The weirdness from yesteryear that I’ve looked at to date has all hailed from the Silver Age. This time, we’ll look at a story from the Golden Age: a short featuring the Vision from Marvel Mystery Comics #16. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the author and artist are known, but it’s reprinted beautifully in Mystic Comics #1, which also features a new story written and drawn by David Lapham. Lapham’s story is in some ways weirder – and, shockingly, in some ways not. This story was untitled, so I’ll name it “VISION VERSUS THE DINOMONSTERS!”
Barny Bailey, showman extraordinaire, catches a lucky break. A chap he knows digging in Siberia named “Smith” found some Dinosaur eggs, and Barny decided to hatch them (I get the feeling they don’t try very hard with these names). It worked; Bailey himself says it was a scientific miracle! But, hell, he’s not a scientist, he’s a showman, so he puts them on display.
Bailey explains that the ‘saurs are in transparent metal cages that could withstand a falling mountain. But, of course, an electrical storm occurs; and the dinosaurs get real mad; and they break loose. Man, it seems, can’t trump nature.
In that last panel, we see the Vision appear. His form, the panel explains, is lithe, but muscled. It does not explain his super powers, which seem to be indeterminate, nor his strange handicap: he can only appear where there is smoke. How unusual. His mysterious powers prove no match for the dinosaurs, so he hatches a clever plan. . .
Well, it’s not really a clever plan. He finds a case of dynamite at a construction site and throws it at dinosaurs. First, the gigantosaurus. . .
Bam! Right to the head! In the mean time, Barny, who happens to be a gangster for some reason, had sent out his cronies to stop anyone from hurting the dinosaurs, and the gigantosaurus falls right on them. Pretty clever on the Vision’s part. Never mind that that dinosaur looks nothing like a gigantosaurus.
Next, the tyrannosaurus rex. The vision tosses dynamite down its throat too. . .
My exposure to the Vision is limited to the stories in this comic. In Lapham’s new tale, the Vision has the power to make people see their worst fears. I don’t know if that’s an invention, but if it isn’t, the anonymous writer should be ashamed of himself for not having the Vision use that power against the dinosaurs.
One does wonder, too, whether the Vision might have survived as a character if he had had a better catch phrase: “That’s the last of that baby. The city is safe, my job here is done!” is badly deficient.