Reign of the Supermen #528: Superman Emergency Squad

Source: First seen in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #48 (1960)
Type: Replacement
Folks, this Silver Age classic starts with Jimmy Olsen taking one of his Superman-related souvenirs to a Jimmy Olsen Fan Club fan club. Yes, there is one.
You can be a fan of Superman or you can be a fan of his best friend, which sounds silly, but look, he's got a Flying Newsroom and is probably way more accessible than the Man of Steel is. And he brings all this cool swag to meetings like invisibility belts and giant glasses. Superman's too busy participating in parades to ever show up at your fan club meeting. As Jimmy returns to the office, the Newsroom's rotor putters out. Damn! Activate that signal watch, Jimmy, this is a job for Superman! Or for dozens of tiny Superman doubles, at any rate.
What's going on here? Despite Jimmy having been turned into a werewolf and visiting other planets, no one believes him. He scarcely believes HIMSELF! The whole thing gives him insomnia, and the next day he falls asleep at his desk and risks missing a deadline. What's a cub reporter to do? Naturally, he activates the signal watch so Superman can help him type his assignment. Use and abuse, Jimmy, I'm sure that's what he gave you the watch for. Except those tiny men show up AGAIN.
Somewhere between the panels, Jimmy learns the tiny team's name: The Supermen Emergency Squad, and by golly, it's true this was a dire emergency. But again, Perry walks in after they've left and says Jimmy must have dreamed the whole thing. The Emergency Squad makes a third appearance just as Jimmy plans to bring an uncharged ray-gun to his Fan Club meeting. This seems to have been their target all along.
While Perry and Lois files back issues of the Daily Planet (REALLY?! just how small is the staff?), the Squad shows up to tie Jimmy up (for fun, as far as I can tell) and "borrow" the ray-gun so they can take it to Supergirl, still Superman's "secret weapon against crime". Because Kryptonians of a feather stick together, they tell her their story. See, Superman went back in time to match a footprint to a dinosaur, and despite the time travel involved, it takes him days to come back. So the bottled citizens of Kandor are watching the world to make sure nothing happens and they see Jimmy plans to have that ray-gun photographed at some point. They freak. Led by Kal-El's "twin" Van-Zee (of Nightwing & Flamebird fame) and his cousin Don-El, they mount an expedition:
There's a chunk of Kryptonite on Jimmy's shelves and they don't dare go in, so they stay close and bide their time until he brings the gun to the office. So what's the big problem? This:
Fingerprints that show up in pictures? Well, ok, these are indelibly pressed into the weapon with super-strength. But even so, if Supergirl is a big secret, who the heck has her prints on file? And how would that actually blow the big secret? Are Superman's a matter of public record, and would people really put two and two together of they saw super-prints that didn't match on some artifact "from another world"? I think the Kandorians just wanted to go out unsupervised (pun not intended) for a bit and made up an excuse. As for the kryptonite, it was obviously a replica, so they needn't have gone through all that trouble. Supergirl melts the prints off with X-Ray vision (what they used to call heat vision, folks), which the tiny Supermen might also have done, and they race back to free Jimmy. Of course, Perry's about to walk in and see them untie their super-knots, so they need a distraction. Why not just set fire to the Daily Planet offices?
That works. And it's back to Kandor before Superman can return, none the wiser.

Over the course of the Silver Age, they would suit up again to help various members of the Superman Family. Superman even eventually fit an exit hatch in the bottle for easier access, and anyone could join, not just black-haired young men. In the post-Crisis DCU, a Kandorian Emergency Squad patrolled the bottle city, but did manage to help Superman out on at least one case. And of course, Grant Morrison couldn't help himself; he had to use them in All-Star Superman.

2 comments:

Martin Gray said...

I always liked the mini-Supers, contrived as their appearances could be. I never did understand why the whole city wasn't just plonked on Earth, surely it's better to live on Earth at miniature size with super-powers than in a bottle in the super-equivalent of your dad's shed.

Siskoid said...

Something All-Star fixed, right?

 

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