Thursday, October 27, 2016

Amazing Man Comics #5 - pt. 1

No, I haven't skipped any issues; Amazing Man Comics really did start with issue #5. It was, after Superman, the second comic book named after its lead character.

We know from the caption that Amazing Man is over 25 years old. Hideouts & Hoodlums doesn't worry about character age or aging, but it was generally true in the Golden Age that Heroes were college-educated, which meant being at least 22 years old when they started.

John Aman is known both as Amazing Man and as The Green Mist, depending on who you ask, I guess. It would not be unsuitable for H&H Heroes to have more than one superhero name.

The Council uses a sleep-ray on John, I guess so he can't hear their deliberations. It seems to have a very short range, but is fairly portable.

Amazing Man is showing off his powers in the first test. This could be the power Raise Elephant at play -- though, since he isn't technically raising it, maybe he only needs Raise Car to stop it.

Bereft of other weapons, John uses his teeth on a poisonous snake. Although biting is not a particularly effective attack, he might have buffed it up with Get Tough or a similar power.

We know that Amazing Man has enough hit points to take two knife wounds and still be only lightly wounded. So...8-15 hit points? At least they're nice enough to bandage him up afterwards.

 I've no idea why the head of the Council is green.

The invisibility formula is like a potion meant to be taken intravenously. There is a side effect that not all invisibility potions have, but (as explained on the next page) the duration of this potion is a full week.

John's first case is solving railroad sabotage in Wyoming (you'd think there would be plenty to keep him busy in Asia, what with the Japanese occupation of China going on).

John finds his first clue, a monogrammed pencil -- with silver lead. I wonder if that would poke werewolves?

Also note that John has an airplane as a starting item. This is not commonly the case in H&H -- though an Editor could choose to hand out trophy items at the start of a campaign.

I'm not sure how John saves this train in such a way that no one else could have done it. The really amazing thing is that he just tells the engineer to let him take over before the crash -- and the engineer goes along with it!  John must have a high Charisma, and/or a lucky encounter reaction roll.

There's no power for superheroes to do this yet. Psychic Auto Writing? It seems too specific a trick to be useful often. Object Reading might be do-able (perhaps the "automatic writing" part is flavor text?). I would think that this is just a trick with telekinesis to flush a confession out of the villain, except that John seems genuinely surprised.

This is the bizarre last page of the bizarre first and only appearance of the very first Cat Man in comics. He's a man who dresses up like a crazy old cat lady, then has his trained cat scratch people with poisoned claws. The poison must be something that smells bad to the cat so it knows not to try and lick it off. The Cat Man's only superpower is somehow keeping from getting scratched himself, and his cat's only power seems to be that weird ability to smile it has.

No real bearing on H&H, except for the idea that you could have Heroes run into poisonous pets.

This story is the debut of the Iron Skull, but these are just robot bank robbers we see here. They are a pretty good match for the copper robots found in Book II, except for the added ability to shoot poison gas (save or die) out of their chests.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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