Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Number 149

Jet Powers and The Devil's Machine!

What th--?! At the end of "The Dust Doom," the first story in Jet #3, (Pappy's #146) the human race was having to make a new beginning after near annihilation. Now here we are with story two and everything seems as it was before the first story. So what gives? Well, I don't know, but can tell you that the storyline begun with "The Dust Doom" is continued in Jet #4. It's an odd way of doing continuity, and the confusion it caused among readers might be the reason that Jet only lasted four issues. That and the fact that science fiction comics weren't very good sellers compared to other genres.

"The Devil's Machine" is from the same template as "House Of Horrors" in Jet #2. Another mad scientist. Another girl. More civilian victims. Another pseudo-scientific device from the mind of writer Gardner Fox. No Su Shan this time, though.

Professor Mikla has developed a machine, "the multipliciter,"* that duplicates animals. A herd of cloned elephants and lions escape his laboratory. Since this is a comic book, the authorities handle it in the least humane way possible. Instead of capturing or tranquilizing the marauding beasts they machine gun them to death from the air. PETA didn't have a chapter in that part of the country in 1951.

As is also usual for this type of story, the mad scientist comes up against his own equipment and it kills him. Actually, he kills himself...or himselves, as it were.

Once again the story has good art by Bob Powell, hurt by bad printing.

*Anticipating by four-and-a-half decades the movie, Multiplicity(1996), starring Michael Keaton.

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