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"The 20th Century Achilles!": At a secret waterfront hideout, a group of crooks split their loot when they are visited by a man who claims to be a 20th Century Achilles and that save for his heel, he is completely invulnerable. Not believing the mans claims, the crooks shoot at him and attack hi

Quote1.png T-Taxes! But I've never been asked to pay taxes before! Quote2.png

Superman #148 is an issue of the series Superman (Volume 1) with a cover date of October, 1961.

Synopsis for "The 20th Century Achilles!"

At a secret waterfront hideout, a group of crooks split their loot when they are visited by a man who claims to be a 20th Century Achilles and that save for his heel, he is completely invulnerable. Not believing the mans claims, the crooks shoot at him and attack him with various weapons to find, much to their surprise, the man seemingly invulnerable to their attacks. He explains to them that his parents were explorers who while traveling to Greece, they had found the legendary pool that granted Achilles his powers. They then took their infant child and dunked him in the water, making him a modern day Achilles, complete with the same vulnerability. As a grown man, Achilles decided to take up a career in crime, however in order to prevent himself from falling victim to the same weakness as his namesake, he had a special lead boot constructed to protect his heel.

Finishing his story, he tells the crooks he has sought out their employ because he had heard that they also have a chunk of Kryptonite, and in using it to keep Superman at bay, their crimes would be unstoppable. Deciding to take him on, the crooks send him to steal the jewels that are part of a statue on display for a Maharajah exhibition at the Metropolis museum. When he robs the jewels in the middle of the day, the police attempt to stop him and are shocked to find that their bullets have no effect on him. When Superman arrives on the scene to try and stop Achilles, he is warded off by the chunk of Kryptonite that Achilles wears around his neck.

After another failed attempt to capture the crook from stealing a rare tapestry, the press notices that Achilles wears his special lead boot, leading the press and Superman to wonder if this is the key to defeating the crook.

When Achilles attempts to steal the necklace worn by Cleopatra, which is on display at the Coliseum Gardens Exhibition, he finds that there is a trap waiting for him. Doused with gas, Perry White and the chief of police manage to take away Achilles' chunk of Kryptonite and dispose of it. However, Achilles revives and attempts to murder Perry when Superman suddenly arrives and prevents him from stabbing Perry in the back.

Trying to escape, Achilles drives into the nearby lake to swim to his getaway car. This leads to his capture, as his special lead boot weighs him down that it pulls him to the bottom threatening to drown him. When Superman comes to his rescue, he removes the boot and realizes the truth about Achilles powers: That he wasn't gifted with invulnerability at all, but was armed with a special anti-magnet that deflected any bullets or metal objects that were used to try and stop him, and relied on the Kryptonite most of all to keep Superman from exposing the secret to his powers.

Appearing in "The 20th Century Achilles!"

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Synopsis for "Mr. Mxyzptlk's Super-Mischief!"

In the 5th Dimension, Mr. Mxyzptlk watches Superman and Krypto through his dimensional viewer and is annoyed that to date Superman has been able to thwart him at every turn, being able to trick him into saying his name backward. Mxyzptlk then comes up with a genius way to avoid this from happening: Going to a judge in his native dimension he has his name legally changed to "John Trix" for 75 days, which Mxyzptlk accepts, feeling that this is more than enough time to pester Superman.

Arriving on Earth, Mxyzptlk goes right to work causing mischief, first by changing a number of portraits at the Metropolis Art Museum, then making all the manhole covers in Metropolis rise into the air. This last stunt attracts the attention of Superman, who then has to make sure that the plummeting manholes covers do not harm anyone.

Superman then begins to try and trick Mxyzptlk to say his name backwards. First disguising himself as a blind man, Superman attempts to trick Mxyzptlk to say his name backwards by reading a stock market ticker. To Superman's astonishment, when Mxyzptlk says Kltpzyxm, the imp doesn't vanish. Mxyzptlk then flies off and turns the mayors bathtub water into glue.

Superman next attempts to trick Mxyzptlk by posing as an aid for a world leader at the Metropolis United World Building, this attempt also fails. Mxyzptlk next goes to the Metropolis prison and uses his magic powers to give the prisoners there super-powers similar to Superman. This time Superman manages to get rid of Mxyzptlk, when a second Mxyzptlk appears claiming to be the original, and the other to be fraud. To prove this, the second Mxyzptlk says Kltpzyxm and suddenly vanishes. Furious that someone is posing as him, the real Mxyzptlk says the word Xirt-Nhoj and vanishes back to the 5th Dimension.

With the imp gone, the fake Mxyzptlk appears and bursts open, revealing that it was really a life-like puppet controlled by the Superman Rescue Squad. Superman, deciding to play at Mr, Mxyzptlk's vanity, contrived this plot to trick Mxyzptlk to return to his own dimension.

Appearing in "Mr. Mxyzptlk's Super-Mischief!"

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Synopsis for "Superman Owes a Billion Dollars!"

IRS agent Rupert Brand is going through records and is shocked that Superman has never paid his taxes nor reported all the reward money and net assets he's earned over the years, and had become determined to collect the taxes owing from the Man of Steel.

Superman meanwhile is out in space Superman collects a rare egg from a passing comet to bring back to Earth for examination. Returning to Metropolis, Superman aids in a collection drive for the Metropolis Fireman's Welfare Fund. During this drive, Brand jumps off a building to attract Superman's attention. When Superman saves the IRS auditor, he tells Superman that he needs to pay back his taxes. Taking him back to the IRS building, Brand calculates how much bax taxes that Superman owes and tells the Man of Steel that he needs to pay the IRS 1 billion dollars in taxes within the next 24 hours otherwise he will order the FBI to arrest Superman.

Wanting to abide by the law, Superman rushes out to try and collect the money that he owes in back taxes as quickly as possible, a task that proves to be harder than it would seem. He flies to the African Congo where he collects a large cache of elephant tusks from an elephant graveyard hoping to net the billion dollars from selling the ivory. However, Bizarro arrives and in a misguided attempt to try and help Superman turns the tusks into worthless bars of soap.

After depositing the hatching egg someplace safe, Superman goes to a coal mine, Superman next tries to use his super powers to compress coal into diamonds. However, the comet that has passed the Earth has had a temporary effect on the coal, making it impossible for Superman to crush it into diamonds. Superman then decides to get help from his friends, getting a growth serum from Professor Potter, Superman enlists the aid of Aquaman in finding the worlds biggest oyster so that he can use the growth formula to make the worlds largest pearl.

Returning it to the spot where he left the egg, Superman is surprised to find that the egg has hatched into some strange creature. Superman next goes out to collect a number of valuable items from lost tombs and from under the sea, getting the aid of Lori Lemaris and her merpeople to help. When Superman goes off into space to get a chunk of Radium, he breaks it down and takes it to hospitals that are in need due to a shortage of Radium on Earth. Returning back to his cache of valuables, he finds that the creature has eaten everything, Superman then tosses the creature out into space.

With no other options left, and his deadline looming, Superman writes a check for the one billion dollars to give to Brand. Brand tells Superman that the check is worthless as it had come from the First National Bank of Krypton. However at the last moment Brand's boss enters the room and tells Brand that Superman doesn't owe any taxes due to Code 1426B of the income tax code, which states that a taxpayer can deduct $600.00 from their income for each dependent the pay for. Rationalizing that Superman's dependents are the entire world he has no taxable income. With Superman's tax woes sorted out, Brand and Superman shake hands and part company.

Appearing in "Superman Owes a Billion Dollars!"

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  • Rupert Brand of the IRS

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  • Radium



  • "The 20th Century Achilles!" recycles its plot from the story "Achilles VS Superman!" from Superman #63.
  • "Superman Owes a Billion Dollars!" recycles its plot from the story "Superman's Billion-Dollar Debt!" from Superman #114.

See Also

Links and References