Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The Dynamic Duo Of Kandor - Part 2
Nightwing and Flamebird were just some Silver Age flotsam until the advent of the delightful Superman Family comic. A blending of the Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl titles, this comic was a fun, typically light-hearted package month in and month out and its pages gave a home briefly to Kandor's own costumed crimefighers.
The Dynamic Duo of Kandor make their first appearance in the comic when the original team of Jimmy Olsen and Superman enter Kandor to help out a scientist whose daughter seems to have fallen victim to a life of crime. For a time Jimmy / Flamebird joins her as a plague sweeps through the city and only the most extreme measures can save the bottled city.
Then things change when a new team is introduced. Van-Zee had been a longtime member of the Superman cast, one of the many Superman doubles in the universe, he and his wife Sylvia (an Earth woman) and their two children have a nice life in Kandor. He takes on as his apprentice a young man named Ak-Var who was released from the Phantom Zone after serving his sentence of thirty years. The two of them look enough like the original team of Superman and Jimmy that they become the Dynamic Duo with the populace little aware of the change. We later are witness to the moment when they decide to take on the roles and it pretty much adds up to a simple decision to make use of the costumes and equipment which are unused when the originals are out of town, which is almost all of the time.
Though they rarely got the cover, they had a spot in the comic (which shifted to dollar comic size soon in its run) for several years. To be honest the adventures by writer Paul Kupperberg and artist Ken Landgraf and Romeo Tanghal among others with occasional work by Carl Potts and a stunning finale by Marshall Rogers is for the most part competent journeyman work, typical for the Bronze Age. The stories are not all that compelling but they are interesting as Ak-Var sometimes clashes with his mentor Van-Zee, the latter preferring most of the time a more patient course in dealing with issues. The stories sometimes were mere chapters in larger epics which plowed through the whole comic, which limited their effectiveness when read as stand alone.
But in their careers they battled Brainiac, the mysterious "Crimelord of Kandor", and a host of plagues which beset the tiny city. Below are the covers of the issues which featured the team. They make the cover sometimes, but most times they are small fry indeed.