Kobra #2: Super-heroing a pulpy idea …

Behold! The Bronze Age

bronze-age

Kobra #2, May 1976

“Code Name: Gemini!” written by Martin Pasko, art by Chic Stone. Editor: Gerry Conway, Inker: Pablo Marcos, Colorist: Liz Berube, Letterer: Ben Oda

Cover by: Ernie Chua (Chan)

Synopsis: Jason Burr is attacked by his brother Kobra in a hall of mirrors; but it ended up being a dream. He is consoled by his girlfriend Melissa and Jason tells her (and thus we, the readers) the main plot thread of the book:  he and Kobra, the leader of the international Cobra Cult, are Siamese twins separated at birth but still linked empathically – a symbio-link in which one feels what the other feels whether pain or pleasure. Kobra awakes after having the same dream. He feels Jason kissing Melissa. We learn of Kobra’s deceased lover Natalie and how he now loves Melissa who, somehow, ended up in Jason’s arms. We are told by the editor that we will learn more about this triangle soon…

Kobra then attacks the headquarters of Solaris, a former NASA engineer who created the Heliotron after losing his job “and, apparently, his sanity”!  The Heliotron accelerates the decay of the skin and kills instantly, but without pain (well, let’s be thankful for that). Solaris and his weapon escapes the coils of Kobra.

Meanwhile, Lt. Perez goes to Jason and orders him to assist in their own assault on Solaris; as Solaris threatens to use his Heliotron on a Long Island town. Perez gives Jason a uniform and a code name: Gemini.

Perez and the military await Solaris’ attack on the town. Solaris and Kobra appear at the same time and all three forces enter into battle.  Jason Burr uses his jet pack to fly to Solaris – and right into the beams of the Heliotron. Kobra, knowing his fate is tied with Jason, leaps through the air to rescue his brother. The Heliotron hits Gemini’s jet pack and destroys it (it was made of skin?) and Kobra and our hero plummet earthward!

To be continued!

***

Turning Jason in to a named hero called Gemini was an eye-rolling moment. The reader groans as loudly as Jason Burr laughs at the idea. Please, don’t turn this into just another superhero comic, please! Ironically the letter page says they are NOT “…creating a super-hero mystique around either of our characters…” but that the “… occasional use of a costume by Jason Burr will add to that larger-than-life quality (that is the business of comic books). Or so we hope.”

I certainly don’t … After the first issues homages into pulpy goodness we switch gears into a typical super-hero pastiche.

The premier issue was not a dazzling debut, and this issue is, well, somewhat pedestrian.

Strike Two?

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

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