Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Per Degaton, Part 2: "And that's not good!"

Poor Professor Zee has been shot (twice) by Per Degaton! His life hangs by a thread and he's the JSA"s only hope of reversing The Change which is steadily eliminating all modern technology! And the advanced modern superscience needed to save his life has disappeared: penicillin.  

....Who puts penicillin in a time capsule? It's got a shelf life of 3 years, TOPS.

Really, I'd imagine something a bit, um, stronger? Surgery, maybe? would be required to cure an old man who's been shot twice, but, hey it's 1947, and Penicillin is The Premise.

That ... is NOT how Time Capsules work. They aren't pocket dimensions, Dr. Time Trapper.

So, Jay uses the map app on his phone to search for Time Capsules Containing Penicillin Near Me and heads to Colossal Caves, which is, of course, where Per Degaton is hiding.

Special Metal (trademark pending).

It's no coincidence. The Time Capsule is made of "Special Metal" to protect the contents from the ravages of time; that's the same Special Metal that Degaton is using to protect his weapons from the effects of The Change.  Which makes no sense at all but follows comic book logic perfectly.

Jay encounters Degaton's Diabolical Forces and begins to fight them off, until Degaton beans him with a stalactite.


Degaton talks about having planned for a long time, which doesn't jibe with the timeline of when he (first) shot the professor, but I suppose he did a lot of his dirty work in the past.  

I can't believe Roy Thomas never referenced Special Metal again, like having the JSA sleep in coffins of it, to explain why they don't look 148 years old.

Anyway, Jay is too Jordaned to used his superspeed until AFTER Degaton snidely seals him in the Time Capsule (with the penicillin) for the oddly specific time of 6000 years, because, as previous noted, Degaton is a ****.

You can tell Jay's TRYING to compose a haiku in the final panel, but between the head blow and the lack of oxygen, he just can't pull it off.  

Say, you ever see a time capsule? Well, they are BULLET-SHAPED.  It's just a tradition, I guess; perhaps it helps protect them from the ravages of time.

Once Jay's head clears, he suddenly remembers, "I'm the Flash!" and just decides to do something ridiculous, like always.

Jay, I'm pretty sure that'll just squish your head up into your helmet. Wasn't the stalactite enough?

Then, in utter defiance of at least one of Newton's laws:

"Just as". Metaphor is the most common means of escape from Golden Age death traps.

Flash captures some of Degaton's men but not materiel.

Jay Garrick, Master of Deduction.

But his main mission was getting the penicillin, which he accomplished.

Note that the story gives Jay an assignment that's time-sensitive, which is appropriate for the Flash.  Golden Age stories may have Absurd Premises but they are good about things like that.

Observe the pattern:

  • Hero goes on Assignment. 
  • Encounters Degaton & Co.
  • Hero notes Degaton's weapon's are unaffected by The Change.
  • Gets put in Death Trap. 
  • Escapes Death Trap. 
  • Accomplishes Assignment. 
  • Degaton Escapes.  

You'll see it again.

Tomorrow: Al Pratt, the Golden Age's most presumptuous hero, enacts his plan to run around in the streets in his weird gimp/fetish outfit, just shouting Degaton's name til he gives himself up. What could possibly go wrong?


Anonymous said...

I don't see it in every panel, but in a lot of them, Jay looks like Norm MacDonald, so to me everything he says is with Norm MacDonald delivery.

I still think Jay ought to be a Canadian and is wearing a stylized version of the RCMP serge. With that in mind, in my head, Keystone City is Windsor Ontario, while Central City is Detroit Michigan.

Anonymous said...

Magic time capsule.
Preserves penicillin, flies…
Made of Nth metal?

- Mike Loughlin

Scipio said...

It is Tuesday, indeed.

Like Professor Zee theories/machine, The Special Metal is never mentioned again so there are no clues what it might be.

Golden Age stories function by Editorial Postulate. Why is the time capsule shaped like a bullet? How can the metal from which it is construct block The Change? Because the Editor's Box has declared that "A Time Capsule is a bullet-shaped object designed to block the contexts from the effects of time." It's definitional; the option to argue against it has been removed.

Bryan L said...

I also thought that the special metal could be Nth metal. Now that's a Roy Thomas retcon.

Helping out Jay on Haikusday:

Now I must get this
Penicillin to poor Zee
I hope I make it.

Helping out the narrator:

Unknown to the Flash
As he entered the cavern
Strange eyes were watching.

Anonymous said...

I was once explaining the Hawks' reincarnation cycle to the missus, and she said "oh, so they're really phoenixes". And man, that would explain a lot, wouldn't it?

In my head-canon, I like to think that, when the Hawks' phoenix powers are working at full potential, they are reborn in a burst of flames, and the ashes contain a mysterious metal. That'd be the legendary Nth metal.

Redforce said...

It just occurred to me that, in the Golden Age, the stories are so round with absurd premises, rubber science, and impossible coincidences that the writers had NO WAY to write themselves into a corner.