Superman” Victory By Computer
DC Comics/Radio Shack (1981)
Fun fact: this was my introduction to Supergirl as well as Alec & Shanna. Sadly I lost my copy and haven’t been able to replace it.
WRITER: Cary Bates
ARTISTS: Curt Swan & Vince Colleta
Superman is joined by Supergirl for a return trip to Ms. Wilson’s class. After showing off stuff Radio Shack is promoting Superman is called away to prison, where Lex Luthor is declaring that not only will he escape but Superman will help him. As the kids go to a museum for the obligatory computer history lesson, Supergirl’s trip is stopped by a trap set by Luthor that robs her of her powers. However, he used an old gangster’s hideout, so Supergirl calls up the class the next day to use their computer to help find out where she is, and a way to escape. Her powers restored and joined by Superman, Supergirl and her cousin take Luthor’s men to jail.
What they got right: Supergirl plays a factor in her own rescue. Without powers, and not being sure the police would believe its her she turns to people she knows can get the information she needs to get past the guard and get out, as well as helping Superman find her, all thanks to the early internet. Supergirl’s demonstration with the kids helps set up the solution to the problem. They also have one of the kids absent in the previous issue so they can tell kids to whom this was their first introduction to these Radio Shack Superman stories (like me at the time) how Superman is here.
What they got wrong: Given how little Superman is in this they should have just called it a Supergirl/TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids team-up. The demonstration sounds more like a commercial than in the previous comic, and the pocket computers that Superman and Supergirl show off to the kids has no part in the story whatsoever. Supergirl telling Ms. Wilson she has a secret identity (though not her name) and what she does for a living–teaching assistant at the time apparently–seems like an odd thing to do. She really trusts her cousin’s fellow Smallville transplant that much? Alec also doesn’t get to do a lot because they only need one set of hands to run the computer.
What I think overall: A bit weaker than the first outing but not too bad a story overall.