Wednesday, August 17, 2016


"I do ... SEIZE THEM!"

"Superman's Secret Kingdom" sounds like the first in a series of erotic novels featuring the Man of Steel and his supporting cast, but it looks like cultural appropriation at Coachella. Why can't it be both? Many reasons, is the answer, there are many reasons why it can't be both.

What it is, however, is yet another installment in the adventures of Batman and Superman waling the living tar out of each other for spurious reasons. In this one, the mighty Man of Tomorrow gets his bell thoroughly rung by an exploding volcano, sending the world into a tizzy fit of speculation and worry. It's also a strangely map-and-dissection intensive issue of the series -- World's Finest vol.1 No.111, August 1960 -- as shown in the reproduced page below:

This is all we had before Google Maps.

While Batman and Robin take the initiative to find their absent friend, they're unaware of the trials which have bedeviled him. The powerful explosion of the volcano has given Superman super-amnesia. Rather than wandering the jungles of South America in a total fog, he's adopted by a friendly if hidden tribe of aboriginal South Americans. Naturally, he becomes their king. You adopt a Superman, you're gonna make that guy a king.

"Sorry Superman love you byeee!"
Devoid of his memory, Superman is initially friendly to Batman and Robin, despite the fact that they went and started beef with the lost Aztec (or whatever) tribe on sight, just like racists would do. Oh Batman and Robin, we all thought better of you than that.

Complicating this, however, is that career criminal Floyd Frisby (inventor of the "Flying Floyd Disc," I believe) has inveigled himself into Superman's confidence and convinced the mind-muddled Super-dude that his former friends are in fact evil weirdos.

This leaves it up to Batman to convince his old pal that he and Robin are actually good-hearted weirdos, an explanation primarily accomplished by Batman judo-throwing Superman into a pillar so hard that it breaks a giant ceremonial plinth. Like a good guy would do!

The subsequent chase scene is straight out of a Thirties' comedy or a Scooby-Doo routine, complete with secret passageways and Batman wearing a monster costume literally made out of a blanket and a potted plant. There's also a surprising subplot about graffiti, by which method a wall-ruining Robin engineers the return of Superman's memory -- by painting a picture of the Metropolis Marvel in mid-costume change right on the sacred walls of the tribe's sacred temple. They'll understand, I'm sure.

In the end, everything works out all right -- Superman regains his memory, Batman and Robin wreck a few ancient artifacts for their own purposes, the crook is caught and everybody gets a free ride out of town on a giant piece of sponge cake. One for the good guys!

"I'm keeping this hat!"

1 comment:

Al Bruno III said...

Rule #1: If Superman is wearing a silly hat, shit is about to get real.

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