This may have been the best month in fictitious Superman actor Gregory Reed’s entire career, as he was a featured character in not one but two full comics, ones that I bought and read back-to-back. I’d imagine that the fact that the Superman movie was starting up production was the source of this sudden interest in this character–he’d soon enough slide back into obscurity. (And sorry to spoil one of the plot elements of this issue of SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER VILLAINS up front.)

The issue opens with an even more significant appearance, as the shadowy mystery man who broke Copperhead out of prison and invaded the Sinister Citadel last issue turns out to be Superman baddie Lex Luthor. He’s in need of cronies for a job he has planned, and so he’s decided to hijack the Secret Society for his own purposes. Luthor gets both good moments and bad in this story, but the ease with which he humiliates the Society’s would-be leader the Wizard is definitely in the plus column–Lex was a formidable badass, make no mistake.

Seems that Lex is pissed that a Superman movie is being made, one which the Man of Steel himself is providing the special effect for because he doesn’t have anything better to do with his time. So Luthor wants to use the Society’s resources to recruit Felix Faust and the Matter Master to help him destroy the Kryptonian Kid with magic–and he begrudgingly allows the laid-low Wizard to join in the assault as well. The movie’s currently shooting in Sapporo, Japan, so that’s where we find actor Gregory Reed gearing up, unaware that all hell is about to break loose.

Meanwhile, after an uneventful shift on JLA monitor duty, Hawkman takes Captain Comet back to his home in Midway City for a rare Thanagarian meal. The growing friendship between Hawkman and Captain Comet was one of the appealing features of this run. While Katar busies himself in the kitchen, Comet and Shayera see breaking news about the Superman filming being threatened by a rockslide, notice the Wizard in the crowd, and race to the rescue (leaving Katar completely unaware.)

On site, the three magicians are confused by why Superman hasn’t soared into action to save the production, having come in after Gregory Reed donned his lifelike Superman mask. To try to get the Man of Steel into the action, they summon up a huge two-headed dragon. But it’s Captain Comet and Hawkgirl who instead fly into battle with the creature, entangling its two heads so that fiery and icy breath cancel each other out. Back at the ranch, Lex isn’t at all pleased.

Lex has also had about enough of Funky Flashman’s faux-Stan Lee banter, and is about to put the garrulous huckster through a wall when Funky resorts to his ultimate desperation play: doffing his toupee and false facial hair and appealing to Luthor one baldie to another. Back in Japan, the Wizard’s having performance anxiety as his powers malfunction, producing unspectacular results. The trio attempts to kill Superman by creating a volcano under Reed’s feet, but can’t quite manage it–and again, It’s Comet and Hawkgirl that take care of the situation.

At this point, the three magicians decide to attack directly–but Felix Faust’s spell to remove Superman’s powers backfires when he directs it against the powerless Gregory Reed, and the actor and Hawkgirl clean up on the three startled sorcerers, much to the chagrin of the watching Lex Luthor. Faust and the Matter Master are taken into custody, but a few pages later, the Wizard informs Funky that he himself eluded capture and is returning to the Sinister Citadel–where Funky has a new business idea brewing!

And what of Lex Luthor? He storms out of the Sinister Citadel, vowing revenge, after Copperhead turns on him and sides with Funky Flashman. Not the greatest move on the surface of it, Copperhead ol’ sock. But it all turns out all right as Funky calls the cops on Lex, and they’re waiting for him when he leaves the building–and Funky assures the others that they won’t believe anything Lex tells them about a team of super villains operating from that address–that would just be nutty! It’s a sad day for Lex Luthor, he doesn’t even attempt to make a fight of it when the police show up for him

The last bit in the issue contained the latest “Stan’s Soapbox”-style column from new DC publisher Jenette Kahn, this one among other things outlining the timeline under which a comic book was produced by DC back around 1977 as explanation for why she couldn’t discuss all of the mail they’d so far received for her Dollar Comic experiment–because when she was writing the page, no mail was yet possible. The page also included the first of a series of profiles on key DC staffers. These little profiles featured invaluable information, often about industry figures such as Sol Harrison, shown here, who weren’t often interviewed about their own place within the history of comics. 

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