Sunday, March 22, 2009

DC Challenge #2 (12/1985)

First issue writer Mark Evanier: "See, what's interesting about this round-robin DC CHALLENGE is that the story can go a zillion ways and no author has to solve things the way the guy before him did. Like, I had no idea who that clown was who decked Superman on the moon; I figured, let Len dope it out."

  • Unable to contact anyone about the bomb from the Gotham City Power Plant, Batman used a batarang to shut down service to half the city. His taunting, turbaned, pointy-eared antagonist vanished in the confusion. Numbers were left written on a wall as a clue.
  • The year was 1876 in Flagstaff, Wyoming when Jonah Hex gunned down some bandits with an inscribed glowing blue rock. Caught in a dizzy spell, Hex looked up to find himself on a city street in modern times. "Welcome to 1985, Mister Hex. Welcome to your nightmare!"
  • Game ranger Mike Maxwell and famed explorer naturalist Congo Bill were being interviewed for television by Olivia Cortez of News-Nine. Both were campaigning for funding to help the Save the Ape Foundation, but their plea was interrupted by an earthquake. Bill rescued the reporter from falling into a fissure caused by the ascent of the Manticore, "After too many centuries beneath this cold, foul Earth..."
  • On the moon, Kal-El's merciless foe returned to his device. "I know not how Superman found me here-- but he was a fool to challenge me! In none of our previous encounters has he ever truly been a match for the power of-- Mongul, Master of Worlds!! And now that I'm certain the relay mechanism is undamaged-- I can finally finished the cursed Kryptonian once and for-- eh? He's disappeared-- but that's impossible--! He should have been powerless against the red-sun energy of my Enervating Ray--! He shouldn't have had strength enough to breathe, let alone escape me--! And if he has escaped, where has he gone--?" The Man of Steel had used the last of his heat vision to burrow into the moon rock, then lept out to punch Mongul! Superman again decked Mongul, sending his flying into his relay device. The resultant explosion seemed to obliterate master and machine. Little trace was left for Superman, except some sort of writing that materialized at the center of the bomb crater. "Great Krypton! It can't be--! I know that symbol-- but the one to whom it belongs is dead!"
  • Jonah Hex stole the only horse he could find from a city policeman, lost it, and was held up by classic movie gangsters led by Peter Lorre.
  • The Manticore demanded the same thing as the spirit creatures that Superman and Wonder Woman had fought: "Where is he whom I am sworn to stop?! Bring me-- the OTHER!!" News cameraman Milo refused to stop filming. Congo Bill vanished to rub his magic ring and trade minds with the Congorilla, whom he'd brought with him for an exhibition. Mike separately donned his B'wana Beast costume, but was dismayed to find the Golden Gorilla missing. His own ape companion Djuba was called to action, as well.
  • In the Sahara Desert, a robed figure wandered the wasteland. At the sight of water, Aquaman cast off his protective garb, only to be crushed by the realization it was just a mirage. Delirious, the Sea King collapsed into the sand, vultures circling overhead.
  • Milo the cameraman figured he'd retire with the profits from his footage, until the Manticore seized him. However, Milo's scent was unusual, and then he released his own spirit creature to fight the Manticore. "So-- at last! Then let the battle begin!" The silent Congorilla and B'wana Beast teamed up to protect civilians from escaping zoo animals. The Manticore drove off the Djinn with its scorpion tail, then turned its attention toward the jungle heroes.
  • Jonah Hex was led at gunpoint to the '30s gangsters' car, which was being driven by what last issue resembled Nosferatu, but under this creative team was clearly an Arabic genie-type, complete with rubied turban. Peter Lorre thanked Hex for surrendering "the tablet," but put up a fight when the gangsters appeared set on drilling him. Hex beat or shot everyone but "Pointy-Ears," who vanished, leaving his car heading straight for "a group of innocent children and nuns" crossing the rain-swept street.
  • "Blinded By The Light" was by Len Wein, Chuck Patton and Mike DeCarlo.

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