Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Battling Blondes: Round 1 - Mental Madmen

Deriving inspiration from the gents at Threadmill with their Scaled-Down Smackdowns, we're incorporating our own version here featuring our favorite blonde bombshells: The Web and The Thunderbolt!

We'll incorporate a four point grading system in each battle: 1.) Story Drama, 2.) Imaginative Use of Abilities, 3.)  Adversary, 4.) Intangibles that Worked. As a jumping on point, we'll consider two silver age tales.

The Web in "The Mad Caper of the Madman" from Fly-Man #38:

Our story opens with the Web stumbling on the crime scene of the Acro-Bats, henchmen of the Madman, and dealt them a crushing blow:

















After a glorious victory against this quirky gang, Web finds a closet at the University where Professor John Raymond is employed to change into his civilian identity...and proceeds to find himself locked inside! After vigorously pounding on the door for hours, a cleaning lady opens the door. Johnny races home, thinking he'll only face his mad wife, and then we are introduced to the REAL villain of the piece...his Mother-in-Law!!!!

John regales the gals with tales of past victories against his rogues::



Thunderbolt in "Beware the Cobra" from Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #56

Our second story starts as it normally does with T-Bolt, in his civilian identity of Peter Cannon, free-lance journalist, discussing world affairs with his man-Friday, Tabu. They recall Pete's recent rogues gallery:

Meanwhile, a new villain, the Cobra, appears on the scene using his own mind-controlling technique to kidnap various prominent intellectuals in society, selling them to the highest bidders in the underworld:


Madman trails the Web back to John's home, intent on turning the Raymond  insane using his special pistol. Thunderbolt trails the Cobra's henchmen back to his base, but Cobra use his own pistol against Pete to weaken his will, making him fall prey to his pet, an actual King Cobra!





















However, neither villain can contend with the superior willpower of Thunderbolt and...Rose Raymond and her mom! The audacity of it all!


Whereas Madman succumbs to his own weapon, turning into a raving manic, Cobra's fate is more dire as he's bitten by his own deadly pet! And so ends the  brief careers of two malignant malefactors of the mind!

Battling Blondes Rating

1.) Story Drama: No contest! Thunderbolt beats Web hands down in this category. Oh sure, being locked in a closet with the tension of a vicious attack of henpecking on the horizon is pure drama, the drama of Pete racing against the clock to tracki down Cobra was far more gripping.  For Cobra has in his thrawls a physician  who was the only specialist able to treat a child in critical condition! The category isn't "Story Comedy"..

2.) Imaginative Use of Abilities: Thunderbolt's will power matched against the Web's criminalogist training and resolve seem evenly matched. However, John wins this category thanks to his creative use of a trash can...oh and the way his ladies wield a wicked umbrella and mirror.

3.)Adversary: Both Cobra and Madman have the madness inducing thing going for them. However, the overall scheming of Cobra...kidnapping victims which he then sells to the highest bidder...seems a bit more high-brow then Madman's fairly typical "send my henchmen to rob the local S&L" kinda thing. Kuddos to Cobra! As a side note: while Web's earlier foes were more colorful, Thunderbolt's were far more imaginative.

4.) Intangibles that Worked: Again, John's wife and mother-in-law really made the story while Pete's butler Tabu really only served to get the plot moving towards the beginning. At least for this story, props to Web.

This round ends in a tie..thanks only due to Rose and Mama-in-Law. Athletcally and intellectually, it would seem our pair of crime fighters are evenly matched (ancient Tibetan rolls not withstanding). Will other adversaries or intangibles tip the balance one way or another in this epic battle? Will the Web's  story drama get amped up to compete with Pete Moresi's masterful plotting of T-Bolt? This we shall discover in later rounds. See you then!!!

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