Monday, March 29, 2021

More Fun (without Green Arrow)

 Our story begins as all the best Green Arrow stories do: without Green Arrow.

And yet people are still booing.

Actor Richard Bright thinks people don't like him any more because his looks have faded, when the more obvious conclusion is that he was always a crappy actor who used to get by on looks.

Certainly not the kind of thing that would ever happen to Green Arrow.

So, instead of honing his craft and developing a second-stage career as a character actor, the inappropriately named Bright decides to go with the Sensational Cure-All of 1942: plastic surgery.

Paul Sloane would like a word with you, Richard, about keeping things in perspective.

Fortunately for Richard, Professor Angel, director of the world-famed Angel Hospital, is eager to help.

"Meanwhile, may I offer you some refreshments? Perhaps some Microscope Under Glass...?"

Unfortunately for Richard, Professor Angel's services are a total scam.

Professor Angel's chipper tsk-tsk smells like a signature saying.  Do we have a recurring GA foe in the making...?!

There's often a point early on in Golden Age stories where all common logic must be thrown out the window in order for the reader to proceed.  As in, what kind of crime can be more profitable than actually running a legitimate plastic surgery business?

"NOW I'm going to get RICH. I have a has-been pretty-boy actor at my disposal!"

So, these imprisoned saps in backless hospital gowns agree to their captor's demands to come up with some half-assed, cobbled-together crimes to make him richer than the owner of a plastic surgery clinic.

What better help could a criminal mastermind want than three random disfigured civilians with zero experience in doing crimes? It's foolproof, I tell you!

The first guy uses his expertise in trucking to help them hijack a rubber tire shipment.

It's the FRAME that really makes the mirror hilarious, like they borrowed it from Apache Chief's bathroom.  How much do you think that whole set-up cost? Less than a truckload of tires...?

Ah, the preferred target of Golden Age heists: SHIPMENTS. If you can't snap a payroll, go after a shipment (actually payrolls ARE shipments... of cash).  Golden Agers weren't lazy like you modern criminals, with your cryptocurrencies and micro-transactions.  They robbed big SHIPMENTS of STUFF, like rubber tires, to sell on the black market. 

Never forget that Two-Face was not above stealing shipments of chewing gum.

Shipments of random products were the cryptocurrency of the day.  And this particular day was during World War II where rubber was in high demand and short supply (what with the Japanazis having taken over most of the rubber-producing countries of the Pacific and the war effort requiring so much rubber for military vehicles and the like).  So, as ridiculous as stealing a truckful of tires sounds to us now, it make more sense at the time. Certainly more sense than chewing gum.

So, obviously the plan is to use the mirror to make the truck drivers think another truck is coming toward them, causing them to slam on the brakes; thus stopped, the truck drivers can be forced to disembark at gunpoint, with the thieves making off with a truckful of valuable tires.  All very tidy, and with no bloodshed!

Oh. Or that instead.

Oh, right; what was I thinking? This is the Golden Age, and body count MATTERS.  

Gotta say; that's an AWESOME scream. Poor Wilhelm!

"This is horrible!" says the guy whose idea it was to lower a giant mirror in front of an oncoming truck on a curvy cliffside roadway.  Some trucking expert he turned out to be; now, I guess, they'll just CARRY a ton of tires away by hand. What a haul!

Gotta admire Professor Angel's sang-froid about (indirectly) causing such a hideous accident and their potential booty lying in a flaming blood-covered heap of twisted metal at the bottom of a cliff; this guy definitely has the makings of a good long-term Green Arrow foe.–

As you may have already guessed, Professor Angel has three stooges to set up the standard Golden/Silver Age tripartite structure of encounters (1. Villain successfully steals and gets away; 2. Villain's theft is foiled but he still gets away; 3. Hero foils theft and captures villain).    This is the first encounter, but, this being a Green Arrow story, he's nowhere to be found and is probably lounging on his sofa watching--

Oh, gods help me...


John C said...

The best justification that I've ever been able to concoct for pre-Crisis DCU super-criminals has been that it's all part of a complex plot where the expensive-but-useless crimes are really just there to either shut small businesses down directly or hike up insurance costs so that they can't stay in business. Depending on the era, it could be orchestrated by Nazis, Soviets, diabolical monopolists, or...I guess technically there's a chain from companies like Galaxy Broadcasting to Intergang to Darkseid, so maybe it's a weird ongoing religious ritual? I don't know, it makes a lot more sense than buying the fanciest observatory mirror to not sell black market tires.

Even that doesn't explain why Angel goes with his blackmailed minions, though. I don't know how the story turns out, but it seems like "I'm going to crime with you, to make sure you do it, then not give a damn when you screw it all up" tips his hand that he has less of an upper hand than he'd like his crack team (a hack actor, a clumsy teamster who needs plastic surgery!?, and...I'm just guessing he's an automat attendant) to believe.

I do have to appreciate that Ollie has basically concocted the same plan, though. "I'll take my giant plane that needs tires and speed up the one-lane road that the tire guy is using, so that I can meet him head on, thereby saving the retail markup" is a bold move that seems likely to get him shot if he doesn't careen off the cliff.

cybrid said...

"Even that doesn't explain why Angel goes with his blackmailed minions, though. I don't know how the story turns out, but it seems like "I'm going to crime with you, to make sure you do it, then not give a damn when you screw it all up" tips his hand"

He's doing it for the LOLs. Really, when you stop to think about it, many villains -- some of them very wealthy men -- ultimately have no better reason to be doing what they're doing than for the LOLs.

Which is particularly appropriate in a Green Arrow villain because (retcons aside) that's basically why Green Arrow became a super-hero in the first place. He wasn't motivated by vengeance or duty or responsibility or anything of that sort. After being stranded on an island, he returned with his newly developed skills and pretty much just went back to his life as if nothing had happened...except that he became a super-hero, with his only motivation being that he WANTED to be a super-hero, and that was all. For the heck of it. For the fun of it. For the LOLs. :-)