Emilio Storme, a brilliant but mentally unstable scientist specializing in
biotechnology and climate control research, was intent on building a "storm-bomb"
that could devastate entire cities to help him achieve world conquest. Storme
left his post at S.T.A.R. Labs to adopt a criminal identity as a menace who
combined the power of the whirlwind and the hurricane: the Whirlicane!
Created by Gerry Conway and Curt Swan, he debuted in ACTION COMICS #457 wearing
a garish green, purple, and white uniform with a pointed mask and striped
leggings. This costume enabled him to generate and focus powerful winds by
spinning around in place, and he could channel bursts of air to pulverize
walls or even momentarily stun Superman. (How he avoided making himself dizzy
Whirlicane recruited a small gang of henchmen and, riding a futuristic hovercraft,
they began a series of robberies in Metropolis that brought them into conflict
with Superman. Whirlicane was forced to flee their first encounter by spraying
the Man of Steel with a coating of molten lead that blocked his x-ray vision,
but fought him again while hijacking a cargo jet. Superman used his flying
power to push the jet so high into the stratosphere that Storme's wind-controlling
uniform froze into uselessness from exposure to the intense cold.
Conway and Swan brought Whirlicane back in SUPERMAN #303 a few months later.
Storme had been released into the custody of S.T.A.R. Labs to continue his
research, but, unsurprisingly, he was as power-mad as ever and resumed his
He created an android servant capable of shifting between two forms: Lightning
(who had electrical powers) and Thunder (a massive giant who could generate
shockwaves). For unknown reasons, Whirlicane programmed it to believe that
it was actually an ordinary human being given super-powers by its master.
Storme sent the android to raid S.T.A.R. for meteorological equipment he
needed to create the storm-bomb, but it was continually thwarted by Superman,
who trailed it back to the Whirlicane's hidden lab. There he confronted Lightning
with the knowledge that it had never truly been human. Unable to cope, the
android detonated its own body in a massive explosion that utterly destroyed
the lab and, apparently, the Whirlicane as well.
The two-page story entitled Whirlwind (by Steve Skeates and Sal Amendola
from TEEN TITANS #30) represented one of a handful of picture and text stories
that DC experimented with in the early 1970s that ranged from shorts (as in
Challengers of the Unknown and Aquaman episodes in SUPER DC GIANT #S-25 and
S-26) to longer pieces featuring Adam Strange (STRANGE ADVENTURES #226).
"Tornado"—it was a word that threw fear into the hearts of Midwesterners like
Wally West. Even Wally couldnt have imagined the cyclone that struck the Blue
Valley First National Bank in the late summer of 1970. It was more of a whirlwind,
really, one that slowly began to dissolve within the bank itself and reveal
a human center. The man within had white-flecked black hair and wore a red-black
domino mask, a long-sleeved purple turtleneck and orange gloves. While his
left hand operated a red chestplate, his right held a gun.
The gunman hadnt anticipated the arrival of Kid Flash and reactivated his
cyclonic field to make a quick escape. The teenage speedster managed to thrust
his fist into the whirlwind but he threw the punch at the wrong angle, and
there was no time for a second attempt. He was caught by the swirling air
and thrown back into a wall.
But the damage had already been done. His poorly aimed punch had hit the
machinery instead of the man and the device was now beginning to malfunction.
The tornado that carried the man suddenly smashed into a pillar, money spilled
all over the bank floor. The the whirling air mass began to weave all over,
and finally crashed through the northeast wall, and pieces of glass from the
large bank door flew in all directions.
The miniature tornado was last seen speeding off across the ocean. Speculation
is that the man in its center ultimately drowned at sea. It has never been
learned who he was. Nor what type of device he used to create this whirlwind.
Given the fact that Blue Valley was in Nebraska, the cyclonic man must have
travelling at an incredible velocity to reach the ocean so swiftly. The incident
remains classified in Teen Titans files as unsolved.
Created by Max Collins and Terry Beatty
WILD DOG #1 (Sep 1987)
' Who Is Wild Dog? Chapter One: "We Interrupt This Program..." '
Susan King is a reporter working for a television station which services
the Quad Cities, four Midwestern cities in Illinois and Iowa. She is covering
the official opening of River City Center, the new community activity center
that promises to revitalize downtown Davenport. She interviews Raymond E.
Newell, who describes himself as the public relations secretary of the Committee
for Social Change. He states that his organization believes society has decayed
to where the only solution is to level the existing institutions and structures
before starting anew. He demonstrates this by triggering the destruction of
the Center. He and his terrorists then take King hostage and force her crew
to provide immediate live coverage. Among the viewers are police lieutenant
Andy Flint, reporter Lou Godder, mechanic Jack Wheeler, and the Internal Security
Agency's Graham Gault. While the interview continues on, the masked vigilante
called Wild Dog drives his pick-up truck "Rover" through the police
barricade and into the theater from which the terrorists are broadcasting.
One-by-one, he shoots the terrorists, and ultimately succeeds in rescuing
the TV crew. As they exit the building, the police order Wild Dog to drop
his weapon. The vigilante takes Susan King hostage and drives away to safety,
leaving King on the side of the road.
WILD DOG #2 (Oct 1987)
' Chapter Two: Blowed Up Real Good! '
Susan King's news director instructs her to run with the Wild Dog story.
She vows to find out who this mysterious vigilante really is. Graham Gault
visits his old friend Andy Flint, then Jack Wheeler. They, along with Lou
Godder, played college football together. Later, a man and woman murder the
distinguished Dr. Theodore Mensa, professor of philosophy at State University.
The man takes Mensa's place as keynote speaker at the first Honor Students'
Congress, which consists of junior high students from four states. He reveals
that he is an impostor and that he has rigged himself as a human bomb. Other
terrorists join him, taking hostage an estimated 1,000 students and teachers.
Wild Dog arrives and takes out all the terrorists in the building, then carries
the unconscious impostor into a field. The clever vigilante tricks the rest
of the impostor's terrorist friends into coming to his aid. Wild Dog detonates
the impostor's explosives, killing them all.
WILD DOG #3 (Nov 1987)
' Chapter Three: "Rollin' On The River" '
Graham Gault invites his three friends, all former members of State University's
Red Dogs football team, to take a riverboat to Arsenal Island. He then has
them all open gifts. As they pull out pieces of Wild Dog's uniform, Gault
reveals that he believes one of them is the vigilante. He remarks that Wild
Dog is a well-trained athlete whose arsenal includes lightweight body armor,
stun gloves, and a jati submachine gun. Gault tells them that he wishes to
speak privately with Wild Dog. Lou Godder is a suspect because he lost his
wife to plane terrorists three years earlier. Lt. Andy Flint's hard-nosed
anti-crime attitudes are well-known. As a Marine, an unarmed Jack Wheeler
stood guard in Beirut, as his comrades-in-arms were blown up. Gault believes
that the Committee for Social Change is in the area of the Quad Cities because
they intend on attacking Arsenal Island, home of the largest of the nation's
four arsenals under AMCCOM. Gault spots Susan King and tells her to back off
on revealing Wild Dog's secret identity. Shortly afterward, the terrorists
attack as Gault had expected. Wild Dog appears and kills them all. A photo
is taken of Wild Dog in action.
WILD DOG #4 (Dec 1987)
' Chapter Four: I Am Wild Dog '
Susan King tells Andy Flint that she has figured out who Wild Dog is, but
wants to keep the story going for the sake of her own career. Flint sees Graham
Gault first, and is convinced that he is not the vigilante. He speaks with
Lou Godder next, informing him that King believes that he is Wild Dog ('Godder'
is 'Red Dog' spelled backwards). Godder believes Jack Wheeler is the one.
Flint and Godder think back to Wheeler's past.
Wheeler was a terrific athlete, and only a knee injury during one of their
college football games cut his football career short. He lost his scholarship
and was forced to drop out of school. The only way he could afford to finish
college was by enlisting in the Marines. He was stationed in Beirut, where
terrorists attacked and killed all of his fellow soldiers. After his tour
ended, Wheeler returned home and took a job as an auto mechanic. While taking
night classes at State University, he met a woman named Claire Smith. She
is the reason that Flint and Godder suspect Wheeler. Wheeler and Claire had
fallen in love. She revealed to him that her last name was a false one, but
requested that he not ask about it because it was too painful to discuss.
Wheeler began to notice that a number of accidents nearly claimed Claire's
life. One day, as they were kissing , a drive-by shooter killed her.
Flint soon discovered that Claire was the daughter of Carmonti, the Chicago
godfather. There had been a bloody mob purge the previous year, and Carmonti's
rivals, the Vespucci family, couldn't afford to let Claire live because she
might know something about their business. Claire was the godfather's only
heir, and Wheeler was shocked to learn that he was her sole beneficiary. Wheeler
was furious that he was made a millionaire through blood money. Later, Godder
made an off-hand remark that he should use the money to fight the mob, which
gave Wheeler an idea. He built his own auto repair shop, and secretly created
the identity of Wild Dog. Soon after, Wild Dog attacked and killed Carmine
and Carlo Vespucci, as well as the assassin who had murdered Claire.
Flint then looks at a photo taken at Arsenal Island, and is convinced that
their suspicions are correct. Flint soon arrives at Wheeler's house. He shows
the photo to Wheeler, noting that he was the only one of the four at Arsenal
Island who wore combat boots like Wild Dog. Wheeler admits that Flint is correct,
but surprises his friend by asking him to help out as his police contact.
At that moment, they hear a news report of another terrorist action at city
ACTION COMICS WEEKLY #601 (1988) - 609 (1988)
' Moral Stand '
Lt. Andy Flint forces Jack Wheeler to give up being Wild Dog, but after three
months he is forced to ask for Wild Dog's help against the forces of B. Lyle
Layman and the National Legion of Morality. Lou Godder reveals to Wheeler
that he knows of his exploits as Wild Dog.
Wild Dog hunts a serial killer called the Night Slasher. A young fan of Wild
Dog's named Danny Crown decides to become his hero's sidekick, against Wild
Dog's wishes. Reporter Susan King dubs the child "Wild Pup". Danny
slips into Wild Dog's truck and learns the vigilante's secret. When Wild Pup
later tries to help Wild Dog, he is accidentally stabbed by the Night Slasher.
Soon afterward, the Slasher, who is actually an ex-prostitute who had been
hunting her former clients, arrives at the hospital and sits with Danny until
the police come to arrest her.
Wild Dog battles drug dealers. He tracks the drugs to Chicago businessmen,
whom he then slaughters without mercy. Flint and Godder tell Wheeler that
he must end his career as Wild Dog, or else they'll come forward with everything
WILD DOG SPECIAL #1 (1989)
' Dog Catcher '
It is three months since Wild Dog's slaughter of the Chicago mobsters. Gault
figures out that Wheeler is Wild Dog and approaches him with an offer to aid
in national security, both domestic and foreign. He promises a presidential
pardon if ever he's caught. Wheeler agrees and Wild Dog returns. Flint and
Godder are angry that Wheeler has resumed his vigilante career, but Gault
informs them that it was his idea, and that Wheeler is now part of covert
government service. The new ruling head of the mob, Don Lupo, hires a freelancer
called "the Catcher", to capture Wild Dog. The Catcher uses Susan
King to figure out Wild Dog's secret identity, then kidnaps Flint in order
to lure the vigilante into his trap. He drops off his captives to the mob,
then leaves them to their fate. Wild Dog escapes and kills the mobsters.
Justice League of America #142
She came from outer space ... but she was born on Earth. The woman with green
flesh, hair and antennae had been forced to make a crash landing in the ocean
when her spacecraft was fired upon by a being known as the Construct. She'd
been en route to find the only being on Earth who could protect her and found
him as part of a trio composed of Aquaman, the Atom and the Elongated Man.
The telepathic woman in the lavender body suit and wine cape identified herself
to the Justice Leaguers as Willow and begged them to take her to Atlantis.
"We must not be above water at all! The Construct's domain is the air."
The answers that the heroes received in Atlantis proved no less cryptic.
Willow would only respond that "this-one has come from a place she must
not name, to reach a place no man must know." Her enemy, the Construct,
was clearly a threat worth opposing, however, and he broke into the Atlantean
communication network with a promise to "destroy every human creature
in Miami, Florida" if the woman was not turned over to him.
Willow requested that Aquaman and the Elongated Man defend Miami while she
continue her journey with the Atom. Privately, the other two men believed
that the Tiny Titan wasn't up to the job but, given his recent bout with low
self- esteem, they kept their opinions to themselves. The Atom's assessment
of himself wasn't helped when Willow displayed a stunning expertise of the
martial arts in the course of their journey.
Arriving at an uncharted island, Willow was attacked by the Construct. The
robotic assimilation of Earth's electronic signals considered himself the
harbinger of a new era, one in complete opposition to the promise of life
represented by Willow. She urged the Atom to "shrink to the size of a
true atom" and destroy the creature from within. The gambit was a success
and the Construct's form exploded.
"This-one knew from the beginning what evil force had grown up to oppose
her since she left Earth — and the sole means of overcoming it. Neither Aquaman
nor Elongated Man — nor she herself — could oppose the Construct on his
own airwaves. Only YOU could do that, Atom. This-one was attempting to reach
you when the cannons first attacked her, over the ocean."
Willow explained that she had left Earth, taken a mate and become pregnant.
"The lure of the stars paled, as the Earth called out for its daughter.
In the end, she has come home to the nest. Here, where no one will disturb
her, she will birth her child."
She assured the Atom that, even if the Construct were to reform himself,
"it will not know of Willow and her island. ... Already, YOU know more
than ANY MAN should. You will keep my secret, Ray Palmer? You will give this-one
her chance for happiness — and ask no more questions?"
"Willow, I ... I ... I will!"
"Then, farewell," she said, kissing his bowed head, " ...
Reunited with Aquaman and Elongated Man, who'd stopped the Construct's forces,
the Atom held his tongue. "To ALL their questions, now and in the days
to come, the little man with the big secret just smiles a smile to match"
(1977's JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #142, by Steve Englehart, Dick Dillin and
In the Marvel universe, Willow had been known as Mantis (AVENGERS #112-135).
After becoming the Celestial Madonna, she took an alien plant being of the
Cotati as her mate and evolved to a higher state of existence. The object
was to create a child that straddled the lines between "flora and fauna,
plant and animal" (1974's GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #4).
After leaving Marvel for DC in the mid-1970s, Steve Englehart recalled in
Fantaco's AVENGERS CHRONICLES (1982) that fans were asking if this meant Mantis
would never be seen again. "Feeling playful, and feeling organic as always,
I decided to bring her back, in THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, complete with a disclaimer
to the Atom and Aquaman: 'I can't tell you who I am. If anybody knew I was
back on Earth, we'd be in big trouble!' And that went over well, and everybody
knew who she was. There didn't seem to be anybody who didn't understand"other
than editor Julius Schwartz "but I had explained to him what I was doing,
and he said 'Okay, whatever you say!'"
While working on a Madame Xanadu mini-series about the birth of a child of
evil in 1980, Englehart decided to revive Willow. "There's a sequence
— not a big one — in that thing where the Demon — and this in the story's
previous incarnation — or actually Jason Blood, I think goes to an island
in the South Pacific and meets her, and she says, 'Yes, my name is Willow,
and the gods are trying to create this child in order to combat my child who
is the force of good,' and so on and so forth."
In the end, DC rejected the proposal and Englehart and Marshall Rogers ended
up revamping the story. As SCORPIO ROSE, it was published by Eclipse as a
three-issue arc in 1983. Issue #2 revealed that Willow (as Lorelei) had given
birth to a son and spent the last several years quietly raising the child
Eventually, Englehart returned to Marvel and, with him, came Mantis. One
of his assignments was a twelve-issue SILVER SURFER series that would feature
Mantis and her now-seven-year-old son, Sprout. Still living a peaceful existence
in Connecticut, mother and child used their powers to help the Surfer fight
the Mangog. Sprout was capable of transforming himself into a mobile tree!
In the end, an attraction had sprung up between the Surfer and Mantis.
Plans changed and Marvel decided that an ongoing SURFER series might be a
better course of action. Working with Marshall Rogers again, Englehart eventually
fit Mantis into the second draft at the end of 1987's SS #3. In #4, she explained
that "a time of solitude has come for (Sprout), and he needs his mother
not. Thus, this one reappears. And THIS time, this one lives as the Cotati
do, under whatever conditions — and she moves from world to world as surely
as blood courses and sap flows."
The original version of the mid-1980s SILVER SURFER series (illustrated by
John Buscema and Jack Abel) was finally published as an out-of-continuity
episode in 1990's MARVEL FANFARE #51.
The Texas sands of Wild Stallion Mesa were soaked with blood on that dark
day in the late 1800s. A young Mexican girl watched as her father was gunned
down by bandits for the chest of gold her carried. A young Texan boy saw his
own father struck with a bullet by the same outlaws. Rising out of the dust,
the boy proved every bit the marksman that his Texas Ranger father was. In
an instant, the killers lay dead at his feet. Rick Wilson was barely
eight years old.
Captain Sam Wilson was in no hurry to see his son fulfill his dream of being
a Texas Ranger but no one could deny that he thrived on Rick's companionship.
Since Maria Wilson had been slain by an unknown gunman (whom she had described
with her dying breaths), Sam couldn't bear to let the boy out of his sight.
The youngster had vowed to find his mother's killer when he joined the Rangers
and Sam feared where the path to vengeance might take him.
Paloma, the orphaned Mexican child, filled a void in the Wilson household,
one that Sam tried to deny. Insisting that she needed "the guidin' hand
of a kind woman to bring you up like a lady," the Captain sent her to
a childless couple in Purple Ridge. Within days, Paloma had fled her adoptive
parents and returned to the Wilson homestead. Informed that "the good
Dios chose YOU to be my family ... you and Rick," Sam knew better than
The family unit was joined by another scarred soul when Rick was in his thirteenth
year. The boy had rescued a hawk that was being attacked by two cougars and
nursed it back to health. As he peeked in at his son that night, Sam grinned
at the glare the hawk was giving him "as if he was Rick's own watchdog."
The bond between the hawk and the young man would never be broken.
All through his teens, Rick polished his sharpshooting skills. By the time
he was eighteen, he'd achieved a degree of accuracy that led even his accomplished
father to admit that "I'd hate to face you in a shoot-out." Still,
the gray-haired Ranger kept dragging his feet and Rick finally exploded at
the man he'd idolized.
"I'm tired of waitin' — tired of bein' treated like a wet-nosed kid!"
Packing a few belongings, Rick rode off, telling his adoptive sister that
"I'm gonna PROVE I'm a man ... and Dad ain't gonna like it!" The
hawk, silent as ever, followed in the sky above.
A year later, Captain Wilson was called upon to investigate a stagecoach
robbery, one in which "two men were gunned down in cold blood."
A third man, who'd pleaded in vain for a non-violent robbery, was the only
bandit who was positively identified. He wore tan pants, a light green shirt
open at the chest, a dark green vest, brown poncho and black hat and had brown
hair — and the face of Rick Wilson.
In the streets of Purple Ridge, Rick was called out — by his father. Paloma
tried to intercede, pleading with her father and brother to settle things
peacefully, but neither would listen. Rick proved the quicker draw by a fraction
of a second and left his father bleeding on the dusty ground. Typical of Rick's
skills, the shot had been aimed carefully enough to only graze the old man
— but it had taken its toll. Flatly announcing that "I have no son,"
Sam walked from the doctor's office and past a crowd of slack-jawed townspeople
to nail up a picture on Rick Wilson: "Wanted ... Outlaw."
That night, Rick had a vision of a man cloaked in black who rode an ebony
horse. He warned of "a 'welcoming committee' of two ... up ahead"
and vanished as abruptly as he'd appeared. The manifestation of the California-based
horseman in Texas fueled the supernatural legend of El Diablo. Though unnerved
by the words of "the devil," Rick found the warning reaffirmed by
the hawk, which was circling ominously over a secluded spot near Wild Stallion
Mesa. His partners in crime, it seemed, did not like to share.
Within the hour, Captain Wilson and his posse discovered the money from the
stage robbery at the mesa ... alongside the corpses of the Fenton Brothers.
The man that the siblings had intended to ambush was long gone. "I didn't
want it to end this way," Rick thought. "I've always dreamed of
wearin' a Texas Ranger badge ... of ridin' with Dad and his men. But these
are the cards that ramrod dealt me. I'VE got to play 'em HIS way. To the bitter
end" (1970's ALL-STAR WESTERN #2, by Bob Kanigher and Tony DeZuniga).
The 1970 revival of ALL-STAR WESTERN, which had originally run from 1951
to 1961, represented editor Dick Giordano's take at a western title for DC.
The first issue was a reprint showcase for Pow-Wow Smith but the last page
promised "a new breed in blazing western adventure" with the next
issue's introduction of El Diablo ... and The Outlaw.
Both the supernatural-tinged El Diablo and the more straightforward "Outlaw"
came from the typewriter of veteran writer Robert Kanigher. Indeed, the premise
of Rick Wilson seemed like a dark reflection of Kanigher's earlier western
hero, Johnny Thunder (which ran from 1948 to 1961). That series had also involved
a widower lawman and his son but, in that instance, John Tane had promised
his dying mother not to follow in his father's footsteps and was forced to
adopt the alter ego of Johnny Thunder to get around his vow. Where Sam Wilson
was reticent about allowing his son to be a lawman, Sheriff Bill Tane desperately
wanted John to join him and considered the boy a coward when he declined.
The series gained another link to Johnny Thunder when Gil Kane signed on
as artist for the second and third episodes of "Outlaw." In the
first of these, Rick found that he wasn't truly accepted anywhere. Even the
outlaws who worked with him viewed the son of a Texas Ranger with suspicion.
During a train robbery, half of the Dix Gang took advantage of Rick's precarious
position atop the locomotive to ambush him while the rest of the bandits held
Sam at gunpoint in a car below. On separate fronts, the Wilsons killed their
respective assailants but the chasm between father and son was as wide as
ever. Sam Wilson had no son (ASW #3).
In retaliation for Captain Wilson's capture of outlaw "King" Coffin,
the bandit's gang abducted Paloma and vowed to kill her if their leader was
not freed. As the horrified townspeople watched, Wilson refused to make a
deal, defiantly placing the noose around Coffin's neck when the hangman himself
Rick rode into the crowd, snatched Coffin and demanded an alliance. "You've
got the best hideout in this territory. No lawman's broken into it — and
lived. I sure could use a place like that to cool off." At the encampment,
Rick wasn't simply cool, he seemed as cold as his father, callously allowing
Coffin to shoot at the hawk and make advances on Paloma.
It had all been a pretext, of course. Once the gang's guard was down and
most of the men were drunk or sleeping, Rick stormed into Coffin's room as
the villain was attempting to rape Paloma. The livid bandit pursued the brother
and sister, with only the savage claws of the hawk preventing Coffin from
shooting them. In an underwater struggle with "King" in whitewater
rapids, only Rick survived. The rescue of Paloma and the defeat of her kidnappers
had no discernable impact on Sam Wilson. He had no son (ASW #4).
During a visit to his mother's grave, Rick froze at the sound of a "klik"
of a gun behind his right ear. Captain Wilson finally had the drop on the
outlaw. In handcuffs, Rick made a futile attempt to escape from Sam's deputy
and grab his gun but the old Texas Ranger shot the weapon out of his hand.
"Got to hand it to the old cuss," his son admitted. "He's still
as fast as chain-lightning."
The young man's jail time was measured in hours thanks to a prison break
engineered by "Gunpowder" Grimes to free one of his men. Rick went
along for the ride, even helping hold off his father and a posse, but a musclebound
member of the gang pronounced him a spy. Under a barrage of slaps and accusations,
Rick exploded and began hammering back at the big man. The young outlaw observed
that "only the chill of Gunpowder's gun pokin' into my ribs stopped me
from killin' him." Rick hands were tied behind his back and he was tossed
into a derelict train car for the night.
The gang had been gearing up for an assault on Purple Ridge during their
50th anniversary Founder's Day celebration. Filling the abandoned locomotive
with dynamite the following morning, they intended to send the timebomb rolling
into town and take advantage of the destruction that followed. The central
target in the impending robbery was a golden horseshoe that was to be awarded
to the winner of a sharpshooting contest.
As the train moved inexorably towards Purple Ridge, Rick heard the shriek
of his hawk. The bird's beak furiously tore at the ropes around his wrists
until Rick's hands, now covered in blood, were free. As he defused the explosives,
the outlaw was stunned to see his father riding alongside the car.
"Your hawk led me to you, son. Jump on my horse. We've got work to do
— cleanin' out the Gunpowder gang."
Though Rick's heart had soared when he heard his Dad call him "son,"
the situation was far from good, particularly after Captain Wilson's horse
was shot. Taking refuge beneath the stalled train, father and son prepared
for a last stand as Gunpowder grabbed a stick of his trademark dynamite. "At
least I'm fightin' alongside you, Pa —like the Ranger I always wanted to
be. Instead of helpin' you as an undercover agent."
Rick later recalled that they'd been low on ammunition. "Our last slugs
ricocheted off the rocks, showerin' sparks on the short fuse of the dynamite
Gunpowder held. The blast thundered like a mountain blowin' its top off. When
the ground finally stopped shakin' ... we crawled out. Pa drew out somethin'
shiny that I'd dreamed about ever since I was a kid ..."
"I want you to be wearin' the badge that's rightfully yours, son. So
when we get back to town I can tell folks you never were an outlaw but a secret
"Mom 'knew' all the time. But, now I can tell Paloma the truth about
The day was capped when Sam and Rick competed against one another in the
sharpshooting contest. A beaming Paloma announced that "the judges ruled
it was a tie. The golden horseshoe will remain in the family — bringing us
all good luck."
The trio rode off into the sunset, still in a state of euphoria. Sam vowed
that "from now on, son — we'll fight together."
"You an' me, Pa. Out in the open at last. Father and son wearin' the
same star. Keepin' it bright and shiny" (ASW #5, by Kanigher and Jim
The abrupt conclusion to "Outlaw" caught many readers off guard
in 1971, with more than one objecting to the unexpected revelation that Rick
was an undercover Ranger. In looking over the entire series, though, it seems
evident that Kanigher had the development in mind from the beginning, having
carefully avoided involving Rick in any crime beyond robbery. Still, the six-panel
wrap-up was undeniably hasty, without so much as a reaction from either Captain
Wilson or Paloma to Rick's secret. Indeed, one is left to wonder just how
long Sam had been in on the secret.
The decision to end Rick Wilson's run was an editorial one. Dick Giordano
had been succeeded by Joe Orlando, who wanted to move in a different direction
with a different creative team. The "Outlaw" logo would continue
to grace ALL-STAR WESTERN but, like Rick Wilson, it would only be in the descriptive
sense. Billy the Kid was about to ride into town.
All-Star Western #2-5
The World Beater
The World Beater was the living personification of many intergalactic villains.
Dr. Ihdrom kidnapped the evildoers and imprisoned them in escape-proof cells.
Two of them were Spectrum and Anti-Man. Wendy witnessed Wonder Woman and Aquaman's
battle with the former, and Marvin saw the Dynamic Duo and Superman take on
The World Beater gained many powers after the villains were killed and their
atoms reformatted into his body. The powers of the following villains are
- any type of light wave
- creates anti-matter blasts, but X-rays harm him
- storm power
- explosive power
When the World Beater defeated the adult heroes, Marvin and Wendy realized
that he had the powers of Spectrum and Anti-Man. They tricked him into using
his X-Ray power from Spectrum's lightwave magic. This power negated Anti-Man's
forces, and he passed out. The kids used ordinary armor to make the World
Beater project X-rays into them. (Super Friends #3)
Dr. Mist later enlisted Olympian and Wild Hunstman to free the World Beater,
Time Trapper, Hector Hammond and Sinestro from the Conqueror. (#46)
Super Friends #3 (Feb. 1977)
Super Friends #46 (July 1981)
The Writer was actually Grant Morrison, who appeared in his own ANIMAL
MAN #26, where he had a long theological and existential discussion with Animal
Man, revealing that he wrote the hero's life and adventures. It was Morrison's
last issue writing the book, and he wrote himself into the continuity to get
some ideas across and thank his fans (and to, ostensibly, pull a deus ex machina
by bringing Animal Man's family back to life). John Ostrander and Kim Yale
apparently decided that this meant he was a DC character, and he became the
Writer... and cannon fodder.
The Writer later became one of the members of the Suicide Squad assembled
by Black Adam to attack Circe's island during the lamentable "War of
the Gods." Whatever he wrote (or in this case, typed into
his laptop computer, which was suspended from a harness on his chest) happened.
Unfortunately, shortly after the assault began, he got a case of 'writer's
block' and got his throat ripped out by one of Circe's werebeasts.
Animal Man #26 (as Grant Morrison)
Suicide Squad #58 (as the Writer)
Original text copyright DC
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