Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Superman #2

Superman catches a man jumping off a bridge in mid-leap and "receives the brunt of the shock when they strike water." Which seems odd because falling in water is usually safe in comic books. If Heroes can take a hit for someone else, can they also take falling damage for someone else?

Superman fails to recognize ex-heavyweight champion of the world, Larry Trent, right away. Is recognizing others a skill that needs to be checked?

Superman uprooting a tree is a use of the Raise Car power. It's not clear if Superman is using make-up or a power to disguise himself. The narrator says he punches out 11 boxers at once (even though we only see 6 in the panel), which has to be the Flurry of Blows power. When another man he punches out mistakes Superman's fist for a sledge hammer, Superman might have been using the Get Tough power to buff his damage. He later uses Super-Senses to hear every word being said from a rooftop away.

I'm not sure what to make of Superman's ability to resist a hot foot. Resist Fire? Super-Tough Skin? Or can he ignore it because a lit match would do even less than a point of damage? He's definitely using Super-Tough Skin his second time in the ring.

He tells Larry that he plans to impersonate him for several months. That's really different, as most adventures only take days, if not just hours, to finish.

When Barnes accidentally punches himself out in the ring, there's no game mechanic justifying that happening; the Editor just throws that in because it's funny.

Demonstrating that Superman isn't yet a Lawful paragon of virtue, he takes a drugged drink from corrupt manager Tom Croy and forces Tom to drink it himself. Luckily, it wasn't lethal poison.

Superman is surprisingly wrecking-lite in the first story in this issue. He does "jam his hand over the" muzzle of a gun to make it explode, which would probably be treated as wrecking things.

In the second adventure, "Superman Champions Universal Peace", Superman shows no suspicion when Professor Runyan demonstrates how his new formula for poison gas can penetrate a gas mask and kill a monkey, but it can't penetrate the glass jar Runyan conducts the experiment in.

When mobsters show up at Runyan's office and threaten him, Superman does everything right -- giving the mobsters some figurative rope, following them from a distance to find out where they operate from, and goes off to perform his civilian duties as Clark Kent with no since of urgency, since the mobsters gave Runyan 24 hours. That the mobsters "cheated" and killed Runyan early could have felt unfair to Superman's player, and discouraged him from not hitting first and asking questions later in the future.

The mobsters are actually spies from "Boravia" -- probably meant to be Bolivia.  Curiously, Bolivia had never had a civil war, like what happens in this story, though it does seem to predict the 1949 Bolivian Civil War.

When the spy leader, Bartow wrecks the controls for his plane and it crashes, his two henchmen emerge practically unscathed, suggesting again that crashes are almost never lethal in comic books.

For one of the only times in comic book history, a bomb lands next to Superman and knocks him unconscious (he forgot those defensive buff powers!).

Is Superman using Invisibly Fast when he fools the firing squad in "Boravia"? He's definitely using Imperviousness when he does let them shoot him. When he starts fighting back, he wrecks a tank gun (treat as a truck). He collects aircraft bombs, temporarily, as trophy items, but then uses them right away.

Now, how high is Superman jumping when he leaps up to attack a blimp? He appears to be above the clouds, but WWII-era blimps didn't typically go that high; the Hindenburg's cruising altitude was only 650' up.  Leap I could reach that height, and what appear to be clouds might just be smoke from the munitions factory Superman destroyed. Lastly, I would say that blimps wreck as if generators.

Superman again shows he has a cruel, non-Lawful streak. When Lubane tries to use the deadly poison gas in a desperate attempt to kill both himself and Superman, Superman saves himself with the Different Physical Structure power, then just watches as Lubane dies by his own hand.

At the Bolivian (excuse me, "Boravian") capital, Superman wrecks the load-bearing pillars in the conference hall to force the sides to come together -- or else! I would treat load-bearing pillars as cars, for wrecking purposes.

In the third adventure, "Superman and the Skyscrapers", Superman is able to hide in shadows despite the bright colors of his costume/uniform (a skill check and/or a surprise roll -- considering how long Superman remains unseen, I would probably have required both).

Even though Superman is supposedly a well-known public figure by now, the skyscraper saboteur fails to identify Superman's distinctive appearance and mistakes him for a detective. Maybe recognizing others really is a difficult skill!

Superman's encounter with the skyscraper saboteur is harder to explain in H&H terms than one might think. Curiously, the saboteur gets off three shots with a revolver before Superman can close with him, despite already being at close range. Even with an automatic, the saboteur can't get off more than two shots per turn, meaning that Superman merely saunters up to the saboteur for one full turn, then loses or forfeits initiative in the next turn to take more shots (all he's protected from by his Imperviousness power) before getting his turn. But Superman doesn't get to attack because the saboteur moves after attacking and before Superman gets to go. Now, in 1st ed. H&H, that is actually how it works, with movement split into two phases before and after attacks. In 2nd ed., though, I planned to simplify things and keep movement all in one action at the beginning of the combat turn. Maybe I'm erring, though...?

Superman uses Extend Missile Weapon I to toss a living person -- which we've seen before, but not thrown straight up into the air. It's a clever way to break the power so that it does more damage, as Butch Grogan's bodyguard flies up at least 30' and would take 3-18 points of damage upon falling. Ultimately, Superman uses the 4th level power, Bounce Back Blows just to take out Butch's one bodyguard -- a pretty excessive act. Just having the power means Superman is at least an incredible man (6th level superhero).

Superman is interrogating Butch Grogan out in the street when a beat cop comes up to question them both. Both Superman and Butch feel the need to escape, and it's telling that Superman is the one who gets shot at.

When Superman finally tracks down Butch's boss, he encounters a trapped hallway where photo-electric cells trigger bombs along the hallway as soon as Superman passes by them. Since "only a swift sideward leap saves Superman from annihilation", he must have buffed only with Imperviousness and not Invulnerability.

(Issue read in Superman Archives v. 1.)

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