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An elite corps of "tiny Supermen," the Superman Emergency Squad consists of Kandorian men clad in red-and-blue costumes indentical to Superman's. The squad monitors Superman's activities constantly by means of sophisticated "Earth monitor screens" in the bottle city of Kandor and periodically leave their bottle city to come to the aid of Superman in special emergencies.
Because, like all Kandorians, they acquire super-powers identical to Superman's immediately upon departing the confines of their bottle city, where atmospheric conditions identical to their native planet Krypton prevail, they are a formidable fighting force, described in one text as "an intrepid army of super-powered, lilliputian Men of Steel!"
The captain of the Superman Emergency Squad is named Don-El. Van-Zee is one of the Squad's members. Like all Kandorians, the members of the Superman Emergency Squad are fully aware that Clark Kent is secretly Superman.
In their earliest textual appearances, the members of the Superman Emergency Squad are described as having been specially selected for Squad membership on the basis of their close physical resemblance to Superman. This concept was soon discarded in favor of a Squad characterized by a more varied appearance. The Superman Emergency Squad is not to be confused with the Kandorian Look-Alike Squad.
Seated at their monitor screens in the bottle city of Kandor, the Squad's "watchers" maintain a constant vigil over Superman's activities. In emergencies, they are empowered to activate the Superman robots in the Fortress of Solitude. Among their ongoing assignments is that of safeguarding the Fortress against intruders.
Their primary mission, however, is to fly into action the moment Superman summons them or to rush to his aid when they see him in jeopardy. When the watchers observe that Superman needs the Squad's assistance, they sound the emergency "siren-alert" that summons the Squad members into action. Hastily boarding a Kandorian rocket ship, the Squad members soar to the top of the bottle, to the place where the giant cork seals shut the entrance to the city. Exiting from the rocket ship, they cling to the smooth glass wall of the bottle by means of special suction cups affixed to their hands and feet while the rocket's pilot sprays them with a rare "enlarging gas," developed by a Kandorian scientist, which temporarily enlarges them from their customary microscopic size to "a few inches" in height.
Then, aided by their increased size and strength, the Squad members strain their backs against one side of the giant cork, prying it up just enough to enable them to crawl through the tiny gap into the Fortress of Solitude, where, freed from Kandor's Kryptonian atmosphere, they instantaneously acquire super-powers identical to Superman's and soar into the outside world through the gigantic keyhole in the Fortress of Solitude's massive front door.
By August 1965, a special doorway had been installed in the giant cork to facilitate "easier exit from the bottle."
In the vast majority of the texts in which they appear, the members of the Superman Emergency Squad wear red-and-blue costumes identical to Superman's. On occasion, however, they have worn either costumes similar to Superman's, but lacking capes, or distinctive purple-and-red Kandorian costumes.
Text on this page taken from The Great Superman Book © 1978 by Michael L. Fleisher.