Superman: Chapter 6 – Superman in Danger

Last time we were in Metropolis, Lois Lane was lying unconcious on the floor of the recently deceased Dr. Leeds’ office. That nasty cutting tool they left plugged in is dancing around her, looking to turn her skull into sliced bread. Superman, however, is occupied outside with the burning car the crooks sent as a diversion. Let’s see what happens in Chapter 6 – Superman in Danger!

After realizing there is nobody actually trapped in the burning car, Superman rushes off. However, he hears Lois’ screams and uses his x-ray vision to locate her inside the museum office. He then flies through the window and grabs the out-of-control cutting tool. Superman then sets Lois on a chair, says his goodbyes, and leaves the same way he came in. Hey Blue Boy, this would’ve been the perfect opportunity for a romantic flight with Lois over Metropolis and you blew it! Instead, Superman goes off to grab the Spider-lady’s henchmen, who are escaping with the kryptonite they stole. The filmmakers re-use the animation of Superman landing on the top of a moving car from a few weeks ago, and we see Supes bring the car to a stop. The bad guys shoot, but the bullets bounce off the Man of Steel’s chest. However, the baddies have an ace in the hole. They use the kryptonite to weaken Superman and manage to make their escape.

Later, back at the Spider-lady’s lair, the villainess decides that with the kryptonite in her arsenal, she can now move forward with trying to steal the Reducer Ray. However, they are going to need some scientific help with such a powerful weapon. They decide to enlist the skills of one Dr. Hackett, a scientist who went bad and is now serving in prison. So, a jailbreak is in order. The breakout is done via montage and next thing we know we’re back at the Daily Planet where Perry White sends Clark Kent out to get the story on Hackett’s escape.

Kent seeks out Lois’ shifty informant, Hawkins, to find out whatever he can about Hackett. Hawkins doesn’t give up the goods, but Clark spots some of the Spider-lady’s goons nearby and follows them back to the house where they have Hackett stashed. Meanwhile, Lois corners Hawkins and gets him to spill the location where Hackett is hiding.

At the safehouse, the goons inform Hackett they are going to sneak him out in a stolen ambulance. This way they won’t be hassled by any roadblocks. Hackett will have his face wrapped in bandages as the patient. Clark, meanwhile, is outside and hears all this with his super hearing. When the crooks head out to get the ambulance, Clark bursts in and ties up Hackett. He then wraps a bandage around his face and takes Hackett’s place. When the crooks return, they load up Clark and head out. 

Back at the cabin, Lois shows up and discovers Hackett, who has freed himself. He takes Lois hostage and forces her to drive him out at gunpoint. Back at the ambulance, the crooks have discovered that Clark is not Hackett and a fight ensues. Somehow they overpower Clark and leave him by the side of the road!?!? Yeah, I’m still struggling with that one, too. Meanwhile, Hackett knocks Lois unconscious and then jumps out of the moving car. Now, both car and Lois are sailing toward the edge of a cliff…but you’ll have to wait until next week to see what happens.

If there is one thing we’ve learned in looking at these serials, it’s that some episodes are going to be fun and some are going to be duds. This one is a bit closer to the dud end of the spectrum. We get a very minimal amount of actual Superman action in this one. In fact, about half of the Superman action in this chapter is a repeat of the cliffhanger set up from last time. Once Superman rescues Lois from the rogue cutting tool, he goes after the bad guys, gets woozy from kryptonite, and then that’s it. No more cape and tights in this episode.

Much of this episode centers on Clark and Lois doing reportery stuff, which just isn’t as exciting as a guy in a cape punching bad guys. I’ve got to be honest, the reporter stuff has always been a bit of a struggle for me in Superman stories. For one thing, especially in these early takes on the characters, they aren’t actually working as reporters. They are trying to be the police. They want to solve the crimes themselves, which supposedly will get a great story and sell more papers. Perry White even tells Clark Kent in this episode that he wants the Daily Planet to be responsible for capturing the escaped Hackett. That’s not journalism people!!! Also annoying is the constant backstabbing that Lois dishes out to Clark. This woman just cannot stand it when somebody other than herself might get a big story…especially if that somebody is Clark Kent. She calls him names, belittles him and tries to steal any story opportunity away from him. The Daily Planet HR department needs to have a serious talk with Miss Lois Lane, cuz she’s a bit of a toxic employee.

The biggest problem with this chapter, though, is not about fighting amongst the Daily Planet staff. I guess I just have a bit of a problem processing the scene where the crooks realize that the bandaged man in the ambulance is not Hackett, but Clark Kent, and then proceed to slap him around like a rag doll. Sure, he’s not dressed as Superman right now, but he does still have his superpowers. Remember that whole thing in Kill Bill Vol. 2 about how Kal-El is truly Superman and that the Clark Kent persona is the disguise? Well, apparently not this time. This scene seems to indicate that when the cape is packed away, Superman would struggle to take Jimmy Olsen in a fight. It’s a baffling scene that won’t sit well with anyone who has two brain cells to rub together.

Despite all this chapter’s flaws, I will say that it has a solid cliffhanger. Lois is unconscious in the driver’s seat, careening toward a cliff. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I can’t say I’m hopeful for her rescue. I mean, if a couple of the Spider-lady’s third-rate goons can smack Clark Kent around like a bop bag, how will he ever manage to save Lois? I guess we’ll find out next time in chapter 7 – Into the Electric Furnace.

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