Saturday, May 30, 2015

Blue Beetle #5 (Charlton)

Writer Joe Gill, penciller Bill Fraccio and inker Tony Tallarico are back with another Silver Age adventure of Dan Garrett. This time around Charlton's Blue Beetle challenges the Red Knight to protect the White Queen..and the world!

Dan Garrett is enjoying dinner, and a game of chess, with his old friend Lewis Coll and Lewis' fiancee Regina White. Lewis, in an insanely obvious bit of foreshadowing, takes a loss at chess (involving the red knight and white queen) surprisingly hard. 

It seems Lewis has been working on some experiments with rocket heat shields for the government, and is a little tired or stressed. Lewis asks Dan if he'd watch after Regina, as he plans to take the rocket for a test spin. He's going to take the rocket into space in search of a metal called siliconium. In no time at all, with a mighty "vvrrooshh", Lewis is off...but in less time than that the 2nd stage rocket fails. Luckily Blue Beetle is on the scene and does some emergency repairs (I thought he was an archaeologist...not a rocket scientist!) allowing Lewis to complete his journey to...Saturn? Yup, siliconium is found on the ringed planet! 

When Lewis returns he runs into some more trouble. He passes out and nearly crashes. Once again, Blue Beetle is on the scene (mostly because Dan is still watching out for Regina). But after the miraculous save Lewis gives Blue Beetle the cold shoulder...heck, he tells him to leave! 

And when Dan comes back, he pushes him away too. He even says some pretty mean things to Regina. Once everyone is gone Lewis descends deeper into madness. While testing his new heat shield technology, and playing chess by himself, he decides to become...yup, you guessed it...the Red Knight! Once he's designed his costume and armored a horse, he heads out to rob banks and joust with fighter planes. 

Dan and Regina immediately know who's under the Knight's helmet, and Dan believes he knows why too! Lewis is obviously under the influence of poisonous gasses he inhaled while on Saturn. So, as Blue Beetle, he tries to reason with his friend. And, when that doesn't work, they come to blows...with the Red Knight getting the upper hand! Dan flies out into space to try to get some siliconium of his own, with no success. While he's gone Lewis kidnaps Regina and plans to make her his Queen. With no siliconium, Dan does the only other thing he can...he heads to Egypt to ask the ancient pharaohs for help. 

They give him a fist full of mummy dust. Interestingly enough, powdered mummy was at one time considered a cure all...not sure it was used in the battle of good vs. evil though. When Blue meets Red for the rematch, Dan punches his old friend with a fist full of mummy for the win. 

Lewis thinks it's all been a dream, but Dan explains it was the poison gas, Regina forgives him, and everyone lives happily ever after!

So, that was...interesting. These silver age stories are pure silliness and fun, but this one seemed a little more ridiculous than some. I really need to check my copy of the "Handy Space Answers" book...I'm no expert, but I'm not sure you can really get to Saturn and back that quickly.

This was also the issue that featured Alan L. Weiss' suggested costume design we covered a while back.


  1. stuff...silly even for Silver Age kookiness. I guess they figure Saturn is about as far as the moon...and apparently not a gas giant...but if you're going to ignore some science might as well ignore it all!

  2. Wait, how does his Siliconium suit allow the horse beneath him to fly?

    Another wacky detail is in Part II, Page 6, the TV announcer introducing the report of the flying knight destroying Air Force planes as "The silly story of the week"! (That may merit an apology to the airmen's families once it's eventually confirmed!)

  3. Rich, I think the answer you're looking for on the flying horse is "because comics", lol.