Captain Action #3: "...And Evil This Way Comes!"

Captain Action #3
"...And Evil This Way Comes!"
February - March, 1969

Story And Art: Gil Kane
Edited By: Julie Schwartz
Inked By: Wally Wood

Late in the afternoon -- a jet-liner makes its way towards San Francisco,
on the return trip from an Asian-American run... The pilot and co-pilot
smile as their jet-liner soars above the bay... They see the Golden Gate
and both are pleased to be back. As Gary asks his co-pilot if he's ready
for a night on the town, his friend sees a sight which calls off any
possible plans. They both see the earthquake.

The pilots can only watch the disaster unfolding below them, and are
grateful that they can't hear the screams... They watch as cars and
their passengers are caught between chasms and crevasses, which close up
as suddenly as they had opened... Gas-mains explode, with flames
trapping residents within their crumbling buildings, their cries lost in
the collapse... Those on the street run without destination... with
nowhere left to turn...

A brother cries for aid in pulling his sister from harm... The mob do
not hear the sounds of a baby calling for its mother... who will comfort
her child no longer. How did this come to be? When did it begin?
Minutes ago in San Francisco, Clive and Carl Arno are testing out their
coins of power in a laboratory owned by Dr. Stefan Tracy -- the father of
Arno's dead wife -- a Nobel Prize winner for turning part of the Sahara
Desert into fertile land for agricultural purposes... With the powerful
and sensitive equipment provided at Tracy's lab, the Arnos' experiments
are conducted in complete safety. They hope to scientifically harness
the energies within the coins... so that mankind can benefit. Clive
wonders how his father-in-law is doing with his work on the San Andreas
Fault. Carl has just spoken with his grandfather... and says that Tracy
is making progress.

With a device to deactivate the fault, many lives would be saved from a
massive earthquake. Dr. Stefan Tracy is about to complete his atomic
nullifier... with the fissionable mass in the machinery nearing the
critical point. He is about to pull the switch, when the quake begins,
and the nuclear mass reaches critical. There is an earthquake -... and
an explosion. It is one which transcends both time and space. The quake
causes the nuclear, electronic, and chemical forces to send the doctor
into a slip-stream vortex of ghostly radiance, a macrocosm of blinding
interstellar flashes.

The mind and body of Doctor Stefan Tracy are struck by new universes.
Dimensions claw at him... He pulls entire nebulae from clouds of gaseous
crystals, only to be pulled into a colorful domain of sound... Tracy is
changed, both mentally and physically. His senses are now awakened in
this new state of being. There is no longer a Stefan Tracy, child of
man, but without humanity in this cosmic birth.

As he starts to realize what has happened to him, he knows that the
forces which have brought him are nearly expended... And after a trip
which may never be measured by time, he returns to the laboratory. He
sees the new face, one which will be branded as evil by mankind... This
will be his name. Dr. Evil! Humanity has just become obsolete. He is
the next stage... and he will raise the rest of the herd with him. Those
who will defy him... will die!! In the lab where the Arnos have been at
work... Carl asks his father how he's doing, and the elder Arno wonders
what's happened to the coins.

All of them are gone... same for four others. The coins of Mercury,
Zeus, Hercules, and Heimdall. Carl is given the Mercury coin, while his
father carries the others, and they check on Dr. Tracy. They hear the
doctor's voice telling them that he's okay, and for them to help the
others. Captain Action and Action Boy promise never to rest until evil,
destruction, and suffering are gone. The coins have retained their
powers, with both heroes soaring through the air, and seeing the people
caught in the path of a crumbling wall.

The speed of Mercury enables Action Boy to move them out of the way, with
Captain Action holding up the wall for added time. After the wall has
collapsed, Heimdall's keen senses tell the Captain that there are people
still trapped inside the building. He calls upon Zeus the Thunder God,
to bring down rain within and without, so that the fire will be put out.
The heavens sound with thunderclaps, and the flames are swiftly
extinguished. In other areas, those are more of those who are in need of
aid, and their actions are being watched.

He is not impressed by Captain Action's attempts to save human lives. He
knows that they would not do the same for him. He has seen entire
families left behind. He understands that the Captain continues his
labor, for he is one of them... a fool. Having had enough amusement in
watching the affairs of ants, his plan is now ready. They do not suspect
that "Dr. Tracy" is no more, and already his laboratory has been
converted for the "inhuman" purposes... of -

... Dr. Evil! With his birth, the human race has achieved its purpose.
He offers them a new life... new purpose... for those who can truly
appreciate what he has to offer... Let those who would remain human --
beware! He will begin the breeding of a new race... Northern California
will be remade in his image. The earthquake has started the task of
creating a new land... a place ideal for his grand scheme. Phase one...
begins --!!

A coastal government tracking system receives reports of... the
Sacramento River rerouting itself... Mount Shasta crumbling... the
Redwoods toppling in the forest... The whole state has gone crazy.
Rescue and evacuation units have been notified. Captain Action and
Action Boy have been found by the authorities, who released an all-points
bulletin for them. They, too, see that California is falling apart.

They are to change the course of a mighty river, and see that the
riverbed is filled with earth. The coin of Zeus enables the Captain to
freeze the water in place, with the riverbed being shorn of rocks and
earth... thanks to the speedy moments of Action Boy, who covers miles in
a matter of seconds.

The power of Zeus removes the cold snap, as the water fills the bed, and
resumes its original course. Next is a landslide, with Captain Action
planning to hold it at bay, but Action Boy wants to handle it himself.
As the Captain braces himself behind a boulder, the boy is struck by the

Action Boy is downed, and a watching Dr. Evil sees this. A glint of
compassion causes him to use a remote-control magnetic grapple-beam to
pull his grandson to safety... The boy lands on a high ledge, out of
reach of the landslide..., with Captain Action wondering if Carl is able
to use his powers reflexively.

Not badly hurt, the Captain flies his son to a hospital, where Carl
revives. Having learned his lesson, he waves to his father, who returns
to the disaster areas. As new mountain ranges emerge forth from the
earth's crust, Dr. Evil sees that Captain Action is undoing his
handiwork, and devotes his concentration on vanquishing his altruistic
foe. Several rocks and boulders now fly at the Captain in mid-air.

The power of the God of Thunder creates a tornado to carry away the
stones. He now knows that there is an evil intelligence behind the
disasters. With the saving of Action Boy and the attack upon himself,
the Captain knows that he'll be needing the aid of... Dr. Tracy. At the
lab, the doctor is asked for help against the manmade disasters, but the
busy scientist refuses his son-in-law. The Captain knows that only Dr.
Tracy can help him now, but the doctor has got some other things in mind.

With many lives in danger, Clive Arno wants to help them as soon as
possible, but Dr. Tracy has had enough of humanity. He sees them as
lacking virtue, not worthy of aid, and about as useful as sheep. These
are the one who he is being asked to save? He knows that they will only
lie, cheat, steal, kill, and leave their own families behind. He has no
respect... nor pity for any of them. As the Captain strives to appeal to
his father-in-law, the hands of Dr. Tracy reach for the controls of the
force-field traction beam.

Dr. Tracy has nothing to do with humanity, and Dr. Evil is now above
them. A captive Captain Action finds himself caught by the evil
intelligence who would doom all of humanity.

As Dr. Tracy, he can walk among them... while he works against everything
that the doctor stood for. Held immobile by the beam, the senses of
Heimdall tells Arno that the machine's wiring is faulty. He calls upon
Zeus to send a thunderbolt into Tracy's lab. A miniature thunderstorm
soon floods all within the lab.

The machinery short-circuits and Captain Action is free once more. It is
now Dr. Evil who is trapped. It is he who remains outside of humanity,
not above it. He may not pass judgement upon over beings. They may have
their faults and weaknesses... but they must find their own way.
Evolution will not be served by pain and destruction. He is not more
than human... but much less. As long as there are those who believe in
truth, his plans cannot succeed. With the aid of a gas pellet, Dr. Evil
believes that he can.

The wind currents of Zeus clears away the gas... "Tracy" has had his
turn. Now, it's Captain Action's turn at bat. Dr. Evil is able to use
his will to toughen his own body... improve his reflexes... to the point
that he can easily defeat his foe. A right hook from the Captain shows
that even such an advanced creature may be caught off-guard.

Another right hook, then a left, as the rage of Captain Action over
dealing with the disasters come full circle. A left hook sends the
doctor back, where he admits that the Captain is a much worthier foe than
he had first appeared to be. Even so, he is more than the humans he has
sworn to protect.

The left hook sends the doctor sprawling across the entirety of his own
lab. As the Captain leaps for his fallen opponent, the hand of Dr. Evil
reaches for the gem on his medallion... the flash of light erupts
throughout the lab -

All that remains in the hands of Captain Action is the mask which was
once the face of Dr. Tracy. Even in defeat, it speaks with the voice of
Dr. Evil, who vows to return. After Carl has been released from the
hospital, he learns what has happened to his grandfather. The tears
come, as the young boy realizes what Stefan Tracy has become.

In the "Action Line" letters page, Gil Kane writes:

"Dear Julie,

It hardly needs saying that I was enormously pleased when you took over
the editorship of Captain Action: it definitely demands proclaiming that
I was thrilled at your suggestion that I involve myself in the plotting
and writing of Captain Action! For years, I've been looking forward to
the time when I would be afforded the opportunity to develop and evolve
the character in my own fashion - and now that it has been handed to me
like this on a silver platter... well, it sorta gets me right here!

I've always maintained that the best art came out of a continuity, either
wholly created, or at lest broken down dramatically, by the artist
himself. I eagerly await the verdict of the readers on how well (or
poorly, to offer a reluctant alternative) I made out.

In the development of this issue's yarn, I ran into a problem: how to
convincingly explain the corresponding change in skin color as Dr. Evil
turns into Dr. Tracy, and vice versa. I played around with the idea of
having some chemical composition in the Dr. Tracy face-mask turn Dr. Evil
a human flesh color whenever he wore it - but abandoned it as not being
an entirely satisfactory solution. Accordingly, this skin-change is not
explained in the story.

Which brings me to my grand plan: how about my offering an original
drawing of Captain Action to the reader who presents the best solution?

Thanks for the use of this space, Julie. It's great to be back in the
old saddle again!"

Julie replies:

"There you have it, readers - a golden opportunity to obtain an original
Gil Kane drawing of Captain Action! It will be awarded to the one who
sends in the best explanation of how the blue-skinned Dr. Evil turns
flesh-colored when he dons his Dr. Tracy mask. All entries must be
received by February 28, 1969. The winner - as judged by the editor of
Captain Action - will be announced in this column. Address Action Line,
National Periodical Publications, 575 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y.,

On the cover of Captain Action #3 by Gil Kane and Dick Giordano, the
Captain vows that justice will be done. I guess that as a good guy, he
couldn't swear at Dr. Evil.

I was born in San Francisco and would have been about six months old when
the deadline for the contest had expired.

As drawn by Kane and Wood, Clive Arno closely resembles Elvis Presley
when he's at work at Tracy's lab.

Dr. Tracy's laboratory outfit looks like he got it at one of Stephen
Strange's garage sales.

The doctor's excursion through the vortex was a real trip.

As Tracy plucks whole nebulae from the swirling clouds of crystal, I
wonder if Gil was preparing a cup of java.

The evolutionary transformation into Dr. Evil is quite chilling to
behold, and Kane pulled it off magnificently.

The Captain strikes many dramatic poses on pages 7 and 8, as if he were
waiting for lightning to strike, or for two bands to slam together.

Action Boy likes to rock and roll, but the young hero loses his footing
by a landslide.

Despite his transformation, there is still an attraction between Dr. Evil
and his grandson.

On two pages, we're treated to Sam Vivano's visit to the offices of
National Comics, where he meets Carmine Infantino, and gloms through Marv
Wolfman's scrapbook.

Vivano has drawn himself as resembling Woody Allen, and his current art
can be seen in Mad Magazine.

After talking has failed to sway the villain, it's time for the Gil
Kane-drawn hero to use his fists, and get his point across... several

Even a punch in the jaw doesn't stop this bad guy from chomping on at the
bit, and continuing his speech.

On the last page, the startled Captain Action looks more like Peter Falk,
and Carl Arno has emerged from the hospital with a profile which Ralph
Dibny would envy.

Dave Blanchard regarded this as about one of the coolest comics produced
at the time.

Bob Buethe was less than impressed by the "sprays of multi-colored
chime-tones." I guess Gil's Princess phone was ringing off the hook that

Bob also remembers that the cover of Captain Action #5 played a part in a
first season Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch.

Bill Henley brought up what happened with the contest when the Captain
Action comic book was cancelled.

David Edge remembers seeing some Gil Kane art and brought up Action Man.

This Review Is Dedicated To Dave Blanchard, Bob Buethe, Bill Henley, and
David Edge.

Steve Chung
"...And Review This Way Comes!"