Monday, December 3, 2007
House of Mystery #157 (3/66)
"In the mess hall of Grayton Prison, Convict #16526 (better known as Professor Hugo) gets a sudden inspiration..." He'd figured out how to remote activate one of his inventions to escape from is cell! He revealed the gist of his plan to incredulous fellow cons, thanks to his constant defeats at the Manhunter's hands making him the "laughing stock of every criminal from coast to coast.” This only fueled his desire for revenge. Once his jail break became known, the Manhunt began. "Stand by, Zook! I'm going to find that swell-headed hoodlum--and clap him back in jail where he belongs! I may be gone a day or two!” Having left his other-dimensional pet at home, J'onn alone spied a circus clown attempting to wave him down. It was a trap, as the grease painted Hugo zapped MM with a hidden thought control machine. I realize exaggeration is a clown’s stock in trade, but really, did the Martian Martian think a mortal merchant of merriment could maintain such a massive melon? All Arnold had to say was, “Manhunter--You're a ballet dancer," and J'onn's toes started to twinkle in midair. "I--I want to disobey you--b-but I can't--!" J'onn's got happy feet! "...The fact that you're aware of you predicament is all the more fun for me!" What did I tell you? Hugo's into bondage, too! That sick little Easter Island freak daddy!
Hugo made the Manhunter the unwilling star of the circus, of which one anxious spectator opined “Wow! They’ll need a place 10 times bigger than the stadium to hold everybody who’ll want to see that show!” First, Hugo forced J'onn J’onzz to juggle a dozen mammoth balls that weighed a ton each. Then Hugo made MM drop the balls on himself. "Ha, ha! Listen to them...They're all laughing at you... The way you made every criminal in the country laugh at me!" Second, Hugo directed the Martian Marvel to turn his fist intangible, then alter his density to trap his hand within a brick wall. The crowd roared as MM struggled to free himself, before smashing the wall with his free hand and tumbling through the fresh hole. “From now on, Manhunter, you will be known as the Martian Clown! ...Let’s go, you Martian Goof-Up!” Hugo dictated the Alien Atlas burrow his way into the Earth, until he burst a high-pressure water line, which launched J'Onn into the air, "...making him look like the biggest idiot ever!" Too bad Hugo's plans “boomeranged,” with the audience gaining a new found respect for J'Onn's versatility and self-effacing slapstick. "No, no, no! Th-they're not laughing at Manhunter--They're laughing with him! ...Shut up, Shut up!"
Meanwhile, Zook visited the circus to find out why “Manhunter go out to look for Professor Hugo... and next I know, he the star of corny show! ...What it all about?” Hugo instructed Manhunter to make Zook scram, then had him steal the entire Centerville Bank and “destroy his reputation for good!” As the police questioned Manhunter's sudden turn, Zook deduced that the clown with the gigantic freakin’ head just might be Hugo. “My directional antennae find Manhunter--wherever he be! Emanations in antennae getting stronger! Must be getting closer! I right! That Professor Hugo! But how he controlling Manhunter? How? That truck---it same size and shape as circus wagon he use in stadium! Maybe I find answer inside! Tee-hee! I right again! This machine must be what Professor Big Head using to control Manhunter!” Zook had flattened his form to enter the van, then dropped the temperature of his body 1,000 degrees, flash freezing the equipment in his proximity to the shattering point. "You free Manhunter! You got your own mind back!" Manhunter grabbed Arnold by the collar, exclaiming, "You’re telling me! Good work, Zook! As for you, Hugo-- there’re some people waiting to give you orders... back in jail!" Better yet, a meteorite happened to hit the former site of the bank, leaving arriving officers to believe MM was simply moving the building out of harm's way. "Good old Manhunter! He can not only make people split their sides laughing--but he's the greatest one-man rescue squad on Earth!" J'Onn whispered, "Hear that Hugo? And to think--I owe my new fame all to you!" Seemed the screw had another turn left, as onlookers chuckled, “Hey, look at Professor Hugo! How funny he looks! Ha, ha, ha!” A cackling crowd gathered to gape. Zook observed, “Poor Professor! Sounds like last laugh is on you!”