Wednesday, July 4, 2018

007. The ultimate sacrifice... as Earth-death looms! (Secret Society of Super-Villains 5)

The lack of New Gods on the cover signals a
bad sign for this comic. Art by Ernie Chua. 
We kick off Secret Society of Super-Villains 5 right where we left off in the last issue with the arrival of the Black Racer and Mantis groveling at Darkseid's feet. But we get a new writer and artist, rarely a good thing in part five of a five part story. Vince Colletta remains on inks, but is now joined by writer Bob Rozakis and artist Rich Buckler.

It's immediately obvious that Buckler is a much stronger artist to draw the Kirby creations. Darkseid looks on model for the first time in this series.

The story kicks off with the Society finally coming face to face with Darkseid! Darkseid banishes Black Racer before he can drag Mantis away to death as Manhunter, Star Sapphire, Mirror Master, and the Captains Cold, Comet and Boomerang confront him!

Darkseid once again sends Mantis into the fray, declaring, "Prove your loyalty to Darkseid by destroying these super-villains!" Darkseid makes his escape as Mantis faces the villains. But Manhunter won't let Darkseid escape and recruits Sapphire and Comet to pursue him. Cold, Boomerang and Mirror Master use all their abilities to disorient and weaken Mantis.

Darkseid threatens Mantis again as the bug seems near defeat. Mantis tries to save face, claiming he's toying with them, but just as he blasts the three villains, his attack fizzles out. Captain Comet has toyed with his mind. He uses the distraction to lay out Mantis with a series of punches.

Manhunter strikes at Darkseid, but Darkseid is unfazed by his assault. As the Black Racer again swoops down toward the battlefield, a boom tube arrives to allow Darkseid his escape. He declares there's nothing the villains can do to prevent it.

The clone of Paul Kirk leaps upon the fleeing Darkseid. He declares, "You forget that I am a clone - a man born in a test-tube! My creatores made me the ultimate assassin - a human bomb, with enough built-in exposives to destroy any target... including a god from Apokolips!"

A gigantic explosion engulfs the area as the boom tube collapses, apparently taking Darkseid to his fate...

The end of the Secret Society vs. Apokolips saga... on page 7.
Art by Rich Buckler.
It's an ignominious end to a story with tons of build. Rozakis goes on to use the second half of the story to set up the continuing tales of the Secret Society, with Captain Comet now as their main foil. The war for Earth-death is over, with little fanfare for either Darkseid's plans or Manhunter's valiant sacrifice.

A sacrifice we would soon see is in vain. Five short months after this tale, the New Gods will finally return, with a familiar writer at the helm!

Next time: "Prelude to a Holocaust!"

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