Posts tagged ‘Shining Knight’

Adventure 443 – Aquaman vs the Fisherman, and Seven Soldiers of Victory ends

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Aquaman did not have many recurring villains in his own comic, but Adventure 443  (Feb 76) brings back the Fisherman, a third-rater at best.  Still, the story, by Paul Levitz and David Michelinie, with art by Jim Aparo, is pretty good.

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Aquaman intercepts some people hunting a dolphin, but discovers that they are French police, and the dolphin is being used for heroin smuggling.  Following the animal, Aquaman discovers the Fisherman is running the operation.  This was the first appearance of the character since the 60s, and though he captures Aquaman, another long-unseen character frees him.

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Topo had not been used in an Aquaman story since issue 36 of his old book, but becomes a regular supporting character again with this issue.

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The kicker to the story comes only on its last page, as Aquaman is dethroned by vote of the council, and the mysterious Karshon becomes the new King of Atlantis.

 

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The conclusion of the Seven Soldiers of Victory saga, with art by Dick Dillin, is a bit of a let-down.  The team reconvenes, and Willie the Wisher sends a battery of beasts against them.

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They defeat the creatures, and make Willie feel bad for his actions simply by talking about it.  Willie makes himself disappear.  Well, that was easy.

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In the end we discover that the events were all made into a film, but no one believes it because no one remembers Willie – even though all the activity occurred not on Earth, but in the Land of Magic.  So why would anyone on Earth be aware of it anyway?

Still, most of  the original tales of the Seven Soldiers of Victory were similarly pretty weak, so this is simply on par with their published adventures.

As a team, the group never appears again, except in flashbacks, or in All-Star Squadron issues, set in the 1940s.  The story clearly takes place before the events in Justice League of America 100-102, as Wing is still alive.

Adventure 438 – The Spectre and a human museum, and the Seven Soldiers of Victory begin

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Adventure 438 (April 1975) has the shortest Spectre story of the run, a mere 10 pages, because of the extended length of the back-up feature.  As a result, the story by Mike Fleisher is very simple, but the art by Ernie Chan and Jim Aparo makes it rewarding anyway.

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The tale deals with another madman, who is having people kidnapped and killed to be put in his personal museum.

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Corrigan is put on the case, tracks him down, and as the Spectre frees some gorillas from their exhibit to kill him.

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The Seven Soldiers of Victory begin a serialized story in this issue.  The story itself was written in the 1940s for their run in Leading Comics, but never published, or even drawn.  It follows the standard format of SSoV tales, with the entire team together for the first and last chapter, and five middle chapters featuring the team members in Individual action.

As this is the first time I am writing about the team, I will point out the curious fact that there are not seven members in the Seven Soldiers of Victory.  Shining Knight, Green Arrow, Vigilante, Crimson Avenger and Star-Spangled Kid are the heroes.  Sidekicks Speedy and Stripsey are counted to make up seven, but Wing is not.  Only white people count, maybe?

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The first chapter, with art by Dick Dillin, introduces the villain, who is really more of a trickster than a bad guy, Willie the Wisher, whose wishes become reality, hence his name.  He wishes the team off to the Land of Magic.

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The Shining Knight’s chapter follows immediately, with art by Howard Chaykin, which really manages to capture the look of Frank Frazetta’s work on the Knight.

He is menaced by a duplicate of himself, which emerges from a mirror.  He defeats his double, but winds up captured by a wizard and bound, back in the room he began in.

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This time, knowing the mirror will produce a duplicate, he uses the other knight’s sword to undo his bonds before he emerges, giving him the upper hand.

 

Adventure 166 – Shining Knight ends

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The Shining Knight’s series ends with Adventure 166 (July 1951), and it goes out on a decent note.  Frazetta may be gone, but this story and one in the previous issue were drawn by Ramona Fradon, and the art is more than passable.

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Sir Butch accompanies the Knight to Mexico, where they come across a lost Aztec civilization, and bad guys who want to enslave them.  The Aztecs are lead by Quetza, who turns out to be their princess, who dons men’s armour to face down invaders.

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At some point after this story, the Shining Knight joins the other Seven Soldiers of Victory in their battle with the Nebula Man, which displaces them all in time.  A double displacement for Sir Justin, I suppose.  He next appears in JLA 100 as the Justice League and Justice Society track them all down.

Sir Butch has never appeared since this story.  As it ends with Quetza inviting Sir Butch and the Knight back, I take it that Butch and Quetza hit it off, and he wound up marrying her and living with the lost Aztecs for the remainder of his life.

 

 

Adventure 163 – Shining Knight helps the deputy

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Adventure 163 (April 1951) gives the Shining Knight a light-hearted tale.  An old man. Mesquite Mike, who longs for the days of chivalry writes to the Knight for help with the gunslingers in his western town.

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Sir Justin comes to see him,not letting  Mike know his secret identity. The sheriff is in league with the bad guys, and makes Mike his deputy as a joke.

The rest of the story is pure sit-com, as he gets into his Shining Knight gear to scare down the bad guys, while the oblivious Mesquite Mike believes that he is the one making the outlaws cower in fear.

In the end, Mike is made sheriff.  A happy ending, at least until Mike winds up having to do his job without the Shining Knight standing behind him.

This is also the last Shining Knight story by Frank Frazetta.

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Adventure 161 – Lana Lang as a reporter and Winged Victory saves the day

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Lana Lang makes her first appearance in Adventure Comics in issue 161 (Feb 51), a few months after her introduction in Superboy’s own comic.  At first she was little more than a red-headed copy of Lois Lane, and this story really emphasizes that, as Lana becomes a reporter for the local paper.

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In her spare time, of course, she tries to prove that Clark Kent is really Superboy.

Although there was not much to her at the start, she did have a positive effect on the Superboy series as a whole.  The Kents would start appearing more often, to give her someone to interact with aside from Clark, and bit by bit the world of Smallville would grow from this, with a supporting cast slowly increasing.

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The Shining Knight story in this one is a lot of fun, as con men sell horses with wings attached, claiming to be selling Winged Victory.  Sir Justin gets wind of the scam, and tricks the men into “capturing” the real Winged Victory.

The horse becomes the hero, as it does not fly where the men try to take it, instead delivering them to justice in the form of the Shining Knight.

Once again, lovely Frazetta art.

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Adventure 159 – Johnny Quick gets an origin story and the Shining Knight visits the future

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Johnny Quick finally gets an origin story in Adventure 159 (Dec 50), a mere nine years after the character debuted.

The story is entertaining, pitting Johnny against another university student who gets the same abilities.  Very few Johnny Quick stories had him take on villains who had any sort of powers.

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The problem I have with the origin is that it is his professor who devises the speed formula.  Johnny is simply the first one to try it out, and use it nobly.  Later continuity would downplay this, to the point of ignoring it, and have Johnny develop the formula on his own.

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The story also has its own problems with continuity, in that both Johnny and the villainous Charley are immediately able to use the speed formula to fly.  This use of the power did not appear in the earliest Johnny Quick stories, and only sort of developed unintentionally, a byproduct of the way Johnny’s speed was shown, with multiple images in the same panel.  Fitting many Johnnys into one panel relied using all the space available, and Johnny was shown in the air before the stories actually admitted that he had the power of flight.

 

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Sir Butch returns as the Shining Knight tries to visit Camelot but goes the wrong way through time and winds up in the far future.  Merlin used the wrong tincture in his spell, though you would expect after so many trips through time that the Shining Knight might have noticed something was wrong.

As much as I love Frazetta’s art on this series, I feel a little let down by this tale, which doesn’t show a future world to a degree I would wish.

Sir Justin winds up stumbling into a plot to overthrow the government and establish a dictatorship, while Sir Butch falls in love with the daughter of the Chief Councillor.  Merlin retrieves the two of them and brings them to Camelot just after Sir Justin defeats the conspirators, but before Sir Butch can even get his first kiss.

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Adventure 157 – Shining Knight in Camelot, USA

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An american town called Camelot decides to go with the name big time, making itself as Camelot as it can, and writes to the Shining Knight to come and help them in Adventure 157 (Oct 50).

Gangsters see the news of this, and figure the town will be easy to loot, with everyone using swords and such instead of guns.  Silly hoodlums.  The Shining Knight trounces them.

A very simple little tale, once again made readable thanks to Frazetta’s art.

And yes, I am including every Shining Knight tale drawn by Frank Frazetta, whether the story is strong or not.

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