Reign of the Supermen #25: Superman-Red/Superman-Blue

Source: Superman vol.1 #162 (1963)
Type: Imaginary storyPossibly the most famous imaginary story of the Silver Age (or -choke- "Imaginary Novel"), Superman-Red and Superman-Blue is a crazy, DCU-destroying tale that could only come from the kooky pages of early 60s Superman comics. And as strange as it gets, stranger still is how a lot of its plot points have come to pass in current continuity. See if you can spot them in the synopsis below.

It all starts when the bottled city of Kandor complains that Superman hasn't made good on many of his promises, including restoring the city to full size, finding a cure for kryptonite and wiping out all evil. And if he doesn't do all that soon, they're going to demand that he be replaced by a Kryptonian who can, while he goes to live in the bottle. I've seen more ridiculous demands from unionized university professors, but it's still way up there on the cocopuff-meter. Solution: The brain evolution machine, made from networked pieces of every type of kryptonite (naturally).
The thing blows up with unforeseen consequences: Superman's intellect is multiplied by 100, but he's also split into two, color-coordinated copies of himself, EACH with the multiplied intellect. In a matter of moments, they've got the solution to the two first things on the list. They create a hyper-magneton planetoid that attracts all kryptonite everywhere to reform the planet Krypton. They then use a reverse-engineered shrink ray to return Kandor to its former glories, allowing a whole population of super-powered Kyrptonians to quickly terraform (Kryptaform?) the planet's every ecosystem. And because the people of New Krypton want to live as they used to, the Supermen put the planet into an orbit that will return them to their proper place in the universe.

But wait, there's more. The Supermen receive a distress call from Lori Lemaris. The mermaid-like Atlanteans are "tired of being treated like freaks" by the rest of Earth, so they want a new planet to call their own. The Supermen and Supergirl choose the Memorial World of Krypton they once built together (gee, the Kandorians could have really used that...) which they flood entirely with a good shot of heat vision on its polar ice caps. Then it's all about using magnetic meteors to create a water funnel that can take the Atlanteans to their new home (of course).
Back to the list - "Destroy all evil." Easy one. Hypno-ray projectors in orbit that blanket the Earth with good will. It works on every criminal on Earth, even those pesky ne'er-do-wells, Khrushchev and Castro.
It even works on invaders like Brainiac, trouble-makers like Mxyzptlk, and of course, Luthor, who agrees to find a cure for every known disease. His universal cure just needs a couple drops per continent and it cures everything from blindness to baldness (so evil really IS destroyed).
With evil eradicated as soon as it shows up, Supergirl frees the Phantom Zone villains and leaves for New Krypton with them to reintegrate society. Now all that's left to address is the Supermen's private lives. They no longer need to play Archie to Lana and Lois' Betty and Veronica, but who winds up with whom? Solution: The Supermen build big steel "L"s to see which is struck by lightning first, deciding who gets to choose (because flipping a coin would be too obvious).
The lightning strikes both simultaneously, leaving them in a quandary. What they don't know is that the ONE difference between them is which girl they love more. As soon as they figure that out, it's off to tell the girls their true identity. A triple wedding later (Jimmy and Lucy get in on the action at the last minute), and the two couples choose different paths. The Reds (that's Lois) move to New Krypton to live as normal people in an abnormal world, while the Blues (that's Lana) stay on Earth where Superman devotes his life to science and stopping the occasional earthquake. Each family has two kids, and they still keep in touch.
So... did you spot the retro-groovy references to the Superman continuity of today? The Comments are where your answers go!

7 comments:

Radagast said...

What is it about the Golden Age that the covers have to explain a big chunk of the plot, often spoiling major developments? I guess the big-action-splash cover had yet to evolve into a marketing staple...

Siskoid said...

You mean the Silver Age? I dunno. And if the cover didn't sell it, then the splash page will.

I'd still rather have those covers than the "generic group shots" we have today though.

Anonymous said...

Two parts of this story that were adapted into recent continuity are the existence of New Krypton and the unfortunate Superman Red/Blue story. Both short-lived changes in the Superman world!

I think this is my favorite of the imaginary tales. It is so insanely upbeat - everyone in the world literally gets a happy ending and for once, Lois and Lana both get their man!

Siskoid said...

That's 2! There are more.

Matthew Turnage said...

Kandor was enlarged "for real" twice - the recent New Krypton story, of course, but also pre-Crisis in Superman #338 (the appropriately titled "Let My People Grow!").

I suppose a few other in-continuity events would be the Phantom Zone criminals released on New Krypton, Superman's marriage to Lois, and Superman living on New Krypton.

Siskoid said...

I THINK that covers it, Matt.

There's also a great "released from the bottle" story in All-Star Superman.

Austin Gorton said...

The brain evolution machine, made from networked pieces of every type of kryptonite (naturally).

Yep, cuz when I think 'brain evolution machine', I think 'let's rig up chunks of the one thing that can seriously mess up Superman.'

Oh, Silver Age Superman. Never change.

 

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