Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nova and the Inner Circle Watchin’ the Detectives

“At Last---The Inner Circle!”
Wolfman/ Infantino / Hunt/ Rosen / Roussos

Nova finishes his morning “super exercise” on “D-Day” for his make-up test. He and Robbie banter sarcastically; the postman, Hank,tells Mom his wife’s gone back to school, to graduate now that Hank Jr. is older. Rich’s Brazilian pen pal, to his disappointment, hasn’t written back. Mom’s gone from full-time to part-time work!

Everyone’s on their busy way, when Robbie sneaks downstairs to unveil “Factor X---my robotic Sherlock Holmes!” He takes the robot, dressed like Basil Rathbone and smoking a pipe, snooping in Rich’s room.

Rich turns in his double-checked paper; Ginger greets him, and Bernie jokes with Caps. His teacher’s grim look gives way to a 71 paper and smile: Rich will pass! Mazeltov! Hugs. Uncle Fudge’s!

But over cream sodas they hear Donna Lee crying about the days-absent Mike Burley. Rich recalls finding him committing a burglary at the behest of the Yellow Claw (#15---Lue). His reluctant offer to help wins a kiss on the cheek---not a favorite with Ginger. Loosen up, babe! Your name’s not Betty Brant. (Spider-Man joke)

Mom walks in with her good news for Charles---a raise, too!---but Charles is getting his trench on to go tell the Inner Circle a piece of his mind. Gloria can’t talk him out of it, so she follows him---and so does Rich, as Nova! His tool brother’s now followed him all day and, finding him vanished, prepares to learn Rich’s secret.
Charles vanishes somewhere in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel, losing his son’s tail. The spook-voiced. hooded Inner Circle members, in shadow, play wounded over his choice to turn over evidence after they provided for him in his desperation. He accuses them of ruining his life with criminal requests over five thousand measly dollars, and then, a light blinds him. The most hidden Inner Circle leader decides, for amusement, he will make Rider “one of us.”

Nova plays a tip, and goes all Adventures of Superman on a couple of thugs, crashing a wall, shaking them down with smart cracks and toughness. Meanwhile Dad’s getting his ass kicked when the boss calls his Inner Circle to bring Rider to him. Nova finds a James Cagney-inspired crook named Shuffles aboard a docked boat. Apparently lots of super guys owe Shuffles for his information, for which he expects some future favor (reflecting Charles’ troubles, also). Nova’s asked to guess a card---eight of hearts---and receives a folded piece of paper with the location of the Inner Circle. Shuffles presents him his card---8 a’ hearts---and tells him to take it easy...”real easy.”

Noticing the end of his sheltered Hempstead life, Nova crashes a building by moonlight, to resist bullets and slam the Inner Circle with their own half-circle table. Backgrounds vanish from the art as he wails into the Circle, at last backfiring a gun with his highly invulnerable hand. But the kick floors the hooded man, who Nova takes as the leader. In the shadows, Robbie arrives to find Nova holding the mask, with their father laid low beside him. “You murdered my father!” he shouts, as Nova looks up---and worries!

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