Superboy v1 86

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Superboy v1 #86
Preboot » Pre-Crisis
Cover by Curt Swan, Stan Kaye and Ira Schnapp
Story title The Army of Living Kryptonite Men
Previous story Adventure Comics #267: Prisoner of the Super-Heroes
Next story Adventure Comics #282: Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Publication date November 17, 1960
Cover date January 1961
Writer Jerry Siegel
Penciller George Papp
Inker George Papp
Letterer Joe Letterese
Colourist Unknown
Editor Mort Weisinger
Cover artist(s) Curt Swan, Stan Kaye, Ira Schnapp

Lex Luthor uses kryptonite men made of irradiated meteors to battle Superboy, who is aided by Lightning Lad.

The Army of Living Kryptonite Men

(8 pages/45 panels)

Plot Synopsis

While Superboy and Pa Kent view trophies of Superboy's many adventures, hidden in a secret room in the Kent home, Pa comments on the "odd coincidence" of the double "L" initials in Superboy's life, pointing out "Lex Luthor" and "Lana Lang." This prompts Superboy to show off his Legion statuettes featuring another double "L" -- "Lightning Lad."

Meanwhile, Lex is seen in his home laboratory testing a mind-helmet he's just invented, which gives him the ability to mentally control rocks.

Luthor then lures Superboy to a distant asteroid where he falls into a Green Kryptonite trap. Luthor forms the Kryptonite meteors from another nearby asteroid into humanoid-like creatures, which start to pummel Superboy. At that moment, Lana Lang, apropos of nothing, sneaks through a window in the Luthor home and wonders if, for no particular reason, she should pull the "D-Lever" stiking out of the wall of an "apparatus-jammed power-room." This lever, the reader is told, will cause Luthor's mind-helmet to self-destruct. But before Lana's curiosity can be tested, a fuse blows, dousing the lights. Lana observes how "s-scared" she is and beats it back through the window.

Luthor replaces the fuse and sets out to manipulate the kryptonite men on the asteroid into one giant creature, which captures Krypto, who had noticed his master's plight via telescopic vision while romping through outer-space. Luthor then makes his giant kryptonite man collapse down onto the boy of steel and his pup, leaving them for dead while he gloats in a nearby mirror.

But just then, Superboy and Krypto come crashing through the roof, while Lightning Lad walks through the laboratory door. The Legion of Super-Heroes noticed Superboy's plight on their time-viewer (everybody, apparently, keeps an eye out for potential Superboy plights) and sent Lightning Lad back in time to rescue him.

Of course, as soon as Lightning Lad saves the day by "exploding those kryptonite chucks" off of Superboy, the two asteroids, their orbits upset by Luthors machinations, collide and explode. Superboy observes that the force of that explosion would have thrown him clear of the kryptonite, so he hadn't really needed Lightning Lad's help after all.

Still, once in Luthor's lab, Lightning Lad makes himself useful by blowing up Luthor's mind-helmet machine. Why Superboy doesn't point out that he could have done this, too, himself by pulling the D-Lever, we don't know.

Lightning Lad then returns to the future, leaving Luthor fuming amid the wreckage of his lab. If there is a Legion of Super-Heroes in the future, there also must be a Legion of Super-Villains, he reasons. Luthor vows to one day make contact with this group and solicit their help in destroying Superboy.

Key Quotes and Catchphrases

  • "He could become a great scientist except for his evil ambitions!" (Superboy, referring to Luthor.)
  • "Great Scott!" (Superboy)
  • "Chunks of green kryptonite . . . their radiations have already sapped by strength! Ow-www! It hurts!" (Superboy, being a big sissy.)
  • "I wonder what amazing experiment Lex Luthor is working on! Drat this curiosity of mine! I've just got to find out!" (Lana Lang, being Lana Lang)
  • "Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if I were to pull that lever??" (Lana, still being Lana)
  • "Should I, or shouldn't I??" (Again, Lana being Lana. She really was a pain in the ass, wasn't she? No wonder Superboy dumped her.)
  • "Phooie! I hate time-wasting interruptions!" (Lex Luthor)
  • "It's . . . the end. <choke!> G-goodbye, faithful Krypto . . . " (Superboy, being a melodramatic queen)
  • "Ha, Ha! With Superboy dead, no one can prevent me from becoming the greatest scientific criminal of all time! Luthor, my boy, you're terrific!" (Luthor, being Luthor)
  • "AWK!" (Luthor, as Superboy comes crashing through the roof. Now there, try and find one other instance in all of comics' history where the great and mighty Lex Luthor squawks like a parrot)
  • "You built your machine for evil purposes, Luthor!" (Lightning Lad, displaying his keen grasp on the obvious)
  • "<Groan!> The machine's parts were made of such rare materials, I'll never be able to rebuild it again, blast you!" (Oh, how very fortunate for us, Lex.)
  • "I hope Luthor will abandon his mad desire to destroy me! Maybe he's learned his lesson!" (Yeah, good luck with that one, Superboy)

Roll Call


In order of appearance:

  • Superboy (cover, 33 panels - 5 as Clark Kent)
  • Cosmic Boy (1 panel + 2 as statuette; 4th appearance)
  • Saturn Girl (1 panel + 2 as statuette; 4th appearance)
  • Lightning Lad (6 panels + 2 as statuette; 4th appearance)


  • Lex Luthor (21 panels)
  • Kryptonite Men (cover, 8 panels)

Supporting characters

  • Jonathan "Pa" Kent (4 panels)
  • Lana Lang (4 panels)
  • Krypto, the Super-Dog (9 panels)

Planets and Settings

  • 20th century Earth, including
    • Smallville
      • Superboy's secret trophy room inside the Kent home
      • Luthor's home laboratory
  • An unnamed pair of asteroids in orbit around each other (destroyed)

Technology, Gadgets and Other Neat Stuff

  • Legion Statuettes (2 panels)
  • Lex Luthor's Mind-Helmet (13 panels, destroyed)
  • Legion Time-Viewer (1 panel)
  • Legion Jet Packs (3 panels)
  • Legion Time Bubble (1 panel)

First appearances

This issue marks the first appearance of the following characters and recurring key Legion story elements:

  • Legion statuettes
  • Legion of Super-Villains (first mention)


Power Permutations

Lightning Lad is shown with his palms pressed firmly together when using his powers, which is consistent with his first appearance in Adventure Comics 247 when he noted his hands were "like the positive and negative poles of a battery" and that he had to clap his hands to create sparks. Lightning Lad also displayed "clap action" powers in Adventure Comics 267. This issue marks the last time he would be depicted exclusively in this hands-together posture when using his powers.


In what is probably not a coincidence, the DC Direct PVC statues Legion set released in 1999 uses the poses shown here on its Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl figures.

Other stories in this issue

There are two additional stories that do not feature the Legion. "The Super-Coward" & "The Boy Who Betrayed Clark Kent"


This Legion story has been reprinted in the following:

See also

« Previous    Next »Superboy v1 #86
Adventure Comics #267 
By continuity
Adventure Comics #282

Superboy v1 #10 
By series
Superboy v1 #89

Action Comics #267 
By publication
Adventure Comics #282