Friday, April 6, 2007
Continuing to sort through the old comics, and have now come across a cache of old World's Finest issues, which often featured a team up of Superman and Batman (like peanut butter cups, two great tastes that go great together!). This one, #219, was my first of this particular title, dated September-October 1973.
It features a story by Bob Haney, with art by Dick Dillin and Frank Giacoia, titled "The Prisoner of Rogues Rock". Our heroes learn of a creature, El Monstro, who has appeared in South America, leaving treasure and gold from a long-lost Nazi treasure sub.
In a Sign of the Times moment, and totally uncharacteristically, Superman exclaims "far out!" after hearing the story, and they're off. Supes spends some time searching the ocean floor for the sub, in the process gathering up assorted wrecks and sending them into a deep chasm in the ocean floor, while Batman hires a guide to lead him into the tropical jungles, who promptly double-crosses him.
Batman is rescued by El Monstro, who it turns out was once a human, who was wrongly arrested, but managed to escape from prison using some strange jungle herb to avoid breathing underwater.
Of course it is the herb which causes the transformation into El Monstro...and although this story remains unconcluded in this issue, we do get a nice surprise moment towards the end, as El Monstro takes a bit of the herb again, and is briefly transformed into the beautiful woman it original was...shocking both our sexist heroes.
A back-up offers an uncredited solo story featuring Rex Mason, AKA Metamorpho, the Element Man. A mad bomber is continually planting bombs in various properties of Simon Stagg, and Rex is called on to find each of them. It turns out that Rex is actually the made bomber, as some defect in his broad chemical make-up has caused a split personality...which is cured by some kind of glop-bath, in time for him to rescue his girlfriend Sapphire from the last bomb. Like the character of Metamorpho isn't odd enough, this was a terrifically confusing introduction to another hero in the DC Universe.
Coming soon: I discover the Justice League of America.