|Nick Cuti and Joe Staton|
The lead story is written by Nicola "Nick" Cuti and drawn by Joe Staton. George Wildman is the editor of the issue.
Part One "The Beginning" starts millions of years ago and millions of miles away from Earth in the deep of space when a star goes nova and packet of energy escaped the grasp of the star and began to drift through space seeking to know itself, and eventually seeking communication with other beings. It chances upon a spaceship and penetrates through the exhaust finding an array of robot slaves in service of a great and powerful Brain enclosed in a protective shell. The Brain speaks of a lethal weapon it hopes to unleash to support the "forces of peace" on the planet Pluto. The energy packet is confused by this contradictory comment and assumes the material form of one of the Brain's robot servants. But that tiny addition of mass and weight is enough to throw the spaceship off course and causes it to head for the center of the solar system. It's headlong plunge into the sun is interrupted by the Earth and the space crashes. The offending energy packet assumes the form of a rabbit and escapes.
In a nearby city the beautiful ginger-haired Nova Kane is just finishing her performance as an erotic dancer when a voice speaks to her out of one of the light bulbs and instructs her to break said bulb. She complies and the energy packet filters into the dressing room and assumes the shape of a blonde man who quickly requests a place to stay. When he sees Nova's Jeep which she uses in her Geology studies, he takes up residence in its battery for the night.
|A New Superhero is Born!|
Later that day around noon, she arrives at a local store and while asking directions is attacked by the people there for no apparent reason other than she's a stranger. Arriving in the shape of cat, E-Man joins her where she's hiding from the abrupt attack and her tells her to go to Wakely's Motel where he will call. She answers, he appears and for the first time assumes the superheroic form of E-Man. The head together in the Jeep into the countryside where they find the wreckage of the spaceship. Some of the Brain's robotic servants appear and attack forcing E-Man to take refuge along with Nova inside a sealed compartment. Leaving her relatively safe inside he goes to find the Brain as it is only seconds until the Brain's gas bomb will explode overwhelming the entirety of the human race. But with two seconds to spare E-Man fires an energy bolt that cracks the Brain's protective shell and the threat seems to have ended as Nova and E-Man figure out how they'll get back to her home.
To read the story in its original form see this groovy link.
"Melifera Adamsonii on the Warpath" is a one-page text piece pondering the nature of apocalyptic literature and how such a narrative might well be written given the nature of Africa Killer Bees in Brazil and their clearly hostile nature to humans. The threat of armies of bees and possibly ants is offered as a cautionary note.
To read this story in its original form see this groovy link.
E-Man's bright look is also key I think to his long-standing as a cult figure. Being orange is unusual for superheroes, but it suits E-Man exceedingly well. The brightness of the costume represents well his sunny personality. The symbol of Einstein's equation is nerdy and ideal for this idiosyncratic superhero. The logo of the series, which has rarely been tampered with, is also directly connected to the nature of the characters. It's a blaze of energy crackling across the top of the cover. It's at once rough but also elegant, a beautiful one-off that cannot be beat.
The Brain will become E-Man's arch-nemesis, and it is elegant that the two alien entities come to Earth together, though for far different reasons. Their motivations again speak to the themes of the comic, and it's not too much to say that this comic does have themes about the nature of life and way people behave. The slavish power of the intellectual Brain is defeated by the exuberance and emotional intensity of youth and the longing for freedom embodied by E-Man. He's a million years old but only a day young. The story begins with his search for meaning and while that search is far from over, we feel by the story's end that he is well underway in finding what he's looked for all those millions of years.
The Knight back-up story is a lean effective tale and effectively evokes the Steranko super-spy stories which doubtless inspired it. Tom Sutton is in fine form.
This comic has been reprinted thrice, once in 1977 under the Modern Comics label, again in 1985 by First Comics, and most recently in E-Man The Early Years.
In the next issue of the original E-Man, the search for understanding will continue.