I’m not even joking about that title. “American Honda”, which I can only assume means the Honda car makers, put out a PSA comic where Supergirl tries to get a guy to wear his seat belt. Sound lame? What if I told you she does so by entering his dreams and trying to convince him to wear it so he can come out of the coma caused not by the car accident he was in but grief that he might have killed his sister, whom he will watch die again and again while Superman sits in the fortress watching his cousin risk her life? Interested now? Then come with to see how the Girl of Steel does Inception before doing Inception was cool. Then again, I’ve not seen Inception, so that’s totally guesswork on my part.
DC Comics/American Honda/US Dept. of Transportation (1984)WRITERS: Joe Orlando, Barry Marx, Robert Loren Fleming DIALOGUE: Andy Helfer (Yeah, that’s a lot of writers. And one of them is the editor. This may not end well.) ARTIST: Angelo Torres LETTERER: John Costanza COLORIST: Joe Orlando EDITOR: Barry Marx (told you) SPECIAL CONSULTANTS: Tom Harrington & Rick Smith EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR: Steve Werner ADVISER: Steve Jacobs
Supergirl helping people in an earthquake means that her alter-ego, Linda Danvers, must cancel a movie date with her boyfriend, Steve Gordon. Since he was looking forward to this new sci-fi flick he has advanced screening passes for, Steve decides to take his sister, Ellen. The girl has been watching her cartoon morals because she chastises her big brother for not wearing his seatbelt, just in time for them to get into an accident.
This is where the fun beings. (Depending on your definition of “fun”.) The driver who hit them did so by accident, blaming having a few drinks at a party. An afternoon party, although the cops and ambulance arrive rather fast according to the pacing, although it got real dark real fast. Steve is in a coma, but there’s no brain damage. Apparently he was “delirious all night, mumbling something about ‘killing Ellen'”, according to Linda, and she deduces that “maybe the idea that he hurt her is too terrible for him to live with”. Of course, she’s standing with the family, just fine because she wore her seat belt.
Supergirl decides to mediate in the planetary zoo, when Superman arrives. Deciding that she can’t choose between “Supergirl” and “Linda” and has chosen to give up being Supergirl. This lasts all of four panels, when Superman breaks out the empathic machine, a way to communicate with a race of telepaths. This apparently requires the person to be strapped down onto a bed. Also, if the person whose mind your entering dies, the person making the call will die as well. Maybe you should just get a pen and paper, Clark. Superman is ready to go into Steve’s coma-induced dreams, but because this is Supergirl’s
comic friend, she insists on going instead. And now the crazy starts, a trio of dreams which ends pretty much the same way as the accident which put him here, but a bit more deliberate and action-y.
In the first dream, “Gord-On” must save his winter-strew village by getting much-needed fuel to keep them warm. Yes, it’s a post-apocalyptic setting. Unfortunately, a group of marauders wants them all dead. “Ellen” tags along and, now a part of the dream, Supergirl hangs in the back seat trying to counter some of Steve/Gord-On beliefs that seat belts would actually get in the way when being chased by Road Warrior Winter Editions or fall through the ice. I almost want to give him the ice one, but how many sci-fi vehicles have seat belts anyway? There are just too many things to show in this story once the marauders do attack, from Ellen really wanting to see the bad guys about to gut them all, to the villain leader who knows his manners…I have to use this one for the Friday Night Fights this week.
The dream ends with the vehicle getting shoved into an ice trap and as Gord-On (or Steve) dies in both the dream and real world. Superman knows that Kara is also dying, but because he gave his word he can’t interfere. Which just brings up too many questions. I do wonder, though, if his name in the dream is Gord-On, why dream Ellen calls him Steve at the end. Not that it matters because his name in the next dream is Monterey Gordon. You can guess where this is going.
After the clichéd “here’s an important map, and now I have to die” moment, Gordon goes hunting the sacred jewels that will help all mankind because…I don’t know, it’s not my conscience-induced coma dream. Monty takes Ellen along because he likes her (so taking her along on a quest where you know the guys after the map will kill anyone, like they did your unnamed friend…what do you do with kids you hate?) and Supergirl tags along because…yeah, there’s never a reason for Steve and Ellen to accept the hot blond in the tight outfit and short shorts and I just answered that question, didn’t I? At least in Steve’s case, Ellen’s a girl, and like, 10, maybe 12 at the most.
So the guys who killed Monterey Gordon’s friend tries throwing a tiger at them but he chases it off by grabbing a snake off of a tree as they drive in their jeep. You should have guessed the theme of these dreams by now. The bad guys also miss with a boulder, which gives Ellen another opening to try to talk Monterey into wearing his seat belt. However, the bad guys finally guess how to win in these dreams and plow into him with their big truck. Steve is thrown clear and since the ground makes for a lousy pillow at 50+ MPH, Supergirl tries to save dream Steve, but the thought that Ellen was killed is enough to end the story…and coming closer to ending Steve.
Back in the hospital room, these events haven’t gone unnoticed. Steve has had two setbacks and seems to be falling deeper into vegetable mode. Now he prepares for his third, a noir detective flick, with Steve finally being able to keep his name and Linda showing up as his secretary, Zelda. Ellen and Supergirl tag along again, only this time Steve puts his belt on just to shut them up. Sure enough, Guttman, a bad guy who has it in for the private dick, rams his car. (Steve remarks “NO! NO! NOT AGAIN!”, which may indicate he at least knows he’s been experiencing this before.) Otherwise, it’s a real reenactment of the original car crash, only Steve is awake enough to see that Ellen has survived, waking him up for real to see that his sister is alive in the real world too. Steve and Linda patch things up as our story ends, and some quizzes pop up about wearing your seat belt.
Let’s be honest, I keep this comic because of the crazy dreams and my own draw to both PSA comics and Supergirl. The art, while not horrible, is not up to standard of a typical Supergirl comic, unlike the New Teen Titans anti-drug comic. The story is otherwise rather light and that makes the preachiness of the “always wear your seat belts, kids” message all the more obvious. So remember to always wear your seat belts…or they make another one of these…or would if they made PSA comics (or any comics..a low figure for DC) for kids anymore.
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