Reign of the Supermen #467: Kor-El

Source: World's Finest Comics #246-247 (1977)
Type: Impostor
Warning: Glorious Bob Haney story ahead...

Ok, so it starts with Batman trying to nab an exiled crime kingpin called Doyle who's trying to sneak back into Gotham. Bats goes into his private plane and comes out with a stone tablet under his arm and strict instructions to Commissioner Gordon not to go after Doyle for one hour. Doyle even takes Gordon's car and paints it mauve, his fetish color. Why? Because Batman made a deal and he wants to be able to make deals with criminals in the future, so this one better be honored. And the deal was for a tablet with Kryptonian script on it, which Doyle apparently dug up near Smallville, because exiled crime kingpins need hobbies. Batman brings it to Superman who discovers it's a message from his mother Lara and talks about his twin brother Kor-El. But he knows he doesn't have a brother because Super-Infant had total recall, he would have remembered (not to mention all those times he went back in time to watch Krypton die).

JUST THEN, the Fortress of Solitude sounds a kryptonite alarm to tell Superman an asteroid glowing with kryptonite rays is approaching Earth. AND JUST THEN, he gets an angry call from the Justice League, with Green Arrow calling him a crumb and a creep. But why?
Yes, Ram Drood has been bad-mouthing him to his friends. Who is Ram Drood, you ask? Bob Haney makes like he's appeared before, a "space bum" who's ransacked Hawkwoman's closet, a jerk who already hates his guts, but that's Haney for you. As far as I can tell, this is Drood's first appearance. We'll just have to accept he's always been a thorn in Superman's side. He's the one who contacts the JLA to tell them Superman has a twin brother he put in a kryptonite prison, and of course, they believe Drood. Superman can't bear Wonder Woman and Flash's judging eyes, so he, Drood and Batman investigate in the space bum's ship. As they approach the asteroid, Kor-El, a hunchbacked Superman twin can be seen in silhouette, and he tells his brother his story...
How while Jor-El was throwing Baby Kal-El to the hungry masses, Lara was having a second, deformed child. How, convinced Jor-El could never love it, she hid the second baby in a cave. How, when Kal-El was put on a rocket to Earth, she left a last message to Kor-El and sealed his cave.
How the rock with the cave in it was expelled from Krypton intact, wasn't turned into kryptonite, and landed on Earth, where it became a cave again. One where young Kor-El grew up as a caveboy in the wilderness surrounding Smallville.
How he admired his twin from afar and even made a costume just like his. How Superboy didn't believe this hunchback was his brother, and how they fought until Kal-El punched him back into his cave and threw him out into space, catalyzing the rock so it would become kryptonite. Superman doesn't remember any of this, but in any case, he can't free Kor-El because he can't approach the kryptonite. Drood, who to be fair is only trying to fix a fraternal injustice, thinks Superman is a Super-Coward, and has broadcast this whole sequence of events to Earth via Morgan Edge's Galaxy network. Earth's knee-jerk reaction is swift.
Take down those statues!!! Don't ask why they existed in the first place! But as know, pre-Crisis Superman was entirely too fixated on his own reputation, so "That does it!".
You know, Green Lantern would have far less trouble getting Kor-El out of his space prison, I'm just sayin'. Only Batman thinks this is a bad idea. And he's right about that. Superman breaks Kor-El free... and dies from K-radiation poisoning. To which Drood responds: "Tough." But it's worse than that. After the president welcomes Kor-El to Earth/America/same thing, he dubs himself Big Brother, and as we know, that name has never come to anything good. In fact, Big Brother is quick to threaten Congress and the White House.
Kor-El takes over the Oval Office and names Doyle his mauve generalissimo, which puts Batman on the run, forced to investigate what the heck is going on with a trenchcoat over his costume. I'll let that sink in. Meanwhile, on some barren planet, Drood is pumping Superman's not so dead body full of yellow sun radiation.
The JLA, hiding out in their satellite and awaiting the inevitable (Kor-El smashing through their skylight and killing them all), are pretty happy to hear that Superman is alive (I don't hear no apology though), but that's the end of the issue. In the next, after a 6-page recap (dude), the World's Finest team are reunited at which point Batman reveals he thinks Kor-El is a FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE. Have YOU figured it out? Obviously, it's an outrageous coincidence that Doyle, the man who found Lara's alleged tablet, is now Secretary of Goons in Kor-El's administration. And here I thought the explanation was Bob Haney. But no, the tablet is actually made from a chunk of Kyptonian space rock stolen from a carnival in the Smallville area, which doesn't explain how Kor-El or Doyle wrote in Kryptonian on it, or how the "twin" knows all about Jor-El and Lara. Only one way to settle this: A big fight using as many Washington monuments as possible, including THE Washington Monument.
But possibly weak from his recent death, Superman finds he's no match for Big Brother and ends up unconscious in Lincoln's giant lap. The mauve army shows up, guns blazing, an it looks like Drood is shot dead. At least, he never appears again. Batman just makes it out alive as the world is shocked by Kor-El's announcement that his now powerless "little brother" (he does know he was squeezed out second, right?) is to be executed. Batman makes a deal to visit Superman in his cell for a conjugal visit last chat, and soon, Superman is facing a firing squad. Except as soon as the guns start firing, Superman turns into an empty suit!
Haney's Batman fights convoluted plans with convoluted plans. It was the Atom in Batman's costume who visited Superman. They switched places, and now the Atom escapes the execution in his own way (no sign of the rubber mask he should have been wearing though). Meanwhile, Batman and Superman are treating the tablet to turn it into a temporary liquid kryptonite.
And as Kor-El addresses the United Nations to effect a total takeover OF ZE VORLD, the two of them show up disguised as dignitaries from a fictional Arab state bearing statues of Kor-El's parents... Coated with kryptonite!
So who IS Kor-El in reality? Some escaped Phantom Zone villain? Some Kryptonian survivor jealous of Superman's place in the world? A failed clone made by Lex Luthor? The Superman of Earth-Hunched? Nope.
It's the Parasite, having once sucked Superman's powers and "racial memories" out, was in a unique position to take Superman's place. In fact, he was so confused by his super-memories that he came to believe his own story. Now he's been re-atomized and Superman's powers start to return. The new world order collapses, and the world goes back to its "normal everyday" problems, like war, poverty and injustice. When you put it like that, Batman, all I can say is YAYYYY!!!


Matthew Turnage said...

When I was putting together a bronze age Superman collection and I first read part one, I really thought Crazy Bob Haney had established a brother for Superman, and was extremely relieved it was a hoax when I read part 2. After all, this was just a few years after his revelation Batman had a mentally unstable brother (Thomas Wayne Jr., WF 223 and 227).

Siskoid said...

It could definitely have happened for real. It wouldn't have been beyond Haney's usual modus operandi.

SallyP said...

Gosh, they just don't write stuff like this anymore. And if they did, it would take 14 months.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

d said...

Does The Batman say "Blazes" is this story. It's not a real Haney unless we get a "Blazes"!

d said...

In, not is- d'oh!

Siskoid said...

Then it's a real Bob Haney story, as you can see in the panel where Batman shakes his fist.

Kyle said...

And if by some freak occurrence, they ever use Ram Drood in a movie, he HAS to be played by Jim Rash (Community)!

Siskoid said...


MikeS said...

Editor Harris claimed it was Parasite's third ever appearance, it was actually his sixth!

Andrew Gilbertson said...


DS9 reference? :-)

Siskoid said...



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