Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman: The Deluxe Edition is a hardcover celebrating the 80th anniversary of Superman's debut in Action Comics #1, revisiting stories from across the decades and featuring debuts of key characters like Superman, Lois Lane, Supergirl, Brainiac and Toyman, as well as fellow Action Comics stars Zatara the Master Magician, the Vigilante and the Human Target. The book also includes "Too Many Heroes!", a Golden Age Superman story believed to have been written by Jerry Siegel and illustrated by Joe Shuster, published in only an edited form by Bill Finger. A new story titled "The Game" was written by Paul Levitz for the collection, with art by Neal Adams.


"Too Many Heroes!"

Appearances

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Carol Lorloff
  • Jonathan Trundle

Antagonists:

  • Felix Savat
  • Satan, the Bengal tiger
  • Stella Savat

Other Characters:

Locations:

Synopsis

The famous film villain Peter Lorloff on his deathbed berates his sister Stella and her husband Felix Savat for leeching his money for many years, declaring he won't bequeath anything to them. He also tells his niece Carol that she'll get nothing too since she never casted him any heroic roles, despite her insistence that the movie studio won't ever agree to give him one. He then searches the phone number directory for a lawyer to execute his will and finds the name of Jonathan Trundle who lives on 13 Tenement Street. Trundle is a failed lawyer who talks to himself and is shocked upon finding he will be paid 5000 dollars to carry out Peter's will.

Trundle later reads Peter's will to his family at his mansion and states that one million dollars will be given to anyone who performs the most heroic act within a week of his death, since he himself could never be a hero onscreen. The family is shocked upon realizing it and Felix declares he'll file a case in court. The news about the will is published in the Daily Planet the next day and many people start planning on how to look like a hero. Clark, knowing what is going to happen, decides that Trundle would need help. He meets up with the lawyer in his apartment and hears the news on his radio about a zoo guard getting the Bengal tiger Satan to go back in its cage after it escaped. He flies off to the zoo with Trundle, who praises the guard for making the tiger go back with just a block of wood which he used to keep the cage door shut.

Superman however finds the lock in his pocket with his X-ray vision and rips it off to show he was responsible for it escaping. The guard accidentally knocks away the wooden block from the cage, releasing Satan again, but Superman throws it back and twists the cage bars so it cannot get out again, while Trundle informs that the guard has been nabbed and admitted his crime. While keeping an eye on would-be heroes, he spots a man tripping another man in front of an oncoming bus and catches the fake hero, telling Trundle to look after him. As he saves the tripped man from being run over, the wannabe hero attacks Trundle but gets grabbed by Superman who makes him confess to his crimes. Later, the superhero punches another fake hero for pushing a man off a bridge, but people keep creating fake incidents to prove themselves a hero.

Felix upon hearing about the fake rescues hatched by people for Peter's money, tells Stella they're doing it the wrong way, since it's Trundle who they should be putting in danger and saving. The couple agrees to carry this out themselves, which Carol overhears and wonders whether she should tell Trundle about it or become a part of their plan to earn money herself. Later in the night, a fire breaks out in Trundle's apartment building and his fellow tenements he is not in his room after the asleep lawyer fails to answer his door. Meanwhile, Carol tells Clark at the Daily Planet about Stella and Felix's plan, stating she doesn't want her aunt to be caught so she wants Superman to help. Clark tells her to go to Trundle's apartment, but later finds Felix rescuing him. The superhero then douses the building with water, before sucking the air to snuff out the flames.

Grabbing Felix, Superman tells him he knows he set the fire and drugged Trundle's milk, threatening him to not do it again. Carol meanwhile rescues Trundle from falling debris when he wanders toward his building in stupor. The lawyer states she is courageous and is pretty as well, making her blush. The hoax rescues however continue, causing people to distrust any helpful passer-by. Meanwhile, Stella and Felix decide to eliminate Carol for her heroic act so she doesn't get the money. Trundle later makes Superman accompany him to his date with Carol at her film studio, but they learn that she hasn't left the set despite everyone else leaving. Superman finds Felix smashing the wind tunnel controls and tells Trundle to find Carol. He does find her in the tunnel, but its giant fan soon turns on and starts dragging them towards itself. Superman however rescues both and Jonathan knocks Felix out, before Carol kisses him for his bravery.

Stella later contests Peter's will in court, telling the judge that the conditions in it have caused enough chaos. The judge agrees and tells Trundle to choose a worthy hero or the money will be awarded to the Savats. Superman states that the hero is Trundle himself as he risked his own life to ensure the money goes to the deserving person and while rescuing Carol. The judge agrees and awards the money to him. The excited Trundle asks Carol to marry him and she agrees.

  • Contains an introduction by Paul Levitz; a foreword by Jerry Siegel's daughter Laura Siegel Larson; plus essays by Jules Feiffer, Tom DeHaven, Marv Wolfman, David Hajdu, Larry Tye and Gene Luen Yang.
  • The collection contains ashcan covers for Action Comics #1, Action Comics #2 and Double Action Comics #2 created by DC Comics to establish trademarks. A "Double Action Comics" series however never happened.
  • Also contains highlights of covers of Action Comics issues from various ages and biographies of various people who worked on Action Comics.
  • "Too Many Heroes!" is a previously unpublished story produced in 1945; a revised version was published in 1948's Superman #55. Much of the story structure is same, but contains some storyline segments not present in the published version re-written by Bill Finger. In addition, the character designs are very different, while the wording is different too at many places. It also reveals the last name of the antagonists Felix and Stella.
  • "The Game" is a new story produced for this book by Paul Levitz and Neal Adams, but also appeared one week later as part of digital editions of Action Comics #1000 and also in Action Comics #1000: Deluxe Edition which was released in October.



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