Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Detective Comics #277 (March, 1960)
"One day, as a crowd flocks to the newly opened Ace Time Company Building," onlookers spied a moth-themed helicopter stealing a decorative timepiece off the structure's face. The numbers and hands were reported to have been painted with $10,000 worth of pure glowing radium. Police in a squad car that tried to interfere were blinded by a large spotlight. Martian Manhunter arrived to grind some coal from off the back of a truck into dust to shield the officers' eyes from the beam, allowing Mr. Moth time to escape.
Later at police headquarters, Detective John Jones was asked his thoughts on the Mr. Moth case. All indications pointed to this being a repeat offense, as Jones and Captain Harding knew Mr. Moth by name from the beginning of the story. "He likes to steal only precious objects that relate to light, Captain Harding! And he must be stopped without delay!"
At a remote lighthouse, Mr. Moth surveyed his ill-gotten gains. "Ha, ha... another light-giving prize to add to my collection of rarities!" A hostage chided, "You fool! How long are you going to use this place as a hideout and keep me a prisoner? Sooner or later, the police will catch up with you!"
Mr. Moth's next target was a statue of Atlas coated with phosphorus located in the city square. John Jones had the place staked out, and turned into an invisible Manhunter when Moth's copter made the scene. However, machine gun tracer bullets were fired at a billboard, threatening a busload of people underneath. Martian Manhunter became visible in order to access his full powers, and though heralded as a savior by the townspeople, again lost Mr. Moth.
That night, John Jones read in the Daily Herald that the planetarium would be displaying a gold model of the solar system, complete with a miniature glowing sun. Sure enough, the menacing Mr. Moth snatched the sun as it was being transported to the planetarium. The copter flew the model to the lighthouse lair, where Mr. Moth ordered his men to smash open its display case. From out of an orb leapt the Sleuth From Space, so Mr. Moth drew a special ray-gun and pointed it at his hostage. "I haven't been swatted down yet!" Manhunter exclaimed, "Great Rings of Saturn!" as Mr. Moth led the lighthouse keeper away at gunpoint. J'onn J'onzz noticed colored light bulbs near where Mr. Moth stood, and vibrated his hand behind his back in such a way that it "set up a powerful and controlled air current which tore the bulbs from their sockets and is causing them to spin!" Mr. Moth was transfixed by the bulbs swirling about his head, allowing Martian Manhunter to cinch his capture with a punch. Mr. Moth hadn't even hit the floor before his men surrendered.
A prison guard announced "Lights out in all cells!" Captain Harding and John Jones stood outside Mr. Moth's cell, within which he was still wearing his outfit and resting his absurd mask in his lap. "Better get used to the dark, Mr. Moth! You're going to be in there a long time!"
"The Menace of Mr. Moth" was a brain cancer formulated by Jack Miller and Joe Certa.