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Review: Secret Society of Super-Villains #1

November 4th, 2008

“You are cordially invited to attend the first of my reviews of the Secret Society of Super-Villains…..Attend or Die!”

Following the example set by Mike and duplicated by Tom Mix, I too am getting in on the act and have decided to chronicle my experience with The Secret Society of Super-Villains. Starting with issue 1!

Story title: “Attend Or Die”

June 1976

30 cent cover price
Editor/Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Pablo Marcos
Embellisher: Bob Smith
Cover Art: Ernie Chua, signed, dated 1975

Our cast of characters:

Captain Boomerang (Digger Harkness) – A classic Flash Rogue who first appeared in Flash #117.
Captain Cold (Leonard Snart) – Another Flash Rogue who first appeared in Showcase #8.
Copperhead – A snake-themed villain who first battled Batman and Wonder Woman during his first appearance in Brave and the Bold #78.
Gorilla Grodd – A Flash villain who first appeared in Flash #106.
Manhunter (Paul Kirk) – A clone of the original Golden Age Manhunter. This is the first appearance of this clone. A previous clone last appeared in Detective #443. Not much is known regarding his motives as of issue 1 of this series.
Mirror Master I (Sam Scudder) – Yet another Flash Rogue who first appeared in Flash #105. This is the original Mirror Master, not to be confused with the current incarnation of the character whose alter ego is Evan McCulloch
Shadow Thief (Carl Sands)- Hawkman villain who first appeared in Brave and the Bold #36.
Sinestro (Sinestro of Korugar) – The Green Lantern villain who first appeared in Green Lantern #7.
Star Sapphire II (Remoni-Notra of Pandina. Sometimes as Camille/Debbie Darnell as revealed in Justice League of America #174) – 1st appearance. Not to be confused with the original Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris, I: Green Lantern #16) or the Star Sapphire of Earth-2 (I:All-Flash #32).
The Wizard (William Zard of Earth-2) – Long time villain for of the Justice Society of America on Earth-2 who first appeared in All-Star Comics #34.

Synopsis:

The story opens with Mirror Master and Captain Cold escaping the police after the robbery of a jewelry store. And once they’ve escaped to their hideout they receive a mysterious invitation. Before we can find out what it is we cut to Gorilla Grodd escaping his captors on Gorilla City. After that Copperhead escaped from prison thanks to a new costume with improved capabilities which was smuggled in by one of his goons. The goon, waiting outside, has another invitation for Copperhead saying the suit, money and the message came from the “Secret Society.” Copperhead, and indeed the others, is being invited to the bi-monthly meeting of the Secret Society at the Sinister Citadel in San Francisco. (Say that 5 times fast!)

We cut to Sinestro in space, who has also gotten a mysterious invitation this time by sub-space message from across the galaxy. Sinestro arrives at what appears to be a normal office building but in reality is the Sinister Citadel! Sinestro disguises himself as a human complete with a stylish earring. And for some reason his yellow power ring has a Green Lantern symbol on it. Is this how it always appeared back in those days?

Inside the building Sinestro happens upon a lovely French woman named Camille who guides him to the elevators. As he is rising up the elevator, Camille is still in the lobby and transforms into Star Sapphire!

Sinestro walks into a meeting room where we see Copperhead, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Grodd, The Wizard and Shadow Thief are already waiting. After which Star Sapphire flies into the room where we get some dialogue from Sinestro explaining this is not the Star Sapphire he knows. Sinestro sheds his human disguise and reveals himself to be Sinestro just before the Justice League comes crashing into the room! Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman! But things are not what they seem as the heroes are not behaving normally nor are they talking. This League is quickly revealed to be robots as their host arrives in the form of Manhunter who says these robots were a test and an example as to why a Secret Society is needed.

Manhunter explains that they must all prove themselves to their financier, who is remaining nameless at this time. He sends Grodd and Copperhead on a mission to steal a sphere of plutonium at a remote lighthouse, which is done quite easily by the two villains despite their bickering. But as they are escaping Copperhead is shot and he drops the plutonium in the ocean and Grodd escapes without his partner.

Back at the headquarters, Manhunter is assuring the team that Copperhead being captured will not betray them. They have ways to ensure silence. And Captain Cold asks about the identity of their benefactor as the issue ends.

Next Issue: Is he friend — or foe? Hero — or villain? Not even the Secret Society can be certain — and they’re the ones responsible for — THE RETURN of CAPTAIN COMET! (On sale the fourth week in April)

My thoughts:

All in all, a fun comic full of bronze age silliness and a cast of some of my favorite villains. I know a little about what the future holds for this series but the mystery surrounding Manhunter’s motives and the identity of the unknown benefactor has me intrigued as to how it will all be pulled off. This is a fine first issue to what promises to be a fun series. The art was decent and the story and dialogue is what one would expect from a comic of the mid-70s. Fast paced and fun is the order of the day. I give this issue a solid B.

Ads and other items of interest:

Inside front cover had this humorous Twinkies ad:

No letters page or Direct Currents or anything like that this issue. There was a “Sinister Citadel” page which featured a special report on Manhunter and Grodd from the files of the Secret Society.

Also, this humorous ad/public service announcement was in the back pages:

  1. Cliff Rose
    January 21st, 2012 at 00:57 | #1

    Hi, Do you know the value of this comic book ?

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