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Heroes Inc – Summaries of Issues 16 and 17

29 January, 2020

Heroes Incorporated, Summaries of Issues Sixteen and Seventeen (July – August 1964)

Issue 16: The Gauntlet

Appearing in this issue: Playboy, Jade Dragon, Kid Comic, and Lt. Steele. Villains:

The Gauntlet: Green Knight, Icer, Mechanism, Mocking Bird and the Grey Man (who is never actually seen in this issue).

Cover: The team sprawling unconscious at the feet of the members of the Gauntlet, Mocking Bird holding Jade Dragon’s Ring in her hand saying, “Who’s next?” Caption: “America’s Heroes Laid Low by the Gauntlet?!?”

Opening page: Heroes Inc. (Playboy, Jade Dragon, Kid Comic and Lt. Steele) meeting at HQ. Janice Trades, Heroes Inc secretary, delivers a file to Jack saying, “This is urgent, Mr. Diamond.” He opens it and the first page has in bright red letters, “Security Breach” written across it. Jack stands, “Team we have a problem.” And with that, the doors to the meeting room burst open and Green Knight, Icer and Mechanism storm in, while “Janice” reveals herself to be Mocking Bird. It is a very close fight, Playboy goes down early to Mocking Bird’s martial arts. Kid Comic is felled by Green Knight and Mocking Bird double teaming him. Icer uses purple ice (as Jade Dragon’s force manipulation does effect purple, wonder where he got that idea?) to smash Jade Dragon. Lt. Steele is the last to go down. “What fate awaits our heroes?”

Issue 17: Plots Abound

Appearing in this issue: Playboy, Kid Comic, Plasma Man, and Lt. Steele. Cameos by: The Duke of Stirling, and Sirius.

Villains: Red Amerika (Captain Communist, Red Dragon, the Socialite), BLAST troopers.

Cover: A map of New York City with Harlem burning, “Riots in New York! What will our Heroes do?”

Opening page: Our heroes tied to chairs each of the heroes has a sign hung around his neck: Playboy “Trumped.” Kid Comic “Ignoble.” Jade Dragon “Defanged.” And Lt. Steele “Obsolete.” Janice, the real one, is untying them, “Good thing I took those yoga classes,” she says.

This issue is all about plot hooks. Sirius explains about the other space empire, the Throne and its psionic power, he suspects the Grey Man (who Janice saw) might be one of their scouts. The Gauntlet took Jade Dragon’s ring and Jade Dragon is very sick through most of the issue only recovering at the end. Senator Barry Goldwater is chosen as the Republican candidate for President and asks Jack for an endorsement (Jack refuses but speaks well of Goldwater in interviews). Riots in Harlem, Heroes Inc steps in to help limit the damage. Kid Comic has an encounter with Red Amerika who are also trying to limit the damage caused by the riots. Serious riots in Rochester, NY, Gov. Rockefeller mobilizes the National Guard and Heroes Inc. Heroes Inc discovers that the rioters were provoked and supported by BLAST (Black Legion of Africa – Shock Troopers) troopers, but the leader of BLAST, the Black Lion, escapes.

Closing page, Jack Diamond reading the New York Times. The lead story: Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed, President Johnson given full authority to use US military in Vietnam.

Flip back to summaries of Issues 12-15.

Onward to Issues 18!

Back to Heroes Inc Roll Call.

Notes: A little deeper write ups here which is good, more information to mine!  The Harlem Riots were a real thing, triggered by a young African-American man being shot and killed by a NYPD officer who claimed he had a knife.  Some of my weaving of superheroic and real history strikes me as clumsy and insensitive in retrospect even if well meaning.

Image: This is Harlem by Jacob Lawrence from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966.

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