Captain Action #2
DC Comics
Story by Jim Shooter
Art by Wally Wood & Gil Kane
1968

We’re back for day four of our Captain Action Advent Calendar and we return to our vintage 1968 DC comics adventures of Captain Action. We still have the legendary Jim Shooter and Wally Wood at the helm, but now Gil Kane has been added to the mix as well. When we last left the good Captain, he was in Greece, where he had tracked down the notorious Krellik, his former friend. The two were doing battle and Captain Action had lost. It looked like Krellik was going to put the nail in Captain Action’s coffin… In his first adventure, no less!

Krellik has Captain Action down, but rather than kill him, he decides to revel in the Captain’s helplessness. I guess you can chalk this up to Krellik being arrogant, but later in the comic Krellik actually says that he knew Captain Action would find a way to fight him again, so why doesn’t he just kill him here? Regardless of that, Krellik steals Captain Action’s magic coins (even though he just beat Captain Action WITHOUT them) and flies off with both the magic coins and his own magic enchanted items.

While Captain Action tries to figure out a way home from Greece (now that he can’t fly around the world with his magic powers), Krellik heads to Clive Arno’s house and beats up his son. Krellik wants all of the coins for himself! For whatever reason, Krellik is unsuccessful. Yes, he’s got all the power in the universe, but apparently not enough chutzpah to beat the secrets out of Carl.

Captain Action takes some of his lesser coins and heads out to track down Krellik. The two do battle yet again. This time though, Captain Action is victorious! He’s somewhat confused by this, since Krellik was able to beat him before when the Captain had extra powers and now he’s weaker and Krellik is stronger. What gives? It turns out that Krellik is luring the Captain into a trap by getting his butt kicked.

This happens a few more times. Incredibly, Carl, who is now parading around as Action Boy, also gets in on the fun. You’d think that Action Boy would have a couple of Captain Action’s spare coins, right? Well apparently not. Instead he fights with chair shots and generally gets beat up. I know sidekicks like Robin are typically useless, but we’re on a whole other level here.

Meanwhile, everyone is putting on disguises. I wonder if Ideal had dictated that there needed to be a lot of costume changes? Instead of clever ones, everyone is just putting on fake beards. Carl suggests that Captain Action needs some new wheels…

So Clive gets his mechanics to build the Silver Streak… IN ONE NIGHT! Yes, that’s right. You have to love these Silver Age stories that just defy all logic. There are mechanics that can build a car as good as the Batmobile, in a single night? Why isn’t there a comic about THOSE guys?! Super DC Mechanics! Coming to a comic book rack near you, this Fall!

Krellik continues to get beat up by Captain Action, but manages to escape again. All the while Krellik is somehow finding out about the coins of the Captain. I don’t really understand the part of Krellik’s plan where getting his ass handed to him somehow equates to finding the coins. It doesn’t make much sense. Eventually though, he puts Carl under a spell.

With Carl in his control, he tries to steal the remaining coins. When he gets the coins, it’s a trap! The coins are fake! Captain Action knew of his plan. So then he beats up Krellik for real. Again, not sure why he can do this for “real” this time and the other times were fake. Why is a less powerful Captain Action, more powerful than a super powered Krellik? Regardless, the Captain gets his coins back from Krellik. Except the evil one.

In the end, Carl wakes up and the Captain has an ominous message that we haven’t seen the last of Krellik. I should hope not, given that Krellik still has EVERYTHING that he originally had in the first comic. You know, the one where he beat Captain Action from pillar to post? Remember those other magic items, aside from the coins?

In the end, I’m left with several questions. Why could Captain Action defeat Krellik now, when he couldn’t when he was more powerful? Why was Krellik concerned with all of these extra coins, when he already had the “most powerful” ones? What happened to Krellik’s other enchanted items? Why is Carl here? Why does the public now “trust” Captain Action now, when a day ago he was a wanted criminal? Did Superman sort that out for Captain Action?

We also get a neat ad hyping up Dr. Evil’s debut in the next issue. I suspect that Dr. Evil hadn’t quite been introduced yet or something, which is why we spent two issues on Krellik. This story probably would have been stronger if it was tied to Dr. Evil in the beginning. Krellik is a neat bad guy though, it’s just that this story is so disjointed and poorly thought out that it doesn’t quite hit the mark on using him properly.

Next time… DR. EVIL!

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