Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pass the Comics: Mysta meets her match

Time to catch up some on Sleestak's collection of Mysta of the Moon comics. I'm behind by about six issues, so I won't catch up completely today, but let's make a dent.

Mysta and the Flaming Column of Earth's Core

In this adventure, Mysta continues her role as a sort of one-woman Science Police, making sure that corporations and individual scientists aren't misusing knowledge or exploiting resources they shouldn't. For instance: harnessing energy from the Earth's core and not only seriously angering the ape-men who live there, but also giving said ape-men the opportunity to retaliate against the surface world.

One of my favorite things about that post though is Sleestak's observation that with Golden Age stories, it's  necessary for readers to fill in details that the ultra-compressed storytelling leaves out. Doing that - and seeing how my details differ from Sleestak's - is a large part of what makes these stories so much fun.

Mysta vs. the Jovian Bat-Men (Not to be confused with Jovial Batman)

A science project from Jupiter goes astray and crashes near Mysta's moonbase. The monstrous scientists who created it then go to great and complicated lengths to get it back, hopefully destroying Mysta in the process. Be sure to read Sleestak's commentary on how the animal-men possibly fit in to the larger, mostly human culture in the solar system.

My own alarm bells went off when Mysta admitted that their technology reveals "a knowledge of science that far surpasses my own." I didn't think such knowledge existed and it's kind of scary to think that it's controlled by such dastardly (though cool-looking) villains.

Something else that gets me wondering is Mysta's claim that she can tell the technology was created by "diabolical minds." I'm not sure how that's possible unless she noticed a weapon or some other kind of violent application that she doesn't mention to "Bron." Sleestak's darker take on Mysta is probably rubbing off on me, but part of me suspects that Mysta's simply afraid and possibly jealous about someone else's technology exceeding her own. However, the optimist in me likes to think that she's just that smart and can tell from looking at the tech that its creators are up to no good.

Mysta on Strato Garrison X-9

When a military outpost requests a Force Screen from Mysta, she sends Bron to deliver it so that she can continue some important research. The scenario raises a couple of questions: what's the garrison for and why are they requesting military equipment from Mysta? The answers aren't hard to guess. With all the Jovian Bat-Men, mad scientists, pirates, and other ne'er-do-wells operating in interplanetary space, Earth has begun to protect the space lanes. And it's not surprising that Mysta is still acting as gatekeeper for all technology with a military application.

What is surprising is how little influence Mysta has over the military. When Bron arrives at the garrison, he discovers that it's been taken over by a band of villains and that it was these who requested the Force Screen. He's captured, but gets word to Mysta who in turn calls in Earth Fleet, led by a Colonel Sarku who's already in the area. Mysta recommends courses of action from the Moon, but Sarku refuses and proceeds in his own way. Mysta is of course proved right, but it's fascinating to me that she has to resort to trickery to do it and never once tries to pull rank, presumably because she has no rank to pull. By the end of the story, Sarku admires her subterfuge and declares that there's nothing to forgive because her plan worked and she just played the game the only way Sarku's rules would allow her. I like this guy. I doubt he'll be back for future stories, but I sure wouldn't mind it if he were.

There are a couple of other interesting things about this story. One is the villains' plan to use girls to keep the garrison's regular soldiers drugged. To pull this off, the bad guys have to also keep the girls drugged, which seems overly complicated. The only explanation I can offer is that the girls - who usually aren't allowed in the garrison - are enough of a distraction to keep the guards from realizing there are strangers in their midst. Torg and his pals probably wouldn't be able to get close enough to the real soldiers to drug them, but the girls can.

The other interesting development is that Mysta shows a bit of jealousy with Bron's being around all those other women. She covers it up quickly, but she's already expressed feelings for him in the past and she slips up again here.

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