Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Brave and the Bold #29 (5-6/60)
“Challenge of the Weapons Master!”
Escaping from the year 11,960 just as the police of that era were about to capture him, Xotar traveled ten thousand years in the past to battle the Justice League of America. It seemed Xotar had in his possession an ancient League journal written by Wonder Woman revealing that he would defeat her team with one of his four futuristic weapons. Xotar figured once he’d proven that device, he could return home to claim victory over the police as well. Having failed on his first try against the Flash, Xotar’s second weapon would be used against the duo of Aquaman and "J’onn J’onz" at the Isthmus of Panama. That wasn’t a typo, by the way, as the only point in the story the Manhunter’s name was spelled correctly was in the roll call splash. Maybe he’ll get more respect if this second special appearance should lead to a series for the team?
“The Sea King and the Man from Mars are soon speeding across the heaving waves of the Atlantic Ocean...” J’onz employed super-breath in a second straight adventure against the huge dorsal fin of the sail-fish upon which Aquaman rested. Near the Panama Canal, J’onn J’onz was struck by Xotar’s “de-evolutionizer,” blasting him seemingly to nothingness. Xotar was blinded before he could continue his onslaught by nearby octopi projecting ink on his view window. “I thought for a moment Xotar destroyed J’onn J’onz--but then I remembered the Martian’s ability to make himself invisible! When J’onn J’onz is invisible he has no super powers! My job is to distract Xotar--until J’onn J’onz can find a way to overcome him!” Well I’m glad Aquaman had such confidence in and familiarity with the powers of a hero he doesn’t quite know the name of yet, but you’d think he would expect a bit more of himself than acting diversion. A chain of tentacles ensnared the giant robot Xotar housed himself in, before the poor octopi were transformed by ray into a primitive evolutionary state. They were replaced by giant clams while J’onn J’onz used his Martian breath to create from the very beach sands--a mirror? Really? They don’t have freakin’ mirrors in Panama, they’re so poor? The guy couldn’t possibly find a reflective surface to refract the de-evolutionizer’s ray back on itself, destroying the gun, without creative a silver mirror from scratch? He literally precision-sucked potash, soda, oxide of iron, and aluminum out of the ground, super-heated it with super-stank-breath, and... well, you probably got the point a while back, eh?
Green Lantern and Wonder Woman fared just as well, pretty much negating any impact Xotar the Weapons Master was likely to ever have. See, the JLofA formula was to have the heroes lose three out of four missions before overcoming the odds, but here they just beat Xotar in three separate configurations before gang-busting him. While Xotar came closest to victory with an illusion weapon that caused the League to do battle with one another (seeing fire-breathing dinosaurs, ‘natch,) it only worked on what it was directly pointed at, so that the late arriving Superman was unaffected. Xotar was completely ruined by his greatest enemy-- poor reading comprehension! He presumed through dubious context clues that Wonder Woman’s journal insured his victory, but when the story was recounted in full in the present, it became clear the League was fated to win the whole time. May Xotar work on his literacy issues in future-prison...
By Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Bernard Sachs, and Joe Giella. Garish “pop art” coloring by Frank Lee Delano, without any reference, so grain of salt.