Sunday, August 26, 2012

July 1940: Marvel Mystery Comics #11

 Cover by Alex Schomburg
'The Human Torch' (by Carl Burgos): The Torch goes against the law to burn down a plague-infested slum. He is also targeted by crooks who want the plague to spread. It's not a great story, but it is nice to see the Torch wreaking some destruction again, even if it is in a good cause. It's also apparent that Burgos has no interest in exploring the Torch's robotic nature. Here his arm is wounded, and a doctor bandages it and expects him to heal like any normal person. Shame.

'Sub-Mariner' (by Bill Everett): An American sailor has been captured by Namor's people. Namor spends the whole story doing things to sabotage the American's chances of escape, but in the end it turns out to be his plot to help the man escape. Which is all well and good, except that he kills this guy's entire crew in the process. In any other strip out there Namor would be the villain, and the American sailor would be the hero. But Namor is just so much more interesting.

'Ka-Zar the Great' (by Ben Thompson): Ka-Zar goes up against Rajah Sarput, an Indian nobleman who takes ownership of Ka-Zar's jungle and uses it to hunt big game. The story ends with Ka-Zar and his pet lion on a ship to New York, and Rajah Sarput surprisingly still ruling the jungle. Normally I wouldn't give extra comment to this story, but it features what may be the first genuine double-page spread I've seen during the course of this blog. It's fairly impressive in context.

'The Angel' (by Paul Gustavson): Last issue the Angel was trapped underground, and here he spends most of the story punching the hell out of seriously creepy ghouls. He meets a girl who belonged to a civilisation that the ghouls destroyed thousands of years ago. She gifts the Angel with a cloak that belonged to Mercury (the god, I assume, though it would be fair to say that Freddie Mercury's cloak would also have magical powers), which gives him the power of flight. I'm not certain whether he keeps it or not. This could either be a significant story, or an inconsequential one (albeit one with awesome-looking monsters).

In other stories:

'The Masked Raider' (by Al Anders)
catches some robbers whose leader is posing as an old egg-woman. 'Terry Vance the School-Boy Sleuth' (by Ray Gill and Bob Oksner) tackles a gang of crooks that is fixing motor races by injecting the car tires with mercury.  (Again, probably not Freddie, but there is a joke to be made here about lethel Mercury injections.) 'Electro, the Marvel of the Age' (by Steve Dahlman) deals with some arsonists working for a disgruntled lumber mill president.

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