Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Captain Comet "Postcard" by George Pérez

It's been a while since I did one of these "postcard" reminiscences, and about as long since I've covered Captain Comet, so how about we kill two topics with one post? Working without the benefit of an actual postcard, I've altered a panel from 1986's History of the DC Universe #2, inked by Karl Kesel, to fabricate one. If you've ever read the comic adaptation of Logan's Run, tell me Pérez's take on Adam Blake isn't the spitting image of the sandman Francis...

A mutant born one hundred thousand years ahead of his time, Adam Blake left Earth to explore space, aided by his incredible mental and physical abilities. He returned twenty years later to battle the Secret Society of Super-Heroes with his evolved strength, speed, intelligence, stamina, telekinesis and telepathy.

Captain Comet was in the mid-80s house ad for DC Challenge, but with his nondescript red costume turned mostly toward the back, I mistook him for a generic sci-fi character. Truth to tell, I wasn't so far off, as Comet started his life as a curious hybrid of bland pulp speculative fiction and a last gasp for the super-hero genre between the Golden and Silver Ages. I want to say my next exposure was thumbing through Secret Society of Super-Villains back issues around 1987, more intrigued by the titular concept, but curious about exactly who this sole unknown hero tasked with battling a host of bad guys was. I learned from somewhere (Who's Who?) that he was the first comic book mutant, predating the X-Men. Besides the Martian Manhunter, Captain Comet was the only official DC super-hero of the 1950s "gray period," and with his vast (and similar) powers, I was fascinated by what he must have gotten up to in an era (almost) all his own. I continued to stumble upon Comet over the years, most notably in his '90s revival series, L.E.G.I.O.N. Even with all his potential, Comet just played straight man to the unethical brilliance of Vril Dox, the amoral mayhem of Lobo, and the more high strung Stealth. Imagine Jim Dial in tights.

I skipped following Comet in his most recent appearances from Mystery in Space, because I was peeved DC broke the mini-series' collection up into two volumes, the first foisting The Weird mini-series onto me in a fairly expensive reprint. I still think there's massive amounts of untapped potential in the character, and feel he's interesting enough to merit his own (long threatened) mini-blog, which is just the sort of thing this venue was designed for.

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