Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blue Beetle #2 (Charlton)

Writer Joe Gill, penciller Bill Fraccio and inker Tony Tallarico are back with another Silver Age adventure of Dan Garrett...the Blue Beetle! The cover says "The mightiest man battles Reds from today, and monsters from yesterday!" in and adventure called "Hot War In The Arctic".

An unidentified military aircraft flies above the Arctic, and fails to respond to radio communication, so logically it's shot down by a missile. The reason the pilot didn't respond? He was fighting off an attack by a caveman! The pilot manages to eject and parachute down with the caveman in tow, where they're quickly captured by the crew of a DEW line base station who report the incident to the U.S. government. General Waller, of the Air Force, calls for the immediate assistance of Dan Garrett, archaeologist! In no time (about one panel) Dan reviews films sent from the DEW line base and has quickly assesses that this is a primitive Goth man, from a tribe "fifteen centuries gone". 

Close but not close enough, so Dan hops on a plane with Captain Elaine Norr, and flies to the Arctic to check out the caveman first hand! Garrett and Norr feed the caveman before checking out some radar scans and deciding they should do a little recon of the area. After boarding another plane, they quickly find they have a stowaway...the caveman! And right on the heels of that revelation comes another...just under some mysterious cloud cover is a jungle, in the Arctic, and full of dinosaurs! After finding a place to land the trio is quickly set upon by more barbaric Goths. The caveman intercedes on their behalf, but the peace is shattered by gunshots! Chinese soldiers have also discovered the mysterious Arctic jungle and are firing on the Goths and the wildlife. Dan figures now is as good a time as any for Blue Beetle to step in! 

He quickly uncovers the Chinese army's plan. Creating a base, with an airstrip, in the Arctic is just the first step in a plan to take over North America. Using an "atomic powered steam generator" they're melting the ice and creating a fog that hides their actions. 

And as a byproduct of the melt, they've released and revived the Goths and prehistoric animals. With this info Blue Beetle quickly realizes he must stop them, because if the northern ice is melted, but the southern pole remains intact the world would be off balance and could be thrown off its axis. Blue Beetle starts blasting the Chinese planes, and equipment before realizing it may seem odd that Dan Garrett hasn't been seen in a while. He changes back just in time to join Elaine in a cave while the Goths, armed only with stone clubs join in the fight against the invading army. 

Not wanting to let them fight virtually unarmed and definitely out gunned, Dan switches back into Blue Beetle while Elaine Norr isn't looking. He rushes into battle, using his strength to smash planes, tanks and guns. The Chinese army calls for a retreat, but not without one final attack...atomic weapons!

Blue Beetle rushes to destroy the Chinese base, and the "atomic powered steam generator". With the generator offline, he knows the Arctic will quickly re-freeze. He quickly moves to take out the last of the planes, the ones armed with the nuclear bombs! 

Firing blasts of energy with his hands, and a mighty "BAROOM", he puts and end to the threat, and sends Captain Elaine Norr back to the plane before the runway is completely snowed in. On the plane ride back, Dan invites Elaine to dinner, but after seeing Blue Beetle in action she replies "How can any ordinary man ever seem appealing now...?"

Wow, so Dan shot himself in the foot on that one! Impress the ladies with your super heroics and they'll never be interested in your secret identity, lesson learned! He also somewhat callously left the Goths and the prehistoric beasts to die/frozen beneath the Arctic ice once more. Kind of sad when you think about...but such is life in Silver Age comics! See you next week!


  1. I read this story a few weeks ago and went looking for a website that might shed some light on its craziness...happily, I found this page! There's a point in the story where Blue Beetle and Elaine Norr are trapped in a cave, being fired upon, and if THEY can't stop the attack, apparently all of North America will fall! Yes, two people trapped in an Arctic cave are the last line of defense against millions of Chinese soldiers! Fortunately the brave and foolish cavemen burst into the fight, with their wooden clubs, and instead of being vaporized by the "Communists" they provide the necessary distraction to save the day. Just nuts. I love reading these stories, trying to make logical sense of them. They remind me of the rambling, one panel at a time comics I used to create as a kid, or the imaginative, nonsensical stories my little niece used to spin as a toddler.

  2. Glad you're enjoying the comics, and the blog! I find it best not to think too much about logic when reading these...and just enjoy them for their Silver Age silliness!