Well, folks, what we're looking at here comes to us from the pages of DC Super Special #10, and in this case, I'm pretty sure they mean "special" the
same way the Special Olympics and Seanbaby do. I don't even feel qualified to determine if this was a good or bad comic ... I'm still stuck in the "what the hell were they thinking" phase ...
The short version of this comic is "Super-Villains challenge Super-Heroes to a baseball game." The long version begins with "Ah, I KNEW you wouldn't be satisfied with the short version..."
To elaborate, the scene opens on Golden Age villains and long-time spouses Huntress and Sportsmaster in a ... let's call it "heated" ... discussion about their future career paths. Huntress is considering a switch to the side of good, because "good always wins." After beating her against the side of a doorframe with a tennis racquet, Sportsmaster convinces her to give him the opportunity to prove her wrong by, of all things, challenging the combined forces of good in the universe to nine innings of America's pasttime.
And so they kidnap nine super-heroes and villains and a stadium full of baseball fans. Way to start that path of moral righteousness. I still don't get why the first thing the heroes did after the game wasn't throwing Huntress' tuckus in the pokey for fifty-thousand-plus counts of
kidnapping. Ah well, my rational mind and the trouble it gets me into ...
Luckily, it's easy to kidnap them all, as the opposing forces of good and evil are engaging in several spots of conflict around the globe ... at charity sporting events. Nice theme. The villains encounter the heroes by chance at a variety of sporting events, an exercise which eats up a half dozen pages of story and already bores me to death.
Green Arrow, Batman and Black Canary are all together at a charity bowling event, and say that one to yourself a few
dozen times before you figure out why a pair of billionaires would sponsor the national game of Wisconsin retirees (No hate mail, please, I bowl too. I'm just saying ...). Additionally, among the other sports-themed events attended by the heroes, Kid Flash and Robin are naturally to be found at the horse track. Of course. What sport is more "with it" among the hip kids of today than horse racing? Nothing, that's what. And if you don't believe me, check out X-Treme Horse Racing over on ESPN 2. It'll be on at about 3:15 Wednesday morning.
We catch up with Superman playing with himself ... I'm sorry, I mean "playing A GAME OF TENNIS with himself," using super-speed to cover both sides of the court. What was the Seventies' fascination with drawing the super-heroes playing fucking tennis against themselves? "Look, Flash is running so quickly that he's playing a GAME of TENNIS against HIMSELF!" Great. I can do that too, assuming I have a brick wall handy.
Back to it, Sportsmaster and his confused wife assemble the assorted heroes and villains together in a purloined baseball stadium, give them the low down on the moral dilemma at stake, and make with the "play ball." Uncle Sam plays umpire for the good guys, Amazo for the bad guys, all on Lex Luthor's recommendation. Sure, trust Lex.
This is one of those stories where Superman forgets he has every super power ever plus five more you never heard of, and they're all jacked up on creatine and atomic energy. He keeps getting defeated by the villains' superior "logic." He poses to Sportsmaster the very question I'D ask, namely, why the heroes should bother to play when they could just whompass on the villains. Sportsmaster replies that he and Huntress will see to it that the sixty-six thousand hostages in the sports arena will be kept there "forever," by some undefined and ambiguous
means. Superman sort of shrugs and grabs a pitcher's glove.
Here's a little peek into the alternate universe where
I wrote the script to this comic:
Sportsmaster: Now super-heroes, you will play a game of BASEBALL against our combined villainy! We picked first, you can have Tattooed Man if you want. He's only good for far right field.
Tattooed Man: Hey, shut up, matey!
Superman: And what if we don't play along with your little game?
Sportsmaster: Why, my wife will see to it that these sixty-six thousand baseball
fans stay here for all ETERNITY!
Superman: Hm. Actually, how about I just use my heat vision to tattoo pictures of genitals on your foreheads, and all these nice people can leave through the big doors. (SFX:"BZow!")
So the game begins, and we're treated to what feels like seventy million pages of indecipherable baseball action courtesy of veteran artist Dick Dillin. And if you thought super-heroes looked gay already, try to picture them playing baseball in their little costumes. It's about as gay as two men having sex with each other, and THAT'S PRETTY GAY!
Eventually, the rule about not using your powers gets thrown out the window, and both sides start to slip in a little magic, elasticity, and sharp arrows piercing your braincase. Mind you, even though the basic tenet of the game - not being allowed to use your powers - has broken down, they still CONTINUE TO PLAY THE GAME! It occurs to me that if Luthor is throwing you a cybernetically enhanced red solar baseball stuffed full of Kryptonite bees, you probably have carte blanche to beat him to death with that Louisville Slugger in yer mitts. Why not? It's against the rules? So is using microwave beams to explode Kid Flash's intestines, but does that stop Matter Master? Probably not, I frankly don't remember ... the book gets all hazy around this point.
In one of my favorite scenes in the book, Plastic Man successfully disguises himself as Wonder Woman's magic lasso. Even as a kid, reading this, I remember thinking:
(A) Way to go, Plas!
(B) How did Wonder Woman not notice Plastic Man replacing her lasso right
on her hip?
(C) Why is Plas glowing? Well, as I think about it, rubbing up against Wonder Woman's satin, star-spangled fanny would probably illuminate even the most stoic among us.
Anyway, the thing ends with the heroes winning, and I guess Huntress becomes a super-hero, or not, and I fall asleep. Oh, and the cap to this tale is a
full page of text describing play-by-play action of the baseball game. Fascinating stuff. Lots of questionable editorial decisions (I suspect they worked all of this out on one of those plastic-and-cardboard ball-bearing
tabletop baseball games they used to make in the Seventies. My dad and I
used to play that game, only we never found ourselves flicking the lever and saying "Okay, this one is Doctor Polaris batting southpaw against Superman.")
There are things like Batman taking a walk, and useless-for-shit-all characters like Tattooed Man making dramatic short-stop plays against WONDER WOMAN, who could still hit a grounder like a total girl and end up ripping your
arm off and atomizing your hand if you try to catch that thing. Oh, and "Superman flies out to left field?" What? What about "Superman drills the ball through Chronos' ribcage?"
And we're OUT!