The 1st in an occasional series of looks at interesting moments and adventures in the print life of the Legion of Super-Heroes' resident super-genius: Brainiac 5.
(As with all posts on this blog, there's nothing but spoilers, so . . . )
The lead story in Superman #213 from January 1969 is titled by writer Cary Bates 'The Most Dangerous Door in the World,' but I'd like to re-name it 'Superman and His Friends are Dicks - The Entrapment of Lex Luthor.' It's an unusual story in the Superman canon, in that Superman is really just a guest star in his own book, with much of the action being carried out by a surprise imposter - it's Brainiac 5 under a spit-curl wig and S-shield.
The story, illustrated by Superman artist extraordinaire, Curt Swan along with Jack Abel (a fantastic art team that did a bunch of Adventure Comics Legion stories together around this time) begins with a public announcement by 'Superman' that the valuable contents of a mysterious vault in his possession will pass on to all mankind in the event of his own death. Until the day that Superman draws his last breath, the vault will be sealed away underground and heavily guarded. Watching all of this on television is a sad and bitter Lex Luthor. Superman's greatest enemy rejects the notion of seizing the vault, perhaps beginning to accept the fact that he's destined to fail against the Man of Steel.
|'Clark Kent' (& conspirators) provoke Lex, while Superman 5, er . . ., I mean 'Superman' has trouble cutting a diamond|
|NSFW? Luthor's large unit penetrates the mysteries of the vault|
|A curiously green-skinned 'Superman' is revived by his Super-Friends, while a newly-freed Superman gives a big ol' Stooges slap to Larry, Curly & Shemp|
|Supergirl's boyfriend from the future, Brainiac 5 drops his ultra-acting role while Lex Luthor stews - cue sad trombone|
note: I could be wrong, so please correct me, but this might be Cary Bates' first work on a Legion character. Bates would go on to script many, many Legion stories throughout the 70s.