Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hey, Whatever Happened To All Those Superman Robots??

Remember all those wonderful robots Superboy and Superman used to have?

Whatever happened to them?? After being all over the place in the Silver Age, they sort of vanished in the Bronze Age, rarely to be seen again (unless, of course, you want to gratuitously kill some Teen Titans).

But why? I mean, even if you're virtually-godlike Superman, the benefits of a fleet of super-powered robots, identical to you, is nearly incalculable. If nothing else, you can use them to fill in at all the lame public appearances you have to make while you do something useful like save the Earth. They can take care of minor annoyances, like kittens in trees, while you deal with Brainiac and Terra Man.

Perhaps more importantly, they could virtually solve all your hide-the-secret-identity problems. Hell, just have one of the robots permanently assigned to "confound Lois" duty, and you've made short work of 90% of Silver Age secret identity hijinks!!

So why did they go out of use? For a very good reason, it turns out. In World's Finest #202 (1971), Superman discovers that there's a big problem with his robot doubles:

"Attuned to the planet itself"?? What does that even mean, Kal-El??

So much for having "perfected them." Seriously--overpopulation interferes with the proper functioning of your robots? You're no Professor Ivo, are you, Clark?

You "have no choice but to retire" them?? Well, isn't "rebuild them so they work with the planet in its current condition" a pretty valid option? They're already immune to kryptonite, and can fly into the sun--can't you buttress them up against "man-made radiation"?? Find a way to filter/counter the pollution? Upgrade their OS??

Nope, it's time to trash these "good and faithful servants," without the slightest attempt to salvage them.

And don't think we didn't notice that you're blaming humans for your design failures, Kal-El!!

No wonder the robot that gained sentience went berserk and kicked the living crap out of you, Superman...

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