Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fiends: Bad Dudes...Bad Breath!

Last week we considered a a couple of hot customers. Well, turns out we have another pair a bit hot under the collar, More specifically, hot under the larynx. Inferno and Mister Blaze. Let's introduce both side-by-side.

Inferno was a circus fire breather who seemed to emit from his mouth heat at will. He was lured into crime named Frank Verrano. This brought him into conflict with the man of steel, Steel Sterling.
Another circus performer, known only as Mr. Blaze also turned to a life of crime when his own act proved a dismal failure. And  he met Mr. Smith!
Now in prison, Inferno revealed a softer side despite his gruff demeanor, as he learned a new inmate may have cause the fare Dora Cummings to unnecessary danger. He soon learn that this prisoner is his old enemy, disguised as a fellow captive to ferret out a rumored prison break. Steel begins to realize that Mr. Verrano may have more in common with him than he knows. What will Inferno's future have in store for him?

Now coating himself and his special suit in Chris Smith's compound, Mr. Blaze is about to reveal his trump card, as he had discovered a  hidden race of underground lava men (all the rage in the hip 60's) ready to yield to his will when he displays an invincibility to fire. Still there is one obstacle... ex-diplomat now masked man... Peacemaker.

After Sterling's testimony, Inferno embarks on a heroic career getting one of those neat uniforms. From his initial appearances in Zip Comics 10-13... he then had his own series in Blue Ribbon Comics  13-19.


After drawing Peacemaker back to his hidden lair, Blaze does what all psychotic would-be world conquerors would do as reveals his scheme...to steal his rival's jet as a heat  missile of sort, and topple Washington D.C. 

Coming out of retirement, Inferno joined two other heated heroes, Firefly and  Fireball in Mighty Crusaders #4 in order to join the team. Sent to combat the threat Hangman (himself a former applicant of this team...turned evil on a reverse career path from Inferno). Later on, Inferno fights alongside with former foe and ally Steel, although neither seem to have much to say after all these years. And our hero leaves after his request to join...along with that of the others...is rejected by the Crusaders until later on.

Of course, Smith doesn't take the news of his invention being used as a weapon of war well, and pursues Blaze in his backup aircraft. Fortunately, he knows the flaws of his device well and this proves to be the undoing of Mr. Blaze, who disappears after ejecting. There is a hint that he would return...and had Peacemaker's series continued past issue #5, which was Blaze's debut, our turban tormentor may well have as he had potential. Oh...and the lava men slithered back into the hole they crawled out of. They got burned.


Both Inferno and Mr. Blaze started out in the same career, then followed up as felons. Would Blaze have also eventually repented and become a force for good? Doubtful but who know? Or cares? Meanwhile, Inferno makes one more silver age appearance...and it appears he may have turned back to the dark side! We'll leave that for a future Battling Blondes.

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