Friday, April 11, 2014

365 Days of KirbyTech, Day 101: The Skywalker's Destruction Ray

Two whole years before Star Wars hit the silver screen with the pew-pew-pew sound of zippy blasters, Denny O'Neil and Jack Kirby brought us the adventurers of a guy called...Skywalker*!

Cover of Justice, Inc. (1975 series) #2 (July-August 1975), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Mike Royer, colors by Tatjana Wood, letters by Gaspar Saladino

*No relation.

Yes, the Skywalker! The flyin' guy so evil he gets his logo on the splash page too!

Splash page of Justice, Inc. (1975 series) #2 (July-August 1975), script by Denny O'Neil, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer, colors by Jerry Serpe

Our story begins in the Age of Trains! When the Iron Horse ruled the plains of America, when tracks criss-crossed the country, when train travel was as safe as crossing the street...

AIEEEEEEEEEEEE! Luckily for everyone on board, the Incredible Hulk was on hand to save them all!

Panels from The Avengers (1963 series) #1 (September 1963), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers

Oh, wait, wrong comic book company. I guess everybody died.

Who could be the culprit? Well, possibly that guy on the cover and on the splash page that we were told was a villain. The guy walking in the sky, whose name is...Starkiller Skywalker!

Say, who's that white private dick who's a justice machine to all the chicks? Why, that's Richard Benson, a.k.a. The Avenger!


Richard Benson, the Avenger, is capable of shooting a guy in the head! Huh, what's so tricky about that? The Punisher and Deathstroke do that alla time! Oh, wait, he's capable of shooting a guy in the head so that the bullet just creases his skull and knocks him out? Pretty clever, but hey...why not just use a boxing glove arrow?

Richard Benson, the Avenger! A man who spends his spare time cosplaying the Fantastic Four!

But why the long pale face, Richard? Well, as the legend goes (in issue #1), Richard Benson witnessed the brutal murder of his wife and child. So shocked was he by this heinous deed that his skin and hair immediately lost all its pigment, and the nerves in his face died, so now he can rearrange his face to resemble any other human! Which, I believe, is proof of concept of what Mama Bull always told me: if you make that face, it might stick that way. Still, it's a great asset when he goes on job interviews.

Oh, yeah...I forgot to talk about the Skywalker and his Boom-Ray of Doom. Turns out he flies through the air with the greatest of ease. But what can possibly be his evil plan?

The answer: reenacting the last half-hour of The Man of Steel movie!

Infiltrating the Skywalker's office in disguise, the Avenger and associate Josh hear Skywalker gloat his plans to wreck the entire city! That's one terrifying recorded phone message! And still, less annoying than the Jerky Boys.

LOOK UP IN THE SKY IT'S oh wait it's not, it's the Skywalker. But how does he float with no visible means of support? How does he destroy buildings down to their foundations? Why does he think Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley will negotiate with terrorists?

As the pages of the comic book run out, it's suddenly exposition time! The Avenger explains that the Skywalker killed the inventor of and ran off with an experimental sonic weapon that can literally shake shake shake buildings into dust! But how does he walk on the air? Oh, yeah, by the way, he also has an invisible plane WAIT, WHAT, COMIC BOOK?!?

Benson takes to the air to defeat the supervillain in a manner that superheroes never seem to bother with: by shooting him. Pew! Pew! Pew! Oh wait, I got that sound effect wrong. BRAKBRAKBRAK! Somewhere on the Ghost Planet, Space Ghost's talk show sidekick and former nemesis pricks up his ears, certain someone is calling him.

Will the Avenger be in time! Can he shoot down an invisible aircraft? And if so, who would win in a fight between him and Wonder Woman? Inquiring minds want to know, DC!

Whoopsie! When you can't see your own plane, not only is it more difficult to fly it or get those little packs of honey-roasted peanuts out, sometimes you shoot it with your own Destruction Ray! And so the Skywalker falls to his painful squishy death. Huh. Mondays, right?

Thus, justice is served. Right, comic?

In addition to that look at the bright-red destruction ray, here's another bonus piece of KirbyTech from Justice, Inc.'s, the...well, actually, they never explain what it is or what it does.

But hey, it seems to smash apart when a dying guy falls back into it, so maybe it wasn't that important. Anyway: The Avenger!

Panels from Secret Origins (1986 series) #32 (November 1988), story by Gardner Fox, plot by Keith Giffen, dialogue by Peter David, pencils and inks by Eric Shanower, colors by Gene D'Angelo, letters by Gaspar Saladino


Britt Reid said...

One of the problems adapting a full-length pulp novel into only 17 pages is that you leave a LOT of stuff out...including explanations for the more outlandish stuff like the "invisible airplane".
That's what happened here, unfortunately.

Blam said...

Man. Who knew a little Tang in the air would derail an entire train?