Action Comics #458: "Masquerade Of The Nutty Kid!"

Action Comics #458
"Masquerade Of The Nutty Kid!"
April, 1976

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Art: Mike Grell
Editor: Julius Schwartz

The getaway copter has landed in the vicinity of Looking Glass Hill, which is barely ten miles from where a speeding police radio car carrying Green Arrow and two police officers is located. The Archer tells them to issue an alert for as many patrol cars as possible to get up there -- fast! G.A. thinks that a little foot-stomping is in order... if not to bail out Black Canary, then to get the kidnappers of the Nutty Kid! Green Arrow has indeed run off on the trail of kidnappers -- but what only Black Canary knows so far is that the kidnappers were merely a cover! They made everyone else believe they abducted Danny Harris, the famous Nutty Kid of Comedy --- but their disguised victim was actually... Lex Luthor?! He finds it good that the super-heroine recognizes him!

The idea of this charade is to engineer a situation where Black Canary murders Green Arrow -- or he kills her! It doesn't much matter who executes whom, but it looks as though she is the lucky one -- the killer! She wonders how he proposes to get her to do that. It will seem natural -- just as it seemed natural for her not to have tried to tear Luthor apart these past few minutes! She's doing nothing but standing catching flies in her mouth because of his hypno-beam! He's already hypnotized her into wanting to kill Green Arrow! He trusts of all the law-enforcers hunting them down -- the Archer will be the first one to reach them! Her psyche will no doubt be kind to him... a good swift hell in his throat should do the job! Black Canary... can't bring herself... to raise a hand against him! If his mental command to kill Ollie is as strong... may Heaven help them both!

As the criminal scientist continues his monologue, the hypnotized heroine adopts an unusual pose... The authorities should arrive after her Green friend to pick her up... as well as his employees, who will receive triple pay for the time they spend in prison! As for his "kidnap" victim, Danny Harris the comic will reappear soon enough! "GUHH!"

She attacks Luthor... against the command of his mental device! He's such a fool! Lex didn't take into account her mental training in the martial arts! Through sheer meditation, she can hypnotize herself -- into seeing Luthor as Green Arrow to get around his command to her! Which means she's now forced to kill him! Heading up a dirt road at the base of Looking Glass Hill... Green Arrow wonders if the patrol car can go any faster. It's a wonder they can move at all on a road that looks like it's built for mountain goats!

The criminal scientist thought to start here -- with Green Arrow and Black Canary as his first victims -- and through treachery and psychological warfare, cause all super-heroes to be incriminated or discredited! As Black Canary closes in for the kill, Luthor desperately dives for cover under the copter... as a deadly karate chop misses its target! CRAACK He has to get away from that madwoman! The Black Canary must find him... must kill him!

Luthor's plan crumbles around him as he flees the hypnotized heroine, and tries to catch his breath long enough to make his escape... She won't stop until she murders him! WHUMP

The patrol car has stalled on a steep upgrade... The officers tell Green Arrow that it would take a helicopter to get up the hill! As he reminds them how the kidnappers got  there, Black Canary continues her attack on the criminal scientist... KLIK He'd better pull a disappearing act... and hope his hypno-beam will still compel her to kill Green Arrow! Now that Luthor is gone, Black Canary loses her compulsion to kill him! As she hears a familiar voice over her shoulder, Black Canary rushes towards the waiting Green Arrow, and they embrace. She wonders whether their meeting will turn into a disaster -- now... or later... For all she knows, Luthor could still be here, invisible!

No doubt, the criminal scientist will turn up again. Green Arrow wonders where Danny Harris is! If Luthor kidnapped the Nutty Kid and swapped places with him while she was fighting his henchman...? TAP TAP They find where the scientist stashed him. Danny Harris greets them both and starts to tell them how a funny thing happened to him on the way to the studio...

Lex Luthor may look like Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but he's the man with the golden gun on Black Canary.

The criminal scientist turned up again in The Joker #7 (April-May, 1976) when the Clown Prince of Crime complains --

"Luthor -- You're Driving Me Sane!"

Steve Chung
"Masquerade Of The Nutty Review!"