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Superman 193
"Luthor's Super-Bodyguard! (2)"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND (80 Page Giant #31) "Luthor's Super-Bodyguard!" Part II January/February, 1967

Story: Jerry Siegel Art: Curt Swan and George Klein

Lex Luthor has found a cure for cancer which has changed the criminal scientist into a hero overnight! The man of steel is convinced that Luthor wishes to go straight, and helps to arrange for his release! Now, in this imaginary tale, the underworld finds its lust for vengeance being thwarted by... "Luthor's Super-Bodyguard! On the splash page, Luthor thanks Superman for saving him from a thrown hand-grenade, and the man of steel uses his heat-vision to melt the grenade, while reminding him to use the signal-watch whenever his life is in danger! Two mobsters are in Luthor's lab and wish for him to kill the man of steel. They tell him that if he doesn't kill Superman, all of the underworld will believe that the scientist is double-crossing them. When they ask who will die... him or Superman, Luthor tells them that he won't betray the man of steel! His decision made, the two prepare to shoot Luthor...

As the gun goes off, Superman soars in through an open window, and the bullets bounce off of him! Having had a hunch that Luthor wouldn't be safe from the underworld, he has kept his eye on him. The two crooks are knocked senseless, and the man of steel gives Luthor a signal watch, similar to Jimmy Olsen's, but which operates on a different frequency. Whenever he is in danger, the scientist is to press the button, so that Superman can respond to the ultra-sonic distress signal. At a gathering of the underworld, the mobsters vow to kill Luthor until they succeed! When the scientist is walking down the street, a car driven by two hoods roars by, and a hand-grenade is thrown out at Luthor!

Pressing the button on the signal-watch, Luthor watches as Superman arrives to melt the grenade with his heat-vision! The man of steel then uses his super-strength to change the shape of the car into a metal ball, which is rolled over towards police headquarters! One night, as Luthor is about to enter a scientific conference, he sees a shadow... someone is about to shoot him with a poison dart! The signal-watch is activated, and Superman swallows the poison dart! As the crook seeks to escape by racing up a ramp, the man of steel uses his super-breath to freeze the rain on the ramp, causing the would-be assassin to slide back towards him!

A light tap from Superman puts the killer to sleep until he is dropped off at the police station. Later, the man of steel meets with his cousin, Supergirl, to discuss how to keep Luthor alive! Since he can't watch over the scientist at every moment, and since the underworld may get Luthor before he can signal for help, the world would lose the great man. After they have discussed many possible plans, Superman decides to place Luthor in an outer space satellite laboratory! Once the laboratory has been built, the man of steel flies Luthor in a special oxygenated glass-bowl to his new home. Inside the satellite-lab, the scientist expresses his gratitude, and is confident that nothing will stop him from making important discoveries on behalf of mankind!

The chiefs of the underworld have a war council... they want Luthor dead and price is no object! Weeks pass, and Superman's telescopic-vision sees a new threat to Luthor and his lab! Soaring into outer space, the man of steel sees a missile-bomb heading for the satellite-laboratory... Superman meets the missile head-on... and knows that he must do something to overcome the threat of missiles! The man of steel swiftly constructs an impenetrable shield around the satellite-lab... and nothing, not even a hydrogen bom explosion could pierce the semi-transparent substance created by Superman... and only Luthor could operate the exit-hatch in the shield! Inside of the satellite lab... knowing that the signal-watch's ultrasonic waves can't travel through outer space, the man of steel constructs a rocket, which resembles Luthor, and tells the scientist to fire it into Earth's upper atmosphere in case he urgently needs him!

A week passes and the distress rocket passes through the exit-hatch of the impenetrable shield... Above the planet, the rocket explodes, and the fragments dissolve into multi-flares... Seeing Luthor's emergency-signal... Superman enters through the open escape-hatch... and wonders if gangland has learned how to threaten the scientist again! Inside the satellite, the man of steel asks Luthor what's wrong... and the criminal scientist touches a button which lifts lead-lids from the lenses of concealed ray-projectors... Luthor is fine, but it's Superman who is in super-trouble from Green Kryptonite rays! As the man of steel falls to the ground, he wonders if Luthor has lost his mind... but the criminal scientist laughs...

The next moment finds Luthor strapping Superman to a bench, with bands of metal containing Green Kryptonite... As he pulls a switch, they see a wall rising, and behind the thick glass partition beyond it, Lois Lane, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen watch helplessly at the man of steel's predicament! They know that Luthor is as evil as ever, and Superman's Pal knows that his friend has gotten out of worse situations than this! Luthor continues to gloat... about how kind and considerate he is to have brought his foe's friends to witness the man of steel turning green with Kryptonite fever! Superman struggles weakly as the criminal scientist turns up the rays slightly! He had discovered the cancer cure in order to be freed from prison! He pretended to be reformed so that he could lull the man of steel into a false sense of security... so that he could catch Superman off-guard and lure him into this death-trap!

The gangland attempts were legitimate, for they did not suspect he was playing a clever role! They will soon feel differently now! The man of steel knows now that he was a fool to trust him, and Luthor agrees, as he raises the Kryptonite rays to full-strength! As Superman turns completely green and his struggles end, the criminal scientist examines his still form... He must make certain that the man of steel isn't pretending to be dead, to trick him into turning off the rays! Using a super XXX-ray, he sees that this is the real Superman and not a robot! His super-stethoscope shows no life at all... and the man of steel is quite dead! At last! After all the years of trying in vain, Luthor has succeeded in killing his arch-foe! He revels in what he considers a glorious achievement! The criminal scientist lands the satellite lab on Earth... leaving the body of the man of steel with his friends!

Re-entering the satellite-lab, Luthor makes a radio announcement to the people of Earth! He has killed Superman! This is not a hoax... it's absolutely true! All over the world, the people are shocked and saddened by the news of their hero's death! The underworld is shocked and overjoyed by Luthor's trick! As for the criminal scientist, his pleasure is without bounds... With the man of steel gone, he can rule the planet! Very soon, he will be king of the Earth!

The Superman Signal-Watch is a necessary accessory whenever you're in danger and need help from Superman!

Interesting that when the man of steel use his heat-vision on the hand-grenade, it doesn't explode!

Again, I find Silver Age Lex Luthor far more interesting than Present-Day President Luthor. What a diabolical snake, and for those who read the story for the first time, I, for one, didn't see this one coming when I first read it!

With Superman gone, who can possibly stand up against Luthor?

Part III coming soon...

Steve Chung
"Luthor's Super-Review!"