Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Mr. Moth Week #6: Have Special Ray-Gun, Will Travel

You know, I think I owe Mr. Moth an apology.  I called Killer Moth his "more successful Gotham counterpart."  But objectively it's the other way around.  The only thing Killer Moth successfully stole in his first two stories was that stupid pre-Incan Moth idol, and the only reason he got away with that is because he was a DIRECTOR of the museum it was in.  That's like buying a merit badge.  Meanwhile, Mr. Moth has stolen two larger, more public targets, in full view of the city, while facing off against a godlike alien being whose full catalog of powers would contain more words than the story itself.   

And, I'll wager, he's about to steal a third.  Who's going to stop him? Det. Jones? Pfft.  The only way HE's going to find Mr. Moth is if he paints himself with phosphorous and gets stolen, and we all know that odds of THAT.

Such is Apex City's commitment to extraterrestrial research and its public appeal.

Actually, that just might slow down Mr. Moth long enough for J'onn to catch him.  After all, it's not like you can grab an entire model solar system from a planetarium with a skyhook.

The police? Yeah, maybe they'll send a detective to help you.
Call the FAA, you'll get a faster response.  

Unless you're Mr. Moth and you show up when it's being delivered.  Touche, Mr. Moth; who needs Monty Moran, any way?  

I'm sure the hat doesn't make that easier.

Well, he may not need The Getaway King, but Mr. Moth could use some better deliverymen.  Decent villains don't have to haul their own, um, hauls.  If only he were a scientist and could invent something to help do that, or had henchmen to assist.

Ooookay. You ....DO have henchmen. Henchmen whose sole purpose is to watch you do the heavy lifting and then open your Christmas presents for you.  And what's more... you have THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER!

You'll be forgiven if your first conclusion is that J'onn used some previously unmentioned martian power of "creating and then hatching from a big yellow cocoon".  

Mr. Moth did wind up stealing J'onn, who hid inside the sun, armed with multiple metaphors.    

Mr. Moth, a worthy foe, also knows how to wield a metaphor.  And a ray-gun.

Following the classic Golden Age tripartite formula for first-time villain encounters, J'onn:

  1. was taken by surprise at their first encounter (the Radium Clock);
  2. anticipated their second encounter, but was not prepared enough to capture the villain (the Atlas Statue);
  3. planned for their third encounter, allowing him the opportunity to capture the villain (the Golden Orrery). 

Or at least it would allow him to capture for the villain, were it not for Mr. Moth's holding a ray-gun on Aquaman's dad.

Can't take chances with lighthousekeepers, tricky blighters.  Best to use a ray-gun, one of your own devising, if possible.  I guess Mr. Moth is a scientist, after all.

Well, that's it.  All the stolen valuables -- the Atlas Statue, the Radium Clock, the Pier One stuff, the pretty pretty pony -- it's all in that henchman's briefcase, clearly.  Mr. Moth, whose brain is clearly quite large inside his tiny head, is going to make good his escape with his ray-gun and hostage.

Once again, there is nothing the Martian Manhunter can do, even with all his powers.

Or... IS THERE...?!M


CobraMisfit said...

You know what I like about Mr. Moth? He has this silly hat, a physics-defying helicopter, and a Martian Manhunter defeating ray-gun, yet he still wears a suit.

That's class, Mr. Moth.

John said...

I love the absolute shock when Mr. Moth steals the model crate. Frankly, I'm surprised, too. I expected him to hook it at Pluto and let it dangle the whole trip to the lighthouse. Is it a crate? It's see-through and Mr. Moth calls it a "case," so maybe that's the entire display...which makes it weird that he'd want to pull them out to display them.

In fact, y'know, I'm starting to wonder how smart Mr. Moth really is. I mean, you poke fun of not using his henchmen to help haul the haul into the hall, and I'm on-board with that. But he's hoisting off a block and tackle that's clearly outside the lighthouse. Dollars to donuts, he has lowered the crane of the Mothogyro to get the cable inside and then raised the (glass) crate manually, rather than using his "special device" to raise it back up.

The briefcase is really what makes the scene, though. Clearly, the party lights aren't worth taking, though, which is a shame since there's at least fourteen of them.

Speaking of Aquaman's father, I unfortunately can't find the original article and only have a copied-and-pasted text file, but have you ever seen Arthur Lortie's argument that the Golden Age Aquaman's father was Columbus O'Donnell Iselin? I never bothered to fact-check it, but it's an interesting idea, but probably not this guy, who's clearly on Earth-1.

Bryan L said...

I am absolutely making a custom action figure of Mr. Moth. Please tell me his headpiece has some special power, other than doubling over his opponents with laughter. Please.

Unknown said...

More successful than Killer Moth? I really, really wish I could disagree.

cybrid said...

>>>You know what I like about Mr. Moth? He has this silly hat, a physics-defying helicopter, and a Martian Manhunter defeating ray-gun, yet he still wears a suit.

Unlike Mr. Polka-Dot mentioned some time back, Mr. Moth got it right: Villains whose names start with Mr. should wear *suits*. It subverts the irony OSLT. It was Steve Ditko who most often demonstrated that all one really needs to be a criminal mastermind is a suit and a mask. And preferably a hat, but a hat on top of a full-head mask would be a little much I guess.

1) Sorry but I'm not getting it, how does that guy look any more like Aquaman's father than he looks like anyone else?

2) It's hard to believe that I caught this when Scipio apparently didn't but you know who else wears a full-head mask that looks like there's not enough room in it for his head? Dr. Domino, who also wears a suit and would look even sillier in a hat than would Mr. Moth. There have been more tenuous connections...

Anonymous said...

Aquaman's dad lived in a lighthouse; Conservation of Comic Book Character Traits* leads us to conclude that this guy and Aquaman's dad must be the same person.

*: You've seen the phenomenon before: if two characters happen to have something in common, it's never a coincidence, there must be a connection. Thus the old Starman (Ted Knight) and Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight) were obviously related because the same last name, Norman Osborne and the Sandman were related because they had similar baffling hairstyles, and so on.

Scipio said...

"Villains whose names start with Mr. should wear *suits*." A sound principle! I have always had a soft spot for object-headed, suit-wearing villains, like the Terrible Trio and Dr. Domino.

Scipio said...

"Clearly, the party lights aren't worth taking"


John said...

I'm just saying that they're obviously not in the briefcase. And I'm guessing that the next scene is not the henchman up on a ladder unscrewing light bulbs during the tense hostage standoff, though I'll be pleased if it is. The fact that they're so prominent in the scene makes it clear that they're going to be integral to the (for lack of a better term) plot.

Unrelated, I just noticed that J'Onn refers to the lighthouse keeper as the lighthouse keeper. But he's been rolling around inside the gold model Sun (which I hope rotates to accommodate its passenger) up until now, so the odds that J'Onn knows they're in the lighthouse seem pretty low. Did he have working X-Ray-ish (N-Ray?) Martian Vision, at this point? Or maybe he just recognizes the lighthouse keeper from a past flock.

And guys, I'm not sure it's the helmet that makes Mr. Moth look silly (though the eyeballs certainly help) so much as the ascot. A solid black tie would go better with that suit. And with the lighthouse keeper's outfit. And the random cabbie running to call the police up at the top of the post.

Bryan L said...

"Did he have working X-Ray-ish (N-Ray?) Martian Vision, at this point? Or maybe he just recognizes the lighthouse keeper from a past flock."

Telepathy. J'onn can't use it for anything productive, like finding Mr. Moth; he can only use it to ascertain completely irrelevant information. It's the superhero equivalent of "The Dating Game": So, Hostage Number One, where do you like to hang out? The lighthouse? You don't say ...

John said...

That makes more sense. Thanks, Bryan. I was worried that J'Onn had--eep!--made a friend who wasn't a standard part of his minimalist supporting cast.

I do sometimes wonder what comic book television shows look like...