Monday, October 3, 2016

Adventure Comics #41 - pt. 1

There's a bit of controversy over the second Sandman story in this issue. The Sandman pulls a mobster underwater, beats him up, and then we never see that mobster again. The author summarizing stories for DC Wikia believes that Sandman must have drowned the man, making this the Sandman's first kill (despite the narrator's claims that the Sandman has never committed a crime). Thank goodness I had access to The Golden Age Sandman Archives to corroborate these things! I don't think any definitive conclusion can be drawn from that page. We never see the end of that underwater battle. For all we know, before the Sandman surfaces again, he leaves the mobster safely unconscious on a nearby dock.

When Sandman does resurface, the girl he's rescuing says she's "heard a lot about" him, which seems unlikely if this is only his third mission ever. Like with the magic-users and superheroes we've seen so far, there is ample precedent for allowing Heroes to begin with more than 0 xp, or even whole "brevet ranks" (called "big bang levels" in Supplement V).

The Sandman spends much of this adventure out of costume -- retaining his gas mask, but otherwise wearing only a bathing suit and a shoulder holster for his gas gun. At some points he is wearing a coat and hat over his bathing suit. Mysterymen do not seem to need to always be in costume as much as superheroes do.

Barry O'Neill, in his adventure, is in Tunisia -- a welcome departure for me from the habit of creating fictional countries (a personal pet peeve of mine).  Cecil Krull is a great villain name -- too bad it was just an alias.  "Cecil" is a spy, but we already knew spies needed to be a mobster type.

Steve Carson of Federal Men has been slumming for awhile now, but it seems like Jerry Siegel decided to go all out for this issue. An entire town dies, strangely, during a snowfall -- raising the stakes from Steve's recent adventures of stopping crooks. Mobrune is a prophet-like figure who predicts other towns will be hit by the killer snow to be purged of wickedness. As those towns are later hit, Mobrune grows a cult around him (making me wonder if cultist should be a mobster type). Mobrune is actually using a poison gas that is catalyzed by cold air, and the snow is just incidental. A bit bloodthirsty for my liking, but otherwise a plot!

Two of the benefits of a Western campaign (the same with many fantasy campaigns, really) is that a) a trope of the genre is that the Hero is always moving and, b) in a remote environment, any encounter is worthy of description. Which is good because, under normal circumstances an old man looking to go home to see his son -- as Jack Woods meets -- would not seem like much of a plot hook in a busy city.

The bandits Jack Woods meet do something interesting and different -- they just let Jack go, trusting that they've intimidated him enough that he would stay away!

Speaking of different, Socko Strong and his friend Jerry Indutch are shipwrecked on a primitive island but, instead of focusing on getting off the island, Socko and Jerry form ties to the islanders and seem ready to settle down! Socko wins a job as a bodyguard and Jerry has eyes on the chief's daughter. That's creative, proactive roleplaying! The natives use poisoned spears, so the native mobster type needs a 1 in 6 chance of having poisoned weapons.

Should a film projector be a trophy item? Hmm...

Captain Desmo and Gabby are dealing with thugs - the Indian thugs (or Thugees) the word originated with. These thugs are treated as natives, swarming over an Indian city (a fictional city? I can't find a real Jeddur). Since the natives have a huge number advantage, Desmo "has" to resort to wiping them out with a grenade, and the cliche of cutting a primitive bridge over a chasm.

(Sandman read in Golden Age Sandman Archives v. 1, the rest read as summaries at DC Wikia.)

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