"Heart of Stone!"
|Writers/Co-Creators:||Gary Cohn & Dan Mishkin|
While Dan undergoes examinations at S.T.A.R. Labs, Metallo decides to show up for the super-kryptonite denied him in the previous issue. When he attains it, even the Man of Steel can do nothing. Blue Devil must save the day once again.
Having defeated Metallo, Blue Devil explains his troubles to the last son of Krypton who--though magic falls outside of his circle of expertise--knows somebody who might be able to help. Sharon, who travelled all the way from California to Metropolis in order to console Dan, arrives too late to catch him before he departs with Superman.
Metallo: "Ease up"?! Is this the thanks I get for making you into an unstoppable behemoth? Well, that just clinches it--you really can't find good help anymore.
Blue Devil: Of course I'm scared, but that's not it! It's just--look at me! I'm not me anymore! I'm a blue devil!
Sharon: But I--
Blue Devil: Don't you understand?! I thought that you and I...that we...but now I know that's never gonna happen and it's tearing me apart!
Rojek: I tell ya, workin' for a super-villain ain't all it's cracked up t'be.
Smitty: No foolin'! Mixin' it up with super-heroes...havin' t'agree wit' every stupid thing the boss says so he don't just kill ya outta spite...an it ain't like he even pays great or nothin! Sometimes I miss the old days when we was kids...
Rojek: Yeah...just you an' me an' a liquor store...them was the days!
Metallo: Think what the criminal world will say when they learn that it was I who vanquished the man of steel! Not even Luthor could challenge me then! He's the one in the green-and-purple spacesuit, right?
Metallo: You--you've ruined one of my hands! But my kryptonite-powered might will destroy you yet!
Blue Devil: Not a chance, bolt-head--'cause I just got your number. See, you talk to much. First you say you've got kryptonite for a heart--and then you tell me it's kryptonite that gives you all your power! Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that you'd be in real trouble...if someone stole your poor heart away!
Superman: Which raises the question--Jenet, just why has S.T.A.R. developed "super-kryptonite"?
Dr. Jenet Klyburn: Well, uh, you see...we felt there should be an effective weapon against...I mean, in case, say...a Phantom-Zone villain...? Yes!--in case a Phantom-Zone villain escaped while you and Supergirl were away in space! It's happened before!
Love the fight sequence between the Blue Devil and Metallo. That Dan is clever enough to get Metallo monologuing (not that it takes much prompting), and powerful enough to stand up to him long enough to actually rip the super-kryptonite heart out through his metal chest. A great climactic sort of anticlimax as Metallo simply falls to the floor literally powerless.
We learn in this issue that the Blue Devil suit has the ability to heal (or perhaps mend would be a better word) itself, though Mishkin and Cohn do not tend to come back to this much over the course of the series. Maybe they considered it a tactical mistake--that it makes the character too powerful if he also has the healing factor. But in any case, it opens the door to a lot of unanswered questions. For example, will the magic that bonds Dan to his devil suit heal his organic body as well, or just the mechanical parts of his body? The wound given him by Smitty and Rojek in this issue looked rather gruesome and fatal, but the devil suit must be extremely dense with electronics, not to mention that it is, as I remember, made of Kevlar...unless I'm making that latter part up.
The characterization in this issue was tight. Dan is clearly having a hard time adjusting to his situation, carrying about in a melancholic state, the only distractions from which are the fights that somehow keep finding him. When in the thick of it, he seems to forget about his doldrums and perk up. I like that the Blue Devil is boastful when fighting, but he backs it up with competence. His agile mind compensates for surprises, and his bag of tricks, though not inexhaustible, is used often and well to level the playing field...or rather tilt it slightly in his favor.
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