Posts tagged ‘Static’

Detective 137 – The Joker’s rebus crimes, and Air Wave ends

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A really awful cover for Detective 137 (July 1948), and the story inside is not much better, despite Dick Sprang art.

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The Joker decides to start sending rebus-type clues to his latest crimes.  The story begins with a nice cut-away of Wayne Manor, the cave and everything, which is copied from an issue of Batman.

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The rebus crimes story follows the same pattern as so many of the stories.  The one panel that stuck out for me was the one in which the Joker creates a rebus using a train of live circus animals.

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Air Wave`s series comes to an end with a really low-key adventure.  Larry Jordan helps a young lad buy a bicycle so that he can earn money delivering papers, but the houses along his route start getting burgled.

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Air Wave is devastated when he sees the boy break in to a house, but in fact its a thief in disguise, framing the delivery boy.

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This is the final appearance of Larry Jordan, and Air Wave, for decades.  The character of Air Wave would be revived in the late 70s, by Larry`s son Hal, in the pages of Green Lantern.  Larry Jordan himself , as well as Static, would not appear until the 80s, in a DC Comics Presents.

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Detective 118 – The Joker plays cards, Air Wave battles aliens, and Brooklyn becomes the Invisible Commando

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A better cover, and a better Joker story than the one a couple issues earlier, Detective 118 (Dec. 46) does feature Howard Sherman art on the Batman and Robin story.

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The Joker decides to base a series of crimes on making a royal flush in diamonds, going after a people who correspond to the concept – like a dime store tycoon for the 10, and the winner of a beauty pageant for the Queen.

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It’s not bad, not great.  Some nice art.

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The narrative informs us that radio contact with the Moon was recently achieved, and is the basis for this story.  Two goons somehow transport weird creatures from the Moon to Earth.  It’s totally not clear how this happened.  Maybe the creatures came on their own, they do have a rocket ship at the end, but the hoods were watching them first.

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Anyway, Air Wave’s costume has changed, not for the better.  He no longer has the cape, and I have no idea what the new symbol on his chest is meant to represent.

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Static is still around from time to time, and he still skates on telephone wires.  At the end of this story, he somehow manages to make guns jump out of men’s hands with “broadcast power.”

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Continuing the story from last issue, Curt Swan makes this almost Brooklyn solo story, as we follow him in his quest to stop being invisible.

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He falls into the hands of gangsters, who con him into thinking they can fix him, and then use him to deliver bombs.  Really dumb move on Brooklyn’s part, but perhaps the invisibility serum is messing with his brain.

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He winds up cured after falling into a vat of chemicals.  A bit of an easy way out, but overall, not a bad story.

Detective 102 – The Joker steals a house, and Air Wave meets dancing mice

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I may have decided to skip the run of the mill tales, but as Detective 102 (Aug. 45) shows, I am including all the tales with the recurring villains, no matter how stupid.

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And that’s what this story is, no matter how much Dick Sprang’s art does to lift it.  The Joker lures a wealthy man away from his home, and then steals it.  The entire house.  Which apparently had no foundation, or connection to sewers or the water supply.

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Anyway, Batman gets on the Joker’s case, tracks him down, falls into a trap, escapes, wins, and brings the guy’s house back.

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The Air Wave story in this issue is quite odd.  There is a prisoner who communicates with a tame mouse, and a jailbreak that Larry Jordan gets wind of, so he returns to the prison that night as Air Wave.

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It gets kind of weird with the introduction of a performer with dancing mice, but that part of the story doesn’t really go anywhere.  Static shows up, but doesn’t do a lot.

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The art and writing on the Air Wave series are not the things I find grab me.  It’s the colouring.  It’s done so differently than any other series.  Makes me wish there were better tales being coloured.

Detective 93 – Batman goes sight-seeing, and Air Wave joins the mob

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Detective 93 (Nov. 44) has another interweaving plot, like “Destiny’s Auction.”  Bill Finger and Dick Sprang tell the story of a variety of people taking a sight-seeing bus tour of Gotham, who get trapped when a fleeing bandit hijacks the bus.

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A struggling actress and aspiring playwright find love, and inspiration, and two young boys who wants excitement get to help Batman and Robin take down the bad guys.

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Larry Jordan gets frustrated at the difficulty he is having obtaining a conviction against a mob boss, so he goes undercover, with his Air Wave equipment, to get proof.  That’s gotta be stretching the law.

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It’s funny, the story plays out as if something super hi tech is being used, but in fact it’s just a tracer in a clock.  In 1944, that was super hi tech.

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Static returns in this story, after killing and eating his rival, Mickey the cat.

Detective 68 – Two-Face – part 2, evil Japanese in Boy Commandos, Air Wave gets promoted, and Slam Bradley reads Shakespeare

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The saga of Two-Face continues in this Finger/Kane/Robinson collaboration from Detective 68 (Oct. 42).  The story picks up immediately after the conclusion of the story from issue 66, as if there had never been an issue 67.

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A policeman bursts in, interrupting Batman as he tries to talk Two-Face back to sanity.  Harvey flees, and continues his crime spree.  In this story, he goes after people who use doubles, such as a reclusive millionaire who uses a double to handle social functions.

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Harvey takes a break from this to attempt to re-unite with Gilda.  He pretends that his face has been cured, but is simply using make-up, and when it begins to run he goes berserk and attacks the make-up artist, whose son then seeks vengeance on Harvey as well.

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So it becomes quite a complicated story by the time it reaches an end, and Harvey is apprehended by Batman.  The saga is not quite done, though, and there is a third, and final, chapter to this within a year.

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A very anti-Japanese piece of propaganda in the Boy Commandos tale from this issue.  Simon and Kirby open the story at sea, as the Boy Commandos and Rip Carter survive their ship being bombed by Japanese fighters.

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The boys rescue a Japanese pilot, and together they all land on a Pacific island with really clued out natives. The pilot and the Boys then become rivals for the loyalty of the natives.

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While the pilot uses science to convince the natives he has magic powers, the Boys decide to put on a show instead.

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Broadway is not for them, and the natives side with the Japanese, until Rip shows up leading a rescue/assault.

The story closes with the edifying moral – the only good jap is a dead jap.  No grey areas here.

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Air Wave gets a promotion in this story.  While a mere two issues ago Larry Jordan became an assistant D.A., as of this story he is the District Attorney himself!  Quite the rapid rise for a clerk.

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For what must be his first case in his new position, he prosecutes an old childhood friend for murder.

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Only after he has obtained a conviction does Larry get into his Air Wave outfit, round up his parrot sidekick Static, and set out to find information that will clear his friend.

Although on the surface it would appear that Larry should have done this before bringing charges against the guy, on reflection we can see that Air Wave had a more elaborate plan in mind, proving to everyone that he is above corruption as a D.A. and willing to send his friend to prison.  Shame that an innocent man had to sit in prison while the scheme was in play.

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The Slam Bradley story in this issue, with art by Howard Sherman, has the hero and Shorty stumble across hoods using notes in margins of books to pass each other messages.  Their larger scheme is to rob a diamond exchange next to the book store.

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The reason I have included this story is that the criminals use, among other things, a Shakespeare play to write their notes in.  Many Slam Bradley stories from this period have him quoting Shakespeare.

This might seem like an unusual habit for a tough guy hero like Slam Bradley, but in fact it simply shows the influence of Raymond Chandler, whose tough guy hero, Phillip Marlowe, often quoted Shakespeare as well.

 

 

 

Detective 64 – the execution of the Joker, the Boy Commandos debut, and Air Wave gets Static

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The Joker once again fails to get onto the cover with Detective 64 (June 1942).  Its a generic Batman and Robin picture, vaguely militaristic, with the airplane.  But I may just be reading that into it, as this is the first issue to be written after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

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Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson send the Joker to the electric chair in this tale.  The Joker turns himself in, and confesses to all his past crimes.  He gets sentenced to death, and executed.

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And that’s just the beginning of the story!  His men take his corpse and revive it, and he begins another spree.

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The Joker at least puts up a front, pretending to be honest.  Batman tries to have him executed again, but the sentence was carried out, and the Joker is no longer wanted for his past crimes.

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Of course Batman exposes him, and there is a battle, and the Joker appears to die.  We clearly see that he did survive.  The Joker appearing to die at the end is almost mandatory by this point.

But a real change did happen.  From this point on, the Joker does not kill, he is just a thief.   All the way until the 70s.

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The Boy Commandos debut, a Joe Simon and Jack Kirby series with no connection at all to the concept of “Detective.”  But is was great, so who cares?

With little in the way of explanation, Rip Carter, from the US army, has assembled a group of orphaned children and leads them into battle during World War 2.  Pierre Chavard, from France, Jan Haasen, from the Netherlands, Alfy Twidgett from England, as well as the stand-out character, Brooklyn.

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The main character in this first story is actually someone else entirely, a burned out Frenchman, Leon La Farge, who gets his spirits and fight back from the Boys, and becomes a major resistance fighter.

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The war scenes are vivid, but while the Commandos are involved, they are not focussed on.

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As the opening narration informs us, Batman, Green Arrow and the Crimson Avenger all have sidekicks, so clearly Air Wave needs one as well.

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And like all the other heroes, he gets a talking parrot as a sidekick.  Hmm, no, that’s not right.  The parrot is of use in this story, as it helps Air Wave prove his innocence after being framed for murder.

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Larry names the parrot Static, which is a great name for a sidekick for Air Wave, but not so great for the parrot of a law clerk.

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