Friday, August 12, 2016

Adventure Comics #40

We've already seen The Sandman once, but here he is, debuting in his regular berth for the first time, Adventure Comics. There's a delightful slow build to the story after Wesley Dodds gets his plot hook. He spends some time mulling it over, while lounging in the dark in his smoking jacket. We meet his butler, Humphries. We get some unusual insight into Wesley's character, when he puts a doll representing himself in his bed, as if psychologically transferring his identity before becoming The Sandman. Before The Batman, The Sandman is the first crimefighter to have a secret underground laboratory (but not an underground lair; that would The Clock).

The Sandman is shown mixing his own chemicals for his gas gun. Last time, I said I was comfortable not giving Sandman levels in the Scientist class, but here he really does seem to be earning at least one level.

There's also a very interesting caption about color. "Then he dons all black apparel", the caption says, yet The Sandman is wearing yellow gloves, an orangish- tan coat, and a purple cape. It seems clear that authors had little input on the coloring of their own characters; the caption was overruled, but the wording was left there anyway.

The Sandman uses stealth (move silently?) to sneak around unobserved, climbing to get to an upper story window, and finds a secret door.

Another interesting detail is that the smell of his sleep gas reminds its victim of violets.

In Barry O'Neill's ongoing adventure, he has just been doused with gasoline and Count Guniff is about to light him on fire - but it turns out he had the wrong bucket and that was just water. A little help from the Editor, or game mechanics? I have had a player suggest the save vs. plot should work like that, with the player suggested an alternate explanation and allowing the player to roll for it. I'm personally opposed to giving the player veto power over the game Editor...but that does seem to be a reasonable explanation for what I've read here...

Steve Carson of Federal Men has fallen far from taking on giant robots to being knocked unconscious by two counterfeiters, one hitting him with a block of wood. I do envision Hideouts & Hoodlums to be a game that can move effortlessly between challenge levels. Maybe I shouldn't be entirely opposed to hoodlums having a special ability of "backstabbing" Heroes for additional damage, and a quick knockout...

Bulldog Martin is overpowered by three thugs (a pretty tough encounter for a solo, low-level Fighter!), but escapes from being tied up by rope by carrying a nail file on him. He foils a plot to murder a racehorse with a fake camera that can shot a poison needle (trophy weapon, but pretty useless to a Hero if you don't allow them to use poison).

Skip Schuyler is in Hawaii, helping a scientist who has made tiny explosives with the power of artillery shells. We also see a good hiding place to search in a scientist's house, the inside of a lampshade.

Rusty and His Pals is at a climactic scene rarely seen in comics -- an earthquake is destroying the island the whole scenario is taking place on, there's a single seaplane that can get people off, and various factions are racing to get to it. One could make a board game out of this scenario. Combat plays a minor part, but it's movement rate that really wins the scenario here.

Anchors Aweigh is on a new scenario. Don and Red get captured by thugs (that seems to happen a lot -- thugs are tough!) and are left in an uncommon deathtrap -- an island that will flood when the tide comes in, and then sharks will show up. They're tied up so they can't swim away, but escape using the old "focusing light with a pair of glasses". I don't think we need an escape artist game mechanic; rather, any idea you come up with to get out of ropes should just automatically work.

There's also an octopus -- and a normal one, not a giant one!

(Sandman adventure read in Golden Age Sandman Archives vol. 1; summaries of the rest read at DC Wikia.)

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