However much I may have been beginning to explore the new-to-me world of Marvel Comics, I was still a die-hard DC reader as well, and so when the latest issue of SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS showed up, I swiftly purchased a copy. It was, believe it or not, one of my favorite titles during this time period–and this issue must have had something going for it, as days or weeks later my younger brother Ken also bought his own copy of it.

There were two unpleasant surprises awaiting me when I cracked open this issue. The first was that I had somehow missed the SSoSV Special in which the Society went toe-to-toe with the Justice League. I was getting better at being able to haunt the spinner racks so that I didn’t miss an issue, but that book being a Special meant that we never got it at my local outlets. So that was frustrating to me. The other was that this issue was the debut of Mike Vosburg as the title’s regular penciler. I wasn’t a huge fan of Vosburg’s work on the series–much like the work of Gene Colan, I found his stylized and somewhat idiosyncratic figures off-putting. But I was still hooked on the series enough to carry on reading it despite those misgivings.

The issue opens with a quickie recap of recent events, not just the ones I had missed. In short, Grodd’s attempt to beat the JLA has wound up landing him in prison, and the Secret Society itself is in complete disarray. At the Sinister Citadel, Funky Flashman is accosted by Star Sapphire and the Floronic Man, neither of whom wants anything to do with him any longer. The whole enterprise appears to be kaput, which isn’t a great premise for an ongoing series. So things are about to start popping.

Elsewhere, in San Francisco, Captain Comet finds himself relieved of his burden now that the Society is no longer a going concern. He intends to re-establish his life on Earth as Adam Blake (Comet had spent decades wandering the stars, so he’s a man out of time ala Captain America.) On his way back to his apartment, he’s able to save commuters when the BART train derails, but he freaks out as the adoring crowds push in on him, not used to a lack of space. Contemplating his problems, he goes back to his apartment, where his sometimes-girlfriend Debbie is waiting for him–she may or may not secretly be Star Sapphire, to say nothing of having an alternate personal as Camille, but Comet doesn’t care about any of that right now–and they have a torrid tryst.

As this is going on, the Floronic Man breaks into Vulcan Industries, an international chemical concern, to steal certain chemicals necessary to create a massive amount of the formula that turned him from a human being into a plant, so that he can do the same for everybody in the world. And in a police lock-up, the D.A. who is prosecuting the Wizard makes the stupid mistake of allowing him to identify the three mystic artifacts the Society has been intent on stealing over the past few issues. Getting his hands on them, he promptly makes his escape.

Back at the Sinister Citadel, the Floronic Man is mixing up his batch of pernicious chemicals when he’s suddenly accosted by the Wizard, now armed with the three mystic artifacts which have renewed his waning magical powers. The Wizard proves his newfound might by clobbering the Floronic Man, revealing to him that he himself, the Wizard, had been the mysterious benefactor who had underwritten the Society’s quest for the mystic artifacts, all so that he could renew himself. Now, he’s back on top and ready to go, with a new modern look that, franks, isn’t all that terrific. At least as a top-hat-and-tails magician, you knew at a glance what his deal was. But this new orange and green monstrosity he was now sporting was a bit of a misfire.

But that doesn’t matter to the plot. Now that he’s amped up again, the Wizard has his own plans for the Secret Society–and while Star Sapphire and the Floronic Man fall into line easily enough, the Wizard has no use for Funky Flashman–so he teleports the con man way, throwing him out on his ear. The issue closes with a battered and dejected Funky swearing to get his revenge–but that was not to be. This would turn out to be his final appearance in the series. Poor Funky! So this was a bit of a nothing issue, one in which writer Gerry Conway moved his players around in order to set them up for their next set of storylines. Between that and the artwork, it wasn’t my favorite issue by any means–I found myself a bit dissatisfied by it. But not enough that I wouldn’t be back for the next one.

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