Thursday, March 22, 2012

May 1940: Marvel Mystery Comics #9

Cover by Bill Everett

'The Human Torch versus The Sub-Mariner' (by Bill Everett and Carl Burgos): The Torch and Namor fight for twenty pages or so, and it ends with Namor having trapped the Torch in a transparent tube. This is a classic Marvel-style fight comic, something I have always been a fan of. The fight here is more than the two just trading blows for the whole story; they change environments and use their surroundings, and keep it varied enough so that it stays exciting. I can't wait to read the next chapter.

'The Angel' (by Paul Gustavson): The Angel is in a European village that is being menaced by vampires. He discovers that the vampires are really a gang of mad scientists, who are trying to transfer the minds of people with gorillas. This is a well-paced action/suspense story, with just the right amount of creepiness.

'The Masked Raider' (by Al Anders): The Masked Raider outwits some bandits who are stealing gold shipments. It's relatively well done for what it is. Perhaps I'm just in a good mood due to the Namor/Torch story?

'High Steel' (by John H. Compton): At face value, this is a story about a construction worker in South America who stops a payroll robbery by shooting the robber in the face with a rivet gun. But it has a contemplative, emotionally ambiguous ending that makes it feel a little deeper. Add in some genuine knowledge of construction work and an expansive vocabulary, and this feels light-years ahead of the usual crop of short stories.

'Electro, the Marvel of the Age' (by Steve Dahlman): Last issue, Professor Zog and Electro were kidnapped by alien dragon men and taken to their planet Ligra. Now they are forced by the dragon man leader Jago to help him overthrow the Lion Men. What results is a pretty rad battle, complete with ray guns and giant eagles. Eventually Zog manages to gain his freedom and turn Electro on the dragon men. The robot also has to rescue the queen from the creepiest giant octopus ever. I don't know what's going on with this comic; everything is great!

'Ferret, Mystery Detective' (by Stockbridge Winslow and Irwin Hasen): Ferret investigates the murder of a cleaning company owner, who was killed by a guy he didn't want to take on as a partner. There also some stuff with a thug called Hook (who has a hook for a hand, naturally), and I can't really figure out how it ties together. It's confusingly told in a number of places.

'Adventures of Ka-Zar the Great' (by Ben Thompson): Ka-Zar rescues a girl lost in the jungle and returns her to her father, pursued all the while by savage pygmies. It's adequate.

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