Less Sense Making!

Bloggified by Jake on Friday, December 1, 2006

Hyperbole is the bread and butter of these crazy internets, which is why every day you can find three different posts about three different comics that are all declared the "greatest comic ever!" In reviewing "The Prisoner of S.K.U.L.", a back up story from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #64, I will be more thoughtful and reasonable.

Considering this was a time when Bob Haney and Robert Kanigher were unleashed to out-insane one another, it's hard to declare anything from the Silver Age "the weirdest comic ever." Hell, every time I read one story that I think trumps all the others I've read for ridiculousness, I pick up the next issue in the pile and find Lois Lane and Lana Lang hypnotizing babies to fall in love with them.

So, I will not declare this the weirdest comic ever nor the strangest read of the Silver Age.

I do, however, feel safe naming it "the least making-est sense comic story of the spring of 1966."

Helping to make my case, for starters, Perry White is a senator and the new editor of the Daily Planet is an undercover FBI agent.S.K.U.L., the Superman Killers' Underground League, wants to--wait for it--kill Superman. Van has wormed his way into a leadership position within the group and admits they really don't pose any threat to Superman, but the FBI and Superman have agreed to use this as a drill in case anything ever happens that actually does threaten Superman.

Then for a page and a half, Van's mastery of disguises is illustrated by drawing from photo reference of celebrities.And therein were sewn the seeds of Greg Horn's career.

Van also makes Lana into Elizabeth Taylor and Lois into the wicked witch from Snow White, who is not a celebrity and thus not as impressive. After the three finish their fun with make up, which must have wasted hours, Van invites Lois to a S.K.U.L. meeting where she can easily blend in since everyone wears Klan-style robes and hoods.

Unfortunately, what Van fails to remember is that when the meeting starts, someone flips the switch on a special light that lets everyone see through your clothes and flesh.Always on his toes, Van quickly explains to everyone that Lois isn't really Lois, but someone he made look like Lois with his mad makeup skeeeeeels. The plan is for the "fake Lois" to get close to Superman and kill him with Weapon X. This plan is so brilliant, the S.K.U.L. members dance around Lois in a circle, cheering and raising their knees high in what appears to be a scene from a 1930's Halloween cartoon.Lois goes downtown and picks up Weapon X then takes it to a nightclub where Superman is taking part in a talent show, following a woman who whips things.The gas emitted from the gun splits Superman into two Supermen (Supermans?), both of whom are too weak to resist when the whip lady gases them and calls upon her thugs to rush the stage. Lois, horrified as she watches Superman being tossed into the trunk of a car and whisked away to be shot in the back of the head gangland-style, learns she's been duped by Van Benson... or has she?Okay, pay attention because I'm only explaining this once. When Lois walked into the club, Superman examined Weapon X with his x-ray vision and realized it was designed to split him into two weaker versions of himself. Using x-rays, he fried the mechanism's insides and only pretended that it worked.

Pretending it worked, though, meant needing another Superman. Fortunately, master of disguise Van Benson was backstage made up to look exactly like Superman and prepared to run onstage in the confusion and cover of smoke from the gun. When the thugs tried to toss Superman into the car, he overpowered them (not really being gassed) and ran back inside to make himself up to look like Van Benson so they could get the whip lady to admit she is the leader of S.K.U.L.

Because apparently in her working closely with an undercover FBI agent cooking up a conspiracy to kill Superman the subject of her being the leader of S.K.U.L. never came up. For that matter, it's implied that cooking up a vast conspiracy to kill Superman isn't illegal, but being the leader of a group dedicated to doing just that is.

With her plan falling apart, whip lady goes into denial.Unable to kill Superman, she's tries to walk away as though nothing happened.Which raises the question of whether shooting Superman is really attempted murder. If my son hits me with a shoe, an act that would kill a mosquito, is that attempted murder? I guess the question of intention comes into all. Of course, this is beside the point since she's also discharged a firearm within city limits, recklessly endangered Lois Lane and the police who were in the vicinity of ricocheting bullets, and orchestrated a kidnapping.

Speaking of which, what's lost in all this is the fact Van Benson is in the trunk of a car being driven out to some autowrecking yard where he'll be shot and dumped into a compactor.

Apparently that never happens though since he's safe and sound at the Daily Planet the next day, saying good bye. Now that the leader of S.K.U.L. is in jail, he's moving on to a new case and leaving the paper, which cues Perry White's return from the senate, which has recessed long enough for him to go back to work until a replacement has been found.

If any of that made any sense to you, I have some anti-drug PSAs you need to watch.

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