Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Number 155

Jet Powers Fooled by Fleebs!

"The Interplanetary War" is the final story from Jet #3, published in 1951 by ME Comics. As with the rest of the Jet Powers series, it was written by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Bob Powell.

Issue #3 started out with the near-destruction of our planet by a cosmic dust storm, but that fact isn't mentioned in the following three stories. When I post the stories from Jet #4 you'll see that both the first story and this story from issue #3 are continued. It's an odd way to continue something…you'd think they'd devote a book to each storyline individually, but apparently that wasn't the way they did it at ME Comics in 1951.

"Interplanetary War" begins with some Martians hunkering down against their Venusian enemies, the "white slugs," as the Martians call them, and "Fleebs," as the Venusians call themselves.

This is a screwy story and I won't ruin it for you by breaking it down into its composite pieces, but to me it looks like a whole lot of plot crammed into eight short pages. Su Shan, Jet's live-in lady-love, shows up in four panels, but Jet leaves her at home in his lab. He makes it to Mars — in two days, yet! — by himself, mistaking the Venusians for the Martians. Just for the record, the most jarring panel to me in the whole story is the one with Jet sitting with his Fleeb "host" at what looks like a coffee-shop table, eating lunch, with musical accompaniment. I'm not sure what author Fox could have said in his script to indicate the action in this panel: "Jet is having a sitdown lunch with the Fleebs. Waiter serves, and Fleeb with mandolin plays in background." This panel is oddball, even for this story. Jet seems to communicate very well with the good-guy Martians when he finally finds them. The Fleebs used a translation device. I don't see him using one with the Martians.

Ah, but I wasn't going to break it down, was I? As is true with the rest of the contents of Jet #3, the printing is bad, blobbing up in spots and washing out in others. It's not my scanning, folks…it's some long ago printers who didn't care about what they printed or what it looked like.

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