Thursday, December 30, 2010

Super Friends #23 (March, 2010)

The Super Friends may have operated out of a satellite orbiting the Earth, but that wasn't stopping super-villains from raiding their headquarters. While enhancing their security system, an alarm went off, alerting the Super Friends to an extraterrestrial thief trying to steal a magical jar. This was part of the set of bell, wheel and jar used by Felix Faust against the heroes in an earlier adventure, since separated by different solar systems by Green Lantern John Stewart.

"So? Do you think I come from your solar system? I am mighty Despero from the planet Kalanor! If I can come here for the jar, what makes you think I cannot find the bell and wheel, too? Whoever owns those three objects can control all the magic in the universe! I usually put my faith in science, not magic. But for that much power, I will make an exception-- and travel anywhere to get it!" While speaking, Despero imagined himself onstage in an orange and blue tuxedo, pulling a rabbit out of his hat as Zatanna looked on adoringly.

"In fact, there are others who search for the jar, bell, and wheel, too. And they are far worse villains than I am!" Aquaman suggested that the Super Friends needed to travel to the two other solar systems to collect the artifacts ahead of the villains. To illustrate this, a full page activity maze allowed readers to collect the artifacts while avoiding the three alien villains (including a disco dancing leisure suit Despero. The Super Friends put on their space suits, and Green Lantern transported two teams instantly to alien worlds.

On a dark, cavernous planet, the Flash collected the bell. A booming voice then commanded Flash's next move: "You give the bell to me. NOW... Because I am Mongul, ruler of Warworld! Because I'm bigger than you! Because I'm stronger than you! And because I can squash you like bugs!" In the face of the jaundiced giant, Batman queried, "Mm. Do you have super-breath?" As Mongul paused to consider the question, he was swept away by Superman's hurricane force exhalation. "Mongul's just a big bully, isn't he" asked the Flash. "I don't like bullies," said Superman. "Neither do I," agreed Batman. The Man of Steel and Scarlet Speedster then tied up Mongul while the villain was off-balance. Wonder Woman and Aquaman enjoyed similar success against the Queen Bee on a world populated by creatures that resembled a cross between Zook and C'hp.

Back at the Super Friends' headquarters, Despero mocked his fellow aliens' inability to secure the artifacts. When Queen Bee snapped that Despero couldn't do any better, Despero smirked, "Appearances can be deceiving... The two of you thought you could get the jar, bell, and wheel through bullying or force. I knew the only way-- was to be sneaky!" A hypnotic blast from Despero's third eye allowed him to lay everybody present flat. However, the Flash's body could recover at super-speed in less than a minute, forcing Despero to keep blasting the Scarlet Speedster. This created a stalemate, which Aquaman broke by getting Despero to agree to leave Earth alone if the Super Friends did nothing to stop his collecting the magical artifacts. Despero knew the heroes would never break a promise, but the new security system made no such guarantee, caging and drugging the menace. Mongul and Queen Bee decided they would continue to sit quietly on the floor.

Later, Green Lantern shrunk the bell and wheel to microscopic size, then secreted them inside twin asteroids Superman threw into the sun. Finally, inspired by Mongul, the Super Friends took part in a PSA opposing bullying.

"Mystery in Space" was by Sholly Fisch, Stewart McKenny & Dan Davis.


mathematicscore said...

Awesomely fun. The only thing that would make it better would be a Manhunter appearance.

LissBirds said...

I second what m.c. says, and add in that any story titled "Mystery in Space" should have Adam Strange in it, too!