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Superman 227
"The Super-Powers of Perry White!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND (80 Page Giant #72) June - July, 1970

Story: Unknown Art: Curt Swan and George Klein

(Originally Reviewed On 05/13/02)

Perry White, the gruff crusading editor of The Daily Planet, finds himself now in possession of super-powers! With these new abilities, the balance of power has shifted in Metropolis, and even The Man of Steel finds himself in danger from... "The Super-Powers of Perry White!" On the splash page, Superman is under siege at his Fortress of Solitude by Masterman's heat-vision, which is unaffected by lead, and easily melts The Man of Steel's protective suit of armor, while the super-powered Daily Planet editor slashes The Bottle City of Kandor in two with a sword made out of Green Kryptonite!

Nighttime in Metropolis finds Perry White tending to his garden and coming across a bizarre form of plant-life, whose fruit emits an overwhelming odor, and the gruff editor finds himself taking a bite from the unusual fruit! The next morning, Perry is in his office and is trying to unjam the door to his safe, and in his excitement, he rips the metal door completely off! Holding the heavy door in one hand, and his ever-present cigar in the other, he figures that the metal must have rusted off!

Later in the day, Perry receives a call from cub reporter Jimmy Olsen, who has information on the state senators, but the editor had intended for him to interview the Senators' baseball team! Frustated by the misunderstanding, he slams his fist on his desk, causing it to collapse from the force of the punch. On the phone, Jimmy wonders what has happened, while Perry insists the noise was his watch falling and hangs up. Still figuring that items around the office are falling apart due to wear and tear, he heads for a nearby trophy cabinet, and lifts it with one hand! Perry has super-strength, as well as lighting his cigar with heat-vision, and takes an impromptu flight around his private office.

He knows that it was the fruit he ate and decides to keep it a secret, as well as telling the staff that the damage to the safe and desk were due to an overnight burglary. Outside of the office, Lois Lane asks him to watch the Kryptonite exhibit, which she set up, being photographed, while Perry wonders if the otherworldly substance will affect him as it does Superman! He and Lois watch the photographer line up the shot of the replicas of the four different types of Kryptonite... Green, which can kill Superman... Red, which has unusual effects on The Man of Steel... Blue, which only affects Bizarro, and White, which is deadly to plant life. The color photograph will serve as a spread in the Sunday edition of The Planet, while Perry is determined to learn if he's susceptible to Kryptonite. At his home, Perry dons an asbestos suit, which will enable him to fly at high speed without getting on fire, the mask which is lead-lined will protect his identity from The Man of Steel's x-ray vision, and the "M:" on his chest stands for Masterman!

In space, Masterman goes in search of Kryptonite, which he finds in a meteor swarm, and is unaffected by their radiation. Taking one back with him, Perry hopes to make Superman immune to them, as well. Putting The Green K in a safe place, he is determined to use his powers for good as Masterman, and stops a truck with loose brakes before it can run into a startled crowd, who are equally amazed by the figure in their midst. At The Daily Planet, Clark Kent is wondering about the identity of the mysterious Masterman, while Perry assigns him to find out, and offering him a week's vacation if he succeeds.

Jimmy asks if he could have the afternoon off to visit his Aunt Emma, who has a bad cold, but Perry's x-ray vision spots the baseball ticket in his shirt pocket, and decides to teach the cub reporter a lesson. Perry agrees to give him the afternoon off, but tells him that he had planne for Jimmy to cover the game, but decides to do it himself! Jimmy scratches his head, knowing that he can't go without Perry seeing him! A radio flash reports an escaped lion at the Metropolis Amusement Park, and both Perry and Clark think that this is a job for their respective alter-egos. Clark feigns a headache, while Perry goes to take a liver pill, and at the door of the Daily Planet Storeroom, Clark peeks with his x-ray vision and see Perry changing into his Masterman uniform. When Perry has flown off, Clark changes to Superman and decides to watch his progress with his telescopic-vision.

Masterman uses his super-breath to corral the lion, then pick up the beast and carry it to its cage, and at his home, Perry tinkers with his television set, while Superman watches with his telescopic-vision, and sees Perry identify himself as Xasnu, and speaks with Y'Trom from Planet Zelm. The possessed Perry tells of how he landed as a spore, which grew into a plant, and produced fruit which an earthman ate, and as its substance spread through his system, Perry acquired super-powers, but now Xasnu has control of him!

Realizing this, Superman resolves to stop him for the sake of the world, and he continues to watch as Perry reads all he can about The Man of Steel at super-speed in order to learn how to destroy him. Superman contacts Supergirl via super-ventriloquism and tells her to keep both he and Perry under surveillance, and if he should be beaten, The Superman Emergency Squad are to join her in taking him down. She agrees that it's best that she makes an appearance if her cousin is beaten. The Man of Steel takes the precaution of hypnotizing himself so that he'll be immune from the pain of Kryptonite! The following day at the Daily Planet finds Clark in the privacy of his office... typing at super-speed to finish his various assignments, and concentrate on defending himself against Masterman.

Unfortunately, Perry's super-hearing has picked up the sound of super-speed typing from Clark's office, and he sees with his x-ray vision that he is really Superman! Perry summons Clark, Lois, and Jimmy to his office, where he shows them a piece of Green Kryptonite, which he tells them was sent in by a reader for them to get rid of it. Perry knows that Clark won't be able to hide his pain, but as seconds pass, Clark suggests that they contact Superman and have him get rid of it while it's in the lead box, and Lois sees that he's unaffected by the Kryptonite, so that Clark couldn't possibly be Superman! Perry can only wonder how Clark was able to conceal his weakness, but that's his secret, for the post-hypnotic suggestion enabled him to not feel the pain for 30 seconds, and he barely has enough strength to walk out. He flies for The Fortress of Solitude and makes preparations before Perry arrives...

The Man of Steel dons his lead armor suit, which comes complete with TV antennae, a screen, and televsion receiver, as well as a TV camera with telescopic lens, and batteries for power. Soon, Masterman bursts through the entrance, and demands that Superman come out of hiding, for he is armed with a Green Kryptonite sword and a Red Kryptonite spear, from a meteor he just found! Masterman slashes the Bottle City of Kandor in two with the Green K Sword, then confronts the lead-armored Superman, who lures Masterman to the Perry White Room! The Man of Steel is bombarded by telepathy telling him to hurl the Perry White statue at Masterman, symbolizing their broken friendship, and succeeds in unmasking him, as the statue is broken in two by the Green K Sword.

In the Krypton Room, Superman uses an energy-drainer from Planet Erezan, but it is smashed when Perry hurls a model of Krypton to shatter it! In another chamber, The Man of Steel releases a space porcupine, which can emit all sorts of harmful radiations, but it is blown against the wall by Perry's super-breath! Superman races for his Super Inventions Room, where there's a device which can destroy any known substance to dust!

The device shatters Perry's uniform and his weapons, but Perry is unharmed! He uses his heat-vision to melt Superman's armor, and The Man of Steel knows that he has no other defense against another attack, but Supergirl arrives and hurls a piece of White Kryptonite at Perry, causing the alien plant intelligence to die, for this form of Kryptonite destroys all forms of plant life. She apologizes for disobeying her cousin's plans, but she had gone in search of a piece of White Kryptonite, and Superman resolves to reveal her existence to the world... soon!

Superman brings Perry and the White Kryptonite to his garden, where the plant alien is destroyed, and when the Daily Planet editor revives, he has no memory of Clark being Superman, and recalls nothing beyond saving some folks from a lion. The Man of Steel fills him in on what's happened (or most of it) and at The Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl is sorry for Kandor's destruction, but Superman shows her that he placed the real Bottle City in a special lead-lined room for safety, while baiting Perry with a decoy,and Supergirl marvels that it was White Kryptonite that saved the day.

Jon Knutson has some questions about the various types of Kryptonite and this spurred the review of Superman #227, which is the 80 Page Giant touted as the All-Kryptonite Issue!

Masterman is also the name of a villain from The Invaders.

There's a Marvel monster story drawn by Dick Ayers called "Save Me From The Weed" where a man falls prey to an alien plant and possible invasion.

At the time of this story, only four Kryptonite types were known. Green, Blue, Red, and White.

I wonder why Jimmy didn't decide to raid his disguise trunk and go in another identity to the ballgame, but Perry might have been able to smoke him out with his super-hearing, vision, etc.

Perry White converts a TV set into an interplanetary communicator, while in another Silver Age story, Eobard Thawne tinkered with an electric razor in order to transform himself into a duplicate of Barry Allen. The latter was commented upon by Mr. Silver Age in his column.

Interesting that Clark didn't take into account the fact that Perry could hear his super-speed typing, and didn't take steps to preserve his identity. The concept of super-speed typing appeals to me and makes me long for a Silver Age contest between The Man of Steel and... our own Jen Contino, who has written for Sequential Tart, Wizard Magazine, Comicology, CrossGen, and word has it... a book! (Holy Amazon Dot.Com, Batman! Look it up!)

Lois' suspicions of Clark being Superman are put to rest, while The Man of Steel dons his special protective armor, proving that the world really needed an Iron Man, for Supes isn't exactly a Tony Stark, even with that Kryptonian technology.

The space porcupine resembles a crimson turtle, and both are transformations which Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, has undergone in his Silver Age stories.

White Kryptonite also saved the day when Superman was dying from Virus X in another Silver Age Action Comics arc.

This Review Is Dedicated To Jon Knutson and Jen Contino (The Fastest Typist on Earth)

Steve Chung
The Super-Review of Perry White!