In 1981, near the end of the company's run, Charlton Comics took another chance with their "Action Hero" line, by publishing "Charlton Bullseye". It turned out to be a short lived series though only lasting 10 issues. Issue #1 of "Charlton Bullseye", cover dated June of 1981, actually hit the stores on March 5th 1981.* The story, "The Enigma!", featured a Blue Beetle/Question team-up with story by Ben Smith and art by Dan Reed. Let's take a look...
The issue opens with reporter Vic Sage on his way to a story. A gang of maniacs with high powered weapons are robbing an "exclusive Eastchester store". They're surrounded by the police, but that doesn't faze them...they come out blasting! When what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a giant blue BUG...the Blue Beetle is here! Ted comes out swinging and stops the tide of villains that has spilled into the street. Vic, watching from the sidelines, figures that although Blue Beetle seems to have things in control, he's still outnumbered and could use a hand. So, reaching for his mask that is concealed in his belt, Vic transforms into the Question and joins the fray.
Meanwhile, a mysterious truck on a nearby street fires a laser at the BUG, disabling its systems and allowing another ship to catch it in a tractor beam. It's about this time that Ted and Vic begin to put the pieces together. This was all a set-up...to lure the heroes, or more specifically Blue Beetle, out. Who? Why? A page of flashbacks explain. The villain behind all this is "The Enigma", someone BB put in prison 10 years ago. He was released, and managed to slip away from the law enforcement team that was watching him.
Using a homing beacon, Blue Beetle and the Question manage to track the stolen BUG to a warehouse. They know it's risky but, confident they can handle whatever happens, walk in anyway. As soon as they're inside they're forced to dodge a falling block of spikes! Yup...like Admiral Ackbar said in "Star Wars"..."It’s a trap!"
The duo makes their way deeper into the warehouse, past walls of flame and trap doors, before being split up. The Question falls into a tank, forced to face off with a robot shark! While Blue Beetle finds himself in a room filled with wall to wall guns...all aimed at him! A page flip later and things don't look so bad. Vic blinds the robo-shark with his trench coat causing it to collide with the wall, freeing gallons of water and our faceless friend. Ted leaps to one wall, and manages to use one laser to take out all the others. With a mighty "Ka-BOOM!" the laser system is destroyed and our heroes are re-united. There's just one more door for them to try...and it leads them directly to the BUG...and a giant armored golem, "a living man mutated by the twisted scientific genius of the Enigma!"
The Question leaps into action, attempting to distract the giant to give BB a chance to get to the BUG. It works! Ted quickly gets the BUG up and running and delivers a stunning surge of electricity to the behemoth! A second blast topples the giant...and nearly drains all the BUG's energy. It also raises the ire of the Enigma, who's been watching from the sidelines. Not one to get his hands too dirty though, he chooses to send in an army of thugs to take down Vic and Ted. Villains never learn though our heroes handled the same thugs pretty easily at the start of the story and they do it again.
Thinking he has Blue Beetle and Question trapped, the Enigma plans to blow his headquarters to bits with the heroes still inside and makes his escape. Luckily, there's just enough energy in the stand-by systems of the BUG to get our heroes out alive. Alive, and with the promise of future adventures.
And with that you get one of Charlton's last outings with its "Action Heroes". The "Action Heroes" (including Blue Beetle, the Question, Captain Atom, and more) then had a brief run at AC/Americomics, before being picked up and integrated into the DC Comics universe during "Crisis On Infinite Earths".
Like me on Facebook at Kord Industries
Email me at email@example.com
*thanks to Mikes Amazing World of Comics for that info!