A Tribute to the of





Here we go again, Silver Age fans. The requisite time period has elapsed, we're all still working on Thanksgiving leftovers and so sit back, relax, and let the ol' Professor take the wheel as we spotlight another effort from DC's glory days.

Before it became one of Batman's regular haunts, but after the early days when it was filled with swashbuckling and/or medieval adventures, the Brave and the Bold title acted as sort of a companion to Showcase in that it gave characters a chance to be featured in a title without their usual detail as support staff or backup or even "extras" like occasionally happens in Justice League stories. The issue I'm featuring this time, in fact, began a new initiative by DC to present sort of a "reader's choice" series in B & B. The first page, which is usually the splash page for the story instead shows the short-lived (thankfully) DC Mascot, "Johnny DC" making an announcement. If you haven't had the misfortune to meet Johnny, I'll try to describe him for you. Imagine a Campbell soup kid face on top of the Superman DC National Comics logo, which he used for a torso, stick arms and legs (the creative geniuses went all out with this one, eh?) and to top it all off a mortarboard on top of his pumpkin head. That's him. No wonder he was quickly scrapped. Anyhow, the balloon coming from the cherub's mouth has this to say: "Here it is, fans--The magazine you've been asking for--Two heroes from the DC Hall of Fame, teamed together in a full-length spectacular adventure! And with this issue of Brave and Bold, DC kicks off a brand-new idea in comics--By presenting the feature you ask for!" Directly below bird-legs is a box that elaborates: "By popular demand, the new exciting series makes its bow with Green Arrow and Manhunter from Mars, which drew an overwhelming number of requests, succeeding issues will be comprised of teams selected by you! The next issue will co-star Aquaman and Hawkman! So cast your vote in this pick-em-yourself comic book by telling us which heroes in the DC family you'd like to pair up in future issues of this magazine!" A depiction of our stars accompanies the box and of course the address is directly below (a house ad appearing in Lois Lane #45 alerts readers to the impending format change). So, let's see what they cooked up for the first request team up in Brave and the Bold #50, October-November, 1963.

The title of our tale is "Wanted--The Capsule Master!" Script by Bob Haney, art (both pencil & ink) by George Roussos. The real splash page shows Green Arrow in the clutches of a mechanical claw emerging from an other-worldly capsule with the Manhunter from Mars hurtling toward said capsule. GA is pleading, "No, Manhunter! Even YOUR powers won't work! You'll wind up a prisoner, too!"

The story begins in Star City, Green Arrow's home town. The same orange colored winged sphere is hovering in the night sky above. In the next panel we see the first of many, many Batman rip-offs. The Arrow Signal, described as a glittering green shaft that streaks over the rooftops, alerts Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow that his services are needed. Unlike the famed Bat signal, however, this looks just like an arrow rather than a light. It sure is a lucky thing that Ollie happened to be gazing out the window when it went shooting by...silently...in the dark...over a metropolitan skyline. The guy must have incredible night vision. The next couple of panels continue to show the alarming similarities to what my pal the webmaster calls a "poor man's Batman." Check it out: "In the mansion of wealthy Oliver Queen and his ward, Roy Harper, a swift change of garb." Sure. Always gotta be wealthy and have a young ward hanging around. In the very next panel: "In their sleek Arrow-Car (which looks to me absolutely nothing like an arrow. A tuna-boat sedan with fins on steroids maybe...), the two famed crime-fighters race to the scene of the emergency--the city prison." As you might guess, there's a jail break going on. It had to be either that or a warden being held prisoner, but they opted for the escape attempt this time. Three cons are at the top of the wall when Green Arrow and Speedy, who, interestingly enough, has a bright red and yellow costume sorta like another part-time millionaire's ward we know, fire their Bolas Arrows to trip up the jailbirds. At first it seems to work and then the cords are snapped and they continue their getaway. Time for the stun arrows. Once again they seem to be effective initially but then they recover and leap down from the wall (a 40-foot drop) and slip away. The warden and our very surprised heroes head for the cell to look for clues. Green Arrow notes, "Hmm...steel twisted like rubber--our arrows without effect--we're up against something very strange, Speedy!" You can't put much past GA now can you? They then discover masks leading them to believe the mysterious prisoners have been masquerading, but why? Later in the *cough, cough* Arrow-Cave a police transmission leads them to the city museum where a robbery has just taken place. According to the police at the scene, the perpetrators were unstoppable, with bullets bouncing off them like rice at a wedding. GA and Speedy also learn that they wore green masks that looked alien-like. The booty was a meteor, of all things, and Green Arrow discovers that the stolen rock left a radioactive imprint on the cardboard at the base of the display. As our duo returns to their headquarters, Green Arrow suggests recruiting the assistance of J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter as the exploits and descriptions seem to indicate creatures from another world, maybe even Martians. Soon, the Manhunter appears in the cave after a summons via a radio call on a secret wavelength. As they brief J'onn, we fade to the capsule as it hovers over three figures. The mechanical hand retrieves the stolen meteor and Vulkor eagerly breaks it open to reveal a mechanism, thinking "The first piece of what I need to carry out my master plan! Two more pieces remain...and tonight we will recover the second!" Fade again to the wharf where chicanery is afoot on the docks. A patrol boat spots some men hauling something up from the river when the grabby hand from the sphere grasps and overturns the boat. One of the harbor patrolmen manages to fire off a flare that is spotted by the guys in the Arrow Plane (please!) and the flying Manhunter from Mars. As they swoop down, Manhunter confirms that the criminals are indeed a martian gang. J'onn piles into them but three on one is too much and when the Arrow Plane descends for an assist, it is grasped by the mechanical hand. The archers try some smoke arrows but they are quickly neutralized and then the plane's tail is torn off, sending them into a death dive. Fortunately (you just know this is coming, right?) they have a para-arrow! So, chapter one ends with the Manhunter being beaten to his knees and Green Arrow and Speedy dropping into the river.

As chapter two begins, the two heroes are climbing onto the dock to huddle with the overcome martian. J'onn decides to visit Mars to find out more about Vulkor while GA and Speedy work on some new arrows for a future battle. Fortunately for Manhunter, he has a teleportation device to speed up the trip a bit and he heads immediately for the All-Martian Council. He is filled in on the criminal record of Vulkor, who had stolen a super-weapon which was destroyed during a furious battle that ended in his imprisonment. He further learns that the weapon was destroyed and while they'd like to help, they can't, since they have no official relations with earth. Meanwhile, back on Mother Earth, the Arrow Car is out on patrol when they hear of an alien gang attacking Highmount Radar Station. As they arrive, the new sonic arrows they've developed, which emit ultra-high frequencies, have a dramatic effect on the sensitive hearing of the criminals from another world. Unfortunately, Vulkor again comes to the rescue and shields them from any further barrage. He begins to chase down the car when GA instructs Speedy to jam on the brakes so that he can try a surprise maneuver. He uses one of the seat catapults to launch himself into the air so that he can fire an acid arrow at the capsule. Wouldn't you know, though, that Vulkor has a force field around the ship that won't allow the arrow through? Once again, the claw emerges and GA is held fast. At that moment, J'onn is returning and tries for a rescue only to be rebuffed by the field. As the ship flies off, Speedy goes to the lake Manhunter fell into to see if he's okay. The water has revived the Martian and they plot further strategy after learning that the crooks have just ruined a new radar station. At the Arrow Cave, Manhunter studies the impression from the cardboard and suddenly realizes that Vulkor is reassembling the Martian Super Weapon, piece by piece. The final part must be hidden near the radar station. Suddenly, Green Arrow appears in the cave. He explains that Vulkor's capsule collided with a power line, giving him a window of opportunity to leap free with the aid of a parachute arrow. Fade yet again to Vulkor, lurking about the radar station under cover of darkness with a detection device, searching out the buried piece of the weapon. Our heroes then reveal themselves and demand Vulkor's surrender. Green Arrow warns that he's armed with incendiary arrows that will render the Martians helpless via their one weakness, fire. Vulkor concedes defeat but then Green Arrow suddenly fires an arrow at Manhunter!

Chapter three opens with Green Arrow firing more arrows around Manhunter's perch, leaving him helpless as Vulkor chuckles to himself about turning the allies against one another. Luckily for the Martian detective, Speedy is observing things from a short distance away and assists with (believe it or not) foam arrows to douse the flames. In the confusion, Vulkor slips away and a confused Green Arrow seems to come out of some sort of trance. The trio return to the cave to study their options when they get another radio transmission. The voice of Vulkor is gloating to his men that the strategy worked and they're now ready to test the super weapon. Speedy quickly explains that he managed to fire a tiny radio transmitter arrow (with a tiny bow, maybe?) into Vulkor's clothing before he got away, allowing them to eavesdrop. The transmission continues: "The test on the Neptune will prove the weapon's power--and the Manhunter won't bother us, since I can easily turn Green Arrow against him again..." The heroes decide that the Neptune is the new atomic-powered liner about to make it's first cruise on the morrow. The Emerald Archer decides he cannot help since he's apparently susceptible to Vulkor's control. Fade once more to the Neptune where three civilians are on deck in their secret identities, waiting for something to happen. The sphere is soon spotted and the Arrow plane blasts from the ship on an intercept course. Green Arrow catapults from the plane and fires an arrow (go figure) at the ship, enveloping it in magnetized metal particles to neutralize the force field. Vulkor, meanwhile, tries in vain to regain control of Ollie, to no avail. The Martians emerge to try to sweep away the particles and the next thing you know, Green Arrow is blasting them off the surface of the capsule with Martian Super Breath. In the Arrow Plane, we see J'onn remove his mask to reveal the real Green Arrow and then the fun really begins as they attempt to bring the ship to earth. In the meantime, the martian gang has recovered and they are flying menacingly toward the arrow plane when GA gets the inspiration to send some fireworks arrows flying, sending the Martians scurrying for cover from the weakening effects of the pyrotechnics. In the capsule, Vulkor and Manhunter are grappling while the ship sinks into the sea. The arrow plane, with the crooks in a net in tow, begins a sweep of the water for their friend when he emerges with a subdued Vulkor. The capsule and weapon were crushed by the intense underwater pressure and Green Arrow has discovered a "plant" on his bow grip that had given Vulkor the ability to manipulate him. The tale ends with Manhunter heading back to Mars with the villains to face justice.

So, not a half bad little yarn even if it did have a few cliché's thrown into the mix. Although the Batman rip-offs and multitude of corny arrow gimmicks got a bit thick at times, Green Arrow is a resourceful character who doesn't do too badly for not having any extraordinary powers. Still, he ain't Bruce Wayne and never will be. For some good clean fun and escapist entertainment and for allying two Justice League members, I'll give this one an 8.

As always, I'm open 24/7 at professor_the@hotmail.com for your feedback. Thanks again for those of you who've taken the time to write and offer your comments and I hope you'll continue to join me when we spotlight another classic or not-so-classic issue in about two weeks.

Long Live the Silver Age!


©2000 by B.D.S. 

This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

B.D.S.

 






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