Tuesday, August 19, 2008

House of Mystery #169 (September, 1967)

"At a Grecian spa resort near the Aegean Sea," Marco Xavier was chillin' with a blond, while the rest of the guys were green with envy, figuring Xavier had not a care in the world. "That's what you think, mate! All my mind is on, right now, is the underworld tip I got that VULTURE is planning something big today!" Moments like this make a person see why I keep drawing the "Rock Hudson" parallel, right?

When purple-skinned werecreatures emitting smoke from their mouths showed up to steal the solid gold King's Trophy jockey statue... Do I really have to finish this sentence? "Er...Sounds like trouble, honey! Better take cover..." Even the flexing of "Mighty Martian Muscles" wasn't enough to phase these beasts, and yes, of course they spat fire too! In a keen Ditkoesque heavily-shaded panel, Manhunter decided he'd had enough of his fire weakness, and became a werewhateverhyenathingee. The three other 10-foot beasts actually filed into a getaway car and split, leaving Were-J'onn for the police. Worse, Manhunter was somehow stuck in this form, and on the run. "Great stars! The police I myself tipped off-- and in this form, I can get killed!"

"In an underground unit of VULTURE," we learned the beasts were men transformed (and could be reverted back to normal) by a Transfer-Ray. Mr. V's top scientists spent ten years building the invention. Manhunter had far less time to find it, as he snuck down back streets. One lovely woman spotted the former Martian, but her fellow dismissed her with "Nonsense! Everyone in this town keeps seeing them around!"

Marco Xavier had attended the horse race where the monsters struck based on his underworld tip, and that same source had indicated another job at the Bendel Museum that night. Manhunter caught up with the trio there, heisting another statue, but remained in hiding. Rather than confront the threesome, Manhunter sucker-punched and replaced one of them. This time, the monsters escaped in a roomy shipping truck, instead of a sedan.

Led straight to the HQ, Manhunter discovered the truth about the creatures, and prepared to take his turn under the Transfer-Ray. "That must be a pretty complex ray-- to be able to stop me from changing myself!" Too bad Noskers, the thug Manhunter replaced, arrived to expose him. "I'll change your face, you phony-- but not the way you expected!"

The pair of purple monsters fought it out, but the head scientist was fed up with the rough-housing. When both combatants were in place, he hit them with the ray, little realizing one would stand revealed as the Manhunter! The Martian Marvel smashed the Transfer-Ray before it could transform him again, then bragged to Mr. V (via satellite) that he would keep on tearing through VULTURE "until I bag you!"

"The Manhunter Monster!" was by Jack Miller & Joe Certa.


Luke said...

A Grecian spa? A jockey statue? Marco Xavier is either completely buried in the closet or the most masculine male creature ever to stalk the planet. It's like that fine line we all have to examine when watching a sword and sandal movie.

Diabolu Frank said...

I figured I spent so much time pointing this stuff out in the HoM #168 synopsis, why not let the audience play "Where's Marco's Libido?"