Monday, December 10, 2007
The Vile Menagerie: THE GETAWAY KING
Alter Ego: Monty Moran
AKA: The Getaway Mastermind
Occupation: Criminal Inventor
Marital Status: Unknown
Group Affiliation: Various
Base of Operations:
First Appearance: Detective Comics #259
Little is known about the life and origins of Monty Moran before his rise to power as a crime boss in Colorado. The criminal mastermind was proud of his bizarre getaway gimmicks, such as a six-wheeled, cigar-shaped rocket car that could divide into three separate mini-cars, each capable of being remote-controlled. Moran amassed a slew of such contraptions, which his henchmen would employ in heists. The Manhunter from Mars, operating clandestinely as police detective John Jones before his super-heroic existence became public knowledge, eventually began thwarting Moran’s various plans. Moran was surprisingly nonchalant about his multiple defeats, fully expecting ultimate conquest with a super-weapon he had been developing. Once Detective Jones traced Moran to his secret laboratory hideout, the device was revealed as a fantastic force field, which would have caused the deaths of numerous policemen from their own ricocheting bullets, but for the invisible intervention of the Martian Manhunter. Before the Getaway King could make off in a hidden submarine, the Manhunter telekinetically directed the massive lot of bullets he’d retrieved against the crooks. Their “sting” drove Moran and his men from the lab into the hands of waiting police.
While serving his time, Monty Moran became a prison trustee, giving him access to another laboratory. From odds and ends, Moran invented a shrink-ray, allowing himself and five of his fellows arch-criminals to escape the pen in nothing more than a matchbox tied to a helium balloon. The sextet put the Justice League of America through their paces, but their accomplishment was eclipsed by an overlapping case involving Dr. Destiny and the fact Moran and his fellows were eventually captured by Green Arrow on his own. The encounter served as both validation of the archer’s initiation into the League, and the final appearance of the Getaway Mastermind.
While the Getaway King showed neither particular athletic prowess nor combat facility, his technological prowess was clearly exceptional. Besides those devices previously mentioned, Moran also invented a vehicle with a built-in boring machine that could penetrate a stone wall in seconds, and a small jet plane that could disguise itself as a fully functional automobile. He likely was also responsible for the spacecraft and remote monitors used against the JLA by the one-time collective of himself, Electric Man, Puppet Master, Captain Cold, Professor Menace, and King Clock. It’s possible he also aided Dr. Destiny in his earliest adventures, as that villain went from a general inventor to a dream specialist almost immediately after their association ended.
While it remains galling to me that the Martian Manhunter's pet/sidekick Zook and other important supporting characters/foes/etc. have never received any variation on a Who's Who page, I can deal with Monty Moran. Truth is, the guy's a scrub, and I only created this replica entry because he happend to be treated as an archenemy in an early issue of Justice League. However, so were Professor Menace and Electric Man, who'd also only ever appeared in a story each. While there was no excuse not to use a better Wonder Woman villain, we all know Aquaman only has two foes worth noting, and neither had even been created yet. Sad to say John Jones' Nuisance Gallery was at least as bad, so a criminal inventor who never once imperiled Manhunter in his one six page adventure was just going to have to do. Better still, not only did Gardner Fox have to ramp up Moran's scientific abilities for that second appearance, but he even renamed him "the Getaway Mastermind." The only time the characrer's sole story called him by a name other than Monty Moran was in the title, "The Getaway King." This was possibly due to Fox's having also used "King Clock" in the same tale, but y'know, he didn't become the Clock Mastermind, so there.
I wouldn't normally make note of that blight upon humanity, fan fiction, but it seems the me the fact that Monty Moran ever entered another soul's brain is itself noteworthy. The website focuses on tales of a reality where the five most used worlds in the DC Multiverse remained seperate after Crisis On Infinite Earths, and the story on what might have happened had Firestorm not been marred by John Ostrander's becoming a tad too enamored of Alan Moore's "Swamp Thing." Feel free to enjoy Firestorm: Cold Fusion.