MYSTERY MEN COMICS

ISSUE 42

ALL-STAR CRIME SPREE!

Mom's Club, Ordinary People, Legolas, Gimli, Sir Quacksalot, Sister Mary

The All-Stars of Evil are drawing a line around Townsville. "From now on," declares the Green Flashlight, "the Business District belongs to EVIL!"

Sir Quacksalot is first on the scene, when the line is almost three-quarters drawn. The All-Stars of Evil ran out of white paint, switched to red, lost most of it when Tacitus stepped in the paint bucket and kicked it over, then tried using mustard gas as a substitute for paint and the less said about THAT idea, the better.

So theyíre all in one place, arguing over the line, and really hopping mad when Sir Quacksalot waddles in. Indeed, they might have turned on one another before much longer, had not the Armored Avian come along.

But he did.

"Wait!" exclaims the Green Flashlight. "Nowís the time to do what Falseface said and get the heroes to fight each other, while we slip away in the confusion!"

"You heard the man!" roars Mean Mr. Mustard. "GET THEM!"

"Oh, why do I even bother making plans Ö I bet Super-Strategist never has these problems," frets the Flashlight, snapping on his Very Green Battle Filter.

Legolas vs. Mean Mr. Mustard: Mustard gas ruled the battlefields of World War One. Arrows, on the other hand, were top dog for literally a thousand years. You canít stop a cloud of gas with an arrow, but neither can arrows be stopped by a cloud of gas, and the arrow moves much, much faster. By the time Mean Mr. Mustard gets his regulator screwed in place, his gas tank has been pincushioned by six arrows and is leaking all over him. Mr. Mustardís gas mask protects his lungs, but an arrow through the recirculating hose makes him have to choose between running away or poison death! How long does he have to choose? As long as he can hold his breath!

Gimli vs. Tacitus: The Romanesque gladiator advances on the dwarf, flicking at him with his weighted net. Gimli slashes at the net, shearing through some but not all of its strands, and fouling his axe in the process. Which was the whole point, of course. Now Tacitus can strike with his trident, pinning Gimli to the ground between its tines! It looks grim for our hero! COULD THIS BE THE END?

Yes. Yes it could. For right now, anyway Ö Tacitus knocks Gimli unconscious.

Sir Quacksalot and Sister Mary vs. Green Flashlight: The Green Beam of Illumination shines full force on Sir Quacksalot, making his shining armor shine green!

"Writhe! Writhe, waterfowl, in the verdant fury of the Green Beam!" says the villain exultantly.

"In bluest sky, in snow most white,

no color shall be half as bright

as that which glows out day and night

from this, my beacon Ė the Green Flashlight!"

"So heís green," says Sister Mary, walloping the Green Flashlight with her ruler. "So what?"

"Ow! Ow!" says the Green Flashlight, retreating into a corner. "Donít you see? His color-based powers will be useless!"

Sir Quacksalot chivalrously offers to spare his defeated foe. Sister Mary, knowing the value of mercy, is not so generous, and dispatches him to dreamland with a final swat.

Michelle and Jennifer vs. The Plierer: Heís got pliers! Watch out!

"Back off, ladies, or youíre gonna be missing some teeth!" he exclaims. "These babies disintegrated Captain Astronaut, you know!"

"I kinda liked him!" says Michelle, lunging at her foe. But a deft twist of the pliers fends her off.

"En garde!" says Jennifer. The two spar grimly for a furious moment, three-foot-long foil clashing against eight-inch pliers, until unexpectedly Jennifer attacks from nine inches away and pokes the Plierer right in the heart!

"Touche!" says Jennifer, whipping off her fencing mask. "You lose, Plierman!"

"Itís the Plierer!" he spits angrily. "And as long as Iíve got my Pliers of Power, I donít lose nothing!"

Michelle then grabs the Pliers directly, and a tug of war begins. The Plierer wins, and pinches her on the nose.

"Ow!" she says, momentarily out of action.

Jennifer closes in again, but the Plierer grabs her foil halfway along its length and twists with all his might. The foil is bent at right angles, rendering it useless.

"Ha ha ha ha ha!" exclaims the Plierer! "None may stand against the Pliers of Power!"

Stacey and and Gilderoy Lockhart vs. The Yellow Fog: Gilderoy Lockhart, menaced by the creeping yellow fog, leaps onto a nearby mailbox and begins stuttering an Exmachinus spell to get him the heck out of there! Stacey, mistaking his efforts at escape for something mighty and magical, goes after the Yellow Fog, hoping to buy Lockhart time to complete his ritual. She does, but he doesnít Ė something about the seventh stanza having to use words from the first, third and fifth Ė and is therefore still there when the Yellow Fog turns his Yellow Fog machine on Stacey! Itís foggy in there, and all she can see is yellow! But somehow, though sight fails, her heart knows which way Gilderoy Lockhartís strong jaw and buttery English accent lie. She reaches him just in time to prevent the Yellow Fog from conking him with a big rubber mallet, and with a deft yelp of surprise sends the Yellow Fog toppling forward into the mailbox, knocking himself silly.

Darren Stephens vs. Ricethrower: "Ad-Man, eh?" says Ricethrower. "So what are you gonna do against the power of RICE, huh? Can YOU feed half the world, Ad-Man? Huh? I beat the Toweller, man! Iím Big Time! What are you gonna do, ADVERTISE me to death?"

"Well, no," says Darren, "Iím going to stand up to you, Rice Thrower. Iíve met your kind before, you know. They threw rice at my wedding, and since then, itís been witches, warlocks, fire-breathing dragons in the den and gorgons in the garage, morning, noon and night! I, Iím not afraid of you."

Ricethrower cocks his 100-pound sack of rice for a stunning blow, and with a sudden >blink< of light, heís a pair of chopsticks.


"Thanks, Sam," says Darren, "but I was handling him. Besides, donít you think someone might have seen?"

"In a fight between superheroes, dear?" Samantha laughs. "What WOULDNíT seem perfectly normal?"

The Plierer and Tacitus vs. Darren Stephens, Stacey, Gilderoy Lockhart, Legolas, Sir Quacksalot and Sister Mary: Neither villain knows the meaning of surrender or even approximately where it might be found in the dictionary. So they charge!

And Sir Quacksalot lays into Ďem, backed by Legolasí whirring arrows and Sister Maryís swinging ruler! Stacey makes sure everyoneís rested and has water to drink.

Justice Inc: +4 municipal

Momís Club: +4 municipal, +1 public

Ordinary People: +4 public

Fellowship: +3 public

Jennifer 2 xp
Michelle 2 xp
Stacey 3 xp
Darren Stephens 3 xp
Gilderoy Lockhart 2 xp
Legolas 3 xp
Gimli 2 xp
Sir Quacksalot 3 xp
Sister Mary 2 xp

ALL-STARS OF EVIL START EXPANSION CLUB

Mad Scientists, less Dr. Nimbus, Frodo and Sam

Commissioner Talleyrand denounces Garlic Press, Spammer, Captain Lint, the Gumblower, Extremely Horrific Man and the Noodler as "pale imitations of the real All-Stars of Evil. Ever since they captured the Perfectly

Ordinary People, they'll let anybody in!"

Indeed. And the expansion team, tentatively dubbed the Second String of Evil, has been given the relatively unglamorous job of guarding the prisoners.

Dr. Revenge vs. Garlic Press and the Noodler: "Together, you two would make a fine salad!" observes Dr. Revenge. Garlic Press shaves wafer-thin slices of the bitter rose all over Dr. Revengeís lab coat, while the Noodler twines supple ropes of pasta around his ankles while scattering buttery farfella bowties in his path. Itís inevitable that Dr. Revenge, who has never been described as especially stable, would lose his footing, and fall aromatically into the arms of the Garlic-Oiled Duo! But never fear, true believers, for having fallen in battle, there is none more suited to turn the tables in the inevitable rematch than the Man Called REVENGE!

Dr. Kitsune vs. Spammer: Dr. Kitsuneís foxes wander warily over to where the Spammer stands, sniffing him for signs of danger. They smell plenty of it, as the Spammer fractions into hundreds of miniature copies of himself, all loudly and insistently praising his virtues into the ears of his victims! Dr. Kitsune, overcome with loathing, curls down her bun hairdo to block her ears to Spammerís repetitive entreaties. Her foxes, less restrained by polite societyís norms, bite him. A byte at a time, the Spammer menace is whittled down.

Dr. Chronos vs. Captain Lint: Captain Lint starts up his sputtering fan-gun and blows flowing clouds of lint all over Dr. Chronos. Dr. Chronos blips back in time, tragically shortening his life by precious seconds, and turns off Captain Lintís lint-blower. Captain Lint turns it back on. Dr. Chronos goes back in time and switches it off again. This goes on way too long, eventually degenerating into a slap-fight, then fisticuffs, which Captain Lint wins.

Frodo vs. the Gumblower: Sticky, translucent pink bubbles of horror issue from the Gumblowerís mouth in a never-ending stream! Itís somewhat beyond even Frodoís elevated threshold of horror. The Gumblower does have to stop to reload, however, giving Frodo his opening. He deftly punctures the new expanding bubble with Sting, causing it to flop back over the Gumblowerís entire head.

Sam vs. Extremely Horrific Man: Extremely Horrific Man is horrible indeed to behold, a mixture of dragon, bear, wolf and ravening barbarian fiend! Sam, who has been to the heart of Mount Doom and beheld the ultimate horror of seeing his friend lose his soul to the One Ring, is not impressed, and thumps him a good one on the knee with a stout stick of firewood. Extremely Horrific Man falls down and whimpers.

Frodo vs. Captain Lint: "Lint" is a concept Middle Earth never really had to wrestle with, whereas Captain Lint has at least heard of swords. So the Hobbits are at a conceptual disadvantage, which almost compensates for the fact that theyíre armed with sharp enchanted steel rather than fluffy clothing residue. Almost.

Dr. Kitsune vs. Garlic Press: Foxes hate garlic! Dr. Kitsune didnít know that either. When her foxes run away, sheís left with nothing but her biology training, and although garlic is a vegetable, she isnít present early enough in its growing cycle to apply her knowledge.

Sam vs. the Noodler: Itís a fight to the finish as Sam gratefully eats all of the Noodlerís trick weapons as fast as he can boil and serve them! Eventually the proportion of spicy condiments to wholesome pasta rises to such absurdly Emerilian levels that the sturdy Hobbit palate rebels, and Sam has to roll into a corner, moaning in remorse.

Frodo vs. Garlic Press and the Noodler: The Tortellini Twins re-unite over the helpless bodies of Sam and Dr. Kitsune, with only Frodo between them and the fruits of victory! Sting never once glows, disproving the canard that garlic buds are actually Orc-Apples. The Noodler cracks his al dente pasta whip while Garlic Press sprays forth waves of reeking juices, sending Frodo into a swoon from which not even the Ring can save him Ö

Ö and the Second-Stringers pile more heroes into their Cauldron of Captivity!

HEROES DEFEATED!

TASTY TUCKER AND HIS CROCODILE KNIFE!
Pentumvirate of Power

"Oi'm beck! An' more Orstrylian than ever!" Aussie villain captures Cosmo Beauty, planning to make her his

dread Outback bride!

"Atís roight, Sheila, oiím gunna take yer beck to mah lair, aní Ö Oi! No kickin!"

The Pentumvirate arrives, ready for anything, as Tasty Tucker is rubbing his painful shins.

"Unhand that girl, you fiend!" demands Shojo Shaman, surrounded by indignation lines.

"Awright," says Tucker. "Too much of a sook, anyway. Oiíd much rather Ďave you, Big Eyes!"

Dr. Teeth considers the swap. Fortunately for Shojo Shamanís morale, her other teammates attack before she notices.

Shojo Shaman uses Loyalty Love Rainbow Sparkles, one color for each of her teammates, although Cosmo Beautyís sparkles are red, white and blue. Tasty Tucker is dazed and dazzled. His crocodile, however, sharpened to a vicious point, attacks and mauls L33t Ma5ster before the Wizard of Warez can download his Crocodile Cracker applet.

The croc then dodges attacks by the Fencer and Dr. Teeth to strike at Shojo Shaman, who uses the power of Cuteness Cubed to turn him into a pink and white stuffed crocodile with a voice chip that says "I love you" in Japanese!

"Awright, girlie," says the Fencer. "Way to corral Ďim."


"Hmmph!" says Cosmo Beauty, nose in the air. "I could have done that."

Pentumvirate of Power: +2 municipal , +2 public

1 xp each, 2 for Shojo Shaman

BLUE BLUR BLASTS DOWNTOWN!

No need to seek out villainy, Fairy Tale Four and Perfectly Ordinary People -- the Blue Blazes are coming for

YOU! Oh, yeah, baby, yeah! We're makin' gravy without the lumps!

Nobodyís home in either of the superhero headquarters. Oh, well. The Blue Blazes go looking for heroes on patrol, but there arenít any there, either. So they trash the Pokey Oaks suburbs.

METROPOLITAN MINUTEMEN MANACLED!

Super-Strategist


Confined in a watery death-trap, the only hope of our heroes is someone with enough Wits to find them!

Fortunately the Super-Strategist (Dr. Nimbus had meant to get around to helping him, but the temperature dropped three degrees and the barometric pressure went up and well, what could it all MEAN?) deduced the enemyís cunning plan, aided by the Blue Blurís speed-slurred taunts: to impersonate the captured heroes and attack the cityís other heroes, thus sowing dissension among the heroic ranks while the Blue Blazes do Ö what? Thatís where the certainty ends. But finding supplies of makeup, spandex-sewing supplies, and emblem-makers in the Blue Blazesí abandoned minivan confirms Super-Strategistís worst fears. Because, of course, the imposture will be imperiled if the real heroes arrive, and therefore a competent villain would have already begun steps to put the captured Minutemen permanently out of the way.

Go to the rescue of his comrades, guilty of nothing more than following him into battle? Or warn the heroes of Champion City that they are about to be ambushed by villains masquerading as the metropolisí own Minutemen? Reputation or the survival of his team?

Super-Strategist bravely decides that whatever the damage to his teamís public standing, he has to try and rescue them from their fate. Aboard a brilliant blue speedboat bobbing at anchor in Bludhaven Docks, Super-Strategist adjusts his bicorne hat and springs into action against the Blue Blazeís junior auxiliary, known of course in military parlance as the Blue Blaze Irregulars.

"Itís the Super-Strategist!" shouts one fellow with ZOOM written on his blue T-shirt.

"Come to save your buddies, hah?" asks ZIP, another t-shirted thug. "Well, youíre too late!"

"We already put Ďem in the hold which weíre flooding with seawater even now!" announces WHIZ. "And when the boat settles too far, weíll all jump off and set off the explosives on deck!"

"Yeah," adds WHOOSH, because thatís pretty much all there is to say.

As the water fills the hold beneath their feet, the deck tilts under Super-Strategist and his foes, making the whole scene look strangely angled as though filmed askew. Lamps are invaded by seawater, lighting the hold in weird blue tones. Then the bongo music starts.

ZAP! ZOOM punches Super-Strategist in the jaw. He reels, sprawling into ZIP and WHIZ, who go flying in opposite directions.

BAM! Super-Strategist uppercuts WHOOSH backward into ZOOM, then spins to dropkick WHIZ whoís gathering his wits.

POW! WHOOSH and ZOOM together pick up a huge swordfish and run at Super-Strategist, clotheslining him into the corner where he collides with ZIP.

WHAM! Super-Strategist and ZIP punch it up until ZIP falls over. Super-Strategist grabs a hanging chain and rides a pulley across the hull, slamming into WHOOSH and ZOOM with both feet Ė BLAMMO!

And thatís all she wrote.

Dusting himself off, Super-Strategist rescues his team and they all leap off the boat inches ahead of the expanding ball of fire.

"Holy Nick of Time, Super-Strategist!" exclaims Yankee Zulu. "That was a close one!"

"Too close for me," says Globalman. "We almost drowned. Later, guys."

"That goes double for me!" says the Pincher. "I thought teaming up with you guys would make us more likely to win, not more likely to die! Count me out."

"Iíd love to stay on the team," says Stilt-Man, "but I cracked my elbow falling off my stilts last week. Can I be on the injured-reserve list or something?"

Super-Strategist ponders.

"Weíre definitely going to need one of those," he concludes. "Well done, Stilt-Man. Soon youíll be standing tall for justice again!"

And everyone laughs.

Super-Strategist: 8 experience
Metropolitan Minutemen: +5 municipal, +5 public

WHISPERS OF CORRUPTION

Fairy Tale Four
What were the cops doing in league with the Blue Blazes? Something's fishy here! And itís up to Belle and Sleeping Beauty to investigate!

Meeting up after a busy day, the Four compare notes. According to Belleís library work, Commissioner Talleyrand used to work on the Metropolis police in traffic enforcement (Metropolis devotes considerably more manpower to smooth traffic management than most cities, having no need for any but the most minimal police effort to control crimes against people or property), but moved to Champion City about the time Casanova Frankenstein hosted his "Gathering of the Gangs Disco Bash".

Sleeping Beauty reports that oddly, the previous police commissioner resigned abruptly, appointing newly hired Sgt. Talleyrand as his replacement, a few weeks later.

And, adds Snow White, thatís about when Falseface, the criminal master of disguise, started operating in Champion City!

But, says Belle, if Commissioner Talleyrand is really Falseface Ö wouldnít the Mayor know?

"All right, thatís entirely too much speculation," says Jasmine, silent until then. "Letís just stick to what we know."

"Jasmine Ö you donít sound like your usual self," says Snow White.

"I wonder if sheís quite what she appears," adds Sleeping Beauty.

"Why, of course I am, silly!" says Jasmine. "I, uh, have to go now."

She bolts for the exit, hotly pursued by all three other ladies. Just then, the real Jasmine walks in. They collide, both falling down.

"Which oneís the real Jasmine?" exclaims Snow White in distress.

"Oh, if only my Prince were here!" says Sleeping Beauty.

"Well, looks arenít everything," says Belle, who is in a position to know. "Jasmine, you silly tart! What do you think youíre playing at?"

One Jasmine snaps "Who are you calling a silly tart?" while the other one looks hurt and puzzled.

"Why would you say such a thing, Belle?" she asks.

Then the Princes arrive and Snow White points out the other Jasmine, whom they seize.

"This isnít Jasmine at all!" exclaims Aladdin, with the real Jasmine right there at his feet. "Sheís wearing a MASK!"

He whips the mask off to reveal the face of Captain Clothes Pins.

"CAPTAIN CLOTHES PINS!" everyone shouts.

"Yes," he says. "Just testing you. You never know when Falseface will strike. Your quick wits in this field exercise tell me youíd be the perfect members for the new Fabulous Four Ö you can let me go now."

"Sure, that makes sense!" says Aladdin. Fortunately Belle tips off the Beast, who holds the false Captain Clothes Pins fast. He pulls of the Captain Clothes Pins mask to reveal Commissioner Talleyrand, then pulls of THAT mask to reveal a blank, empty mannequin-face.

"Curse Belleís quick wits!" raves Falseface in the Beastís iron grasp. "But youíre too late! My master plan is already in motion, and nothing shall save this cityís heroes from Operation Turnbuckle!"

"And nothing will save YOU from five to ten in the Champion Pen!" says the Genie, morphing into a blue cartoon cop spinning a ring of keys on his finger.

Fairy Tale Four: 4 experience, +10 municipal

SOLO ADVENTURES

i.e. Focus failures


Agent Beta tracks down an alien invasion. Itís terribly exciting, but afterwards sheís neuralized and doesnít remember a thing.

Dr. Nimbus gets drawn into a study of advancing storm front patterns Ö AGAIN.

Strider quests down the Canyon of Foreboding in Mimbras Dal after the Golden Leaf of Lorien, and is absent from mortal ken for an entire issue. Look for his 72-page special at your newsstand!

 

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