Sunday, January 13, 2019

Daring Mystery Comics #2 - pt. 2

We resume with discussing Trojak the Tiger Man, though the page I'm reading now is about the unnamed woman who has turned good from Trojak's presence and has decided to leave her companions to make her way back through the jungle alone. En route, she encounters a random encounter, a lion. Trojak rescues her by grappling the lion to death. I've commented before on how murderous the early golden age heroes were, but it's also worth pointing out that morale checks never seem to come into play; fights are always to the death with animals.

Trojak learns English from the woman in about a week.

There is no game mechanic for Trojak's "strange premonition that something is wrong." Rather, in game play it is more likely a case of the Editor doing a little unsubtle prodding. "So, what do you now? Maybe head back to the village and check up on it...?"

Trojak's tactic of grappling the chieftain and holding him hostage is a sound one.

Instead of summoning animals himself, like by some special cry, Trojak tells his pet tiger to go get help. How the tiger communicated with the lions and elephants who show up with him is unclear.

K-4 and His Sky Devils is the aviation feature in this issue. It is a step above many other aviation features in naming the planes it depicts; we see British Hawkers and American Grummans. Not only that, but we even get K-4's number of kills in war -- 11 in WWI (where he rose to the rank of lieutenant), 33 in the Spanish Civil War, and "dozens" in the "China-Japan conflict." If we award him 100 XP per battle, and assume dozens = 36, that's 8,000 XP, which happens to be exactly enough to make K-4 a lieutenant by the XP chart for fighters.

In an unusual twist, K-4 is only using his plane for transportation for most of this story; as the bulk of it involves him going undercover, masquerading as a German SS officer. K-4 has to get to Kurtzburg, Germany, which is not a real place but probably represents Kutzberg, which is. When K-4 is ID'ed as a spy, he snatches up as many grenades as he can carry from an armory and blows up his way out of an enemy base. Interestingly, of all the strips, this is the one that most seems to have been prepared for serial publication in a newspaper and was reformatted to the comic book page (with frequent recap narrations intact).

Mr. E is a mysteryman. When a rich man with a threatening note tosses it in his fireplace, Mr. E has to win initiative to get to the note before it's consumed by the fire. Of course, being a mysteryman, and not in combat yet, Mr. E can burn a stunt to win initiative. The stakes are high; this is a rare adventure where the bad guys want $1 million.

Mr. E is run off the road on his way back from the old man's mansion and -- here's the really interesting part -- it's an arch-enemy, The Vampire. Apparently, his nemesis has just been trailing him in his own car, waiting for a chance to get even. They have enough of a history that Mr. E recognizes him by voice. The notion of starting your hero with a nemesis baked into your backstory is an intriguing one. Hypothetically, a human Hero could make his nemesis his free supporting cast member, so every time the Editor uses him, the Hero automatically gets an extra 100 XP.

(Comic read at

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