Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Mad Science Marches On- Strange Adventures #56
Part Two- "The Jungle Emperor".
So, what happened to the super-intelligent gorilla from the previous issue of Strange Adventures? Well, the whole world finds out as he delivers an ultimatum via television: "Hear this you humans! As the most intelligent and powerful being on Earth, I proclaim myself King Gorilla, the sole sovereign of this planet! Tomorrow morning my gorilla ambassadors will appear in each country to accept control of your governments! Unless my rule is unanimously accepted in 24 hours, I will strike with all the scientific powers at my command! You have been warned!" I love how every sentence ends with an exclamation point.
Poor Dr. Jonas Mills sits helplessly by, watching the threats of his accidental monster. Unable to make more "Mutaton" in the time left to him, he has only the antidote to mutaton on hand. Unfortunately, Dr. Mills has no idea of King Gorilla's whereabouts.
The next morning, each capital city of each nation receives an envoy from King Gorilla in the form of more intelligent gorillas who arrive in "super-scientific planes", equipped with shields of electric force.
Studying the newsreel footage of the gorillas' departures, Dr. Mills determines that the gorillas cannot be living creatures. Seems the G-forces created by the planes' acceleration would crush even a gorilla. To test his theory, Dr. Mills plants a fake news story that he has "developed a new weapon that will vanquish the gorilla hordes should they try to enforce their ultimatum!". He then sets up a thermocouple in his laboratory and waits. As he expected, the gorillas who come to kidnap him give off no body heat- they're robot gorillas!! (Does it get any better than robot gorillas? Really?)
The robot gorillas abduct Dr. Mills and take him via flying wing to King Gorilla's HQ in Africa. King Gorilla tells Mills he's the only Human the gorillas need fear and must be eliminated. Dr. Mills tells KG he's on to him and that he knows the other gorillas are robots. KG admits he was "too clever" to make other gorillas as smart as himself.
Searching for Mills' super-weapon, KG finds the bottle of antidote, which he confiscates. He then prepares to launch his attack, locking Mills in a cage. Mills starts a fire which cracks the bottle of antidote and vaporizes it's contents. The fumes dumb down King Gorilla, while Mills, safe behind a jury-rigged gas filter keeps his head.
The android armies of the King Gorilla stop in their tracks as their control console in Africa succumbs to the fire. The Earth is saved and the gorilla- 'droids are put on display as a reminder of how close the world came to conquest.
Dr. Mills reflects on his hard-earned lesson: "It's better for evolution to take it's own slow, natural course in this world!"
The similarities between 1955's King Gorilla and 1959's Gorilla Grodd are remarkable. Both want to conquer the world through the use of super-science, both are talking gorilla megalomaniacs, both have airplanes at their disposal... Of course, Grodd hails from a kingdom of intelligent gorillas and was not tampered with by human science. In that respect, KG bears a stronger resemblance to 1964's Monsieur Mallah.
I also love how comics and movies of the 50's and 60's refer to what is clearly technology as "science". I realize that the technological advances described are the direct result of breakthroughs in sciences like physics, but a ray-gun is no more a "super-science weapon" than a crossbow. A crossbow uses the science of Newtonian physics, but would never be considered a weapon of "science" in the same way as a laser. Same goes for a stone knife.