Friday, March 20, 2015


Doll Man is quite the little detective, isn't he?

Doll Man wasn’t the most dynamic of the characters taking up residence at Quality Comics, but he was one of the few to pick up an eponymous title in addition to starring in a regular anthology book (alongside Plastic Man, Kid Eternity, the Blackhawks and Uncle Sam, specifically). While other characters boasted better and bigger powers, from the explosive Human Bomb to the luminescent Ray and even the merely two-fisted Firebrand, Doll Man must have had something special going for him to earn the promotion.

To be fair, it's a little messy.
One characteristic he definitely had in his favor was a seemingly endless rogues gallery of colorful characters, many of whom debuted and bowed in the same issue. Among Doll Man’s many one-time would-be nemeses was Little Miss Murder (Doll Man Quarterly No.13, Summer 1947), the most demure damsel to ever stab a guy through the eye with a hatpin.

The widow of recently-assassinated mobster Mike Mara, Little Miss Murder turns up at her husband’s old hangout and promptly positions herself at the head of the disorganized criminal syndicate. In fact, she does it with such ruthless efficiency that you can’t shake the feeling she’d be quietly running the whole sordid business from day one, from a chaise-lounge in her sitting room.

At the very least, the former Missus Mara must have killed before, as she surely takes to it with cool-headed efficiency. After dispatching the sole dissident in her husband’s former crew, she’s up and running with no further complications – excepting Doll Man, of course.

She named her killer tarantula "Archibald." That is adorable.
One of my pet peeves with superhero comics has always been the trend towards requiring lady superheroes to disguise their weapons as heavily-gendered girl-friendly accoutrement (or vice-versa). You may recall Miss Arrowette unleashing a “sewing needle and thread arrow” which was effectively no different than any dozen of Green Arrow’s grappling line arrows, or Batgirl using a weaponized compact full of powder in the same way Batman uses a smoke bomb.

Well, I like it when Little Miss Murder does it, because her weapons aren’t arbitrarily feminine – they’re camouflaged. Inside her dainty, gay Nineties parasol? A machine gun. Inside her own compact? Frickin’ poison. And then there’s that hatpin, wielded with deadly efficiency.

When the bait-and-switch cosmetics and accessories outlive their necessity, Little Miss Murder can rely on more traditional murder methods – like a handgun, or a tarantula. Hey, it’s Doll Man, you have to try to kill him with bugs and stuff or else the book doesn’t have a hook!

Doll Man defeats Miss Murder and she’s off to jail, where I can only hope she resourcefully sets up a criminal empire run from inside the pen. You can’t keep down a villain with a goal!

"I'll have you know, I'm curd-intolerant."

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