Home > DC Comics, Somebody's First Comic Book > Somebody’s First Comic Book: Superman (1939 Series) #299

Somebody’s First Comic Book: Superman (1939 Series) #299

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: The Double-Or-Nothing Life of Superman

Cary Bates & Elliot S! Maggin
Curt Swan & Bob Oksner
Julius Schwartz
DC Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: Superman I know – but why is his suit empty? And who are these guys surrounding him?

IMPRESSIONS: Evidently, Superman’s next-door neighbor is an alien. But not a nice one, like Superman is. He’s the sort who is planning an invasion or something and has gone about it in a ridiculously roundabout way – somehow he’s found a way to remove Superman’s powers whenever he changes to Clark Kent. Superman has decided to test this out by spending an entire week only as Clark, then a week only as Superman. After his time is up, he’s about to decide on which life to stick with full-time (for some reason), when his alien adversary rounds up nine of – as Superman puts it, “the most fearsome super-villains [he’s] ever fought!” I don’t know about how fearsome they are. Lex Luthor, sure. The Parasite and Brainiac look pretty formidable too, and I’m sure I can understand why he’d be afraid of someone named Kryptonite Man. But we’ve got a dwarf in a derby hat called Mr. Mxyzptlk, a chubby guy in a plaid coat called the Prankster, a weirdo called the Toyman, a goofy cowboy called Terra-Man, and someone named Amalak who doesn’t do much but stand around looking purple. (A lot of Superman’s enemies seem dedicated to a purple-and-green color scheme for some reason. Five of the nine wear those colors exclusively, and only Toyman doesn’t have any of them at all.)

Anyway, Superman goes out to round up these guys in a fashion that comes so easily one must seriously question how tough the rest of the criminals in Metropolis are, if these are the most fearsome of the bunch. Then we get an explanation for Superman’s power loss that makes you wonder why the hell it took him three weeks to figure it out, and then he beats the alien using an even more convoluted series of events.

There’s a bold proclamation on the first page of the issue: “The greatest hero the world has ever known in his most magnificent adventure of all time!” I’m hoping this was mere hyperbole, because as far as adventures go, this wasn’t particularly magnificent. I understood this just fine. That didn’t make it less silly.


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