Thursday, July 23, 2015

Super DC Giant S-16

Super DC Giant S-16  (On Sale: July 23, 1970) has a disappointing cover by Carmine Infantino, Ramona Fradon, Murphy Anderson, Joe Giella and Charles Paris featuring "The best of the Brave and the Bold." It is a real mishmash of old covers and figures that does not much in endearing anyone to buy this thing off the rack. I looks more like an ad for a book than an actual book.

We begin with "The Death of the Flash," a 25-pager by Bob Haney, Carmine Infantino and Charles Paris reprinted from Brave and the Bold #67 and featuring Batman and the Flash.
Gotham City is plagued by a series of robberies committed by thieves in sneakers that run at super speed. Though batman tried to keep up with them, time after time they are able to elude the Batman.

While the speed thieves run rampant in Gotham, in Central City  the Flash is having problems of his own. While in the midst of taking down a gang of robbers, the Flash suffers a bout of vertigo, followed up by even more severe physical symptoms. Consulting a physician, the Flash discovers that the wear and tear his body endures, moving at extreme velocity, is killing him. He's literally running himself to death. The doctor advises the Flash against ever running at superhuman speed again, lest the exertion kill him.

Unaware of the Flash's medical issues, Batman asks for his help in apprehending the speedsters. The Flash agrees reluctantly and makes his way to Gotham by train. It doesn't take long for the Flash and the Speed Boys to cross paths, the Flash quickly chasing after the thieves, who appear to be just as fast as the Flash himself. With a final burst of speed, the Flash tackles the thief. The thief's sneakers begin to smoke, then quickly disintegrate. Batman arrives to take the man into custody, and learns that the thieves call themselves "The Speed Boys". Later that night, the masked members of the Speed Boys discuss their future plans, as well as how best to deal with Batman and The Flash.

The Queen of Buldavia will be traveling along a parade route in Gotham City with the world's most valuable emerald necklace around her throat. Batman is certain the Speed Boys will make a grab for it. Sure enough, a member of the gang snags the necklace, with the Flash in hot pursuit. The Flash herds the Speed Boy into a deserted side alley, where Batman is able to knock the man out with a well thrown batarang. The necklace, however, turns out to be a fake. Batman has no time to investigate the matter further, as the Flash suddenly collapses.

The leader of the Speed Boys takes possession of the real emerald necklace. It had been switched with a fake necklace, when the Speed Boy who grabbed it, passed it off to his girlfriend, in the crowd, faster than the eye could see. Meanwhile, Batman gets the Flash to a hospital, where the Caped Crusader learns the truth about the Scarlet Speedster's dire condition. Unbeknownst to the two heroes, the Speed Boys also learn of the Flash's plight, through the clever use of a simple child's kite and a radio transmitter. The Speed Boys plan to take the Flash out of the game permanently.

The next day, while Batman and the Flash patrol the streets of Gotham City in the Batmobile, a Speed Boy robs a bank. The Flash takes off in pursuit only to run across another Speed Boy, in the midst of robbing a jewelry store. The Flash breaks off the first pursuit, to chase after the second Speed Boy. This pursuit of the second man is interrupted by a third Speed Boy, stealing antique vases. The three Speed Boys begin a fantastic relay race with the Flash switching targets, depending on which man is carrying the group's ill-gotten gains.

The Speed Boys' leader, from a high vantage point, watches as the Flash first stumbles, then collapses. Soon thereafter, the Speed Boys' leader contacts police headquarters, to inform Batman and Commissioner Gordon of the Flash's demise. Batman is, at first, devastated by the news. Despite the grief, the world's greatest detective intensifies his investigation into the Speed Boys.

Batman discovers that the Speed Boys' ability to run at high speed is due to a radioactive isotope embedded in their sneakers. Studying a recording made of the Speed Boys' broadcast to police headquarters, Batman determines that their hideout is in an old brownstone, one he is able to find using a geiger counter set to track the emissions of their radioactive sneakers.

Entering through the chimney, Batman gets the drop on the Speed Boys, and quickly coats the floor in oil. As the Speed Boys slip, slide and fall, Batman gets the bat-rope around their ankles and trusses them up like rodeo steers. Only the leader is able to make his escape, putting a bullet in Batman, as he leaps through the window.

On the street below, the Speed Boys' leader finds himself being pursued by... the Flash. The Scarlet Speedster easily outpaces his adversary, and kicks the man into a nearby fountain. Batman and Commissioner Gordon are round up all the other Speed Boys. As it turns out, the radioactive isotopes in the Speed Boys' sneakers had a curative effect on the Flash, and thus, that which gave the Speed Boys their power is, ultimately, what lead to their downfall.

The second story, can't really call it a back-up, is "The Origin of Metamorpho" by Bob Haney, Ramona Fradon and Charles Paris and reprinted from Brave and the Bold #57.  Soldier of Fortune Rex Mason heads an expedition to the lost pyramid of Ahk-Ton, where he attempts to retrieve the Orb of Ra for his employer, millionaire Simon Stagg. Stagg's neanderthal henchman, Java, joins Mason with secret orders to maroon Mason inside the pyramid. Mason recovers the Orb, but Java surprises him and takes it. Mason is left behind where he is exposed to radiations from an ancient meteor, from which the Orb was created.

Mason awakens finding himself transformed into an elemental state by the meteor. He now possesses the ability to alter his form and substance. Using his powers, he escapes the pyramid and returns to confront Stagg.  Mason infiltrates Stagg's mansion and defeats Java with his powers. However, Stagg now possesses the Orb which can weaken Mason. The two men come to an agreement, whereupon, Stagg will attempt to cure Mason. Until a cure can be found, Mason is convinced by his finacee, Stagg's daughter Sapphire, to become a force for good as Metamorpho the Element Man.

I have a personal love/hate relationship with the original Brave and Bold issue this came from. As a kid I remember reading my brother's copy and then cutting it up to make little Batman figures. Years later I had to pay a premium to buy a book I had destroyed as a kid.

This reprint issue is edited by Murray Boltinoff.

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