Wednesday, 23 March 2016

World's Finest #218. Part Two. Element Man: The Haunted Millionaire.

World's Finest #218.
Mere weeks ago on this blog, I took a look at World's Finest #218 which gave us Batman and Superman vs Capricorn. I have no doubt at all that the makers of the Batman vs Superman movie have based their script closely on that epic tale and it will therefore be a box office and critical triumph.

But it's not the only tale in that issue - because it also features a back-up strip starring Element Man.

I must confess that this tale is the only exposure to Element Man I've ever had, unless you count Facade in Sandman #20, which clearly wasn't about Element Man but was about his near-identical female equivalent - Element Girl - who had matching powers, origin and appearance but clearly possessed a far less robust disposition in life.

World's Finest #218, Element Man
Fortunately for us all, the tale in this issue has a first page that tells us just who Element Man is, who the people around him are and how he got his Periodical Powers.

It seems that he's Rex Mason and his girlfriend's dad - Simon Stagg - also happens to be his antagonist, meaning he spends great chunks of his free time hanging around with his arch-enemy.

World's Finest #218, Element Man
Thus it is that they all set off to the seaside together.

But Simon Stagg is not a happy camper. This is thanks to him being targeted by the ghost of his evil ancestor who's out to get him.

Except it turns out that that's not what's going on at all.


Because it's all gone Scooby-Doo. The so-called ghost is actually not a ghost at all. It is in fact a robot that was created by Stagg who then tried to destroy it. Needless to say this has sent the robot somewhat revengey.

World's Finest #218, Element Man
Fortunately, Element Man is soon on the scene to rescue Stagg and deal with the robot.

Quite why the robot was disguising itself as a ghost is anyone's guess and not explained at any point but it's a Bob Haney script, so it's probably best not to expect too much logic from it.

The thing's drawn by John Calnan, an artist I'm not otherwise familiar with but who draws it in that DC house style that I am familiar with.

All in all, comprising just seven and a half pages, it's an appealing and quirky tale featuring a hero who feels like he should be in a Charlton mag, which is no bad thing at all - and this story's existence did at least mean that, when I read that Sandman tale all those years ago, I sort of felt like I knew who Element Girl was, even if I didn't really.


TC said...

And the robot would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Element Man.

Now that you mention it, Metamorpho did have a sort of Charlton feel about him. I'd always thought of Metamorpho and the Doom Patrol as Marvel characters published by DC, and of Captain America as a DC hero published by Marvel.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty good observation, TC. I kinda thought the same thing.
It's like there were two different DC universes, one that was a bit boring and predictable, and one that was just plain weird.
It's hard to imagine Jonah Hex, Swamp Thing, or Weird War Tales occurring in the same universe as Superboy or the Flash, but I guess they did, according to Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Or on alternate Earths, maybe. (Ouch, my head hurts)

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