Reign of the Supermen #279: Strongman

Source: Adventure Comics #236 (1957)
Type: TransformationAs promised, Pa Kent is back in red and blue threads, and in a story with bonus CRAZY-ASS science to boot!

It's hard being Pa Kent, you know. He'd like to be like all the other dads and help his son do homework and things, but Superboy is just too good at everything!
Instant studying - the power we've all wished we had. But events conspire to bring the father closer to the son. Seems like Superboy has found a radioactive, rogue planet spinning towards Earth. It is abandoned, but automated, and the artwork shows the population had super-powers. There's a mystery there, but the story doesn't care about it. Superboy pushes the planet away and brings back some loot, a "vibrating rod" that seemed important to this lost civilization. Wouldn't you know it? Pa Kent activates it.
It gives him all of Superboy's powers (and none of the weaknesses), as he realizes when he flies through the moon!
What. The hits keep on coming. Pa takes some coal from the fireplace (there's coal in his fireplace?) and crushes it into a huge diamond. And then he gets a costume and hopes to mentor Superboy as... STRONGMAN! His first act of random goodness is fixing a statue of Paul Bunyan that's cracking in half (do statues often do this?).
He destroys some landscaping to draw sap out of a tree and "glue" the statue back together. Superboy watches from afar and he knows that his poor dad is A COMPLETE MORON when it comes to super-heroing and he'll have to work twice as hard to fix his dad's mistakes (while, of course, never actually hurting his feelings by, you know, being honest with him). Oh sure, his invulnerability to kryptonite comes in handy (ordinary crooks have access to large chunks of it, apparently), but he's just not prepared for the true dangers that lie in wait for superheroes in Smallville:
Namely, the Lang family. Just as Lana always tries to prove Clark is Superboy, her mom immediately becomes obsessed with proving Pa is Strongman. There must be something in the water. What's surprising isn't the lengths the Langs will go to to prove it, but the completely insane ways Superboy gets his dad out of his secret identity troubles.

Lang's first attempt: Mrs. Lang puts a "powder-puff" label on a half-ton barrel (Kent's general store has BARRELS of powder-puffs, and also barrels that weigh HALF A TON - accept it). Of course, Pa isn't practiced enough to use X-ray vision before making a blunder, so the Langs have him! But then, the half-ton barrel flies up to the ceiling. How? Here is Clark's explanation, WHICH THE LANGS BELIEVE:
Ok, maybe he's not Strongman, but why the heck does the store have that powerful an electro-magnet in the attic? That Pa Kent forgot about. And had switched on accidentally? If I were Mrs. Lang, my theory would switch to him being a super-villain of some kind. In truth, there is no electro-magnet. Superboy just used "super-friction" to magnetize four large pieces of iron (don't ask, I have no answer).

Bowling blunder: Pa goes to his regular bowling night, but forgets he has super-strength. He reduces the pins to sawdust. Superboy's solution? Sees it happen with X-ray vision. Flies to a dilapidated house. Grabs all the termites he can. Puts them in the pin sawdust quicker than anyone can see. And of course, THEY BUY IT. Because that kind of thing happens all the time. Damn those Kansas termites.

Lang's second attempt: The Langs invite themselves at Kent's home to play bridge. Lana listens to the radio too loud in the next room, a radio from which issues a faked broadcast about a dangerous meteor shower. Calling all superheroes! Pa Kent zaps a fuse with heat vision, turning off the lights, and prepares to change into Strongman. But the Langs were ready for that, and shine a flashlight on him. They don't really see anything, and quickly reveal that it's a hoax, but his shifty behavior is proof enough to Mrs. Lang. She's sure to prove it next time! Whatever.

Airplane blunder: Pa sees a plane crashing with his telescopic vision and orders his son to let him save it alone. But Clark has noticed that his dad's powers are weakening because he just slammed his fist on the counter and it didn't crack. And STILL, he doesn't say anything. Instead, he burrows under the ground, and through a STRAW, he blows his dad and the plane up and down to safety.
The night, Pa realizes he's lost his powers, and you know what? He's really happy about it. It was a lot of pressure, after all. He does a little dance and then asks Superboy to throw the rod into space.

But it wasn't the last time Pa Kent would wear the tights. Nope, see you next Tuesday as Pa Kent puts on the suit again!


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Thanks for these, Siskoid. I have a dozen or so pre-LSH issues of Adventure, but none involving Pa Kent having powers. Nice seeing the synopsis.

Anonymous said...

Pa Kent with powers, that's nothing. Pa Kent with a sex toy that would intimidate even the Hawks ... now that's the Silver Age I know and love.


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