Reign of the Supermen #56: Composite-Superman

Source: World's Finest Comics #142 (1964)
Type: VillainsQuestion: Is Bruce Wayne jealous that this guy didn't name himself the Composite-Batman? For that matter, he's also the Composite-Legion...

The original Composite-Superman was Joe Meach, a dufus whose dream of becoming a high-diver were ruined when Superman saved him from death in his leaky plastic pool.
Robbed of fame and bitter, he nevertheless took the job Superman was offering: Janitor at the Superman Museum. One of the exhibits is a collection of statues of each Legionnaire, produced with a duplication ray that has somehow transferred part of their powers into the statuary. When lightning strikes them through an open window, Meach gains all of the Legionnaires' powers and loses all of his remaining marbles, becoming the Composite-Superman. First he shows off and makes the World's Finest team look bad. Then he commands them to make him their partner. They don't trust him so they employ the old "put robot doubles in danger to see if he really helps us" trick, but Meach was hiding in the Batcave when they came up with it. Angry, he orders them to stop wearing their costumes or he'll reveal their secret identities (learned via telepathy) to the world. However, they're forced to go back into action when the Composite-Superman builds a giant palace and plans to run the solar system from it. They're getting trounced when his powers - and memory! - starts fading. He tries to leave himself a note, but it's gibberish to his non-composite mind.

The Composite-Superman returns in World's Finest Comics #168 when an alien named Xan, inventor of the magna-gun and avenger of his evil dad, zaps the Legionnaire statues with artificial lightning to turn Meach back into his bad green self.
Superman destroys the statuettes so that Meach can never recharge his powers and borderline personality. The ensuing battle teaches us what would happen if all the Legionnaires used their powers in combination:
It would turn people into half-men. OF COURSE. When the Composite-Superman's powers fade, Xan shows up to finish the job, but Joe Meach takes the magna-bullet for them, dying as a hero. Not a very smart hero, but a hero.

Xan later becomes the second pre-Crisis Composite-Superman (in WFC 283-284), using time travel to get back to the intact Legionnaire statues and recreate the accident that created the original. He returns to plague Superman and Batman, eventually shedding Joe Meach's design for his own - Amalgamax! Superman gets the Legion to help, but ultimately, Xan is defeated by the same disease his father died of, super-intensified by the same process that gave him powers. Too survive, he lets the powers fade... forever. (It was of course all a ploy by Batman and Projectra to make him think he had it.)

Superman learned his lesson from these incidents: Background checks are your friend! (Or perhaps, that you shouldn't hire a guy off the street when that guy thinks a smart career move is jumping off a building headfirst.)

The post-Crisis era has yielded a couple of Composite-Supermen as well. Watch for them sometime in Reign of the Supermen - Daily only on the SBG!


Anonymous said...

It's been a while, but I thought Xan's alleged disease was actually a bluff of Batman's design? Princess Projectra + illusion of disease blemishes.

Word verification: "feticave". "Quick, Ballgag, to the Feticave!"

Siskoid said...

Right. I should have mentioned! :)

snell said...

Composite-Superman is the greatest villain ever. Period.

Anonymous said...

That original story had to have been written by Bob Haney.

Siskoid said...

The culprit is actually Edmond Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

So is Joseph Meach from the future when the Legion exists?

Siskoid said...

No, the present. But Superman had Legion statues from his days as Superboy and put them in the museum, not too worried that they might make it to the future and create a paradox. Apparently.


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