From MYSTERY IN SPACE #94 (Sep 1964),
"The Riddle Of Two Solar Systems".
The time is the 22nd century, the place is Zulcan, a planet in the Alpha Centauri
star-system. Collins, the pilot of an Allied Solar Enterprises spaceship, needs
to kill some time while his cargo is unloaded, so he hires a native guide named
Ebba to help him explore the region's remote jungles. They come across the wreckage
of a spaceship named "The Cosmos", which appears to have crashed many
years earlier. Collins discovers a ray gun and a strange gadget lying on the
ground next to the ship. He takes them back to his home base on Jupiter as souvenirs
of his trip to Zulcan.
At the Jupiter spaceport of Allied Solar Enterprises, Collins shows the odd
gadget to his two co-workers, but neither can identify it. One of the men accidentally
triggers the device, and a strange green gas begins to billow out. The gases
take form, solidifying into a horde of giant green monsters. The men attempt
to stop the creatures with their ray guns, but the blasts have no effect.
Minutes later, news of the attack reaches the Allied Solar base on Mars, where
Rick Starr is stationed. Shortly afterward, Rick reaches his secret base, located
on one of the thousands of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, and dons the
garb of the Space Ranger. Soon, Space Ranger, and his sidekick Cryll, arrive
on Jupiter where they find the green creatures demolishing everything in their
path. No sooner does the Ranger land, than the menacing beasts begin to fade
away. The same device that had brought them into existence has apparently signaled
Space Ranger and Cryll soon locate Collins, who relates his tale. Space Ranger
examines the ray gun and finds an engraving on the handle. This gun, he realizes,
had once belonged to Adam Strange, a famous Earthman who had protected the planet
Rann some two centuries earlier. The Ranger recalls that a diary of Adam Strange
exists, and hopes that some clue exists within its pages which can shed some
light on the mysterious device. Cryll wonders how Adam's ray gun ended up on
Zulcan, the closest planet to Rann.
Space Ranger and Cryll arrive at the York Museum on Earth, where a special
wing houses many of Adam Strange's possessions. With the help of the museum
curator, the diary is located. Space Ranger scans through its pages, until he
finds an entry which references the spaceship named "The Cosmos".
The diary relates the following events:
Adam arrives on Rann, via the remarkable zeta-beam, and is met by his girlfriend,
Alanna. As they head for the capital city, Adam notices a strange yellow glow.
Upon investigation, he spots the interplanetary thief, Okri-Ro, using a gadget
to control a gigantic sickle-like weapon. When the criminal sees Adam, he
drops the controlling device and flees. As Adam tries to contain the weapon,
it suddenly fades away. The hero finds the device which he believes caused
the weapon to disappear.
Adam and Alanna track Okri-Ro to his secret cave hideout, where they find
him testing out another gadget. He fires the device, shrinking the two interlopers
down to mere inches. The thief leaves them to be finished off by cave weasels,
and heads to Rann Museum to commit art and jewelry thefts. While in the middle
of his crime, the shrinking device runs out of power, so Okri-Ro heads back
to his cave for another gadget.
The thief arrives just as the next device begins to activate. He is furious
when Adam destroys it before it can complete its start-up sequence. Suddenly,
Adam and Alanna return to their normal size, and Okri-Ro is again forced to
flee. The thief attempts to escape in his spaceship, The Cosmos, but Adam
is too quick for him. As they fight aboard the craft, the engines are accidentally
fired and the ship begins to lift off. The two foes are catapulted through
the open hatch. The last two alien devices, and Adam's ray gun, remain aboard
the ship. Adam, Alanna, and Okri-Ro watch as The Cosmos disappears into the
vastness of space.
Adam is concerned because the last two devices are trapped inside the runaway
craft, and therefore pose a threat. Okri-Ro insists that the gadgets are not
his creations. He had found them while seeking a hideout in the caves, and
was only experimenting with the strange devices. All that remains of the ancient
relics is a strange plaque, containing an unknown alien language. The origins
and purpose of the devices would forever remain a mystery to them.
After concluding the diary's entry, Space Ranger realizes that only one of
the two remaining devices were found by Collins. He fears that if the final
device is triggered, it could spell catastrophe for the planet Zulcan. Space
Ranger and Cryll soon arrive on Zulcan and contact the authorities. They examine
the crash site, and Space Ranger finds fresh footprints. The Ranger tells the
local authorities to try and find out who belongs to the footprints, while he
and Cryll travel to Rann in the hopes of finding the alien plaque which had
accompanied the five devices. The hero hopes that the alien language, which
was unknown in Adam Strange's time, might be one of the languages of the 22nd
century's known galactic races. Since history records show that Adam left Earth
for good, the Ranger believes that he may have married Alanna and had children.
He is guessing that one of Adam's descendants might know the whereabouts of
Space Ranger and Cryll travel to neighboring Rann, and after inquiries are
made, they locate one of Adam's descendants at the Rann Museum. He too is named
Adam Strange, after his famous ancestor. After Space Ranger explains the situation,
Adam II says there is indeed a strange plaque among his ancestor's possessions.
The Ranger looks at the plaque, but does not recognize the language. Adam II
says that experts have tried to decipher it many times, without success. Cryll
suddenly recalls the Venusian wizard of languages, Mento-Gen, and uses his amazing
powers to transform into a perfect duplicate of the brilliant alien. As he had
hoped, with Mento-Gen's knowledge, Cryll easily translates the plaque.
The plaque tells of an alien expedition to Rann, thousands of years ago,
from a world in another galaxy. The aliens had chosen an unpopulated area
of prehistoric Rann to test a new, fearsome weapon. They first launched the
weapon from their craft into space, where it was to await a certain signal.
Then a landing party went to the planet's surface with devices capable of
creating the exact conditions under which their enemies lived. Once the first
device was activated, they were to depart to safety and observe the effects
of the test. The devices were to activate in sequence automatically. The signal
to attract the alien test weapon was the fifth and final device, which would
saturate the area with a special dye.
Space Ranger surmises that something must have happened to the alien party
before they could activate the first device. When the original Adam Strange
destroyed the third device, it stopped the chain reaction, but Collins started
up the process again when he triggered the fourth device. The stage is now set
for the actual activation of the deadly mystery weapon. The Ranger knows that
they must hurry back to Zulcan and learn the fate of the fifth device before
it's too late. Adam II asks to come along, so that he might complete the case
that his ancestor started. He quickly grabs the uniform of the original Adam
Strange from its museum case, and the trio head to Zulcan.
The heroes contact the authorities on Zulcan once again, and learn that a Zulcanite
has come forward stating that a friend found the final device near the wreckage
and had taken it home. The trio rush to the man's home, but arrive moments too
late. The device is accidentally triggered, shooting it's missile-attracting
spray into the air. The heroes are able to trap the deadly liquid in an inverted
dome, and begin to haul it away from inhabited areas. They see the deadly weapon
hurtling towards their cargo, and race deep into the jungle. They barely have
enough time to dump the liquid and fly to safety, when suddenly the weapon opens
up and fires on the special dye. The heroes view the destruction the weapon
causes, remarking that it was powerful enough to have leveled the entire city.
Adam Strange II is proud to have helped solve the mystery that his ancestor
first uncovered, and is thinking of carrying on the family tradition as the
new protector of Rann!
From MYSTERY IN SPACE #98 (Mar 1965),
"The Wizard Of The Cosmos" and
"The Return Of Yarrok Of Zulkan".
Adam Strange is transported via a zeta-beam to the planet Rann, where he is
greeted by Alanna. They have plans to meet with Yarrok of the planet Zulkan,
a man who has quite a reputation for being eccentric. Yarrok has explored every
portion of Zulkan, Rann's sister planet, and Adam hopes to learn some of his
secrets in order to improve on his own archeological methods. When the couple
reach Zulkan, they are warned by the authorities that Yarrok doesn't like visitors.
When they arrive at his lab, Yarrok attacks them, first with fire-spewing plants,
then with an explosive liquid. Adam is angry that Yarrok is playing such dangerous
games, but Yarrok explains that he is trying to find a way to advance his own
backward planet, a condition that he blames on Rann. He is determined to turn
Zulkan into an industrial giant, and he boasts that the entire Alpha Centauri
star-system with soon heed the name of Yarrok of Zulkan, Wizard of the Cosmos!
Two days later, a huge mirage-like image of Yarrok appears over Ranagar City.
Adam and Alanna watch as the image demands that Rann pay a tribute to the planet
Zulkan. It states that it will give a demonstration of what will happen to the
citizens of Rann if they do not comply. Beams shoot out of the image's eyes,
striking a chemical plant. As the plant begins to rise from its foundation,
Adam goes into action. He locates a large mirror, then causes the beams to reflect
back at its source. The only thing Yarrok succeeds in stealing is his own mirage.
Adam tells Alanna that they must contact Zulkan's authorities and have Yarrok
arrested. However, when they make the call, they learn that Yarrok's entire
lab has disappeared. Adam suspects that the lab has been moved to Rann, so that
Yarrok can launch his plunder campaign more easily.
Within the hour, Yarrok strikes again. This time he has mesmerized a small
village into bringing him their money and jewels. Adam uses a canister of oxygen
to blow away the flake-like particles that are causing the hypnotic effect.
Yarrok appears and throws a vial at Adam, which will cause him to expand until
his molecules dissipate. The criminal is surprised that Adam disappears so quickly,
unaware that Adam has actually been transported back to Earth. Thankfully, the
transport has caused his body to return to normal, however he must now wait
another 48 hours until the next zeta-beam arrives.
Two days later, an anxious Adam Strange arrives back on Rann, where he is once
again met by Alanna. She tells Adam that Yarrok has now come out into the open,
and has demanded that Ranagar City pay him another tribute. He has used one
of his strange forces to create a mist which has cut off Ranagar from the planet's
two suns. The city will soon freeze if they do not comply. Adam comes up with
a plan. As he flies off, he tells Alanna to meet him in Ranagar. Shortly, Adam
confronts Yarrok and demands that he lead them to his secret lab, where he will
dissolve the threatening mist. Remarkably, Yarrok obeys Adam's commands. The
hero explains that he has used Yarrok's own mesmerizing flakes against him.
Just as Yarrok, Adam, and Alanna arrive at the hidden cavern laboratory, the
criminal begins to regain his senses. Before Yarrok can attack, Adam hits him
with a stun blast. The villain staggers backwards and throws a large lever,
stating that no one will ever learn his cosmic secrets. Adam and Alanna clear
the cavern exit just as the lab explodes. Adam reflects that it is ironic that
Yarrok has perished by his own bizarre powers. He states that they've seen the
last of the Wizard of the Cosmos.
Fast-forward 200 years.
Space Ranger is speaking on Mars, when he receives a message from Jupiter requesting
his help. The Jovian report claims that a wheat field has gone on a growth rampage.
When Space Ranger, and his assistant Cryll, arrive at the small farm town, they
can't believe their eyes. Gigantic wheat stalks advance at incredible speed,
with falling kernels of grain taking root to grow another line of crops instantly.
Soon the entire village will be destroyed! One of the farmers points to a costumed
stranger, claiming it was he that started the disaster. The Ranger approaches
the man in order to learn how to neutralize the threat. The stranger introduces
himself as Yarrok of Zulkan, then tosses a vial at the Space Ranger's feet.
The Ranger is suddenly enveloped in a violent tornado. Yarrok states that his
tests in the Sol star-system are complete, and that he, the Wizard of the Cosmos,
must return home to carry out his destiny. Once he does that, he will return.
Space Ranger frees himself from the force of the tornado, but Yarrok is gone.
However, while the Ranger was preoccupied, Cryll successfully stopped the wheat
threat by transforming into an acid-squirting Plutonian Beetle. The duo know
they must try to warn the people of Alpha Centauri, and capture the criminal
before he returns to the Sol system. Space Ranger has heard reports that Adam
Strange II, descendant of the original hero of Rann, has taken the role of that
planet's protector, as he had contemplated doing at the end of their last encounter.
They will travel to Rann and seek his aid.
When the Space Ranger and Cryll arrive in Ranagar City, they are greeted by
their ally. The Ranger asks Adam if he has ever heard of Yarrok, Wizard of the
Cosmos. Adam immediately recognizes him as one of his ancestor's most incredible
foes. After viewing a film tape record, Space Ranger is shocked that Yarrok
supposedly died 200 years earlier. Adam wonders how Yarrok could have survived
the explosion, and lived for two more centuries.
Elsewhere, in a remote area of Zulkan, the new Yarrok studies the notes of
his ancestor, the original Wizard of the Cosmos. Yarrok II remarks that his
ancestor did not have the proper ingredients to activate all the rare minerals
and properties that he had discovered. However, the new Yarrok has used the
future era's technology to travel to other star-systems, such as Sol, to find
them. He had recently discovered the original Yarrok's secrets in the cellar
of their family home on Zulkan. He is determined to destroy the descendant of
his ancestor's enemy, then go on to rule the universe!
That night, as Rann's double suns set, a huge image of Yarrok appears in the
skies above Ranagar City. The image claims the tribute denied his ancestors,
and gives an example of his power. As the image fades away, the city's entire
electrical system begins to run rampant, sending electrical bolts in all directions.
When the Space Ranger, Cryll, and Adam attempt to shut down the city's main
power line, they are attacked by Yarrok. The villain tosses a vial at the feet
of the Ranger and Adam, which saturates them with a charged liquid. Suddenly,
the two glowing heroes begin attacking one another. Cryll transforms into a
Plutonian Erg-Eater, a creature which feeds on energy. He is able to siphon
off the energy, returning his friends to normal, but not before Yarrok escapes.
The next morning, pets and animals throughout Ranagar go on a wild rampage.
The trio hurry to the Ranagar Zoo, fearful that many dangerous beasts might
have escaped. When they arrive, they are relieved to discover that the zoo guards
have contained the problem. Adam notes, however, that one of the beasts is remarkably
calm the Asteroid Arko. He surmises that the Arko is unaffected because
it is totally deaf. Yarrok must be using a high frequency sound to disturb the
animals. The Space Ranger gets an idea on how to use the sound against their
enemy. The Ranger tells Cryll to aid Adam in tracking the sound to its source,
while he implements his plan.
Shortly, Adam and Cryll locate Yarrok in the Rainbow Hills. Cryll, who has
transformed into a Venusian Round-Winger, distracts Yarrok, while Adam destroys
the sound transmitter. Yarrok recovers and disables Cryll with one of his cosmic
vials. He then turns his attention to his other foe. Just as Yarrok is about
to dispose of Adam, Space Ranger arrives with a giant tuning fork. He blasts
the fork , which begins to send out intense vibrations. As the Ranger had hoped,
the vibrations shatter the villain's remaining vials. The contents of the vials
have a fantastic effect on Yarrok, who begins to expand into a gaseous form.
Luckily, Adam is able to revert Yarrok back to normal by freezing the ingredients
that have saturated his body.
As the Space Ranger and Adam Strange II take their enemy into custody, Yarrok
quietly contemplates his revenge. He realizes that, while he is currently in
their hands, his secret laboratory on Zulkan is not. Some day he will escape,
and carry on again as Wizard of the Cosmos!
A statue of Space Ranger and Adam Strange II, depicted in HOURMAN #11 (Feb
2000), establishes that the events of MYSTERY IN SPACE #94 and 98 are still
part of DCU continuity.
Also, I did not make a typo when referencing Rann's sister planet. It was indeed
spelled "Zulcan" in issue #94 and "Zulkan" in #98.
The Adventurers' Club
This was basically a framing sequence for non-series stories (like the Space
Museum in STRANGE ADVENTURES). Colonel Strong listened to stories of
what were supposed to be high adventure, but most of the published ones were
more horror than adventure. It was one of many unsuccessful attempts at a regular
series in ADVENTURE COMICS in the early '70s, with various writers and artists.
Stories featuring different branches of the Adventurers' Club have appeared
since the Golden Age but the official series only ran in ADVENTURE COMICS. WRATH
OF THE SPECTRE #1 reprinted ADVENTURE #426's episode. Nelson Strong died after
a futile attempt to capture the Swamp Thing (SWAMP THING #147). He was briefly
revived by the Parliament of Stones to serve as their elemental champion (#149)
but his new form was soon dissolved into gas by Swamp Thing (#150).
"THE ADVENTURERS' CLUB":
Action Comics #27
Adventure Comics #426-427, 430 (with Nelson Strong in all)
Detective Comics #255
House of Mystery #53, 103, 107, 121, 146
My Greatest Adventure #29, 61
NELSON STRONG (current):
Swamp Thing #144-147, 149-150
There's the lame-o Outsiders villain, Agent Orange (BATO #3), a disgruntled
Vietnam vet who wants to drop toxic gas on Gotham. He wears an orange gasmask,
orange beret, orange fatigues and shoots toxic gas out of a flame-thrower type
weapon. He's apprehended in BATO #3 and thankfully hasn't seen the light of
Alter Ego: N/A
Base of Operations: Gotham City, Earth-One
First Appearance: DETECTIVE #307 (Sep 1962)
Alpha, an android created by Dr. Burgos (named for Golden Age Marvel writer
Karl?) has a busy week: he aids Batman against the Green Mask Bandits, goes
on a destructive rampage after a misunderstanding, and falls in love with Batwoman.
In the end, Alpha, who has super-strength but "the emotions of an infant",
sacrifices his life to save Batwoman.
Note: Another character of the same name appeared in an issue of Kirby's JIMMY
OLSEN, and was later revamped in a post-Crisis tale in one of the four Superman
titles. Unfortunately, I don't recall the issue numbers of either.
Alter Ego: Olivia Dawson
Occupation: Student, Adventurer (retired)
Known Relatives: Unnamed mother, Craig (brother)
First Appearance: JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES #13 (Jan 2003)
Base of Operations: Apex City
All-Star joined the Justice League (animated style) as a temporary replacement
for the Green Lantern John Stewart, utilizing the power of the "star-charm",
an artifact belonging to the evil Weaponers of Qward. With youthful exuberance
and the powers of flight, force blasts, and the ability to levitate objects,
All-Star aided the JL against the Qwardians, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Grodd,
Chemo, a force of Bizarros patterned after the League, and climatically, Brainiac,
who had mentally enslaved the Green Lantern Corps. After a crisis of confidence,
All-Star saved the day... at the cost of her powers. Nevertheless, Batman himself
assured Olivia that she is, and always will be, one of them. the world believes
Amorpho was a shapeless mass of intelligent protoplasm that fell to Earth in a rocket ship projectile. He had complete control over his body and could transform himself into the exact shape of anything else, from a squirrel to a bulldog to a man. After finally finding a Terran form that could speak (well, sorta ... it was Woozy Winks), Amorpho assumed that form and went in search of the one thing that was more precious and delicious to him than anything else — salt. "Woozy" broke into a food warehouse and knocked out a guard while eating an entire one hundred pound bag of salt. The bag was going to be shipped in interstate commerce, which made the crime a Federal matter and the FBI got involved, sending Plastic Man to investigate. Plas's partner Woozy begged to come along, though when he did, the guard at the food warehouse positively identified him as the thief, which forced Plastic Man to lock his friend up.
Plas checked his contacts and stoolies and couldn't find any clues about the salt robbery, which meant to him that there was a double of Woozy doing it. Meanwhile, Amorpho went to Pitt's Salt, where he transformed into a salt bag and ate up another few hundred pounds of salt before walking off burping, much to the shock of the workers there. Plastic Man investgated and followed a trail of spilled salt from the company to a basement, where he found the missing sack. Plas was amazed to find that the sack was agile and didn't want to be caught, and after he punched it, Amorpho decided to change into something else to get away, this time taking the shape of a nearby shovel. Plas didn't see the change, and thought the sack had gotten away from him.
After Plastic Man left, Amorpho decided to take on the hero's form. He was later discovered by a policeman on the night beat as he stretched up to a second story window at The Exotic Foods Importing Company and stole some crates of imported salt. The bewildered cop told the real Plas what happened when he arrived on the scene, and the hero promised he'd bring "himself" in. Plas caught up to his doppleganger as the creature was again eating more salt. The two stretchable characters battled in the iron girders of a construction site until the real Plastic Man finally tied up Amorpho. He took the alien back to his rocket and sent him back off into space, where naturally Amorpho hoped he would run into another planet with plenty of salt. Plas treated Woozy to quite a few ice cream sodas to make up for jailing the little guy.
Plastic Man #21 (Reprinted in The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told)
Snapper Carr, former "mascot" of the Justice League of America, was
in Happy Harbor, sitting back watching The First Annual Super-Thon was on television.
It was being hosted by the Justice League of America to raise money for United
Charities. All of a sudden, his calm afternoon was interrupted by the appearance
of Anakronus, "sworn enemy" of his JLA friends. Anakronus, wielding
a strange gun, took Snapper and his entire family hostage. holding them ransom
for the $10,000,000 that the JLA had raised on the telethon.
Anakronus claimed to have stood beside the Lord of Time during his first battle
with the Justice League of America, and had in fact been the one who first brought
the Time Lord to the modern era, using his "Time-Gate". He said that
they worked together to create the Lord of Time's armory of super-weapons, and
he had remained hidden while the Time Lord attacked the JLA. When the Lord of
Time was defeated, and the JLA destroyed the armory, Anakronus swore revenge.
Using his gun, his "Chronal -Transmuter" he changed a band of motorcyclists
into knights on horseback to attack Batman, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman. The
trio made fairly quick work of the armored combatants, though one knight fell
and stunned Wonder Woman. Anakronus took quick advantage of the situation and
ensnared her in her own lasso, and then used its powers of compulsion to have
the Amazon knock out her friends.
Anakronus called the telethon to deliver his ransom demand to the JLA, but
got Green Arrow on the phone. The Emerald Archer didn't believe him and started
getting mad, only to have the Elongated Man and Black Canary cut off the call
(GA had already gotten fiesty with some other crank callers).
Enraged, Anakronus returned to his tale of his first battle with the JLA. He
said he next found Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Flash leaving the armory with
the remains of his equipment. His Chronal-Transmuter transformed the components
into robotic "ultimate soldiers" from the future. The robots' adaptability
to their foes abilities took out the three Leaguers relatively quickly (though
one robot was forced to destroy itself to knock Green Lantern out), and these
three heroes were also added to Anakronus's prisoners.
The story was interrupted by an opening door, and Anakronus fired on it. The
door dissolved to reveal Snapper's sister Janet, who had come home unexpectedly.
After making sure she was all right, Snapper asked the villain how he had managed
to take out the JLA's big guns: Superman and the Martian Manhunter.
Anakronus said that as he saw the pair returning from taking the Lord of Time
to prison, he used his Chronal-Transmuter on a pair of lizards, changing one
into a fire-breathing dragon, and the other into an "adapto-lizard from
the distant future," and sent the beasts to assail the heroes. The fire-breathing
dragon attacked the Martian Manhunter, who struck the beast even as the fiery
breath engulfed him. The dragon knocked him out of the sky with his tail and
fused the sand in the ground into strong glass around him. The Martian Manhunter
easily broke out and the dragon encircled the hero in the coils of his tail
and literally crushed the breath out of him. Superman was holding his own against
the adapto-lizard until the creature used a special vision power to search out
his weaknesses, and then manifested a kryptonite skin.
Anakronus then prompted Snapper to call the telethon, but the line was busy.
Snapper asked the villain how the JLA escaped him. He was momentarily taken
aback, but then continued with his story. Anakronus said that he released the
heroes after they promised they would repair all the damage done in the armory,
but they broke their promise and attacked him instead. His weapon devolved the
JLA into cavemen, and then amoebas, and finally into oblivion. When Snapper
asked why the JLA was still alive now, Anakronus said that he guessed the effects
had worn off.
Snapper finally got through to Green Lantern at the telethon. A few select
words and the Atom streaked through the telephone line, attacking Anakronus.
After avoiding the beam from his gun, the Atom's punch had little effect on
the villain, who turned to fire on Snapper and his family. Just then, the door
(apparently another one that hadn't been destroyed) burst open with The Red
Tornado and the Elongated Man. This trio made very short work of Anakronus,
who got one shot off at Reddy, who quickly discovered that the fancy weapon
was nothing more than a .45 automatic.
Snapper knew that Anakronus was just a standard loony when his story mentioned
the Martian Manhunter fighting the dragon, and he knew that J'Onn J'Onzz had
a vulnerability to fire. As they were leaving with the captured criminal, The
Atom asked Snapper why he hadn't used his JLA signal device. Snapper said that
he wasn't sure it still worked, and after everything that had happened (Snapper
had been tricked by the Joker into revealing the location of the JLA's secret
headquarters) he didn't know if he still had a right to use it. The Atom simply
said "Oh? Then how come you're still wearing it, kid?"
Dr. Sven Larsen was a former student of Niles Caulder (a.k.a. the Chief) who
had once accused Caulder of stealing one of his ideas. He had returned to demonstrate
his new experiment, which involved the bombardment of amino acids by lightning
that he believed to be the key to create life artifically. Unfortunately, Larsen
fell into the vat of amino acids he was using and was transformed into a giant
paramecium. Instead of destroying the creature, the Chief had Negative Man bring
a tank of liquid oxygen to temporarily freeze it. the creature soon began a
startling transformation into a living mass of sulphur that dissolved the ice.
Elasti-Girl grew to giant size and picked up the sulphur being, only to have
it change again into a mass of creeping ivy that she was barely able to escape.
the being next changed into a bird and flew off.
Upon examining Larsen's notes, the Doom Patrol discovered that Larsen's "accident"
had been planned, and that he already had discovered the ability to change into
any animal, plant, or mineral form through his experiment. After a rampage through
the city and a battle with the Doom Patrol, the Chief was finally able to stop
the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man with his anti-decay ray (which would halt all
changes in living cells), the very device that Larsen believed that Caulder
had stolen from him. the Chief and the Doom Patrol reversed the process that
had given Larsen his powers and bundled him off to jail.
The Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man returned to plague the Doom Patrol several
months later, right after an accident had forced the team to function with their
powers switched around (Elasti-Girl had Negative Man's powers while he had hers,
and the Chief and Cliff's abililties were substantially switched as well). the
same device was again used to stop the A-V-M Man, and he was again sent back
Over four years later, Larsen was broken out of prison by General Immortus
in order to aid him in bringing the Chief out of seclusion. This also brought
him into conflict with the Doom Patrol again, at least the team that Celsius
had assembled to help her find the Chief for herself. Larsen still wanted revenge
on the Chief for the invention he believed was stolen, and went against Immortus'
orders and attempted to kill the Chief himself. Unfortunately for the A-V-M
Man, the one weapon that Immortus' men hadn't found in the Chief's wheelchair
was a water pistol full of a chemical retardant to stop the villain's transformations.
the Chief had miscalculated and the chemical only slowed the changes. It took
Scott Fisher to almost accidentally stop the A-V-M Man by burning him severely
with his hands. Celsius then encased the now normal Larsen in ice.
Doom Patrol [1st series] #89, 95
Doom Patrol [1st series] #122 (reprint of #89)
Doom Patrol [1st series] #123 (reprint of #95)
Doom Patrol [2nd series] #15-16
The Ani-Men of Repli-Tech
They appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, issues #221-223, also around 1983,
in a story arc entitled "Beasts". It was billed as "the most
horrifying adventure" of the Justice League. It certainly was one of the
Our story begins when a bio-technology firm called Repli-Tech finds out that
it has over-extended itself and now faces bankruptcy and possible criminal charges
for financial misdeeds. But the company chairman, a macho type called Rex Rogan,
tells his board members they have an easier way out. He says they can use their
technology on themselves to be transformed into animal-like creatures with special
powers. The board, in blind obedience to Rogan agrees and the company's resident
scientist, a Dr. Lovecraft, soon converts the board members and other key employees
Insert Enron joke here.
Now armed with animal powers and aided by company guards using high-tech weaponry,
the Repli-Tech officials resort to robbery and other crimes to raise their operating
capital. They become so successful, they even set up an illegal arena where
humans are forced to fight to the death against ani-men for the enjoyment of
the decadent rich. (Notice how in comics and B-movies, the rich and powerful
are always going to these illegal death matches to amuse themselves. Don't they
Individual JLA members soon encounter the Ani-men engaged in various crimes
but fail to stop them. It is only when Firestorm comes across a panther woman
called "Reena" that the team gets a breakthrough. Reena used to be
"Irena," the executive assistant and lover of Rex Rogan. But sickened
by the violence in the arena, she turned against Repli-Tech. She eventually
helps provide the JLA with the information needed to track down the Ani-men.
There are conflicting emotions involved. Reena is still deeply in love with
Rogan and Rogan, now transformed into a lion-man and calling himself Maximus
Rex, still has strong feelings for her. Firestorm is protective of Reena and
for awhile, it looks like a budding romance may be in the wings for flamehead.
But the other Leaguers are reluctant to trust Reena, particularly Hawkgirl who
is angry about a serious wound that Hawkman suffered, fighting the Ani-men.
Maximus has his Ani-men take Hawkgirl, Hawkman and Wonder Woman hostage, demanding
they be traded for Reena. But with Reena's help, the League infiltrates Repli-Tech
and turn the tables on the bad guys. During the mission, it becomes clear that
Reena and the other Ani-men are becoming more savage and bestial physically.
In the final clash, Reena goes after Maximus, their two devolving bodies crashing
through the arena. After subduing the other Ani-men, the League is shocked to
see them all turn completely into animals. They try to track down Reena and
Maximus but on a beach, they only find their footprints, turning into paw prints
before finally disappearing. Poor Firestorm is left standing in shocked silence.
The Ani-men were:
Maximus Rex: the leader. A vicious lion-man with nifty-looking pieces of
body armour on his face and arms. He had bestial strength, agility and sharp
claws and fangs that he could use to rip through a crowd of sword-wielding
Reena: his ex-lover. Irena was a slinky black panther with feline agility
Gargantus: a sperm whale-man with great strength and aquatic abilities.
Horn: a tough rhino man.
Rowl: a company guard-turned wolf-man who went against Maximus and helped
Reena escape. As punishment, Maximus faces him in the arena and rips his head
There was also an unnamed snake-man, assorted scorpion men and bird men and
various human thugs.
It was certainly a brutal story with the Flash being gored by Horn, Hawkman
getting stung by a scorpion-man and Elongated Man getting caught in a laundry's
steam press while birds peck at his face.
The League seemed to be having one of their off days in this adventure. Superman
and Wonder Woman get knocked out by the whale-man (and this is the pre-Crisis,
planet-moving Superman!) and the other members are held at bay by these creatures
who normally wouldn't last ten seconds against Flash or Wonder Woman. Gerry
Conway, the writer, keeps things moving briskly so you don't immediately notice
the inconsistensies and Chuck Patton's clean, sleek art is pleasing to the eye,
making it easier to enjoy the story despite the large cast and rapid turn of
You just get the impression that the League was "dumbed down" to
make the Ani-men a credible threat and that all the bloodshed is a little gratuitious.
We never find out what happened to Rex and Reena so they could actually be
lying around in a zoo somewhere. Amazingly, Dr. Lovecraft, the evil scientist
who made the creation of the Ani-men possible, also escapes from the League
so he could conceivably whip up another batch of Ani-men, if any comic writer
feels the need for these characters.
The Annihilator and Son
The Annihilator was Dr. Karl Kellor, a power-hungry dude who found a way to
give himself super-powers through a serum that used green kryptonite as one
of its main ingredients. Because of the green K in his system, even Superman
couldn't stop him. However, he found that the serum took a toll on his body,
and so to further his schemes, he fed it to a young biker punk he adopted as
his son, and worked through him. Eventually, though, the son grew so out of
control that even Kellor was horrified, and began to realize what a creep he'd
been; he worked with Superman to trick Junior into drinking a new serum that
turned him back into a baby, and Kellor vowed to raise the boy right from then
on. Superman didn't arrest him, figuring that Kellor's own evil acts were a
case of temporary insanity. The story ran from ACTION COMICS #355-357, as was
The adventure was reprinted in an issue of THE BRAVE & BOLD #114 (with
a few pages cut) in the early 70s. As far as I know, the Ant has never reappeared
I'm sorry to report that the Ant seemingly returned as a villain in the November
page of the 1977 DC Calendar (with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin).
He fought the Teen Titans at the site of Rome's Colosseum.
The caption states that the Ant is "a heinous super-villain whose only
desire is to write an end to the careers of Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy
and the Guardian" a.k.a. Mal. No doubt there's more to the story
like most everyone, I'd have liked to have seen Eddie Whit revived as
a hero but we've yet to hear details.
Comic book artist in the DCU AND real world at the same time. He was involved
in a case with Batman and Sgt. Rock (B&B #124?) wherein terrorists were
forcing Jim to draw a comic where Batman and Rock died...he foiled their plans
by working things out so that Batman and Rock caught the terrorists, thus saving
him. (A story that ALWAYS makes me smile...worth searching out!
Contribution written by Mike Kidson, posted with permission.
A rich playboy maddened by drugs pumped into him by a tame scientist. Playboy
Peter Dudley, out on his yacht, nets Aquaman's wife Mera by accident and falls
in love with her. Reasoning, as rich nutty playboys do, that she'll fall in
love with him if he turns into a copy of Aquaman, he calls in a scientist who
does the business, but it all goes horribly wrong and Dudley becomes a misshapen
and mad monster in an Aquaman suit. "The infusions... I must reverse the flow!",
yells the doctor. "No you don't, doctor! Once born, no-one can kill... Aquabeast!",
replies the new villain. He redeems himself at the end, though: faced with
an even more inhuman mutant menace who knocks Aquaman for six, Aquabeast saves
Mera and is dragged to his death in an undersea current, along with the other
Lisa Morel studies marine life through the glass bottom of her yacht, when
suddenly she sees a man trapped on the sea floor in the grip of a giant clam.
She is so desperate to save him that she dives into the water without any breathing
equipment, carrying only an underwater torch. She quickly recognizes the victim
as Aquaman. Lisa works under the water for over five minutes before she finally
frees him. Certain that the woman is about to drown, Aquaman rushes her to the
Aquaman questions how Lisa survived under the water for so long, but she doesn't
understand it herself. They decide to experiment and, after one hour underwater,
Lisa claims she feels that she could last for many hours more. She mentions
that her father is Dr. Hugo Morel, the famous ichthyologist, who has written
many books on the natural history of fish. Aquaman suggests that they ask her
father if he has any theories. Lisa races Aquaman through the water, and even
swims up a waterfall, back to her home.
Lisa's parents cannot believe her remarkable claims, so she demonstrates by
mentally commanding some seals swimming in the water nearby. Dr. Morel is amazed,
and asks Aquaman to recount his own origins for possible clues. Aquaman tells
them of how his Atlantean mother married his father, a lighthouse keeper. He
also says his mother left him a diary about life in Atlantis. He then informs
them that his hour on land has expired and he must return to the sea for the
rest of the day.
The following morning, Aquaman returns to the Morel's home where he finds Lisa
in a costume which is identical to his own. She explains that a few minutes
after he left she began gasping for air, so she slept all night in their swimming
pool. Lisa has named herself Aquagirl and says she can now join Aquaman on his
sea patrols. He insists that she can't, and tells her not to ask why. She ignores
him and dives into the sea.
The following day, Aquaman and Aquagirl help a chartered boat celebrate someone's
The next evening, they discover that an iceberg has floated into busy shipping
lanes. Aquagirl fails to completely destroy the berg, so Aquaman uses luminous
fish to warn the ships off.
The next day, as Aquagirl explores an undersea grotto to collect rare shells
for her father, she suddenly can't breathe or swim, and feels the pressure of
tons of water crushing her. Aquaman rescues his new "sidekick" and
brings her to the surface. He says he expected this would happen, and tells
her that she has permanently lost her powers.
Aquaman explains that, after he had left Lisa's house on the first day, he
read through his mother's diary. He found the following passage: "Because
of continuous seepage through the glass dome, our people had to adapt gradually
to undersea life! However, some children were born who were throwbacks to an
earlier era! They could adapt only a brief time to underwater life and would
eventually die in Atlantis' watery world! These infants were ejected in waterproof
lifeboats to the surface! However, those rare children rejected by Atlantis
for their own survival's sake ... were sent upward only when a passing ship
was spotted! This insured their being picked up alive!"
When Lisa asks what those infants have to do with her, Aquaman explains that
his mother wrote that Atlantis' doctors were able to recognize every "throwback"
at birth by a physical characteristic peculiar to them alone. They all have
purple eyes ... just like Lisa's! the powers came to her suddenly because of
the stressful situation of seeing him "drowning", but they were fated
to vanish almost as suddenly.
Later, Dr. Morel admits that 20 years earlier, while cruising in his yacht,
he spotted an infant in a lifeboat. the Morel's were childless, so they decided
to raise Lisa as their own. Even though she is now powerless, Lisa Morel
is thankful for her brief career as Aquagirl.
We lucked out on Lisa Morel because her story was reprinted recently in the
AQUAMAN ARCHIVES. I too hope that someone else reading this has access to WORLD'S
FINEST #133 and would do us the favor of summarizing the second Aquagirl story.
Maybe I'll take a shot at the third Aquagirl (Tula), since I own her first appearance.
Selena, a Poseidonian heroine-wannabee in WORLD'S FINEST (1st series) #133.
Alter Ego: N/A
First Appearance: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #73 (Aug 1969)
Final Appearance: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #74 (Sep 1969)
Mad star Aquarius is banished from "the Council of Stars". So he
does the only sensible thing - steals Starman's Cosmic Rod and destroys Earth-Two.
All that remains of the planet are the JSAers who attempted to battle him -
Superman, Wonder Woman, Doctors Fate and Mid-Nite, Black Canary and hubby Larry
Lance, and the Red Tornado, the plucky android sent across the dimensional barrier
to Earth-One, to enlist the aid of the JLA, who keep Reddy waiting two weeks
as Hawkman is turned to salt (don't ask). the JLA eventually cross over, but
are attacked by the mind-controlled JSA, who have been kept alive in a mystic
bubble by Dr. Fate. the JLA subdue the JSA, but at the cost of Larry Lance's
life, after the P.I./second banana hurls himself in the path of Aquarius' blast
to save his wife. the two GLs lure Aquarius into the anti-matter universe, where
he is destroyed. Black Canary leaves Earth-Two for Earth-One, as "the memories
are too painful".