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  1. #136
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    Default Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

    Vartox Redux

    It seems that Vartox led a life that was a series of unfortunate events.

    He makes a final farewell cameo appearance in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" ACTION COMICS 583 (September 1986) by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. He's shown on page 5 and page 22 of the story--on that last page, he's cradling the dead Lana Lang in his arms.

    There doesn't seem to have been anymore that was done with Karb-Brak or the other super-beings of his unnamed planet. Too bad, as they were funny looking aliens and another planet of super-people could always come in handy.

    Post-Crisis/Post-Flashpoint/Post-Rebirth, there have been a few Vartoxes (or Vartoces?), but I haven't done any deep research on them. They don't have the extreme powers of the original and seem to be boors. In the classic stories, he was a manly man, but he was always a well-mannered fellow when he was in his right mind. Superman had a great respect for him as a hero. It doesn't seem like the various attempts to revive Vartox have demonstrated the same admiration for the character.

    He also seems to have gained a widow's peak; whereas, classic Vartox had a receding hairline with no widow's peak. I can't stress how important this distinctive receding hairline is to the character--it makes him a much more sympathetic person! [It's more of a James Caan receding hairline than a Jude Law receding hairline, if you catch my drift.]

    POWER GIRL (second series) 7 (February 2010) had a cover by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts that mocks the classic Nick Cardy cover for SUPERMAN 281 (November 1974).


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  2. #137
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    I love Vartox and Karb Brak but the names don’t roll off the tongue. Those designs are something else. I’m sure Bates is as much responsible as much as Curt Swan. I know Vartox is based on Sean Connery and a crazy Sci Fi flick but Karb Brak is unreal.

  3. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Thunders! View Post
    I love Vartox and Karb Brak but the names don’t roll off the tongue. Those designs are something else. I’m sure Bates is as much responsible as much as Curt Swan. I know Vartox is based on Sean Connery and a crazy Sci Fi flick but Karb Brak is unreal.
    I can just imagine Cary Bates watching ZARDOZ in the theatre and being so excited by the idea of Connery's character that he had to rush home and write a Vartox story. Curt Swan must've been given some of the promotional art from the movie to come up with his Vartox design.

    The premise--that you have a twin on another planet and when they die you die--sounds like a science fiction story I've heard of before--maybe Julie gave that idea to Cary.

    The way the first Karb-Brak arc ends--with Andrew Meda as a Joe Average who doesn't know he used to be a super-being on another planet--that's stone cold. A lot like Charlie Kweskill. That Clark would have been perfectly fine with leaving Andrew that way didn't speak highly of his character. It's good that they found a way to restore Karb-Brak to his own world.
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  4. #139
    Mighty Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    There is a Solomon Grundy story, maybe 2 actually, where Superman makes a decision to do something cruel to stop the threat. Sometimes he reflects on it and feels bad, other times, he winks and smiles.

  5. #140
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    Default Contest of Heroes/Battle of the Super-Heroes/Super-Foes from Planet X

    The alien that said "Krllg"--unnamed asteroid homeworld
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 74 (January-February 1955), "The Contest of Heroes" (Bill Finger/Curt Swan/Stan Kaye), r. 80 PAGE GIANT MAGAZINE No. 15 (October 1965).

    This story seems to be a revarnishing of Finger's "The Thing From 40,000 A.D." in SUPERMAN 87 (February 1954) as some of the same incidents are replayed in this plot, but in this instance the creature isn't from the far future, but from an asteroid world (presumably in our solar system). It hops a ride on board an experimental rocket from Earth and when it lands on our planet, it's perceived to be a hostile menace.

    Although it speaks basic English, it has one alien word in its vocabulary, "Krllg." In the end, Batman deduces that the alien is a child and "Krllg" actually means play. It just wants to play and assumes the forms of Batman and Superman, because it idolizes them. When the "Krllg" loving alien returns home, it takes the shape of the Super-Batman--a half and half appearance, like the later Composite Superman. It seems that all the inhabitants of this asteroid can copy anyone and their abilities.



    Two gambling co-workers from Xlym (plus their unseen "Supervisor")
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 95 (July-August 1958), "The Battle of the Super-Heroes" (Dave Wood/Dick Sprang/Ray Burnley), r. 80 PAGE GIANT MAGAZINE No. 15 (October 1965).

    When Batman suddenly gets super-powers, he becomes the bitter rival of Superman. Robin is at a loss to explain why the two friends are now enemies and he must use subtle manipulation to get them to co-operate with each other. Then the Boy Wonder is transported via a beam (like Adam Strange's Zeta Beam) to the planet Xlym, where two co-workers there had made a bet to see whether Batman or Superman would win in a fair fight.

    They had beamed the World's Finest Duo to their planet, gave Batman powers and subjected both to a hate ray before removing their memory of the experience. When the alien's Superior approaches, the two send Robin back to Earth and everything goes back to normal. The Boy Wonder assumes that the Supervisor reversed the machinations of his underlings.



    The aliens from "Planet-X"
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 96 (September 1958), "The Super-Foes from Planet-X" (Edmond Hamilton/Sprang/Kaye), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 161 [G-28] (October 1966).

    Aliens from an unknown planet--Planet X--release challenges from their world on our planet, to study how Superman, Batman and Robin would handle them. The people of Planet X have become lazy and incompetent, because their machines took care of these natural enemies. But now that most of their machines have broken down, they need to learn how to take care of themselves.


  6. #141
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    Default Alien Superman/Star Creatures/Alien Who Doomed Robin

    Khalex from an unnamed planet, the Police Chief of that planet

    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 105 (November 1959), "The Alien Superman" (Finger/Sprang/Sheldon Moldoff), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 161 [G-28] (October 1966).

    Khalex is an escaped prisoner from an unnamed planet where everyone has super-powers. He embarks on an elaborate scheme to rid himself of a Gargolex meteor, a substance that robs him of his powers no matter where it is on Earth. After Superman, Batman and Robin thwart Khalex's plans, the Man of Steel takes him back to the authorities on his homeworld--and the Caped Kryptonian is rewarded with a framed photo of that planet's police chief. Khalex's powers include flight, super-strength, flaming vision and vibrating vision.



    The movie mogul from Kzotl
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 108 (March 1960), "The Star Creatures" (Jerry Coleman/Sprang/Moldoff), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 170 [G-40] (October-November 1967).

    An alien movie producer uses true-to life robotic copies of creatures from other planets to lure Superman, Batman and Robin into action so he can film their feats for the entertainment of those on his homeworld, Kzotl. The film mogul has access to several advanced gadgets and can also communicate telepathically. But cinema is his greatest power.



    The mirror-bellied speculator
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 110 (June 1960), "The Alien Who Doomed Robin" (Coleman/Sprang/Moldoff), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 161 [G-28] (October 1966).

    A green behemoth with four arms like tentacles arrives on Earth to use a shrink ray to steal some empty buildings. His aim is to take those, along with buildings shrunk on other planets, back to his homeworld and unshrink them for a great exhibit of buildings from other worlds. The lumbering alien can generate a magnetic field, eject fire or jets from his tentacles and has a mirror-like belly which steals part of Robin's life force.


  7. #142
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    Default The Menace of Superman's Pet

    Superman's Pet that said "Gleek"
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 112 (September 1960), "The Menace of Superman's Pet" (Coleman/Sprang/Moldoff), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 170 [G-40] (October-November 1967).

    One day, returning from a mission in outer space, the Man of Steel discovers that a cute, furry space animal has hitched a ride on his cape. The little fellow can only say "Gleek!" It has formed an instant attachment to Superman and copies everything he does, sometimes to disastrous results. And when the Red and Blue Blur leaves him for any amount of time, the little ball of fur grows into a towering menace, creating mayhem.





    As much as he loves his little green pet, Superman realizes that it can't remain on Earth, so they return to outer space. However, Superman gets caught in a meteor storm and is struck down by a large Kryptonite meteor. Now lying on a dead planet, his life in peril, the Man of Tomorrow is rescued by his adorable companion, who has the power to absorb the lethal radiation from the Kryptonite, saving Superman but killing his pet.


  8. #143
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    Default Captives of the Space Globes/Creature...Exchanged for Superman

    Alba, leader of the resistance on Zoron
    Chorn, leader of the Baxian invaders
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 114 (December 1960), "Captives of the Space Globes" (Coleman/Sprang/Moldoff).

    Batman and Robin are abducted to the planet of Zoron, to be held as hostages by the resistance force there (led by Alba), so that Superman might fight off their Baxian invaders. However, with that world's strange green mist (not Kryptonite, but a substance like it), the Man of Steel has no power.



    Ironically, once freed, the Dynamic Duo have the powers of Superman on Zoron--whether that's due to the purple sun, the green mist or a combination of both, none may know. Zoron once had mighty war machines and the leader of the Baxians--Chorn--exhumes such ancient artifacts to put them back into use. However, from outside the Zorian atmosphere where he still has powers, Superman hurls a great meteor down to smash Chorn's armoured vehicle and thwart the Baxian attack.


    Vathgar and the Skran of an extra-dimension world
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 118 (June 1961), "The Creature That Was Exchanged for Superman," (Coleman/Sprang/Moldoff), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 206 [G-88] (October-November 1971).

    In a bid to conquer his world in another dimension of the space-time continuum, Vathgar exchanges Superman for a Skran (a large orange beast, akin to Gritty from the Philadelphia Flyers). On the other world, Superman's powers work differently--super-breath is flame breath and heat vision is ice vision--while in our world, when the Skran consumes iron ore it displays magnificent powers of its own.


  9. #144
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    Default Capture of Superman/Sorceror from the Stars

    Klor of Belvos, Belvos tribunal
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 122 (December 1961), "The Capture of Superman" (Coleman/Jim Mooney/Moldoff), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 197 [G-76] (October-November 1970).

    Batman and Robin trap Superman and take him to the planet Belvos to face a tribunal there, where he is accused of committing acts of destruction on their world. However, in truth it was Klor who framed Superman and convinced both the tribunal and the Dynamic Duo to arrest Superman, while he went to Earth to steal giant gems, posing as the Man of Steel.



    Zerno, Sorceror from Ybor, his assistant Sborg
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 127 (August 1962), "The Sorceror from the Stars" (Coleman/Mooney/Moldoff).

    Zerno, a Sorceror from the planet Ybor, plunders the Earth and the World's Finest are frustrated in their efforts to capture him, by Robin's fumbles. But the truth is Zerno's assistant Sborg has taken Robin's place. Zerno has a weakness for bronze.


  10. #145
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    Default Riddle of the Four Planets

    A travelling troupe of alien performers
    Planets of Sinzar, Antella, Unxar, and Karos
    WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 130 (December 1962), "Riddle of the Four Planets" (Coleman/Mooney), r. WORLD'S FINEST COMICS 206 [G-88] (October-November 1971).

    The Earth is menaced by a giant starfish--very much resembling Starro the Conqueror--which is here called a Zelaphod. Having attached itself to the hull of spaceship, it was unwittingly brought to our world by a troupe of alien performers.





    The World's Finest must set out across the cosmos to the four planets of Sinzar, Antella, Unxar, and Karos, where they hope to find the needed ingredients to destroy the Zelaphod.

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