Monday, September 17, 2007

House of Mystery #144 (7/64)

J'onzz tracked the Idol-Head to a seacoast town's scrap pile in House of Mystery #144 (July 1964), but with a mighty "WHOOSH", Diabolu opened up a can of funkiness before falling into the ocean. Manhunter (as he was simply called back then) and Zook had to halt their fruitless trash digging when a purple hole appeared in the night sky. A beam was emitted through the aperture, pulling a milkman into the air. Manhunter blocked the hole with a wooden plank, then caught the milkman in midair. The pair landed just as the force of the skyhole broke up the plank. J'onn shouted, "Out of the way!" as the renewed beam snagged him. "Great Jupiter! I'm trapped myself--and this fantastic force is stronger than any I've encountered!" That didn't stop him from breaking free, then trying to rupture the side of the, er, rupture by slamming into its cloud-enshrouded edge. J'onzz was soundly rebuffed, and while he recovered, a poor unfortunate was transported into "The Weird World of Gilgana" . The gash disappeared with a "PLOP", much to Manhunter's dismay. "I seem to recall a legend from the Book of Diabolu, Zook--a grim legend! 'Enter the Gateway of Gilgana--and you are doomed for an eternity!" A shaken Zook replied, "Poor man! His family never see him again!"

A determined Manhunter waited for the reappearance of the void, which arrived an hour later. As a construction work was pulled through the dawn sky, Manhunter followed. "Now--now two men are doomed!" J'onzz replied, "Yes, Zook--and there'll be many more unless the world of Gilgana is destroyed!" The Alien Atlas found himself in a land of yellow skies, pink sand, and massive crystals jutting from the ground. He found the building worker attacked by a creature that looked like a giant, purple, shell-less armadillo with tusks. A unicorn type horn jutted from it's forehead, which could be fired and regenerated at will. A horny barrage shattered against J'onzz's skin as he carried the worker to safety. The twosome found Gilgana's first captive running from "a series of deadly eruptions" that peppered the ground until he dove into a lake. Protection eluded the man, as a "giant watery hand" rose against him. Manhunter tackled the hand, which dissipated in a massive explosion, shaking even the Mighty Martian.

With both men in safe hands, J'onzz was confident he could get himself and his charges out through the next fissure. "...But what's the good?" More hostages would be taken, unless a final resolution could be found. The immigrant detective determined that the pink sand that clung to his arm after he saved the construction worker caused the explosion when he came into contact with Gilgana's water. J'onzz built a retaining wall along the lake, then heaped tons of sand along it's edge. As a new aperture appeared, the Martian Marvel sundered his bearing wall with a boulder, then escaped before Gilgana was blown to smithereens. The gape closed behind the trio of survivors, much to Zook's relief. This one was from the (cult) classic(?) creative team of Jack Miller and Joe Certa.

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