Action Comics Weekly #604 (Deadman)
“Genie in a Bottle”
Writer – Mike Baron
Pencils – Dan Jurgens
Inks – Tony DeZuniga
Letters – Steve Haynie
Colors – Liz Berube
Editor – Barbara Randall
I’m going to be honest with you all… I really dragged my feet with this one. With these shorter pieces, I’ve been trying to “batch” em out… do a few a day, or every couple of days… giving myself a nice “buffer” just in case my school workload precludes me from attending to this place like I want to.
This one though… let’s just say, it’s taken me a minute to sit still long enough to type this one out. It’s no secret that Deadman ain’t my “guy”, but, this chapter… I dunno, just didn’t inspire me!
We open outside the Temple, where someone called “Currier” (do we know this guy? I can’t remember him being mentioned before…) has headed inside, and into the Flying Saucer hidden underneath. Major Kasaba ain’t hep to this jive, and assumes that this might just ruin everything. Deadman and Talaoc are looking on, with the latter revealing that when those folks from the sky arrived, he was told that no one was ever to touch the Saucer. Welp… don’t look now!
Boston hops to it, and chases the U.F.O. into the atmosphere. He phases inside it, and finds Currier… who is, unsurprisingly, kinda freaked out. Deadman possesses the fella, however, finds himself unable to control the Saucer’s trajectory.
Deadman tries a few more ways to return the craft to Earth before giving up. Remember, he’d made that promise to Rama that he wouldn’t leave the planet. Upon arrival back at the ruins of the Temple, Talaoc says his final goodbyes… ya see, without a temple, he’s doneski.
We rejoin Kasaba, who ain’t pleased that they lost the Saucer, but is cool with their “consolation prizes” in the form of alien weaponry. That Archaeologist pleads with her to just stop… claiming that there’s already been more than enough devastation. In response… she aims her new alien gun at him. Whoops. Deadman sees this as an opening to possess her…
… but it doesn’t work! Due to the alien weaponry, he is expelled from her body with the quickness, and rendered unconscious… or, whatever it is when an already dead body stops moving for a bit.
While he’s “out”, the Major and her men load Boston into a handy-dandy glass sarcophagus, and before we know it… he’s delivered to a top secret military installation in rural Virginia. One of the “big brains” there seems to think this discovery might give the United States the edge in ESP research.
I’m not a stranger to the idea of “overthinking” things… as many/all longtime readers can attest. I feel like with this story… if we were to take Deadman out of the larger DC Universe, and place him in a vacuum (figuratively speaking of course… not like that vacuum-sealed glass sarcophagus), this story would work far better.
As it is, Deadman is part of a universe that he shares with, what, hundreds of aliens on Earth? Thousands? I’m not so sure why Kasaba is so keen to these alien weapons, when… undoubtedly, the United States government must have a stockpile of stuff that would put much/all of it to shame!
I mean, using Deadman for ESP research? This is the DC Universe… there are PSYCHICS here! Telepaths! Empaths! Magicians! C’mon… this just doesn’t fly. Taken as it’s own “thing”, an argument could be made… but, I mean… Task Force X exists. The United States Government has its pick of super/meta-powered characters to exact their goals.
Onto another subject… this is very well drawn! Really dig Jurgens’ work here, in particular the scene where Deadman attempts to possess the Major and is given the boot. Really well done!
Overall… I hear tell that this story is about to become kinda silly with some of the “power players” of late-80’s global politics… so, I’m looking forward to seeing just how insane things get, but this chapter (and the one before it), just kinda “ehh”.
Tomorrow: Closing out the lineup with Blackhawk!