Saturday, July 18, 2015

"Havoc Is...The Hybrid!"

Hey there Beetlemaniacs! Can you believe it's been over six months since we looked at a Blue Beetle story by Paris Cullins and Len Wein? Shockingly it's true! Now, at least we weren't without our friend Ted! I mean, I hope you enjoyed "The L.A.W." and the resulting interview with Bob Layton, then there was "Justice League 3000", and "Convergence: Justice League International" and "Convergence: Blue Beetle". On the heels of those last two, now seems as good a time as any to get back into the swing of things with DC's "Blue Beetle" #11 from 1987, by Wein, Cullins and Barras...and a story called "Havoc Is...The Hybrid!"

High above the city, Blue Beetle taunts some crooks. Well, technically he scares the crap out of them. He's captured their getaway car with the BUG and takes them for a roller coaster of a ride, before dipping them in Lake Michigan...

...and then dropping them off at Chicago's police headquarters. Lt. Fisher spots him and like a captured monster on Scooby Doo, swears he'll get him someday. A few pages later, at the offices of Kord Omniversal, he's back claiming he'll pin Dan Garrett's disappearance on Ted (without realizing Ted and Beetle are one and the same). While Fisher follows up with Melody about the girl she reported missing last issue, Ted also spots Angie, his receptionist, trying to pack up and leave. After stealing from Ted for her uncle (Chronos), she feels like maybe she's no longer welcome. Ted though is nothing if he's not forgiving and assures her she is not just welcome, but expected to stay! From there we follow Ted down to the lab, where Murray Takamoto and Curt Calhoun are still working on perfecting their promethium alloy. Ted arrives just in time to see an "accidental" spill of molten promethium! It's about to pour right on Ted, when Calhoun leaps into action, shoving Kord out of the way...

...and finds himself covered in the blistering liquid metal himself. Somehow, miraculously, he manages to survive and Ted arranges for him to be rushed to the hospital. Now...why did I say "accidental", in quotes? Well, just before the spill a mysterious masked figures shouts, "NOW!", and on the way to the hospital the ambulance encounters a roadblock, followed by armed men who order everyone out and then kidnap Calhoun! Ted gives everyone the slip, summons the BUG and is quickly tracking the kidnappers as the Blue Beetle. Meanwhile, we see who the masked man's Mento, former member of the Doom Patrol. It seems he's created a new team, infusing the bodies of several hapless subjects with promethium...including the girl who saved Melody and was kidnapped from the hospital last issue. 

Of the six "heroes" he's created, only two seem to be ok with the idea, the others are confused and angry. It doesn't matter, Mento is able to control them, and so they reluctantly agree to his destroy the Teen Titans! Blue Beetle is ready to crash the party though. The BUG has caught up with the chopper that airlifted Calhoun and the ambulance, and Ted manages to grab the emergency vehicle with the BUG's legs. Mento sends his team to stop Blue Beetle, and retrieve the ambulance...

...and things suddenly look bad for Calhoun and Blue Beetle. Mento's team quickly bring down the BUG, and recapture the ambulance. At that point, when all hope looks lost, the Teen Titans arrive on the scene!

Holy moley! There was A LOT going on this issue, almost too much. It was a bit difficult to track of it all. I read, and re-read it a few times before sitting down to do this recap. I guess it's a reminder of all the plots and sub-plots Len Wein started on this run, some of which sadly were never resolved. As for the guest appearance of the Titans...I'm on the fence. I know that around this time the Titans were one of DC's top attractions, outselling even the the Justice League, and I did read their book for a while, but it never really clicked for me. So, while the guest spot makes sense in a cross-promotional kind of way it really didn't do much for me. Oh,'s only part one, maybe Mento will succeed and destroy the Teen Titans? No, we know that won't happen...but a guy can dream right?

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