Monday, January 17, 2011

Poisoning the bullets seems like overkill...more overkill, then.

I might not have time for this cool-ass shot if you were armed!
Even before I watched all those Green Hornet episodes, I've been on kind of an old-school kick lately. It occurred to me how much I would enjoy having "proper" action figures (that is to say, in the 6-inch scale range like Marvel Legends or DCUC) of the Hornet and Kato; and the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the Shadow, the Phantom...

Actually, I'd even be OK with analog versions, your knockoffs or homages or parodies or fakes. In Planetary there were any number of cover versions, from Japanese kaiju monsters to Vertigo Comics entire 80's catalog; but a favorite of mine was Ellis and Cassaday's spin on the Lone Ranger from Planetary #22, "The Torture of William Leather."
I'm not saying I want to get into murder, but man, I would love to enjoy my work a tenth as much as that guy...
William was basically, the evil Human Torch, part of the Four and their vast conspiracy. Planetary frontman Elijah Snow does torture him for info this issue; but we find out his suffering goes back much further. Allowing for the analog versions, William's grandpa was the Lone Ranger, and his dad was the Shadow--or they should have been. Because his 'dad' was always out fighting crime, his mom had an affair with one of of his 'operatives.' Which leads to a lifetime of William feeling cheated of a legacy of coolness, which more than likely would've included superpowers. Which is no excuse for the horrible things we've seen William do in his quest to get and keep power; in one issue, we see him murder a baby Superman-analog in its crib/rocket.

The 'Dead Ranger' of this issue, though, is of course based on the Lone Ranger, but with a twist I love: along with the traditional silver bullets, his were tipped with mercury, a common leaving of silver mines. And of course, poisonous as hell. "People always said the Dead Ranger always shot to wound, but that wounded badmen died of shame. Nobody ever worked out that the bullets were poisoned."

(Actually, I had to re-read this more closely, since I thought the bullets were arsenic, which is also found with silver and in fact is used in small amounts in lead bullets. I have no idea how well a 100% arsenic bullet would hold up for shooting, but it sounds cool.)

The Spider there is based more on the Shadow than the competing pulp hero of the same name, but here he's also one of Planetary and the Authority's "century babies," like Snow or Jenny Sparks: born at midnight on January 1, 1900; those children grew up with powers and some were 'functionally immortal.' Still, the Spider seems to be getting a kick out of shooting those guys, moreso than I'd say the Shadow would.

Of course, if Planetary were to ever get more action figures, I do not want to know what I would do, for a Phantom Cop of Hong Kong figure. From issue #3's "Dead Gunfighters," this would look just beautiful in clear or semi-clear plastic. Ah, if only.

Incidentally, in Green Hornet continuity, Britt Reid was the son of the Lone Ranger's nephew. The connection isn't played up much anymore, for legal reasons...

1 comment:

Bubbashelby said...

So as I was reading this I was thinking the Spider is more of a Green Hornet analogue for the reason you outlined at the end (GH is kin to LR.)