Wednesday, February 27, 2008

House of Mystery #163 (December, 1966)

After criminal Andre Rennay died in a gun battle with police, the Manhunter assumed his identity. Having deciphered the code to Rennay's notebook, J'Onzz learned the location of a French unit of Vulture. There he discovered the organization had created the Captive-Ray Gun, "capable of overcoming any force on Earth! It's basic component is a microscopic element so rare, it has taken 15 years to extract and refine it for use!"

Wandering alone to plot against Vulture, "Andre" spied a Mercurian spaceship landing. The beetle-browed, scaly, red-skinned Mercurian with a fin on his head looked somewhat like a scrawny version of the "mohawked" Post-Crisis Despero. Having taken Martian form, the Manhunter was greeted by a ray gun blast from the renegade Mercurian, who was bent on world domination. While unaffected by the blast, Manhunter was dismayed to learn, "Earth's atmosphere seems to have given the Mercurian super-powers, too!" A calculated second ray blast forced J'Onzz to save a runaway boxcar and lose the alien. "Ah! Eet ees Monsieur Le Manhunter! Leave it to heem to solve all zee problems!"

"Marco Xavier" later met with Cluzot, the leader of the local Vulture unit, and claimed to know all about the man from Andre Renney. Cluzot vowed to kill that "reckless fool," but still allowed Xavier to contact Mr. V. "Marco" baited Faceless into attempting to swipe the disintegrator ray gun from the Mercurian, pitting both his enemies against one another. Unfortunately, Manhunter outsmarted himself, trapped in a powerful bubble by the Captive-Ray, while Vulture bargained with the Mercurian for his services. Luckily, they fell for the oldest invisibility trick in the book: thinking J'onzz had escaped their bubble. Once the Vulture suits shut off the Captive-Ray to search for him, he snatched both theirs and the Mercurian's weapons. After smashing the devices for good, Manhunter smugly explained how he escaped. Dang it, J’onn! Don't blow the illusion! What happens when Vulture comes up with an Impriso-Ray or some such, and they know all about this little ruse?

J'Onn J'Onzz expressed his feelings about illegal immigration to the renegade:
"Please, Manhunter...Don't make me take off! I am hunted by the Mercurian police... and without a weapon..."
"Tough! On your way... Before I toss you off this planet without your space ship!"

And later, as Marco Xavier returned to the abandoned headquarters of the local Vulture unit...
"I promised you a bonus for your tip, Xavier...and you shall get it...even though my stupid agents bungled the job! But Manhunter will pay for this... I will get him yet, I promise!" "Xavier" thought to himself, "And I promise to get you, Faceless, somehow, someday!"

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