Thursday, March 13, 2008
House of Mystery #164 (1/67)
VULTURE --world-wide crime syndicate-- stole a case containing ten million dollars in jewels from a charity bazaar in the wealthy resort town of Deauville, France. Its owner, Aldo Szuzi, took many precautions, going outside of Inspector Marchal's police forces. Szuzi had contacted the Manhunter, repeatedly described as an old friend of his, and the "Alien Ace" quickly recovered the loot the from thieves. As automatic rounds bounced harmlessly off his chest, Manhunter once again chided, "You must be kidding!" Previously borne aloft by a helicopter with a crane attachment, its propeller now wrenched terrifically, the VULTURE hoods were turned over to French authorities. "Next week-- for the ball in your honor, I shall invite the most 'in' people..."
"Marco Xavier" returned to his "posh villa overlooking the gentle Mediterranean," but was contacted on arrival by Mr. V's people. Xavier was also an old friend of Signor Szuzi, so "Faceless" wanted "Marco" to smuggle in a gun to Aldo's party capable of killing the Manhunter. Testing the gun in a secluded area, "Xavier" determined the weapon was indeed as potentially lethal as advertised, as it fired a concentrated burst of flame. Xavier couldn't figure out how Mr. V learned his weakness, but had a way around getting blasted with it all worked out. Xavier was never a gunman, so his only order was to deliver the weapon to the scarred waiter-hitman at the party. By keeping an eye on the waiter, Manhunter figured he could keep his cover and stay alive to benefit from it.
Manhunter "arrived" as the guest of honor at the party after Marco, not noticing the gun to be used against him had changed hands to another triggerman named Darvin. J'onzz barely missed being singed, then masqueraded as Szuzi for cover. Once Darvin passed "Szuzi," Manhunter was able to take the assassin by surprise. "Szuzi" tossed Darvin into the waiter, making the real Szuzi look like a hero as a result. Once Manhunter resumed his heroic form off-panel, he shared a wink with his old pal. "With such a powerhouse around to protect your guests, Szuzi-- you don't need me around any longer!"
Later, "Xavier" spoke with Mr. V... "I do not blame you for the failure, Xavier! It was the fault of those stupid fools! Surely, you must realize my agents gave you the wrong weapon-- Nothing but an ordinary portable flame thrower! They should have given you our new laser-ray--"