present, as Dr. Lu Thoria vows to find a way to permanently rid Krypton of SUPERMAID, the orderly bursts into the operating theater. "A strange ship from outer space is threatening Krypton with terrific unknown weapons!"

Len Landor and his crew of Space Vigilantes has rocketed to meet the menace, but SUPERMAID has decided to lend a hand!

The strange ship belongs to the greatest villain in the universe --- BRAINIAC! And, he has selected the city of Kandor to shrink and imprison in his collection of captured cities!

Brainiac easily brushes aside the armed resistance of Len Landor's rocketeers! It's up to SUPERMAID to save the day!

"That girl appeared from nowhere!" exclaims Brainiac. " The ray doesn't shrink her because it isn't adjusted to her range!"

But before Brainiac can readjust his ray, SUPERMAID has peeled back the walls of his ship and forced it to the ground. "Here come the police!" she explains. "You'll be tried for your attempted crime!"

Justice is swift on Krypton and minutes later, Brainiac is found guilty and sentenced to the Phantom Zone. SUPERMAID rushes to the hospital to check on the wounded Len Landor.

"Len's dying," mutters Dr. Kal-El. "Only radioactivity more powerful than we can provide will re-vitalize him!"

SUPERMAID pulls the wounded Len Landor into her arms and commands Kal-El to don a set of ray proof armor. She flies both to a highly radioactive volcano! "Is it enough radiation to cure him?" she asks.

"It might!" opines Dr. Kal-El. " I must measure carefully the radiation he receives!"

Moments later, Kal exclaims, "The radiation has re-vitalized his cells! He'll live --- but we must get out of here quickly!"

SUPERMAID whisks everyone away and returns to the hospital in her guise as Kandi Kan.

"I . . . feel better now!" murmurs Len Landor. "Thanks to SUPERMAID! You're as much in love with her now as ever, aren't you, Kal?"

Kal turns away at the mention of his secret sorrow. "Yes," he admits, "but I'm just a lowly physician, not a glamorous spaceman. I've often dreamed of how different things might have been . . . "

"If Krypton had perished instead of Earth, *I* might have rocketed to Earth where *I* would have super-powers!"

Kal sees a scene from our own Earth in his mind! He is dressed in the familiar blue and red togs of SUPERMAN flying above an admiring throng!

"Look --- it's the Superman from Krypton!"

Kal sighs heavily and continues his reverie.

"And SHE would have been an earth girl . . . who might have loved *ME* as *I* love SUPERMAID!"

Now, Kal sees our own Lois Lane chasing after him atop the famous Daily Planet building in Metropolis.

"Wait, Superman!" she exclaims.

"Sorry, but I . . . er . . . have some super tasks to perform!" Superman demurs. He can barely conceal the grin breaking across his face as he ascends leaving Lois farther and farther behind.

" But," concludes Kal, breaking out of his reverie, "what's the use of such day dreaming. She's the super one. Not me! And I'm afraid that she will never notice me.

"I'm sorry, Kal," sympathizes Len Landor, no doubt sincere in his wish that all of Krypton would have perished years ago just so Kal would have more ample opportunity to snub Lois on Earth. "By the way, Kal, they tell me Kandi Kan, our childhood play-mate, is a nurse here. May I see her?"

"I'll send her in," says Kal distractedly as he thinks, " And then I'm going to study my father's records. There is a way *I* too may gain super-powers!"

Later, Kandi visits Len. " I notice YOU weren't around when SUPERMAID was! I still think you two are the same girl!"

"Oh Len! Aren't you ever going to get over that foolish idea?" blushes Lois.

Meanwhile, Kal-El tensely studies the scientific records of his father, Jor-El. "These video records my father made of Earth's destruction . . . they show the POWER RAY that hurled baby SUPERMAID to Krypton!" No time for wistful daydreams of Krypton's destruction now as Kal-El continues: " Hmm . . . that POWER RAY gave her super-powers! Maybe, if I duplicated it, it could make *me* SUPER, too!"

After more study, Kal-El concludes, "There's one great risk! The POWER RAY designed for earthlings, could be FATAL for a Kryptonian! It might give me temporary super-powers and then kill me!"

Not many chances to snub Lois there!

However, sensing a kindred spirit, Dr. Lu Thoria steps into Kal-El's office. "Kal-El," she smiles, "I want you to come with me!"

"Lu Thoria!" exclaims Kal-El, who has been lost in thought. "Where do you want me to go?"

Lu Thoria arches a pretty brow. "To the ship of BRAINIAC! I have something to show you!"

Evidently slipping under watchful Professor Rorr-Ak's radar, Kal-El and Lu Thoria make their way to an area just outside Kryptonopolis.

"His ship and its dangerous weapons were supposed to be under guard . . . but the guards are asleep," remarks a puzzled Kal-El.

Unfazed, Dr. Lu Thoria answers, "My stunner ray knocked them out! Come into the ship with me!"

Kal-El obeys and is amazed to observe, "Those robot machines are REPAIRING the torn ship!"

"At my orders!" smugly explains Dr. Lu Thoria. " I found the way to tune them to my thought-commands! This ship, with all its great weapons, will be MINE!"

Lu Thoria opens her heart to Kal-El. "For long, I've hidden my ambitions, but now I can realize them! With this ship and its powers, I'LL be the ruler of all KRYPTON . . . and YOU . . . shall rule by my side!"

Suddenly finding his moral center, Kal-El answers, "No! It's wrong! You can't do it . . . SUPERMAID will prevent you!"

Dr. Lu Thoria raises a clenched fist and smirks, "Not any more! I used my spy scanner to study all your father's video records . . . and I've discovered EARTHITE is fatal to SUPERMAID! You should have destroyed that information!"

"She's mad, evil . . ." concludes Kal-El silently. "And it was MY carelessness that let her find out SUPERMAID'S weakness! I've got to stop her somehow . . ."

And Kal-El finds a way! He spots a super-loudspeaker control and blurts out for all Krypton to hear: " SUPERMAID! DANGER at BRAINIAC's ship!"

"Is this the way you return my generous offer?" asks Lu Thoria, reaching for her ever-present ray gun. "Drop that microphone!"

But it's too late for Lu Thoria! SUPERMAID bursts through the walls of the ship! "What's going on here? Why, it's Lu Thoria and she's BALD! She's been wearing a wig!"

"Yes!" snarls Lu Thoria as SUPERMAID pins her arms. "The heat ray I tried to kill you with was reflected back down on me and burned my hair! It damaged the hair cells so I'll always be BALD!"

SUPERMAID's hold on Lu Thoria is suddenly tenuous as Lu Thoria continues, " I'll even the score with you, SUPERMAID! But for right now, those machines I've ordered to run amuck will keep you busy!"

Brainiac's huge machines have gone crazy! And as they crash through the ship and head towards Kryptonopolis, Kal-El exclaims, "You've got to stop them, SUPERMAID! They could kill innocent people . . . Lu Thoria is mad with ambition!"

SUPERMAID is forced to release Lu Thoria and deal with the mad machines. Lu Thoria makes for a flying car and finally squeezes off a stun blast at Kal-El. " A touch of my stunner ray will keep you from following me, Kal! And remember, though I don't have Brainiac's ship, I know all its secrets AND will use them!" she leers triumphantly.

"I'm temporarily paralyzed!" thinks Kal-El. "It's *MY* fault she learned of SUPERMAID's vulnerability to EARTHITE! To protect SUPERMAID, I've got to take the risk and make myself super . . . even though it LATER kills me!"

(Won't SUPERMAID be sorry she didn't notice him THEN?)

Chapter III - The DOOM of SUPERMAID!

As SUPERMAID streaks across Krypton's colorful Rainbow Canyon, searching for the renegade scientist, Lu Thoria, young Dr. Kal-El studies feverishly in the laboratory of his father . . .

"I've done it!" thinks Kal-El grimly. "I've duplicated the POWER RAY which hurled SUPERMAID to Krypton and gave her super-powers! But because of the heavier gravity of this world, and its red sun, it will only give *ME* limited powers for a short time!"

Jor-El, the young doctor's father, steps in to check on his son. "Father," confides Kal-El, " Lu Thoria will use EARTHITE to destroy SUPERMAID! But if this ray gives me super-powers temporarily, I'll be able to defeat her plot!"

However, wise old Jor-El is full of misgivings. "But, son, to you, a Kryptonian, this ray could be perilous! It might even kill you . . . or blow up this city!"

"It's SUPERMAID's life I am thinking about!" replies Kal-El impatiently. "Lu Thoria's evil plans must be stopped! I'll test the ray far away, so that no one can be hurt!"

Dismayed,Jor-El that watches his son speed away. He drops his chin and thinks, "Kal won't listen to me. Maybe Dr. Rorr-Ak can warn him! I'll go see him!"

But, at Kryptonopolis Hospital, Professor Rorr-Ak feels as helpless as Jor-El. "GREAT KRYPTON'S SUN! I tried to discourage Kal-El's wild scheme and couldn't! He's afraid of what Lu Thoria might do!" sputters Rorr-Ak.

Jor-El cannot totally disagree. "Now that she has Brainiac's secrets, she could be a menace to all Krypton! What makes her so EVIL?" ponders Krypton's greatest scientist.

Professor Rorr-Ak shakes his head sadly and pulls his hands behind his back. "I don't know! She was a brilliant scientist whose experiments gave us many great medical discoveries . . . until she became obsessed with ruthless ambition and hatred of SUPERMAID!"

"I'd like to see the records of Lu Thoria's past work," says Jor-El thoughtfully. "I might be able to find something that would help . . ."

Meanwhile, in a hidden make-shift laboratory, Kal-El begins his experiment.

" This projector should emit a POWER RAY not strong enough to hurl me into space, but strong enough to give me some super-powers! Here goes - - -

"Oh . . . its shock is terrible! As though it were bending the atoms out of my body!"

When the impact passes though, Kal-El finds himself lifting heavy furniture with one hand! But Kal is not totally happy with the results. "I have limited super-powers only, because I couldn't take the full strength of the ray!" he complains. But, no time for recrimination. "Now, I must act swiftly before my new powers fade away!'

And with that, Kal-El finds himself FLYING over the landscape of Krypton!

"I can fly, though slowly!" he notes. "Now to find Lu Thoria . . . SUPERMAID doesn't know what *I* know . . . that Lu Thoria will be hunting for EARTHITE, and that's a clue!"

Meanwhile, back at the great hospital, Jor-El and Professor Rorr-Ak study the records of Lu Thoria's work. "You've found something?" queries Rorr-Ak. "Yes," replies Jor-El. "And it explains a mystery but it won't help me find my son! And, if Kal-El follows his rash plan, he may meet disaster! But he's terribly worried about SUPERMAID and will run ANY risk!"

Outside the office door, the super-hearing of SUPERMAID, who has resumed her identity of bespectacled nurse Kandi Kan, has tuned in.

"Oh, no!" thinks our Lois. "I'd better switch back to SUPERMAID and find Kal-El fast!"

But Jor-El is not the only detective on Krypton. Even with his limited powers, Kal-El has found a lead. "Lu Thoria would need a spaceship to get into space and gather EARTHITE," he reasons. "Hmm . . . this spaceship factory . . . it's strangely silent, deserted . . . "

Kal lands to take a closer look and his suspicions bear fruit as a desperate Lu Thoria corners him with a drawn ray-gun. "So," she announces, "you trailed me! Well, you're too late! After I knocked out these workers with my stun-ray, I equipped a ship with all the inventions I learned about from BRAINIAC's ship! Where BRAINIAC failed, *I'll* succeed!"

Kal raises his hands and feigns surrender. "I mustn't let her know I have limited super-powers till I make sure I can sabotage that ship!" he thinks, playing for time.

"Lu Thoria," protests Kal, out loud. "You can't do this! You, who have gave many great scientific gifts to the people of Krypton!"

"Bah," scoffs Lu Thoria. "People don't appreciate what I did! They all admire that silly SUPERMAID! It's why I hate her and will destroy her!"

"Must get closer yet," Kal thinks.

"But, Lu," he says slyly. "You know I've always admired you too!"

Lu Thoria's expression abruptly softens. "You . . . almost convince me . . . but, no, you couldn't really admire ME!"

"I could!" Kal lies. "You're brilliant, beautiful!"

But Kal has overplayed his hand! Lu Thoria doffs the wig she has been wearing and sneers, "I'm beautiful, am I? You admire my BALD head, don't you? Ha ha! I saw the look of DISGUST on your face when my wig fell off before! You can't lie to me, Kal-El! And you can't stop me from destroying SUPERMAID! She made me BALD!"

Lu Thoria whirls and enters the ship bringing up the hatch before Kal-El's startled face.

"I won't let her take off! I'll tear this ship to fragments the way SUPERMAID ripped BRAINIAC's ship!" he thinks.

But Kal's limited powers are not up to the task. "Oh-oh! I'm not SUPER enough to rip the metal! I mustn't let her take off to search for a piece of EARTHITE . . . I've got to STOP her!"

His fingers dig into the metal but it's all he can do to hold on as the ship shivers and launches into the stratosphere. And then . . .

"It's happened!" he cries. "My limited super-powers have faded away! The acceleration has loosened my hold . . . I'm doomed!"

As Kal begins to plummet toward the ground, he is rescued by SUPERMAID of Earth, just as Lois on Earth used to be saved by SUPERMAN from Krypton.

SUPERMAID sets Kal on the ground gently and chides him. "You could have been killed if I hadn't been in time! But, Lu Thoria got away . . . won't you tell me the clue you have to find her?"

"I can't let her fly into that EARTHITE danger . . . " thinks Kal. "I'll have to pretend I'm still SUPER!" Some things never change. Whether on Earth or Krypton, Kal-El always decides for others what is best for them.

"I'll handle Lu Thoria myself, with my super-powers!" he announces brusquely. "I don't need a GIRL, even a super-one, to help ME!"

Stung, SUPERMAID replies, "I get it! You're jealous of me, like ALL males, and want to capture Lu Thoria yourself! Well, I'll find her somehow!"

She streaks off leaving Kal-El alone on the ground.

But Kal-El is unrepentant! "I must find Lu Thoria FIRST!" he thinks. "With my temporary 'super-powers' faded away, there's only ONE way left!"

Since Kal-El has left her clueless, SUPERMAID flies right by Lu Thoria's rapidly departing ship. Meanwhile on the ground, Len Landor, fully recovered, is about to report for space duty when he is met by a frantic Kal-El.

" . . . and so, " explains Kal-El, "I must overtake Lu Thoria before she secures a chunk of EARTHITE! In that fast space-scout, we can do it!"

"If it's for SUPERMAID's sake," answers Len Landor loyally, "all right! Let's GO!"

SUPERMAID, unable to find Lu Thoria anywhere on Krypton, learns the frightening truth from Jor-El!

"And, so you see," explains the scientist, "Kal-El wanted to protect you from exposure to EARTHITE! Out in that meteor swarm are many EARTHITE fragments which can destroy you but not people from Krypton!"

"Then, obviously," replies Lois, "Lu Thoria would go there . . . and Kal-El would follow! I'll get out there fast! But Kal-El must get over his masculine jealousy and cooperate with me . . ."

Evidently, Lois didn't buy that Kal-El's brusque ingratitude was but a ploy to protect her.

"Wait a moment," counsels Jor-El. "If Lu Thoria is planning to trap you, I have an idea . . ."

As Len Landor lands his scout-ship in the meteor swarm which contains EARTHITE fragments. Kal-El and Len don their spacesuits and hurry out onto the barren landscape.

"You were right, Kal-El! The EARTHITE fragments here attracted Lu Thoria!" crackles Len, through his radio. "There's her parked ship!"

"You stay here, Len," orders Kal-El. "If I fail to overcome her, I want you to warn SUPERMAID!"

But as Kal-El approaches Lu Thoria, she grins evilly through her space helmet. "You've followed me again, Kal-El? Too late! I've gathered much EARTHITE! And EARTHITE missiles fired from this cannon will destroy SUPERMAID!"

Scarcely pausing to wonder why Lu Thoria has mounted a cannon on this barren meteor, Kal answers bravely, "You'll have to kill ME first, Lu Thoria!"

But, suddenly, above them, streaking down is SUPERMAID!

"Ha!" cries Lu Thoria triumphantly. "You've unwittingly HELPED me, Kal! You've led SUPERMAID here for me to destroy!"

And so, by a strange twist of fate, Lu Thoria's mounting and loading of a cannon filled with EARTHITE on a deserted meteor instead of loading the ore on her ship seems like a stroke of foresight instead of an odd aberration.

"Don't fire that missile!" protests Kal-El. "Oh-oh! Too late!"

The missile strikes! And SUPERMAID suddenly plunges headlong!

"Oh, no!" mourns Kal. "As I feared, the EARTHITE missile paralyzed her . . . she'll die!"

"At last!" sneers Lu Thoria, vengefully.

But, in a stunning reversal, the MAID of STEEL turns her fall into a swoop and captures Lu Thoria in her steely grip!

"Her 'fall' was a TRICK!" sputters the defeated renegade scientist. "The EARTHITE didn't effect her!"

"Thanks to Jor-El," answers Lois. "Before I came here, he sprayed my entire body with a SILVER-DUST coating! SILVER protects me from any EARTHITE that I may come in contact with!"

"She'll be tried and sentenced to the Phantom Zone for this!" predicts Kal-El.

But Lois is magnanimous. "No," she replies. "It's not Lu Thoria's fault! After you and Len have cleared away that dangerous EARTHITE, come to Kryptonopolis Hospital!"

Dutifully, his space mission completed, Dr. Kal-El reports to the great hospital on Krypton where he joins SUPERMAID as she watches Jor-El and Dr. Rorr-Ak bring Lu Thoria into the ray treatment room.

"Lu Thoria is under anesthesia," explains Jor-El. "But I deduced from her experiment-records that her sudden evil nature was NOT her fault! She was a noble scientist until one of her experimental rays had a totally unexpected effect on her!

"As can happen with a pressure on the brain," Jor-El continues knowledgably, "that ray changed her from a noble scientist to a sinister renegade . . .

"I believe this projector can reverse the effect of that evil radiation and make her normal again!"

"And," announces Kal-El, who has evidently been busy on the way back from the space-port, "Dr. Rorr-Ak and I have just perfected a hair-growing process! We'll use that on her, too!"

Quicker than it takes to sign a medical consent form, the procedure is over and Lu Thoria awakes. "What made me do such awful things? Trying to kill our wonderful SUPERMAID . . . it's like a bad dream! And, look . . . I've got my hair back!"

"Lu Thoria!" beams a happy Lois, "we can be FRIENDS!"

And so all's well that ends well! But . . . not quite! There are still four more panels left in this great imaginary novel!

Days later, as SUPERMAID flies Kal-El to Krypton's Scarlet Jungle, in a quest of rare medical herbs . . .

"If I can help you find a plant which will serve as an antidote for Virus-X, it will be a great boon for the people of Krypton!" says Lois happily.

"Hmm . . ." mutters Kal-El. "What's that meteor over there? It can't be EARTHITE, for it glows PURPLE instead of ORANGE!"

Crowding closer to the strange glowing rock, Lois posits, "Can it be possible there could be a purple form of EARTHITE, created by having passed through a purple cosmic cloud, and having different effects? Strange, I feel a queer tingling! Let's leave!"

But when Lois attempts to carry Kal-El back to Kryptonopolis . . .

"I . . . I can't lift you, or fly! And my X-ray vision doesn't go on when I want it to!" Lois exclaims.

"Great Krypton!" cries Kal (almost hopefully?) "Somehow, you've lost your super-powers!"

Yes, readers, PURPLE EARTHITE acts like RED KRYPTONITE, only all its effects are PERMANENT!

"Why, Kal-El!" says Lois. "YOU can fly! That PURPLE EARTHITE . . . its weird effect was to TRANSFER all my super-powers to YOU and leave me ordinary!"

"It's true!" giggles Kal-El. "I can FLY and I have X-ray vision! I'm a real SUPERMAN now! I'll fly you back to Kryptonopolis!"

And, later . . .

"Kal-El," calls Lois. "Come back here! Just because I'm now an ordinary girl and don't have to wear a costume and you're a SUPERMAN, doesn't mean you can give me the cold shoulder! It's not fair!"

"Now, now, Kandi," chuckles Kal-El as he flies by, savoring every moment of the snub. "You must get over your petty feminine jealousy of me! 'Bye!"

Lu Thoria is cured. And Krypton is safe. And Kal-El is finally snubbing Lois with his super-powers! Status quo has been restored to the Weisinger Universe and at last, all's well that ends well!


Well, the end of the story anyway. I don't recall seeing this story reprinted in any SUPERMAN or LOIS LANE annual. I think the idea here was to re-tell Superman's life story with enough of a twist to entertain the older reader while also reinforcing the existing mythos for the newer ones. Kal-El dissatisfaction comes not from his secret love for Kandi Kan but for the loss of his "destiny" . . . growing up to become Superman. So, despite the wonderful details about Krypton, I think the story taps a little too closely into Superman's dark side. He's almost as jealous of SUPERMAID as is Dr. Lu Thoria. Lois hit the mark about his "masculine" jealousy. Even Jor-El did not deny it. That probably contributed to its stay in the files. But, even a bit unpolished and rough, it's still a little gem.

~thomas p. williams~