Tuesday, January 3, 2012

March 1940: Mystic Comics #3

Cover by Alex Schomburg

'The Blue Blaze' (by Creators Unknown): Dr. Gair, head of the crime syndicate, has a scientist summon a powerful alien to destroy the Blue Blaze. The Blue Blaze defeats the creature by covering it in molten lead, cutting it off from the star rays that give it life. Aliens being summoned to Earth isn't a trope that's been done a lot in comics to this point, and I enjoyed the novelty.

'Hercules' (by Arnold Hicks): A scientist takes his son to the Arctic, where he raises him as the perfect physical specimen. Much later, the boy is brought back to civilisation by a circus and named Hercules, to act as their strongman and star attraction. Hercules decides to leave the circus, despite the efforts of his unscrupulous boss, saves a town from a flood, and decides to fight crime. There is a character arc here, which puts it a little bit ahead of the pack. Hercules comes across as a gentle, peaceable fellow, which is a refreshing change, though I fear he will drift into generic hero mode before too long.

'Flexo the Rubber Man' (by E.C. Stoner): Flexo takes on some arsonists who are collecting insurance money in a story exactly as bland as it sounds.

'Space Rangers' (possibly by Arnold Hicks): Raleigh and Nibbs investigate some missing ships, and find them on the planet Glakor, where mad scientist Carl Formes is planning an invasion of Earth. Formes displays some incredible stupidity. After Raleigh stops his plans (slaying his pet dragon in the process), Formes hides inside his bunker, where he has enough food to last for a year. Alas, he also has a shit-ton of explosives sitting just outside, which Raleigh uses to blow up the entire building. 

'The Master Mind Excello' (by Creators Unknown): Excello is back, still ripping off 'The Wizard' from Archie. In this story he takes on a gang of saboteurs from "Kussia". Seriously, I'd be so much happier if they would just use the real names.

'Thieves Retribution' (by S.S. Bedford): A jewel thief cleverly hides a stolen diamond inside a fishing lure while he pretends to fish, and his plan is working until a trout takes the lure. He manages to land the fish and the diamond, but is arrested for illegal fishing. This was quite clever, I thought.

'Dakor the Detective Magician' (by Creators Unknown): Dakor must rescue a woman who has been kidnapped by a tribe to act as their white goddess. There's one decent bit of drama when Dakor is stripped of his powers by drugged water and thrown into a bonfire, but the way he survives is a monumental cop-out, which mars an already quite banal story.

'Zara of the Jungle' (by Newt Alfred): Slave traders set themselves up in the jungle, and Zara helps her friend Jeff Graves to defeat them. The one thing that makes this story notable is that Zara is constantly saving Graves from death. It's a small thing, but Zara seems to me to be the first truly proactive, kick-ass female heroine of the Golden Age. She's certainly the first one that I've read about in this blog.

'The Dynamic Man' (by Gus Ricca): A villain named the Hood is threatening bankers, and the Dynamic Man must stop him. Of course, he turns out to be another banker who wants all the money to himself, in a plot that I have encountered at least a million times in the last year.

'The Invisible Man known as Dr. Gade' (by Newt Alfred): Dr. Gade tackles a gang of grave robbers, which is a little bit more unsettling than the average racketeer. Alas, the crooks aren't played any differently than the usual thugs.

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