Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crisis Part 18 - The Man Of The Hour!

I'm taking some time here to deal with some oddball bits in this crossover saga. In the back of the first volume of Crisis on Multiple Earths - The Team-ups they chose to fill in a few pages with what is Gardner Fox's last Earth-2 tale.

It's not a team-up, but a back up tale solo story featuring Hourman which appears in the seventh issue of The Spectre.

You can read the actual story at this link. "The Hour Hourman Died" by Fox features artwork by the new JLofA team Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. Rex (Hourman) Tyler confronts "Tricky" Dick Arnold emerging from the closed door to his secret vault. Swallowng a Miraclo pill Hourman attacks the intruder but a blast of radiation from the weapon Arnold used to commit his crime appears to kill the hero. But Hourman revives from this "death" and realizes that only the Miraclo is keeping him up and going and that he will die for real in under an hour. Desperate he pursues Arnold and the trail of the radiation which is killing him, and after taking time to save a truck driver who sails off a bridge, finds the villain and subdues him. He then is able to find traces of the radiation on stolen loot and reverse the effects of the weapon before he dies for real.

This is a fun straightforward yarn. I got to read it only a few years after it was originally published when it was reprinted in Justice League of America #91. Hourman really seemed to be one of the heroes from Earth-2 that DC wanted to push, but alas he never caught on. Gardner Fox was "the man of the hour" when it came to Earth-2 stores, and it's fitting I suppose that he go out with this tale of Rex "Tick Tock" Tyler, the Man of the Hour.

The next tale was suggested to me by Rab in a comment to a previous post. It deals with a crossover tale between the two Green Lanterns in issue #61 of the Lantern's comic. It was not contained in the Crisis on Multiple Earth trades but I did find it my collection in Showcase Presents Green Lantern Volume 4.

"Thoroughly Modern Mayhem!" was written by Mike Friedrich and drawn by the classic GL team of Gil Kane and Sid Greene. It begins with the two Lanterns battling a sci-fi thug dubbed Capt.Challenge. He's an Earth-1 baddie who has come to Earth-2 to commit crime and the two Lanterns pool resources to subdue him. Afterwards Alan Scott returns to his role as president of the Gotham Broadcasting Company. He finds two of his employees having a brutal fight in the hallways. A disc jockey named Johnny has beaten another man named Saunders badly. After stopping the brawl, the Lantern must answer a call for help with a long series of crimes, including the robbery of Wayne Manor. Tired and frustrated he returns home to find his own apartment has been ransacked and losing his cool he orders his ring to eliminate all evil on Earth-2. Immediately the Lantern himself vanishes as do virtually the entire populace of Earth-2.

In Part 2 Hal Jordan is patrolling on Earth-1 when he finds a unimaginable horde of mankind on the salt flats of Utah. He figures out this must be the displaced populace of Earth-2 and goes there to investigate and finds Alan Scott's ring which had dropped off his finger when he vanished. Taking the ring back with him, he finds Scott in them vast crowd of humanity and working together the two Lanterns work to undo Scott's desperate mistake returning the people to their homes on Earth-2. Afterwards Scott finds that Saunders, the beaten man, is again under attack at the hospital and Hal Jordan flies in to see Alan Scott beating up two men. It turns out that Johnny the disc jockey is the mastermind behind the crime spree using his ability to track police movements to warn his partners. Saunders had discovered the plot and was beaten because of it. So in stopping that one small crime Alan Scott had taken steps to solve the larger problem, and that lesson is what both Lanterns take from the adventure.

This is a fun story and really features Earth-2's Alan Scott. It's unfortunate it didn't find a place in the Crisis trades as it clearly deserves a spot. Perhaps a third volume will include it.

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  1. I'm glad to have done a small service for the cause of comics scholarship by bringing the GL issue to your attention, especially since (as I mentioned before) this is one of my all-time favorite stories.

    Still have no idea what was going on with that cover coloring, though. It was the historical moment of colored panel borders, so perhaps everyone in the production department was suffering from eyestrain...

  2. It is a fun story. I find I like most of the Mike Friedrich stories I stumble across. He was an odd but very interesting talent.

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