Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Steelers Sundays: Steel vs Sarge Round 2

As Steel Sterling's second adventure rolled around (not counting an aside in Blue Ribbon Comics which insert some character references somewhat concurrent with this and the next issue), we see a new plotter steered the original Man of Steel in a new direction. A more human direction, actually. Gone was the superhuman abilities, now he was just above human with moments of marvelous muscles thrown into the mix to satisfy the superhero fanboys:

You got it... it's Robert Kaningher... aka Mr. Wonder Woman. Making his claim to fame as the plotter for some truly wacky stories during the silver age of the amazing amazon and then creating the most famous fictional sergeant in comics (Rock) and several other World War II characters, he was now winding now his comic book career. Attempting to make Steel "relevant" to modern sensibilities, more tales of angst and human drama would be interjected throughout the remainder of this series. Sometimes effectively, sometimes not so much so.

Introducing a strong female (Princess Diana?) to counterbalance the balance the rugged blonde boyscout (Steve Trevor?), Ms. Samson was more of an annoyance at this point then a love interest. But fear not... once she traded hairstyles and soften her approach she would become the twinkle in Steel's eye. Well, one of them anyways. The point of the above exchange was to motivate our titular tough-guy to push himself beyond his limits. Oh boy, would he!

Facing a rogue motorcycle gang without an appreciation for history (c'mon, you gonna slap around the dude who took out such immortal crooks as Monster Master, the Red Knight and the Magnetic whatishisname?), Sterling now has a tough decision to make... whether to bolt and save his tail or stick to his convictions and face down his fearsome foes?

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Sarge Steel #2 picked up the momentum of its previous issue and carried it further. Mostly due to the introduction of Bess Forbes, who is absolutely one of the best female love interests in comics (although they always tapped dance around something going on between Sarge and Bess). Werner Von Wess was the villain-of-the-week, a passable sort filling the ex-Nazi niche all in vogue in the robust 60's. His scheme to take over the world using a nuclear submarine was squashed by the most indispensable tool in Sarge's crime fighting repertoire: his steel fist (the picture was from his confrontation with arch-foe Ivan Chung last week. This week he used it to bust down a locked hatch!). Not a bad follow-up to a promising series of the P.I./Spy. Each Steel had some more adventures in store for them of varying types which we'll consider in the months to come!

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