Monday, June 16, 2008

Blue Devil #5 (10/84)

Elongated Man: Only a one page cameo for Ralph this time, as he interrupted Blue Devil and Zatanna's mutual self-incrimination to announce, "Let's save the postmortem till after the game is over, people! You goofed-- but you can still clean up your mess!" Satellite sensors detected Nebiros in the Sierra Madre range, so Ralph teleported the pair to investigate. "Good luck, heroes! I'll stay up here to monitor developments... just in case-- much as I wish I could tag along!" Sounds kind of bogus to me, but Yellow Devil obscured that bit of cowardice by offering to swap places with Elongated Man!

Zatanna: Her hand at the small of Blue Devil's back, Zee demanded of Dan when he tried to bow out of the mission, "Not a chance, sport! Beam us down, Ralph!" Desperate much since the Barry Allen hit & run?

The pair arrived in Mexico, where Nebiros had created two new volcanoes through power channeled into Blue Devil's trident. At Zee's urging, Dan tried to summon the staff, but was hit by an energy backlash for his trouble. Nebiros unearthed another of his ancient temples, which was fired upon to modest effect by the Mexican military. Nebiros retaliated by calling forth a legion of demons, while simultaneously disassembling the military machinery through magic. Blue Devil finally stepped-up: "You were right, Zatanna-- it's up to us!"

The heroic couple charged into the misbegotten mass, filmed by Dan's cameraman friend Norm Paxton (under orders from their producer boss, Marla Bloom, looking for movie footage.) Zatanna cast a spell to help protect Norm, who refused to flee the scene. "You're as stubborn as your friend! I won't waste time arguing!" Zatanna continued to focus her attention on the monstrous throng, while Blue Devil confronted Nebiros. Zee had to save Dan at one point, before the tide turned upon Blue Devil's regaining his trident. Dan used its partially-infernal power to destroy Nebiron's temple, and in turn his demons. Zatanna then created a vortex to drag Nebiron through his own portal, sealing it from our side.

Zatanna congratulated Blue Devil's heroic accomplishment: "You saved the world... I suspect there's more in your future than just filmmaking, Dan... you are going to make one terrific super-hero!" Zee then grabbed BD by his horns and kissed him firmly! "Time for me to get going now... Dliw sdniw wolb dna tfil em yawa! Call me sometime, handsome!"

The Creators: The team of Paris Cullins and Gary Martin were on fire here, rendering ornate temples and hordes of varied hellspawn that seemed to anticipate the glory of Art Adams. In my admittedly biased opinion, this was among the best depictions of Zee, both in art and writing, that I've ever read. People seem to have trouble making Zatana work in a super-hero universe, but tales like this reveal it isn't the character at fault, but her scripters. Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin had no such issues, and rereading this tale has reminded me of how much I loved their work on Blue Devil. I owned quite a few of these back in the day, often available on the cheap at flea markets. Now I have a hankering to hunt a run down on eBay...

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