BHOC: SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #13

I bought this issue of SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS at my local 7-11, and it was another comic book which my household ended up with multiple copies of–though in this case, for a different reason. I would have a birthday in about a month’s time, and as a gift my friend and classmate Don Sims bought me a big stack of current comics from off the racks, some of which, like this one, I already owned. It was still a very nice thing for him to do. And also, I was a big excited by this issue, as I knew who the Crime Syndicate were from one of my very favorite Justice League stories. While they’ve been used a lot more often in recent years, here it had been 14 years or so since they last appeared, so this was pretty cool to me.

I don’t mean to keep harping on it issue after issue, but one of the aspects of this series I wasn’t too ken on at this particular moment was the artwork by Mike Vosburg. Mike was a fan made good who had a style that seemed to be influenced by that of Gene Colan. Either way, it was a bit of an acquired taste, and at ten years old, I hadn’t yet acquired it. I didn’t like his faces, the way they seemed doughy and distorted a lot of the time. And there was something about his expressions that was off-putting as well–often, people looked as though they were trying to drop a deuce–like Captain Comet on this splash page.

So, on to the plot. Last issue, the Wizard had gathered up the Secret Society members to aid him in a plan to destroy his old enemies the Justice Society on the parallel world of Earth-2. Captain Comet got there too late to prevent their departure, but not too late to follow them through the shrinking dimensional portal they’d journeyed through. But that journey turns out to be a rough one, and the villains not only encounter a strange sphere in the limbo between worlds, the Wizard’s power-glove damaging it, but they also come out of transit not on either Earth-1 or Earth-2, but rather Earth-3, the home of the villainous Crime Syndicate. This wouldn’t seem to be a huge problem at all for the Society, except that the Syndicate have been trapped in the aforementioned sphere for 14 years since their last appearance, and they assume that the Society members must be affiliated with te heroes who put them there.

Fortunately for the Society, only three members of the Syndicate were able to get free during the mishap, and so the Villains outnumber them. Taking the better part of valor, Johnny Quick has Power Ring beam the three Syndicate members away to safety, leaving the Society confused in their wake. Meanwhile, Captain Comet has pursued the group to Earth-3 as well, but he immediately finds himself being drawn down on by a cop. On Earth-3, there has never been a super hero, only super-villains, so the policeman’s reaction is understandable. Comet, though, uses his mental powers to mask his departure, then heads for the local Library to read up on this strange world. On this page, in Panel 4, it looks to me as though Vosburg has thrown in some cameos by DC staffers–that sure looks like Julie Schwartz there on the far right.

The Secret Society has been busy during this time as well. The Wizard has been able to work out where they are, and better, how they can get to their goal, Earth-2. But to do so, they’re going to need the obligatory three Tokens of Power, and the only way for the villains to get them will be by defeating the Crime Syndicate. The Wizard contacts the Syndicate at their headquarters, the Eyrie of Evil, and challenges them to combat. The Syndicate members, who only sought out the Justice League and Justice Society years ago because they’d run out of challenges to overcome, are delighted at the prospect of beating the hell out of these new costumed interlopers, and in grand Gardner Fox style, they head out towards the three challenge locations.

But the battles are a rout–the Syndicate members are clearly rusty from their time incarcerated, and the Society members are more vicious and less honorable than the kinds of foes they’ve been used to dealing with. It doesn’t take long for the Floronic Man to bring down Johnny Quick and steal his helmet, for Professor Zoom to run rings around Power Ring and abscond with the ornament that gives him his name, and for Star Sapphire and Blockbuster to overpower Superwoman and lay claim to her magic lasso.

Using the three stolen Tokens of Power, the Wizard is once again able to conjure up a gateway to Earth-2, and he and the rest of the Society zip through it–just before, as he’s done so many times, Captain Comet arrives in their makeshift lair, too late to prevent their departure. But he’s not too late to still be on site when the vengeful Crime Syndicate turns up, looking to put the hurt on the ones who humiliated them. And if the Society isn’t present, they’re perfectly willing to vent their frustrations on Captain Comet instead! To Be Continued!

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