Saturday, July 7, 2018

Marvel Mystery Comics #3 - pt. 1

The Human Torch is on a train bound for Texas, discussing "Lawson Bell" -- apparently what Orson Welles' name is in the Timely Universe. The Torch befriends Mr. Carson -- and he really makes a good encounter reaction roll, apparently. Remember, in his first appearance The Torch killed his creator, and in his second appearance he accidentally sets fires everywhere he goes. Now he just introduces himself as the Human Torch and Carson calls him a "world-famous character" and wants to shake his hand (of course, Carson is in munitions, so maybe death and destruction just appeal to him!).

No sooner than they've exchanged pleasantries, then the train is attacked by spaceships with forward-mounted electric rayguns! Martians are on board the ships and they want Carson's formula for trinitroluol, or super-trinitroluol as Carson calls it on the next page. Think about that...they have technology that allows them to fly between worlds and shoot electricity as weapons...and they need to come here to steal explosives. Oh, and Martians look just like humans. They seem to need help breathing our atmosphere, since they wear sealed bodysuits, but it doesn't seem to bother them too badly when their face plates get smashed. Their leader's name is Captain Ott.

The Torch was temporarily stunned in the train crash and is pinned by bent steel when he comes to. He seems a little addled in the head too, because he thinks if he flames on, it will take him longer to get free than if he lies there struggling. If I was really mean, I would add an effect like the Confusion spell to those initially recovering from temporary unconsciousness.

Once the Torch recovers, he uses the power Wreck at Range (which, in 1st ed., was treated as a race ability) -- and he uses it on a knife. Think about that...the Martians have electric rayguns on their ships...and still kill with knives. Melting the blade makes the weapon harmless...though I would think melting steel would actually be more harmful than the blade was.

It's less clear what power The Torch is using when he kicks a fireball into a Martian's face, or if he's even using a power at all. Since the Martian is still in melee range, maybe this is just unarmed combat with some flavor text added.

In a sequence of panels that make it very hard for me to take The Human Torch seriously, the Torch decides that the best way to remove a huge steel bar that's crushing Mr. Carson is to melt the steel bar. Somehow, that much heat doesn't kill Carson outright, but both Carson and the Torch think it's curious afterwards when Carson gets dizzy and then passes out and dies. Oops!  This is why Hideouts & Hoodlums can't have too strict restrictions on Heroes killing people.

The Martians tail the Torch later in a car with a long, pointy hood on it; the hood can be shot as a weapon.

The Torch's flame is doused by water in this story, but not by being buried in sand. This is one reason I only make android players take one vulnerability (that, and just to make the race playable at all levels).

Characters usually don't get hurt by jumping from moving vehicles, but Ritton (the traitor working with the Martians) is knocked unconscious after jumping from a moving train.

The last new power displayed by the Torch is Message -- the ability to communicate through the use of a power or, in this case, to make giant sky-writing out of flame.

In The Angel's story, he is summoned on a new adventure by a random scream in the night. Three cultists (a new mobster type in 2nd edition) are abducting a girl, but manage to get away after they hit the Angel with their car and temporarily stun him (reduced to zero hit points and made his save vs. plot).

When The Angel recovers, he's either delusional or using the Super-Senses power -- because he claims he can hear voodoo drums from the north before driving out of town along a highway to a remote road to get to the source of the drumming. The source is said to be an old mansion, but it looks more like a castle with a curtain wall and courtyard. The entrance to the courtyard is trapped -- at the pull of a lever, the ground drops away to reveal a pit at least 10' deep. The cover can be raised back over the pit.

(Read at Marvel Unlimited.)

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