Tuesday, June 16, 2015


We've all wondered which article of clothing is lying to us, haven't we? 

For a brief period in 1969, Superman abandoned his regular red-and-blue togs for a pair of possessed space-pajamas which were themselves caught in an eternal struggle for dominance, life, and death. I’ve personally had the same problem buying underwear online, but it doesn’t compare to the struggles faced by the Man of Steel in the two-part tale “The Killer Costume” and “The Forbidden Costume” (Action Comics vol.1 Nos 383 and 384, Dec 196-Jan 1970).

Nowadays, if Superman adopted a new set of glad rags – never mind TWO sets in the same issues – it would be call for a special hologram-emblazoned variant cover edition comic, a full-page costume retrospective in a USA Today color supplement and maybe an appearance on the TODAY Show but, back in the early parts of the Bronze Age, it was just another excuse for Superman to shout at a pantsuit.

"Also, I've always wondered how I'd look in one of
those European-style bathing suits, so try this on ..."
The costumes in question where formerly worn by an insanely evil space criminal – Aabur-Z, sporting a colorful purple-and-orange ensemble with black flared shoulders that simply scream “Summer Fun” – and a dedicated space cop named ENFORCER NS-2 (or, sometimes, “NZ-2”), whose Sunday go-to-meeting suit was a sensible avocado-and-cherrywood number with padded pouches on the shoulders. Shades of the Nineties! These guys WERE from a super-advanced alien race!

While hauling convicted space criminal Aabur to space prison, space-police officer Enforcer NS-II (also spelled that way on one occasion) is forced to pilot his ship into the tail of a radioactive comet. The resulting energies disintegrate the crook’s and cop’s bodies, but leaves behind their boiling hate – and barely concealed forbidden lust! Aabur’s evil spirit inhabits his uniform, while NS-2’s dogged determination to see Aabur put behind bars drenches his costume with sentience, and then they crash-land on Earth without Superman noticing even though “stopping things from crashing on Earth” is literally the thing he does most often.

Aabur’s sentient costume flies around in an attempt to find the most evil human being on Earth and, rather than settling on a Koch Brother, picks phony philanthropist and secret mafia chief Jackson Randell, president of the Metropolis International Bank and duplicitous fink. With the costume partially controlling his mind and gifting him with the power to destroy anything he touches (having a piss is going to be a genuine challenge, someone hand him the salad tongs), Randell adopts the identity of “The Destroyer” before the suit abandons him sleeping in a toolshed somewhere. Weird arc for “The Destroyer,” you know?

The animated uniforms of Aabur and NS-2 confront Superman at his Fortress, demanding that he wear each of them. I’ve had an uncomfortably sexy dream about almost the exact same thing but, unlike Superman, I didn’t resolve the issue by having my identical duplicate robot pals wear the costume and then fight each other to spare parts and broken casings. Do you think Superman gave his robots fake robot genitals identical to his own? I know, I’m asking the wrong questions here.

Perry White having one of his "Nature Poops"
Aabur manages to exploit the typical “Superman must do any idiotic thing asked of him if you approach him in his secret identity” clause, and tricks Clark Kent into donning … him. Naturally, Aabur is aware of Clark’s dual identity, so now he’s flying around with super-powers, committing crimes, and helping bad guys escape from the cops. It looks like all is lost for the Man of Tomorrow, helpless before the might of a pair of evil long underwear, but here comes Perry White dressed in NS-2’s costume!

Aabur correctly susses out the situation thusly, confronting his old foe wrapped around the tubby mass of the Planet’s elderly chief: “You don’t have a prayer, NZ-2 (sic)! Just look at youeself – your host-body belongs to a fat, middle-aged editor! Mine is Superman! I’ll tear you apart with his super-strength!”

Aabur is right, and that’s the end of the story. Sweet dreams!

Actually, Superman doubles-down on triple costumes, stripping Perry at super-speed and putting NS-2’s haunted costume on over his own super-suit, which it itself being worn over Aabur’s terrifying overalls. It’s like that internet video of the guy wearing a hundred t-shirts.

In the end, Superman does what you or I would do in the same situation and flings the uniforms into a distant sun, where they can continue their hate-filled feud as they’re burned to ashes and their spirits are forever denied eternal reward. Thanks Superman, thanks for burning the ghost-space-cop forever with his hated rival for eternity, even though he expressly said he just wanted to see the bad guy behind bars in space prison and you know of, like, twenty space-prisons within an hour or so from Earth. Putting a onesie in space prison wouldn’t have been any weirder than anything else in this story.

Superman's been watching the news lately.

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