Friday, November 16, 2007

House of Mystery #172

House of Mystery #172 (On Sale: November 16, 1967) features interesting, though not well-colored cover by Frank Springer featuring Dial H for H.E.R.O.

We begin with Martian Manhunter in "Manhunter's Stolen Identity" by Jack Miller and Joe Certa. The Martian Manhunter follows Ivor Sandez, Mr. V's top lieutenant, hoping the trail will lead back to his boss. When he reaches one of Vulture's mountain hide-outs, J'onn assumes the form of Sandez. However, a nearby martian meteor causes Sandez to assume J'onn's form and powers.

In the Martian Manhunter's body, Sandez tries to make himself the head of Vulture. In Sandez's body, J'onn is pursued by Vulture agents who believe that he led the Martian Manhunter to their hide-out. J'onn hopes to delay Sandez long enough for the meteor to burn out which will restore him to normal.

Our back-up is the cover-story "The Monsters from the H-Dial" by Dave Wood and Frank Springer. When Robby uses the H-Dial to become a super-hero and battle a tornado, his friend Jim is transformed into a menacing fireball. Robby fails to make the connection between Jim and the fireball. Later when Robby becomes Chief Mighty Arrow to handle an earthquake, Jim becomes another weird monster.

Following his strange transformations, Jim is placed in the hospital with no knowledge of his predicament. Robby uses the H-Dial again, and Jim becomes yet another menace. This time Robby sees the change. After rescuing a freighter, Robby is attacked by Jim in monster form. Reversing the H-Dial, Robby returns both himself and Jim to normal.

Edited by George Kashdan.

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