Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Read: The Brave and The Bold #35.1

Issue: The Brave and The Bold #35
Title: "Menace of the Matter Master!"
Published Date: Apr/May 1961
Generation: Silver Age Katar
Retcon Status: Changed Generation (Silver Age stories which originally featured Katar now featuring Carter)... at least, I think so.  

Summary: After an armored car is robbed in Midway City, and then strange living meteor men rob the Midway City Art Center, Hawkman and Hawkgirl investigate.  The run into scientist Mark Madrill, who had been trying the old trick of transmuting lead into gold.  Instead, he accidentally created a strange element (dubbed Mentachem) which allowed him to command inert matter, and control any matter in it's natural state.  Forming his Mentachem into a wand, he created a costume and dubbed himself the Matter Master.  The Hawks fight his meteor men, but the Master is able to escape by turning animated helicopter blades on our heroes.  Later, Matter Master uses animated flowers to steal an ancient parchment from the Midway City Museum, which Hawkman is able to track, finding the Master's cave hideout.  After a struggle involving all of the air being sucked out of the cave, the Hawks seperate the Master and his wand and arrest him.

Review: The first Hawkman villian which anyone has ever heard of is introduced here, and it's a pretty typical Silver Age story.  Matter Master fits in with alchemy-styled baddies including, that's right, Dr. Alchemy.  The Mentachem wand is put to good use, but his Merlin-esque costume is a little silly and not very menacing.  Still, he's not a bad villian, but it's too bad he didn't show up much more in Hawkman's solo adventures.  Midway City continues to get fleshed out, and Police Commissioner Emmett makes another appearance, and Byth pops up in a flashback.  Kubert's art is top notch, and Fox's straight-laced story (despite the living chopper blades and rock men) is enjoyable for the era.

Image: The Brave And The Bold #35, 1961, Joe Kubert.
Image: Matter Master, unknown date, unknown artist.

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