Mystery Men Comics #2
Fox Features Publications (September, 1939)
Wonderworld Comics just wasn’t holding my interest. Outside of The Flame and a couple of other comics most of them I could do without or even ignored come review time (like Don Quixote’s modern day adventures). Hopefully Mystery Men will have better luck. I started reading it because it’s where Blue Beetle began and that was the character I wanted to follow. We’ll see if I stick with this or jump to his solo series.
The Green Mask by Walter Frehm: “The Tong War of San Sin”
A tong leader has taken over Chinatown by killing anyone who resists him and kidnapping the former leader’s daughter. Yeah, I didn’t know Chinatown had its own government like a reservation either. The Green Mask gets involved. I won’t say there’s no casual racism but it isn’t as bad as it could have been. The Chinese people aren’t all yellow, and Comic Book Plus got this from fiche without recoloring. The accents for all but one goon aren’t all that heavy. You can also tell it’s an early comic from the badly placed caption boxes that would flow better on the top of the panel but get put on the bottom. If you can get past all that it’s a good story.
Rex Dexter Of Mars by Dick Briefer: “Crisis on Capris”
You remember Rex, right? 1930s World Fair. Dude builds a rocket ship and takes off with his wife, their son arrives back on Earth in the year 2000 and becomes the next Buck Rodgers. Tale old as time. But if you thought science was done taking punishment, wait until you hear this. A plague hits the planet but there isn’t enough radium on Earth to cure everyone, so they go to another planet that has so much radium that they can’t get within 1000 miles of the planet without protective suits. With me so far? When the primitive natives manage to chase them off, Rex comes up with the idea of pulling the planet closer they can go back and forth easier. Of course this all works and the plague is cured. Someone really needs to point Sasha of Casually Comics to this series. She thinks Silver Age Superman and friends stories are a trip, this is going around the world.
And somehow it’s the two-page boy detective story too lame to bother reviewing. So next story…
Chen Chang by Cecilia Munson: “River Lily The Pirate”
The criminal is back and still after Richard Kendall, the guy who defeated him before. This time he works with a lady Chinese pirate to capture him but Kendall tricks her and defeats the plan. Once again Chang seems to die but I guess they’re waiting to see if the story takes hold because we thought he died last issue. I’d comment on the bad accents again (still not heavy but more noticable) but frankly Kendall’s dialog isn’t much better or just heavily dated. It’s not a bad story.
Wing Turner: Air Detective by Floyd Kelly: “The Stolen Transport Planes”
Someone is stealing planes for some reason and Wing is sent to investigate. And by investigate I mean stumble on the bad guys, shoot most of them down, and arrest the ringleader. So…this existed.
Zanzibar The Magician by George Tuska: “Famed Statue Missing”
Hey, kids. Did you think Rex Dexter was going to be the dumbest story this issue? Apparently Briefer challenged Tuska to make something even dumber and the challenge was accepted. The statue Venus DeMilo disappears and the police suspect the occult was involved. So with Yarko apparently busy they got Zanzibar instead. That or they prefer his fez to Yarko’s turban. Now here’s where stupid happens. Zanzibar travels through time to ancient Greece, confronts Zeus about kidnapping her because somehow he just knew that happened, turns Hercules into a bird, and then engages in a fist fight with Zeus…and is winning until Zeus tries to throw a sword at him. Zanzibar just turns him into a statue and takes the still human and two-armed Venus back through time because the world still needs beauty or something. I mean, it’s the awesome brand of stupid, but still stupid.
Hemlock Shomes & Potsam however is just stupid stupid and I’m not going to bother. This is too long as it is.
The Waco Kid by Arthur Peddy: “Wanted: The Waco Kid”
The kid is framed for bank robbery, kidnapped by the robbers who also have the sheriff, and the two escape and stop the crooks. Not much to summarize, passable story.
Inspector Bancroft, Ace Investigator of Scotland Yard by Art Franklin: “Baron Garza’s Plan”
Bancroft finds a dying man who points him to a foreign diplomat involved with gun running. Yeah, at this point I just want to get the review done. It’s serviceable but not much else.
The Blue Beetle by Wil Eisner & Charles Nichols: “The Armored Truck Robbery”
This one was shown in LInkara’s Blue Beetle retrospective from last week. It’s the one where Blue Beetle has the suit that doesn’t cover his face when he’s captured by armored truck thieves. There really isn’t much room for a full story here, and yes the costume does look silly.
D13, Secret Agent by S.R. Powell: “The Peace Pact Problem”
D-13 and the man he’s chaperoning to stop a bad peace pact is attacked by the bad guys who want that pact to secretly attack the nation they’re making a pact with. I hope that sentence made sense. Between our hero’s smarts and our villain’s lack of them, our heroes escape and stop the treat. Odd to see a story about STOPPING a peace treaty but it’s a scam by one of the nations involved. A decent story, but I’m wondering if you see a pattern between this comic and Wonderworld Comics?
Captain Denny Scott of the Bengal Lancers by L. Mayer: “The Trap Of Sula Khan”
A slaver who also sells weapons to insurrectionists wants to kidnap the CO’s visiting nephew as Scott takes him on a tour of India. All India, from the dialog. It’s okay but doesn’t have time to really have any serious excitement or drama to it.
Lt. Drake Of Naval Intelligence by F. Klaus: “The Alien Smugglers”
Have you figured out the pattern yet? While Mystery Men has a few more stories, both have a superhero story (two for this), one with an occult hero, text and goofball stories, a cowboy story, a spy story, regular crime dramas, and something involving the Navy. At least Drake is smarter than “Spark” Stevens and Chuck. Someone is smuggling “Oriental” aliens into the country to…darned if I know what the end goal is here. They don’t look happy to be there. It’s a crime without motivation and I really don’t care.
So I don’t think I’ll be looking at another issue, at least in this format. It’s actually worse than Wonderworld Comics because it has more stories, and thus more stories I don’t care about. Blue Beetle and Green Mask are the only interesting stories while Zanzibar and Rex Dexter are only worth watching to see madness unfold. If I was making money or getting huge views off of this I might continue but I’m doing neither so I may just jump to the solo books of Blue Beetle, Green Mask, and The Flame. They’re the only characters I’m really interested in from these books. As for these anthology appearances maybe someday I’ll find a different way to go over them but as for now I’m just going to move on.
[…] Armored Truck Robbery: (reprint from Mystery Men Comics #2) This one was also shown in LInkara’s Blue Beetle retrospective. It’s the one where Blue Beetle […]