BHOC: DC SUPER-STARS #6

I think it must have been the fact that this was another Giant reprint comic that got me to pick up this issue of DC SUPER-STARS, as I wasn’t reading comics for science fiction at this point so much as I was for super heroes. On the other hand, the combination of an Adam Strange lead story and a reprint of an adventure of Captain Comet whom I had just encountered in SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER VILLAINS may have done the trick. Either way, I brought it home from the 7-11.

Adam Strange was always a feature that I enjoyed. I think the main reason for this was the artwork of Carmine Infantino, who also drew the classic years of my favorite, the Flash. This created a common visual language between the two strips that I think I found comfortable. There was also something appealing about the way that Adam would triumph over his opponents through ingenuity rather than brute force. My childhood playground experiences didn’t conform to this example, but it was a nice fantasy to indulge in.

The story involves an old foe of Adam’s who has escaped prison by turning himself into a wraith. But he’s reformed and wants to prove his bonafides to Adam. Unfortunately, when te wraith enters a discarded robot, a fluke effect causes him to do evil. Adam sorts the whole mess out over two chapters. He also finds a way to bring Alanna an Earth dress that won’t disappear when the Zeta-Beam radiation wears off, though he has to cheat in an extraordinary way to do so.

Next up came my new favorite Captain Comet, as illustrated in the pristine but slightly antiseptic style of Murphy Anderson. In the era in which the series was created, Comet was meant to be a hybrid between a super hero feature and a science fiction one, so the typical derring-do was downplayed in his adventures. Comet is a mutant with advanced mental powers, the sort that human beings may possess 100,000 years in the future. Here, he overcomes a quintet of synthetic men who gain self-awareness and threaten to take over the Earth. Comet doesn’t kill them, but he paralyzes them into rigidity so that they cannot move, a bit of a horrible fate if you think about it.

Next up was an adventure of the amusingly-named Tommy Tomorrow, one in which he finds himself marooned 1000 years in the dim past of 1960. Tommy’s struggle to capture a criminal that has gone back in time and return to his own era is aided by a young boy, who turns out to be his own great-grandfather. In later years, Marv Wolfman would reveal that Tommy Tomorrow and Kamandi were the same character in two different potential futures. (I had always figured that Tommy was distantly related to the Red Tornado’s creator, T.O. Morrow–don’t know if anybody else ever made that connection in the books.)

The issue wraps up with an entry in one of the oddest and most charming series of the early 1950s, Space Cabby. The series is exactly what the title advertises, with the unnamed lead character shuttling fares across the solar system and getting involved in interplanetary jams. This time, when a grateful fare buys him a luxury cab as a tip, Space Cabby is at first elated but them discovers that the new ship is more a hindrance than a help. He tries to get his old ship back, but criminals have already purchased it to use in their heists. Space Cabby can’t leave well enough alone, though, and by story’s end, he’s back behind the wheel of his old hack. 

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