Saturday, February 28, 2015

The L.A.W. #4: Martial L.A.W.

Bob Layton and Dick Giordano continue their tale of the Charlton Action Heroes in the DCU. The villain Avatar has been revealed as the former sidekick of Judomaster, but can our heroes stop him in time? Read on, as we look at "The L.A.W." #4.

After last issues reveal of Avatar's identity, it's not too surprising that this issue begins with a flashback. It's 1944 and we get to see Rip Jagger, the Judomaster, and his sidekick Tiger (future villain Avatar) in action. They make short work of Japanese soldiers, and Axis villains, until WWII ends. Then they find a fight they can't win. The US government is still leery of the Japanese, and refuses to allow Rip to bring his young ward home to the States. Rip is upset, but decides to make lemonade out of these lemons. He'll take Tiger around the world "seeking out the lost secrets of the martial arts" until they're allowed to return to the US together. Before their journey begins though, he swears an oath that he'll never let any harm come to Tiger. 

Jump ahead to 1953 and Tiger is sick of it. He wants a home...a life...not this. So he does what any angry teen sidekick would do...he runs away. Back in the present we learn that Rip, after years of searching, eventually gave up trying to find Tiger and made his way to Nanda Parbat. Once there he became a favored follower of Rama Kushna and achieved the pinnacle of martial arts mastery. He even tells Avatar that he knew he was Tiger from the moment Rama called him, and cast him out because of the coming evil. Avatar shares his own tale, of seeing children orphaned by war, fighting against hunger and despair. How this fueled his hatred of warmongers and led him to the legend of Parashrama, the slayer of the warrior caste. He eventually learned everything there was to know about Parashrama, including the location of the temple that held the deity's weapons and serum of immortality. After hearing all he needed to hear, Rip breaks free of his bonds and the two began to trade blows. 

Praying for Rama's forgiveness, Judomaster strikes a deadly blow that stops Avatar's heart. He then frees what's left of Captain Atom and the story could have ended there...but then Rip recalls his oath. He can't let Tiger die. 

Back at Peacemaker HQ, Sarge Steel is pissed! "You revived him?!" He hammers his feelings home with a "Every drop of blood the Avatar spills from this point forward is on your hands, mister!" Steel then accuses his new lady friend Justine of being a traitor, before coming to the conclusion that she's not and Dr. Bhattacarja is! Sadly he's a little late on this, as Dr. B has already made contact with the revived Avatar and is already putting plans into play to take over the G.O.R.T. satellite. To make matters worse, Avatar unleashes another demon attack on a global scale! After reviewing security footage from the Peacemaker HQ, Steel comes to a terrible conclusion...Dr. B has been controlling him using his new cybernetic hand! Instead of tearing off the offending hand, he leads a security team to her room instead. (in fairness he does make an appointment to have it removed later) She's gone though, having locked herself in a secure room housing the controls of the G.O.R.T. While the security team tries to get access, Steel moves ahead with a plan B. Peacemaker (Mitchell Black), Blue Beetle, and the Question head off into space to shut down the G.O.R.T from there! 

Meanwhile, in another dimension, Nightshade makes contact with Martian Manhunter...too bad there's a horde of Avatar's demons hot on her heals.

Well, that was interesting. Not much Blue Beetle, but interesting. We had a false stop, which makes sense, both from Judomaster's standpoint (he can't kill the kid he swore to protect) and the fact that we're only on issue #4 of a 6 issue miniseries. That said, even with everything going on, half the issue was flashbacks and then...well, I was hoping for more story progression. 

We're almost to the end of this adventure Beetlemaniacs...what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Reviving his enemy because of his personal oath is purely selfish ego and surely violates the greater good to which he is dedicated. He places his personal feelings ahead of what is right. He's no hero.