Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yeah, you don't get to call yourself 'Superior' and dress like that. One or the other...

Huh. Superior has a different look than I would've expected from a Mark Millar book, but I guess that's why he's an innovator--wait a minute! Not that Superior! This one's from a Shazam/Captain Marvel story! I'm somehow devoting another day to World's Finest #259, with "The Secret of Mr. Tawny" Written by E. Nelson Bridwell, pencils by Don Newton, inks by Kurt Schaffenberger.

We've posted on him before, but I think Tawky Tawny may be my favorite character from the Marvel Family. (Although I always thought his name was spelled Talky Tawny, or Mr. Tawny.) And today, we see it's not just that he's a tiger that's learned to talk and walk upright, Tawny's real power is that he can wear the hell out of a suit. (Although you might not know it from this issue!)

Tawny is offered a job modeling suits for the Hubb Clothing Company, and Captain Marvel comes with him to check out the contract. (You need the wisdom of Solomon for that one.) Part of said contract is a physical examination, and CM drags the skittish Tawny to an appointment with Dr. Ambrose, who is thrilled to chart his evolution. Originally, Tawny just learned to talk by hanging out with an old hermit who complained constantly about the city; but that's silly. Of course, the hermit gave Tawny a formula that accelerated his personal evolution. Naturally.

Examining Tawny's blood sample later, Dr. Ambrose isolates and duplicates a chemical found therein, the evolutionary catalyst. Ambrose then tests it on himself, as you do in comics; and it turns him into a lunatic super-villain, as you would also expect. Putting on a phenomenally terrible outfit--what is that, a pink nun's whipple? Armbands? Booties? Stockings? Good god, this makes the Creeper's outfit seem meticulously thought out...calling himself the Superior, he crashes a United Nations special session, tells them to quit arguing and follow his orders. He was ahead of his time, really; yelling at people and expecting them to fall in line.

Although they scuffle for a moment, Captain Marvel is able to outwit the Superior after Tawny recognizes his scent: a quick trip to India, and CM uses the hermit's notes to create an antidote. Then, when Tawny acts like he's reverted to an ordinary tiger, the Superior goes to get another dose of serum and gets antidote instead. (Huh? Somehow...I kind of thought Superior had whipped up another dose, but he might've just had it in his fridge, and Captain Marvel switched it out.)

Back to normal, Dr. Ambrose thanks Captain Marvel for saving him, and destroys his notes. If he was, say, a Spider-Man or even Batman villain, he would relapse over and over and over again throughout the years, but I don't think we've seen him since. Maybe.

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