Monday, December 24, 2018

"The End" Week: Mystery in Space #117!

We've seen some of DC's anthology books before here, Unexpected and Weird War Tales, and we've even seen a tribute to this title's classic run, but today we have from 1981, Mystery in Space #117, featuring "The Lazarus Fire!" Written by J.M. DeMatteis, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Jerry Ordway; "The Following Program is Pre-Recorded" Written by B.S. Watson, pencils by Don Newton, inks by Steve Mitchell; "Dream Boat" Written by Bruce Jones, pencils by Rick Veitch, inks by Tom Yeates; and "Cyborg!" Written by Mike W. Barr, pencils by George Tuska, inks by Dennis Jensen.

Mystery in Space had begun in 1951, and really ran until 1966; ending with issue #110 when Ultra the Multi-Alien wasn't a breakout hit. (Although, of course, sales of that final issue, 182,376; would be mighty good by today's standards.) DC brought it back after ending another anthology book, Time Warp: oddly, per the GCD stories scheduled for that book ended up used in Unexpected instead of here. Despite having some work by names you might recognize, like Brian Bolland, Michael Golden, and Marshall Rogers; Mystery in Space was cancelled again with #117. That may not have been expected, though: the letters page mentions Trevor VonEeden and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez stories set for #118; JLGL's story would end up in Weird War Tales #108, but I didn't find VonEeden and Joey Cavalieri's "Escape-Proof" anywhere.

The lead story, "The Lazarus Fire!" bears some similarities with Star Wars #46, also by DeMatteis and Infantino: the theme seems familiar, as does some of the ship and alien design. "The Following Program is Pre-Recorded" would have fit just fine in that Great Disaster trade, if that's not a giveaway. Bruce Jones's "Dream Boat" is a dark little tale of a murderer stealing a spaceship, then getting stranded on his way to comeuppance; it's got a pretty big sci-fi twist, but no more so than "Cyborg!" That one has one of those half-robot guys DC loves, just right down the middle, but the twist is the human half is being used to keep the robot side alive!

So far, I don't think DC has reprinted any of the latter-day Mystery in Space, or Time Warp. A pity, since those Showcase black-and-white trades were perfect for these, just a big pile of pulp reading. I also have yet to get the 2012 Vertigo Mystery in Space 80-pager.


H said...

They did reprint a few of the stories in a sci-fi comic collection a while ago. I think they also reprinted a few Ditko Time Warp stories in an omnibus. I have the collection, but not the omnibus.

Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

I bet that Vertigo Mystery In Space is really good. I know the Vertigo Weird War Tales was really good.