Saturday, May 17, 2014

Blue Beetle #1 (Charlton)

I already talked about Charlton's "Blue Beetle" #52 a few months ago. I did that one first, because it was the first Charlton "Blue Beetle" I ever bought! So, now that I got that out of the way, lets go back to the thrilling first issue. From 1964, written by Joe Gill, and pencilled by Bill Fraccio and inked by Tony Tallarico (thanks comicbookdb)'s "The Giant Mummy Who Was Not Dead!"

Directors of an unnamed museum in New York want Dan Garrett "leading archaeologist and authority on ancient Egypt" to lead an expedition to El Alil in search of pre-dynastic treasures. Dan is reluctant to do it though as there has been news that a General Amenhotep has been detonating nuclear devices in the area. Dan figures the relics have been hidden for over 6000 years, so a few more won't matter. Wait, what? This doesn't seem like the bad-ass Dan Garrett we saw in DC's "Secret Origins"! Dan heads home to relax and review notes on the kings of Egypt, but a visitor changes those plans...Professor Luri Hoshid. She's come to talk to Dan about the expedition...and to get his attention, she dresses the part!

It works! Well, that gets her in the door, but Dan seems more impressed that the museum is willing to bring on an Egyptian contemporary to assist with the expedition. Hmmm, definitely not the ladies man Dan from "Secret Origins"! In no time at all the duo is in Egypt, in search of the tomb of the evil Pharaoh Kha-Ef-Re! Just a page turn later and they've found it. The find is just what Dan needs apparently, as he asks Luri to dinner, and tells her how lovely she looks. As they hop aboard a small plane to fly from the dig to Cairo they spot General Amenhotep's camp and narrowly avoid getting hit by a barrage of missiles! At dinner, they just happen to bump into the General as he berates and threatens a waiter. Dan's had it now! He approaches the General and lands punch right to the dictator's gut, before Luri encourages a hasty retreat.

The next morning Dan and Luri get back to work at the dig site of Kha-Ef-Re's tomb, uncovering evil looking paintings, evil looking statues...even evil smells. When they reach the sarcophagus Luri deciphers a curse and Dan finds a blue scarab. The curse states that "Kha-Ef-Re will live when the white hot light touches him again". The scarab? Once Dan touches it he feels power and hears whispers. 

He sees a vision of an Egyptian on a throne who tells Dan that he must battle Kha-Ef-Re and a conspirator from his own time (General Amenhotep) and become the "champion of all mankind!" Dan quickly finds that he now has x-ray vision (he spots a jet bomber in the air above the tomb, through the stone walls) and super strength (he charges through the same stone walls), and a fancy blue and red costume...all by holding the scarab and speaking the words "Kaji Dha!" And just in time too! General Amenhotep has sent one of his planes to drop an atomic bomb near the dig site...supplying the "white hot light" that brings Kha-Ef-Re's mummy back to life. Not only that, but just like on "Power Rangers" the monstrous mummy grows into a giant!

When Blue Beetle flies (yup, not just super strength and x-ray vision) after the giant, one of Amenhotep's fighter planes swoops in, guns firing...and BB unleashes another new power, energy blasts from his hands that blow the plane to pieces! Dan seems to take to his new powers and abilities like a fish to water, until he comes face to face with the giant mummy of Kha-Ef-Re. The mummy blasts Blue Beetle with eye beams that drain his power.

Dan is left at the mercy of the General...who promptly disappears leaving the mummy to watch over the fallen hero. Luri rushes to Dan's side, waking him, and urging him to say the words and recharge his powers, "Kaji Dha!" As he does the mummy pounds him with a fist, before Dan takes to the air to return the blow with a punch of his own! 

A second punch knocks the mummy off its feet and gives dan the chance he needs. As the body of Kha-Ef-Re falls to the ground it shrinks back to normal size. Blue Beetle reburies it, and uses his heat vision (the powers just keep coming!) to seal the tomb. After disposing of the mummy, BB heads off to the General's base and destroys his weapons and supplies before returning to break Luri's heart. 

All in all though, it turns out DC's version of Dan Garrett's origin was pretty accurate! Dan gets the scarab, becomes a hero and breaks a lady's heart. Come to think of it, the Americomics issue played him as a bit of a ladies man too...I wonder if this ladies man thing is going to be recurring theme? What happened to General Amenhotep? Did he escape? What about Luri? Will they return? This issues leaves some loose ends, but I guess time will tell.

I'll be honest, Dan Garrett is the Blue Beetle I was least familiar with when I started this blog, and I'm having a lot of fun getting to see his adventures for the first time! Hope you are too!

No comments:

Post a Comment