Posts tagged ‘Nasty’

Adventure 424 – Supergirl ends

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Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics comes to a close with issue 424 (Oct 72), in a story that actually winds things up and sets the stage for her own comic.  Steve Skeates handles the writing, while Tony de Zuniga and Bob Oskner take the art.

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Linda has been successful at getting information from a mob informant, and looks to be in line for a promotion, which irritates Nasty.  Linda finds herself falling for the guy, but is less than happy when he does not act to try to protect her when the mob tries to kill him.

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When he flees after a grenade is thrown at him, Linda covers it with her body, and fakes her own death to teach him a lesson.  This is really less than admirable behaviour on Supergirl’s part, as she shows no sympathy for a person who simply doesn’t want to die, and resents the fact that he does not sacrifice himself to save her, even though she is in no danger.

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Figuring she will teach him a lesson, she pretends to be her own ghost to haunt him, but merely winds up a witness to his murder.

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Her guilt over the situation changes to rage when Linda discovers Nasty gave the mob the information on who the informer was.

The ending involves a teleportation machine, which gave the assassin the illusion of being a ghost, and a mob graveyard in space, just to work in the cover image.  After rounding up the gangsters, Linda returns to her news office.

 

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A strong conclusion to her run, as she quits her job and leaves San Francisco.  Hew own comic starts the following month.

Nasty does not appear again for a very long time.  Later writers do not even acknowledge her existence, when writing about Lex Luthor and his family.  It was Grant Morrison who finally brought her back, in All-Star Superman.

Adventure 418 – Supergirl meets Johnny Double,Black Canary begins, and an unpublished Dr Mid-Nite story

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Supergirl plunges into Chinatown intrigue in Adventure 418 (April 1972).  The story, by Len Wein, with art by Jose Delbo and Bob Oskner, also introduces her to Johnny Double, DC’s underdog private detective, who was currently also appearing in Wonder Woman’s comic.

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Nasty hires Johnny Double, claiming that Linda is trying to kill her, but hoping that Johnny will instead find some evidence to prove Linda is Supergirl.

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Instead, Johnny and Supergirl get enmeshed in a plot by Batman villain Dr Tzin-Tzin to take over the gangs in Chinatown.  Supergirl briefly falls for Tzin-Tzin’s illusion casting powers, but remembers hearing of them from Batman.

Johnny calls Nasty out on her lies about Linda trying to kill her.  There is some flirtation between Johnny and Linda, but he is busy with Wonder Woman, and nothing more comes of it.

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Black Canary gets her first solo story since the golden age in this two-parter, written by Denny O’Neil, with superb art by Alex Toth.

The story is fairly simple.  Black Canary applies for a job as a judo instructor for an organization called the Women’s Protective League.  She is surprised to discover that the women she is training are already fairly skilled, and even more surprised when she discovers gunmen in the centre.  It turns out the gunmen are in league with the feminists (isn’t that always the case?), and Canary gets captured.

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This issue also includes an unpublished Dr Mid-Nite story, which I believe was not published because it’s incredibly stupid and awful.  So much so that I am going to cover it in detail.

The story begins by introducing an echo-flashlight, a kind of sonar gun for blind people to navigate with, which Dr McNider (Dr Mid-Nite in his secret identity) has invented.  Money is being raised to help mass produce this device, and criminals plan to rob the event.

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Dr McNider is on his way there, but hoods are waiting to ambush him.  By sitting on a telephone pole.  Because that’s a place no one will ever notice, or find suspicious.

McNider dives into a bush, and emerges in his Dr Mid-Nite costume in the next panel.  Now let’s consider this.  Take a look at how much clothing he needs to remove and get into, all the while in the bush.  He must be in there at least 5 minutes, possibly more.  And all this time the criminals just wait patiently, one must assume.

But wait, there’s more!  As he jumps out of the bush, the bad guy says “Dr. Mid-Nite!  Wh-where’s Dr McNider?”

OK, so for at least 5 minutes McNider has been in that bush, changing clothes.  That would cause the bush to move and rustle.  Jump in a bush yourself and change clothes, I’ll bet it attracts attention.

But the bad guys, who have waited and waited, ignoring the sound and movement from the bush, cannot figure out where Dr McNider went, or how Dr Mid-Nite got into the bush in the first place.  Even in a universe where Lois Lane cannot recognize Superman when he puts glasses on, this strains all credulity.

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Dr Mid-Nite then trounces these incompetents, until a man riding a pennyfarthing bike rides up and bumps into him with it.  There may be some other, American, term for this kind of bicycle, I only know the term “pennyfarthing” for it from the 60s tv show “The Prisoner.”

But anyway, let’s examine this scene.  Those bikes did not go particularly quickly, and being hit by one is far more likely to cause the driver of the bike to fall to the ground, rather than render the person being hit unconscious, but that’s what happens in this scene.  Nice top hat, by the way, Mr bad guy.

The criminals then decide to kill Dr Mid-Nite.  So they shoot him.  No, that would be silly.  They choose a much more certain mode of murder.

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They tie him to the bike and let it drift away.  By some as yet unknown force of nature, the bike continues moving, rather than simply falling over on it’s side.  I realize most of you reading this have never driven this type of bicycle, but take my word for it, it was no more capable of self-balance and propulsion than any other non-motorized bicycle.

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Of course Dr Mid-Nite escapes from this “death trap.”  A five year old could probably escape from it.

He defeats the amazingly inept bad guys, and then the story ends with a plea to the reader to help contribute to the funding for the echo-flashlight.  So really, this entire story is an ad for the flashlight.

I can fully understand why this story was never published in the golden age.  I have a harder time understanding why it was published in 1972.

 

 

 

 

Adventure 410 – Supergirl falls for a bad boy

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Supergirl falls for Mike Merrick in Adventure 410 (Sept 71), a thief and con man.  The story is by John Albano, with art by Bob Oskner and Vince Colletta.

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Nasty moves into a new apartment, and tries to convince Linda to become her roommate, in order to spy on her.  When she sees a monster attack a handsome neighbour, she makes excuses to leave, then flies back in to rescue the unconscious man, flying off with the monster.  By the time she returns, Nasty has made her move on the guy, but he offers to take both women out.

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The monsters return, grabbing Mike and Linda and taking them to their remote village, where we learn Mike took part in transforming the inhabitants into monsters, and then robbed them of a precious jewel.

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Supergirl rescues him from the vengeance-crazed beasts, but collapses in the ocean when her powers vanish again.  Mike Merrick leaves her on the shore, having figured out Linda is Supergirl.

Mike Merrick returns a few issues down the road.

Adventure 407 – Supergirl’s final battle with Starfire

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Starfire makes her final appearance in Mike Sekowsy’s story in Adventure 407 (June 1971).

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Linda escapes from the hospital and rejoins her newscrew, in time to investigate a haunted theatre.  Johnny Drew, Linda’s cameraman and new boyfriend, gets captures by a mysterious monster, as does Nasty when they try to capture him.

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Supergirl tracks the creature down, discovering that he is working for Starfire.  Starfire puts Supergirl in a vat of acid when her powers disappear, but of course they return again in time for her to escape and capture Starfire.

The come and go powers fall into this pattern to a sickening degree, always going away in order to put her in peril, then returning to allow her to triumph.

Starfire is thrown in prison, apparently for a very long time, as she never appears again.

 

Adventure 406 – Supergirl graduates from college

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Despite never going to classes, at least not that we ever see, Supergirl graduates from Stanhope College in this Mike Sekowsky story in Adventure 406 (May 1971), getting a new job in a new city.

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Her adoptive parents, Fred and Edna Danvers, make a rare appearance, showing up for Linda’s graduation, which is marred by a campus riot.  While Robin’s series at this time was all about the turmoil in universities during the Vietnam War, the Supergirl series rarely showed anything of campus life, aside from occasional dances.

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Linda heads to Metropolis to see her cousin, with Nasty tagging along behind.  Clark informs her of a job at a television station in San Francisco, and Nasty overhears, heading there as well.

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So by the end of the story, Supergirl is now living and working in San Fran, the hub of hippiedom.  Again, this is part of the move to make the Superman family more hip and modern, but aside from the location, the Sueprgirl series would pay no more attention to the world of Haight Ashbury than her college days did to the Vietnam protests.

Nasty becomes her romantic rival, while still trying to prove Linda is really Supergirl.

Her powers continue to come and go, and this issue ends with a cliffhanger. Linda gets injured in a fire, winding up in an ambulance, terrified that her invulnerability will return while she is under medical care.

Adventure 401 – Nasty returns, and Tracey Thompson begins

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The second appearance of Nasty, in Adventure 401 (Jan 71), is again a bit of a disappointment.  Mike Sekowsky created a decent adversary for Supergirl, but just didn’t seem to know what to do with her at first.

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Nasty spikes some water with a fear formula her uncle Luthor gives her, which drives Supergirl into a terrified state.

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Nasty and Luthor gloat over this, but Supergirl’s uncontrollable fear proves as dangerous as her being in control, as she goes on a rampage and almost kills them.

Sadly, the story ends with her waking up and discovering it was all a dream.  Gag.

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Mike Sekowsky also handles the back-up feature, Tracey Thompson, which begins in this issue.  Tracey appears to be a university-aged girl who, with her friend Betsy, goes to investigate a supposedly haunted house.

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At first, Tracey seems to be the more daring of the two, but once in the house, both girls get easily frightened and freak out, plunging through a hole into the basement, where they discover the house is being used by gangsters as a hide-out.

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But then the gangsters see ghosts, and Tracey turns the tables on them, grabbing a gun and holding them till the police arrive.

I suppose it’s a better story than the Supergirl tale in the issue, but Tracey does not come off as particularly capable or daring.  Or even very worthy of her own series, for that matter.

Adventure 397 – Supergirl and Wonder Woman go clothes shopping, plus the debut of Nasty

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Both the stories in this issue are written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky, and Adventure 397 marks a change in the Supergirl series, as DC attempts to make it more 70s.  Sekowsky also held the reins on Wonder Woman’s comic at this time, when she had lost her powers, ditched her costume, as was acting a lot like Diana Rigg from “The Avengers.”  His changes to Supergirl were not as dramatic or memorable.

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The first story in the issue pits Supergirl against a supernatural foe, Zond.  He runs a cult, and one of Supergirl’s friend from Stanhope joins it, but winds up in a mysterious coma.

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Her first battle with the cultists results in her costume getting torn up.  Supergirl calls on Diana Prince, who runs a dress shop at this time, and together they whip up a batch of Supergirl outfits.  For the duration of her run in Adventure, Supergirl’s costume would change regularly.  Some were decent, some really awful.

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Wonder Woman also calls on her friend, the witch Morgana, who was an occasional supporting player in Wonder Woman.

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It turns out Zond is an old enemy of Morgana, and she uses her magic to lead them to Zond, and helps Supergirl defeat him.

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The second story in the issue introduces Lex Luthor’s niece, Nasthalita, better known as Nasty.  Although Lex calls her his niece, it’s unclear who her parents are, or were.

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Lex gives Nasty the mission to uncover Supergirl’s identity, and she enrols in Stanhope College.

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Nasty’s plans are none too subtle, and once Supergirl starts listening in on her conversations, she discovers that Luthor is her uncle, and apprehends him.

As for Nasty, she just gives her a good scare, and hopes this will cause her to back off.  Considering that Nasty sticks around for the next few years in this book, perhaps she should have tried something more.

 

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