Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Even MORE New Comic Book Reviews"

Since I've made such a fuss about that copy of Super Comics Plastic Man #16 (from 1964) here recently, I think I'll review that issue first.

I want to start with the third and last story in this issue (originally published in Quality Comics Plastic Man #21), simply because it's the one Golden Age Plas story I remember the most, and also, my favorite.

It all deals with a shape-shifting alien that comes to earth and tries to blend in, first by changing his appearance to look like animals, simply because that's the first thing it sees. But as it progresses it changes from, first, a squirrel, then a dog, and finally meets up with "Woozy Winks" and becomes his duplicate.

This creature survives on salt, so it breaks into a food warehouse, knocks out the guard and starts eating tons of salt. Well, of course Plas goes to interview the guard and that man points the finger of blame at Woozy and Plas has to arrest him.

But he knows in his heart that Woozy's innocent and goes on the trail of the real culprit. In the meantime, the shape-shifter goes to a salt plant and disguises itself as a BAG to be filled with salt. The poor workers there keep pouring pound after pound into the "bag", only to find it never gets full. Finally, the alien sort of has his fill, and runs off, making those workers think they're crazy!

This news gets back to Plas he follows a trail of leaking salt and find the animated bag and tries to capture it, even knocking it for a loop, so the creature changes itself into a shovel and Plas can't find it. In fact, Plas himself thinks he's going a bit looney (see above reproduced panel from story).

After Plastic Man leaves, this alien proves how smart he really is because he figures he can change INTO the image of Plas and use his shape-shifting powers just like Plastic Man does to steal more salt. Well this makes people think P.M.'s a crook and Plas has to track down his double to find that it is indeed this creature and does battle with him on the unfinished girders of a skyscraper, finally defeating the alien by tying him into a knot and forcing him leave the earth.

This tale ends as Woozy is cleared of all charges and Plas apologizes by buying Woozy a LOT of chocolate sodas!

The first story in this reprint (from Quality comics Plastic man #18), is about an asian mentalist: mystic and mind reader, who calls himself "Kra Vishnu". Plas and Woozy go to see one of his performances and afterwards decide to go back stage to see him. But between the time of the show's end and their visit, Vishnu reveals to his lady friend that he knows she's in love with someone else and kills her. Plas and Woozy come in just in time to see her lying there strangled to death, but Vishnu says it wasn't him but her lover. He fakes his grief to the point that he takes poison saying he can't live without her anymore, and Plas and Woozy rush him to the hospital. They didn't know that Vishnu had built up an immunity to this specific sort of poison.

When Vishnu gets out he hunts down his woman's lover to shoot him and does so, and leaves before Plas comes in to talk to the man. But Plastic man's smarter than Vishnu thinks as he discovers the man was a right-handed violenist, but shot in the left temple. As Plas leaves he sees Vishnu and starts the chase, but Vishnu can read Plastic Man's mind and knows his every move and escapes. So then Plas goes on the search for Kra Vishnu, changing his own appearance into that of the mystic, and holding a sign asking people if they'd seen this man? Someone finally does at a train station, but Vishnu escapes once again, this time vowing to kill Plastic man! He tries to shoot him, but bullets don't work, and then a bomb, which too is unsuccessful. So Kra Vishnu kidnaps Woozy and locks him in a warehouse room and tells Plas where to find him. Plas goes into the room and out of the sprinkler system comes a plastic desolver! Woozy thinks it's killed his friend, only to find that it wasn't Plastic Man at all, but a fellow agent (P.M. works for the F.B.I., remember??) in disguise. So the battle ensues, with Kra still knowing Plas's every more, until P.M. tricks him by thinking that Woozy is going to shoot Kra in the back, and when Vishnu turns around, Plas knocks him out. This tale ends at Kra Vishnu's trial, where he faints before the judge can read the sentence. Vishnu had read the judge's mind that his punishment was the electric chair!

And finally, the second story in this issue (not sure which issue it was in originally) is a solo "Woozy" one where he's being chased by an ugly girl that's madly in love with him. Woozy ducks into a restaurant where the owner declares he has a beautification formula. The girl accidently gets it and turns into a real doll, so NOW Woozy wants her. But she doesn't want anything to do with Winks now and more attracted to this handsome guy, only to turn back ugly again and back chasing Wooz'. Silly little tale, but wonderfully done!

Jack Cole's work in this issue is, at the least, brilliant, and it sported new cover art by veterin artist John Severin.

In New Comics:

BOOSTER GOLD (DC) #1: Deals with BG trying to get in good with the JLA again, and tries to do all sorts of heroic deeds and saving people that, since he's from the future, knows are going to happen to them ahead of time. Only to get back involved with Rip Hunter, The Time Master like he was in the "52" series. Hunter explains that there's a LOT of loose ends to clear up from the whole "52" thingy and BG will be the most heroic hero of all time, albiet, no one will know of his heroic acts. It's a change for the somewhat selfish Booster, always the glory-seeker and not always on the up and up; a form of redemption you might say, so he bites at this chance and that's what all future issues will be based on; i.e., BG going back and forth thru time to clean up some messes and maybe keep us, the readers, from having to suffer thru yet another DC "Crisis" series. I give this new title a "B". It probably deserves less, but hell, I'm a fan of the character! (What can I say.)

METAL MEN (DC) #1: tries to give a bit of background on Doc Magnus's original intent and the team's creation. We get to see the newst M.M., "Copper", in action a bit, and we see "Tin" has finally stopped stuttering. Whether I'll really enjoy this new attempt at one of my fave old Silver-Age titles is hard to say at this point in the story. MM has such a long history behind it; a LOT of plain ol' silly tales that I fondly remember that there's no way I can ever take this title seriously. But then, I don't want to take it seriously. I wouldn't enjoy it if it was so. I give this newest reboot an "A" for effort and hope for the best.


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