Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blue Beetle #3 (Charlton)

Writer Joe Gill, penciller Bill Fraccio and inker Tony Tallarico are back with another Silver Age adventure of Dan Garrett. Charlton's Blue Beetle takes on "the sinister mastermind of a plot to destroy Earth" in and adventure called "Mr. Thunderbolt and the Superstar".

There's no time for set-up with this story! The action starts on the first page with Blue Beetle being struck by lightning attempting to protect the experimental aircraft, the Superstar. Who's trying to destroy it? Mr. Thunderbolt, who coincidentally is on the plane. Maybe he didn't think this through? After the lightning stops, Blue Beetle resumes his civilian identity of archaeology professor Dan Garrett and re-boards the plane. Dan was invited along on the Superstar's maiden voyage, but why they wanted an archaeologist along is never explained. He quickly identifies Mr. Thunderbolt as the cause of the electrical attack and confronts him. 

Thunderbolt zaps Dan, with little effect. Dan responds by knocking the villain out. He calls for the crew to lock the villain up, but they refuse. Thunderbolt is wealthy and world famous, they're not messing with him. Once they land the duo confront each other again. Dan realizes that Thunderbolt is an alien, an advance guard for a coming invasion. The foe will not allow anything to get in the way of his plans and, as he drives away from the airport, orders his chauffeur to drop everything and work on eliminating Dan Garrett. For his part Garrett goes to the specialists behind the plane's construction to suggest some modifications to protect it against lightning.

The Superstar will allow man to travel from country to country, across the globe with in minutes. With some additional work it will soon be capable of space travel as well. Thunderbolt cannot let this happen! He begins traveling across the world destroying factories that will provide the components to create a fleet of these high tech aircraft. 

In every location, he uses his alien abilities to call down lightning from the sky to do his work. When word gets back to Dan Garrett, he calls out the words "Kaji Dha!" and transforms into the Blue Beetle tracking Mr. Thunderbolt across the world to Tokyo. A Japanese officer spots Thunderbolt loitering (directing the strike on Tokyo) and orders him to move along, earning himself a blast of the villain's volts. 

Blue Beetle swoops in, landing a powerful punch that knocks the alien out, then takes to the sky hoping he can become the focus of the storm to prevent any more damage. 

He succeeds, but at a cost. Weakened, Blue Beetle finds himself cornered by Mr. Thunderbolt! Luckily, the Japanese officer has returned with back-up giving Dan a chance to get away and escort the Superstar to a safe landing. Once the plane is on the ground, Dan decides to rest up at a nearby hotel. Thunderbolt figures this is his chance to put an end to his opponent and sends his thugs in. Dan easily dispatches the thugs, and once again dons the blue tights to defend the Superstar. Thunderbolt is already on board the aircraft and tries calling down the lightning again...but the bolts have no effect! The crew made the modifications Dan suggested. Blue Beetle grabs the alien, and flies him deep into space, hurling him back to his own planet, saving mankind and the future of space travel!

So there you have it, another action packed silver age adventure of the Blue Beetle...mustache twirling villain and all! The coolest thing about this issue? This little gem from the letter column...a message from future "Game Of Thrones" author, George R. R. Martin!