Monday, September 6, 2010

Sand gets in your eyes

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“Massacre at Truman High!”
Wolfman, Buscema and Giordano Costanza letters, Michele Wolfman colors

Hiroshima Mon Amour
The Sandman completely understands Karl Von Horstbaden’s plan to kidnap Mike Burley from Harry S. Truman High School, and quickly the deadly villain flies on the winds of the city as a whipping sandstorm.

Nova wakes up to the shadowed mastermind of the plan, who explains the death trap set for the Human Rocket. Clamped by tentacles, Nova’s been sealed in a chamber with liquid nitrogen set to freeze him from above and intense gas jets poised to burn him from below. All it takes is a tiny movement to trip the photo-electric cell to freeze and incinerate him instantly.

A trap of another kind closes on Rich’s father Charles Rider: fired and black balled, the ex-high school principle is denied a loan. A security guard whispers to the angry patron: a secret organization knows him, and at the address on the card, the Inner Circle will help. He ponders losing his home and thinks of his boys and wife; the situation’s dodgy, but his curiosity and desperation spur him on.

Evaluating “another fine mess”, Nova decides his alien costume should outlast the villain's machine. Instantly fire and ice bombard the super suit, and his helmet, designed to survive space, begins cracking! The Nova uniform only has a fifteen minute air supply and time starts to run out! At endurance’s limit, with one last effort Nova shatters his restraints and the booth's glass!

Villainous henchmen attack the wobbly Human Rocket, who falls into a power generator. He turns it around to shock his attackers. An effort to stab Nova and ends with their knives shatter on his skin! To quote a movie of the times, he’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more---and with his strength, down they go.

Harry S. Truman High School hosts a typical schoolyard of teens conversing, while the Sandman blasts his way through the wall and grabs Mike Burley. Unlike his first showdown in a high school, instead of the principal’s scolding, it’s Mike's classmates who attack the super-villain! Rich's friend, Roger "Caps" Cooper, jumps on the Sandman, completely aware of the horror of being a supervillain’s captive. While there’s little normal humans can do against Sandman, the weakened Human Rocket arrives to save the day!

Nova smashes through every form of sand weapon thrown at him, as the two exchange explosive blows! The Sandman knocks Nova through the school's outer wall into a construction zone, pressing the attack savagely.

From the building top, Sandman hurls the two towards the ground. Now the Sandman turns into a solid block, to hammer exhausted Nova like a mallet with their inertia when they strike the ground. Nova wrenches free, and like a human rocket flies clear. Hurtling groundwards, Sandman realizes: that’s a cement mixer below. Too late! Nova slams it shut, turns it on, and if you thought Sandy was mixed up before, just wait a few minutes. Now a true blockhead, one immobile cement-hardened Sandman falls from the mixer! The police take custody, and Nova heads home.
Karl Von Horstbaden calls Mike Burley later that evening, with a shackled prisoner in the background. It’s Mike’s brother, and Von Horstbaden tells him to follow his instructions or the blood will be on his hands!

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