Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reign of the Supermen #441: Secret Kingdom Superman

Source: World's Finest Comics #111 (1960)
Type: The real deal (since retconned)
It's the Silver Age, so of course, this story has to be both about amnesia AND a triple threat to someone's secret identity. I swear, heroes spent about as much time protecting those in the Silver Age as they did catching criminals. The story is called "Superman's Secret Kingdom" and it goes like this...

It begins when socialite Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson catch a news report that announces, pretty much in the same breath, that Superman and Clark Kent have gone missing. Before the media can clue in that the two are one and the same, Batman and Robin spring into action find Superman. They have something to go one, because Supes told them he was on the trail on racketeer Floyd Frisby who was hiding in the "general area" of a very specific, small fising village in South America. That was a week ago, and here's what actually happened:
While searching for Floyd, a volcano erupted and Superman sprang into action (so we must be in the Andes), and creating an alternate route for the lava, he exploded himself into the "jungle mountains".

Batman and Robin follow that trail, fight some marauding beasts for good measure, and are then jumped by what appear to be ancient Mayan soldiers. They let themselves be captured and led to a hidden valley with one of those ancient kingdoms protected from History we're always hearing about. Their king, as you've no doubt guessed by now, is Superman. An amnesiac Superman tapping into his aristocratic Kryptonian side, no doubt. He notices their strange costumes, but doesn't clue into the fact that they're a derivation on his own. Brain damage, I guess. Batman and Robin are welcomed as guests, and later get a guided tour of the frescos painted that week to celebrate the new god-king's arrival.
I particularly enjoy the one where Superman makes a giant bowl of pasta.
No, I don't care what the speech bubble says. Superman made a great big pyramid too.
And a statue of... some guy. The Silver Age being what it was, I would have expected a self-effigy, but Superman probably didn't have a mirror handy. While this is going on, evil Floyd Frisby, also in the city, has advised King Superman that Batman and Robin are bad men because they wear masks. "Unmask them!" shouts Superman. To now protect THEIR secret identities, Batman must spring into action and do something truly improbable.
Knock Superman back into column in the hopes of breaking it with Superman's "steel-hard" body. Superman's gotta learn some kind of immovable stance, sheesh! The Dynamic Duo makes its escape into the city's art gallery where they hatch the following plan: While Robin puts the painting skills he acquired in school (support art in our schools, folks, it saves lives and secret identities), Batman disguises himself as a fake Mayan god with an Aztec name and returns to the throne room to accuse Frisby of being a criminal. Had Frisby just denied it, that would have been that, but instead he reacts defensively, pulls out a gun and more or less admits that he's running off with Mayan gold. Superman runs after the fleeing Batman - still not cleared of all charges - who leads him to this still-wet painting:
Confronted with his secret, Superman starts to remember who he really is, and they all leave together with a bound Floyd Frisby. After Robin covers up his work, of course! Wouldn't want an archaeologist to discover Superman's true identity, would we?

2 comments:

SallyP said...

So much of this stuff was sheer insanity...and that works for me. Also Superman really gets to wear funky headgear a lot.

Siskoid said...

NO way DC sees it my way, but I wish the Superman monthlies were all like this. But nooooo... realism!