Posts tagged ‘Weather Wizard’

Detective 353 – Batman vs Weather Wizard

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With such an amazing cover for Detective 353 (July 1966), the story inside, by Gardner Fox, with art by Infantino and Giella, only needed to be servicable to work.  And that’s pretty much what it is.

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The Weather Wizard comes to Gotham City, and announces that he is going to steal the city’s most valuable treasures.  His men spy on the wealthiest citizens, as they go to check their valuables, and the Weather Wizard steps in and robs them.

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Batman and Weather Wizard tussle a few times before Batman finally triumphs.  All of it is good, but only the cover is great.

 

Adventure 466 – Flash, Deadman, Justice Society of America and Aquaman end

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Adventure 466 (Dec 79) is the last issue of the book as a Dollar Comic, and with the next issue it shrinks back to regular size.  All four of the series conclude their runs in this issue, most with arguably their best stories.

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The Flash faces one of his regular enemies, the Weather Wizard, in this story by Cary Bates, with art by Mike Netzer and Vince Colletta.

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Mark Mardon claims to have turned over a new leaf, and intends to use his powers for good, although the Flash doesn’t believe or trust him for a second.  Nonetheless, it seems to be true, although his behaviour seems irrational, if benevolent.

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But even his good intentions prove disastrous, as his drought relief turns into a raging flood.  Flash realizes his change in behaviour is likely connected to increased sunspot activity, and his mental bond with his weather controlling wand has allowed his emotions to become affected.

And though he commits no crimes during this time, he still winds up in prison at the end of the story, after attacking people who called him a hero, enraged that they would insult him so.

A fun little tale, and by far the best art of any of the Flash’s stories in Adventure.

The Flash’s series ends, but he continues in his own comic.

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Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez go out on a high note with the final Deadman story, by far the best of his run.  It begins quite simply, as Deadman watches an old man in a park, feeding the birds, and envies him his life.

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When the man pulls out a gun and tries to kill himself, Deadman is horrified, but acts quickly, inhabiting a bird and using that to knock the gun out of his hand.  He follows the old man home, and discovers that he lives with his abusive adult son, a drug dealer, and his innocent grand-daughter.

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Deadman follows the son when he storms out after a fight, pretty much intending to see that he gets arrested.  But when the man heads to the docks and ponders his life, deciding to change, Deadman’s faith is restored, and he tags along to make sure he lives up to his intent.

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The grandfather also heads out, and both wind up at the big boss’s place, where things go horribly wrong, despite the best intentions of the hero and the two men.  Deadman possesses the grandfather, which causes him to freeze, and he winds up getting shot, and dying, as a result.  Th boss kills himself rather than wind up in prison, but at least the son and his daughter survive.

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Even still, this is a dark and powerful story, fully worthy of the last panel of Deadman screaming in frustration.  That happens a lot in Deadman stories, but rarely with as much meaning.

Deadman’s next appearance, in DC Comics Presents, follows up on this tale.  Deadman’s next continuing series comes in the late 80s, in the pages of Action Comics Weekly.

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The entire Justice Society of America appear in this final story, leaving the funeral of Mr Terrific following the latest JLA/JSA crossover, in a story by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton.

After their departure, Power Girl asks Huntress about something she overheard, about the Justice Society disbanding in the early 1950s, and for the rest of the tale, Huntress relates the story to her.  Much of it is a fairly standard super-hero tale, as the team is offered a satellite headquarters, which turns out to be a deathtrap.  They escape, and capture the man behind it, but the last few pages take a surprising twist.

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The man was a Soviet agent, and the Justice Society are summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify about their relationship with him, a session that quickly degenerates into a witch hunt.

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In order to clear their names, they are told they must unmask and reveal their identities to the Committee.  As a group, they refuse, and disappear from the chamber.

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A powerful story, with long-lasting effects throughout the DC Universe.  The story gives a solid explanation of why the team abruptly vanished in the early 1950s, a reason rooted in the issues of the time, even moreso than it appears.

In reality, the publication of the book Seduction of the Innocent, which blamed all manner of mental and social problems with youth on the influence of comic books, had swept the US in the early 1950s, and virtually all super-herores ceased to appear.  So there are really two levels to this tale.

The JSA continue to appear regularly in Justice League of America, and Huntress was soon to get her own series in Wonder Woman.  The next time they had their own book was in the America vs the Justice Society mini-series in the mid-80s.

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After three strong stories it would be nice to say that Aquaman goes out on a high note as well.  I can’t say that, but at least the story, by Bob Rozakis and Don Newton, doesn’t suck.

The underwater Nazis return, as we discover that Helga’s death was simply a hologram, and they have subtly invaded Atlantis.  Vulko turns out to be a hologram as well.

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Mera accompanies Aquaman as he invades their base.  As a kid I found her behaviour on this page suspicious, and noted the subtle clue in the lower left corner of the bottom panel.

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Aquaman also figures out that Mera is a hologram, finds and frees her and Vulko, and brings the Nazi base crashing down around them.  He even gains a new pet, the telepathic mutated Nazi seahorse, Siggy.

Aquaman’s series continues in the pages of World’s Finest Comics a few months down the road.

Adventure 450 – Aquaman vs Weather Wizard, and Martian Manhunter vs Supergirl

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David Michelinie contributes the Aquaman story in Adventure 450 (April 1977), which pits him against the Flash’s foe, the Weather Wizard.  Jim Aparo stays on the art.  The Weather Wizard had last appeared in DC Super-Stars, with other villains, playing baseball against super-heroes.  I am sooo looking forward to writing about that story!

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General Morgan turns to Aquaman for help when a NATO plane goes down over the ocean, and Aquaman discovers it in an area of dry land, where the water is being held back by the Weather Wizard.

Mark Mardon had done this in order to lure the Flash, and is disappointed when Aquaman shows up instead, which is a nice touch.

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Some good art on their battle, and it’s interesting to see Aquaman battling on dry land, even if it is an ocean bed.

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Intercut with this is the confrontation between McCaan and Aqualad and Aquagirl.  Garth’s purple eyes are the key, a trait of the Idyllists, whom McCaan blames for stealing his son.  He has been tracking Aqualad over the past few issues, convinced he was part of the group because of his eyes.  Garth disabuses him of this notion, but agrees to help him find his son.

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This story is also notable because Aquababy finally gets a name, mentioned in passing by Mera.  After what must have been seconds of thought, he is called Arthur, Jr.

The Weather Wizard, defeated by Aquaman, next appears a few months down the road in The Flash.

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The Martian Manhunter approaches Earth in this chapter of his story, written by Denny O’Neil, with are by Mike Netzer and Terry Austin.  He is pursued by N’or Cott, though unaware of that.

He winds up in a confrontation with Supergirl, appearing between issues of Superman Family, though he claims to have mistaken her for someone else.  Exactly who he thought she was is not explained.

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Once again there is little use of his extensive powers, and the best thing about this chapter is the art.

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