Tuesday, November 03, 2015

A Calculated risk in finding this book, then. (Boo!)

This issue's been on my shelf for a few months, but I first mentioned the Calculator over two years ago, so it's long past time we checked this one out: from 1977, Detective Comics #468, "Battle of the Thinking Machines!" Written by Bob Rozakis, pencils by Marshall Rogers, inks by Terry Austin.

In the back-up stories for the previous five issues of Detective Comics, the Calculator had faced--and been beaten by--Hawkman, Black Canary, the Atom, Green Arrow, and Elongated Man. But each time, the Calculator pressed his "special button" on his chest keypad, which he claims will "turn defeat into victory!" Facing Batman, Calculator is again beaten, and again hits his button, and again escapes from prison seemingly effortlessly; this time when a water main conveniently bursts while he was being booked. The next day, after Bruce Wayne ducks a business call from GBS's Morgan Edge, Batman has a JLA meeting with the other heroes that faced Calculator, and they receive the call that the villain is in Central City. (The Flash is out, per his own book!)

The collected heroes are surprisingly ineffective against the Calculator, who claims none of them will ever be able to capture him again. The Atom thinks to try attacking as civilian Ray Palmer, but even that doesn't work, and Calculator escapes in a walk-off. He says his "special button" "innoculated" him from ever being captured by those heroes again, and plans to do the same against Superman, Green Lantern, and other heroes. Aside: I have no idea how that would work. How would his button immunize him from getting smacking in the skull with Hawkman's mace, and if so would said immunity carry over to Hawkgirl or anyone else macing him?

After dodging another meeting with Edge, Batman gets the idea how to beat Calculator, and sets up a trap with a fake story about a S.T.A.R. Labs time capsule. During the fight, Calculator uses his computerized projector to create an escape-proof cage, but Batman had put that idea into his head and preset his own trap, a turntable floor that lands Calculator in his own cage! On the last page, Batman even implies that Calculator was still stuck in that cage, and has a good laugh at Morgan Edge taking a bath financially due to Wayne blowing him off. (And at Edge's suggestion that to shore up a floundering book division, he could get Batman to write a memoir.) I don't usually do multiple full page scans, but for Marshall Rogers--and a book that surprisingly doesn't seem to have been reprinted in America--why not?

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Hey, when you showcase that gorgeous Marshall Rogers art(RIP) you're forgiven.
And yet another reason, in an ever-growing long line of them, why Batman is the goddamn man. I bet he laughed. I bet he sometimes still thinks about that one when he needs a little pick me up.

Beautiful artwork aside, how the hell did the Calculator catch on, even as a punching bag for various heroes and not straight up killed later on? If he was a marvel villain the Scourge would've popped an exploding cap in his ass. Love to see him develop a special button against being straight up dusted.