Blue Devil #3 (August, 1984)

 

So, when last we left Dan, he’d just been through events that led him to dealings with new villain Shockwave and also the questionably-vehicled S.T.A.R. Labs, who were creating a super-kryptonite they’d really rather that Super-guy not find out about.

But Shockwave was assigned to steal the stuff, and now we know who by: Metallo! The Man with the Kryptonite Heart! I think we can guess what he wants to do with it.

But first, Dan is being analyzed, as promised by Klyburn, by the equipment at S.T.A.R. and it clarifies something of what happened: he was bonded to the suit, but it wasn’t exactly made plain ol’ devilflesh (can that ever be “plain ol'”?). X-rays (or similarly penetrative visuals) show that there’s still circuitry underlying the whole thing.blue devil 03-01

But that’s of little concern to Metallo, whose frustration with Shockwave seems mildly misplaced in light of his henchmen, who have missed their classes on basic firearm safety, and possibly the line where folks were passed functional brains. Still, all of this does indicate that sending others to do your work etc etc, and he decides to break in himself. blue devil 03-06blue devil 03-08

 

 

 

But Metallo and Shockwave aren’t the only folks we get to check in on!

Norm and Sharon (after only a silent, single-frame appearance last issue) moved onward, story-wise. Sharon reveals that Dan told her how the suit’s bonding was most upsetting as a result of his crush on her, and so she feels she needs to go and support him, at least in return for the fact that he, y’know, saved her life. Least she can do is try and make sure he knows that she doesn’t hate him as a human being (or…a whatever).

Norm, aka Doze-Master¹, is Dan’s biggest cheerleader, and sees things pretty straightforwardly (Dan must be cool, because he beat the pants off a demon and a supervillain, right?).blue devil 03-07

Meanwhile, Marla’s conscience, already teetering last issue over the legal concerns Jock Verner showed, decides to flex her artistic muscle and threaten Verner (gosh, I wonder if we should read anything into the fact that he’s always drawn in shadow???) if he doesn’t get up off Danny’s blue junk.

Speaking of Danny’s blue junk…

Paris goes to the trouble to illustrate a lot of interesting bits with how the Devil’s being analyzed at S.T.A.R., where he first appears in just his Devil-Briefs™, which seemed weird to me considering he basically wears a vest attached (I thought!) to them. No, it turns out he wears a vest with split ends (maybe that’s not a vest, then? I don’t know what that does make it) that he tucks into his Devil-Briefs (oh, of course.)

blue devil 03-09

 

 

 

Because Dan foolishly agreed to be analyzed at the place Shockwave had tried to rob, he’s really in for it, and gets promptly trounced with a blast from Metallo. However, we learn something new about Blue Devil and how he responds to something like a shot to the chest:

blue devil 03-15(Dig that last shot where Dan seems to be wiggling his fingers menacingly to threaten the Metallo henchmen, who are helpfully labeled with an “M” to clarify their allegiance)

Dan’s revival allows him to gain the upper hand (there’s a terrible pun here somewhere, as he destroys Metallo’s “mighty hand”), while also using appropriate sound effects to force more henchmen to acquiesce to his desire for them to…cease.

blue devil 03-20

Metallo, it seems, talks too much, though (or maybe Dan read the cover?) and he finds out the appropriate way to stop him quite readily:

blue devil 03-25

Some guy in blue and red shows up (too late to do anything important!), and Devil hopes that Supes is gonna give him some useful info on how he might find out how to get out of the suit. Probably because magical research is not really the smartest plan for Clark, he mentions that occult power isn’t his area, but he might know someone who can help.

He also asks why on earth S.T.A.R. was devising super-kryptonite at all, and Klyburn convincingly explains that it’s totally not about Superman or anything:

 

 

 

blue devil 03-29

 

Being pre-Crisis, I can only assume this is the manifestation of one of Clark’s heretofore unmentioned superpowers: super-gullibility.

Wayne-Watch: Where is Wayne? We want Wayne! Why, we were without Wayne for a while now!

 

¹In our hearts, if not in any actual fact.

Blue Devil #2 (July, 1984)

blue devil 02-04
Note: Whoops. I’ve been kinda busy. This tends to happen, I guess, though it’s super lame for it to happen a whopping two entries in. My apologies.

In his (then) most recent adventure, Dan Cassidy was still a real boy in a robot suit, until the very end. While being trapped into a fancy suit made to look like a movie monster might because for endless pathos (or villainy, if you are, say, Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich¹), Dan’s not exactly happy with his lot, but he isn’t bemoaning the old–er, Cassidy–luck and sulking.²

Let’s not beat around the bush–Dan’slooking for a way out of the suit, and dealing with some poor luck (that only gets worse), but he does find some enjoyment in his now internalized powers, and even uses them to make normal life easier here and there:blue devil 02-07
But he’s not really given a chance to whinge or exult in his invention’s newly organic nature, as a trip outside in Metropolis results in unwanted and unsolicited attention from passersby and the media, which he simply tears away from. Absent-mindedly, almost, he stops a mugging in process (and is mistaken by some out-of-towners for Superman, in a pretty good gag).

Dan’s casual heroics are left be as he returns to the Brownstone he invested in (and has yet to rent out) to find his phone ringing, giving him a chance to use his powers for the most mundane of reasons (which is a great touch):

blue devil 02-10

(Though he follows this up by accidentally ripping his door off its hinges, so, I guess it’s a wash)

Turns out, all that attention from the media got him in hot water with the shadowy film producer (no, not Marla, she’s not shadowy! Also, she’s the director/producer, not the Money Person, whose name is Jock Verner) of the not-yet-released Blue Devil movie he made the suit for in the first place.

In the meantime, Shockwave (a brand new villain!) is in the midst of robbing S.T.A.R. Labs, and trouncing the questionable security of an ostensibly tech-wonder location to acquire what he’s after, and causing wanton destruction as he does so, making his way to a pick-up spot.

What relevance has this to our hero? Not much. He’s not a hero, after all. He’s a poor schmuck who got stuck. But Shockwave’s casual negligence in his destructive rampage destroys the Brownstone Dan has recently purchased and failed to rent out as yet (ouch!), thus earning Shockwave his ire. Dan’s not outclassed, but he is a bit out of his depth in dealing with Thunder Thumps, as the two try to find their way around each other, gaining momentarily only to lose shortly thereafter, even when trying a few clever tricks.blue devil 02-23

Dr. Jenet Klyburn from S.T.A.R. appears, though, and informs Dan that the stolen object is an advanced “super Kryptonite”, so it’s imperative that he regain it (partly, she notes to herself, so that Supes doesn’t find out…), which causes him to go ahead and redouble his efforts (and letting Paris Cullins do another super-great Devil-in-Motion panel!³)

blue devil 02-26

The Devil doesn’t successfully wrangle Shockwave, but he does prevent the loss of the super Kryptonite, and rides off with Klyburn in…okay, maybe S.T.A.R. has had some budget woes. A Chevy Astro? That’s what they sent the Doc in to regain an item of the utmost importance? Yikes.

But, of course, we can’t leave out this great bit when Marla has gritted her teeth and sent the lawyers with a C&D after Dan to stop appearing in public. Showing one of the better acknowledgments of proportion and perspective from Paris Cullins, with dialogue to match (a lot of the book shows that Dan is now pretty ridiculously tall compared to normal people, and Cohn and Mishkin even acknowledge this in the dialogue):

blue devil 02-29

As intended, the book is a fun book, despite coming out a time where it contains ads for Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing (which was rarely fun, despite its excellence), just as the authors and editor intended.

¹With apologies, for those who demand it, for a Marvel reference in a D.C.-based project.

²Ha! I stopped myself before doing it again, though!

³By now, I guess my appreciation of those things is readily apparent.

Blue Devil #1 (June, 1984)


And just like that–he’s got his own book!

When we last left our hero, he had foiled the Trickster (somewhat clumsily) using the powers imbued by his self-invented Blue Devil costume. Wayne Tarrant was making unwelcomed advances on Sharon, though convinced she was interested in Danny (“we’re just friends”, she said incredibly convincingly), Norm liked to sit behind cameras, Gopher was Danny’s biggest cheerleader, and Fred was a pretty decent security guard, so long as super-villains weren’t involved.

Now, we’re into the filming, though–Marla Bloom (oh, right–she does have a last name, incidentally) is clearly directing, even if she’s “just” the producer, as Danny cackles and chews scenery evil-ly. It’s Gopher who ruins the shot, but free time means Wayne, in one of the more misinformed romantic attempts of the bd1ftworld, leads Sharon to an abandoned temple in their on-location shoot. While Tarrant has some second thoughts, Sharon seems to have a flashback to preschool and cannot resist putting an object into a whole shaped like it, unwittingly releasing the demon Nebiros.
bd1ob

Because no one knows how to contact the JLA or Doctor Fate, Danny’s left to hesitantly pursue heroics again, at the behest of Marla’s quick-thinking insistence. Nebiros is befuddled by this tiny demon attacking him, and attempts to sap away his occult powers with a blast that leaves Danny down for the count (well, that was a short run, I guess). Norm takes up the heroics after the fall (he’s not just going to sit behind cameras forever, hooray!), and drives a bulldozer into the demon, because that’s what you do in these sorts of situations.

Unsurprisingly, construction equipment is not the secret weakness of demons, but this does give Danny a chance to stand up (oh! it will last more than one issue! hooray!) and fight back again. Wayne fights to overcome his cowardice (it’s a giant demon, to be fair, though), and they eventually all work together to force the demon back from whence it came. And no one’s even left holding a little girl’s arm attached to nothing and gibbering their way into a mental hospital!

Marla, of course, has kept the cameras rolling and is completely cogent, inspite of the madness-inspiring events of the day, and is immediately re-writing the plot to make the Blue Devil a misunderstood hero. Oh, Marla.

bd1hn

Then again–Danny has discovered (after Marla notices his costume is so amazing it sweats!) that he’s trapped in the Blue Devil costume! Gosh, guys, I guess they were right that we figured everything wrong after that preview story! I mean, assuming you knew nothing about this 30 year old character, anyway. Which is actually not the most unsafe bet. Bet this will make his crush on Sharon interesting, huh?

Cohn and Mishkin worked in a good bit of fun for a book intended to not be about angst (ever–so sayeth editor Alan Gold on the final page’s “Hey, we don’t have a letters page, yet” letter page), and Paris keeps it breezy and fun, but with some cool designs and pencils (I really, really love how he’ draw’s Danny’s suit, I can’t lie).

Sadly, Danny’s sideburns are scaled back significantly. Budget cuts, I guess.
bd1ad

Bonus! Includes a full-page ad for some character called Blue Devil, who’s going to have a pull-out preview in Fury of Firestorm #24! Awes–wait…

Oh well. I guess you might not have been picking up Fury of Firestorm when you grabbed this #1, or something.

The Fury of Firestorm #24

Firestorm_Vol_2_24“What’s this tomfoolery?!” you declare loudly, “I came here to read about an Irishman trapped in a special effects movie costume, not nuclear powered people with strange split personalities!”

Fear not, dear reader. This is actually the first appearance of Daniel Patrick Cassidy, aka Blue Devil. If you were to look closer (which I’m sure you did!) you’d find that this is not that subtle–there’s a pull-out feature on him here, which predates his own series. Call this a soft-launch–whether you mean my writing, or the character, or his book. Just, you know, don’t call it a soft-launch for Firestorm, because that would be weird, since he’s in his second volume here, and two years into it, at that.

We’re not going to talk about the Firestorm story, because this is about Mr. Cassidy.realcover

Also, because I didn’t read it, so there’s that.

The “real” cover of this pull-out issue is over there on the right¹.

Coming a good few years after the infamous “D.C. Implosion” (D.C. marketed their own “Explosion”, then cancelled a crapload of the books they created–including, incidentally, the original Firestorm, which ended up lasting a whopping 5 issues), this book seems in line with the intentions D.C. had that I read about in a 1980 Comics Journal–more pages for the price (75¢ at this time, in–hey, the month I was born!). No extra charge for the extras, just more story.

The story opens with a clever side-by-side set of panels of some blonde guy (we’ll find out!) and some kid (later named Gopher–c’mon, guys, the Muppets already did this…) reading the latest “Stuntman” magazine, about Daniel Patrick Cassidy’s fantastic “Blue Devil” suit–all its secret powers for the film Dan is working on have leaked. Some Blonde Guy wants this suit for himself, and Gopher’s super excited, but Dan shrugs, since only he knows how his super-sweet suit works. Don’t forget to also note Dan’s similarly super-sweet sideburns (you won’t be seeing much of them, I believe).

split

Now we get a sneak preview of all of Dan’s supporting cast from the movie he’s working on. Well, starring cast, because he’s a stuntman, not a star, so he’s the supporting cast. Or less, I guess. Look–forget it.

Here’s who we’ve got:

  • Marla – The producer of this whole escapade (the fictional movie, not the comic book. This isn’t Ambush Bug.) Or maybe she’s the director. Or both? It’s a b-movie about a blue devil-man in a weird v-shaped leotard, after all.
  • Wayne Tarrant – The rather diva-ish star of this escapade (see note above). Suffers foot-in-mouth disease and crumbling vanity. He’s convinced Sharon is after Dan, but is interested himself.
  • Sharon – The other star, who insists on rocking a purple headband to keep her short bangs out of her…forehead? I don’t know. They’re really not very long. She has a policy against dating coworkers, especially ones who casually throw out frustrated insults without thinking.
  • Norm – He runs the cameras. That’s about it for now. Maybe forever, even.
  • Fred Klein – The security guard of Vernor Brothers Studios (my, so subtle) who has never failed to keep people out! Until, of course Some Blonde Guy appears–and Fred calls him “Mr. Jesse”–waitaminit!

Yes, if you know your D.C. c-list villains: it’s James Jesse (more subtlety!) a Flash rogue alternately known as–The Trickster!

And so, Dan’s left to fend off the Trickster’s attempt to steal his super-powered suit, but James mistakenly heads for Wayne instead, who is “ooga booga-ing” (seriously) his way through Dan’s role in an unpowered mock-up version of the suit and clearly all wrong-place-wrong-time now. Of course, Dan’s a tech-wiz, and we’re looking at a weirdo Iron Man, only…

oopsieI love that Dan’s “Oh shoooooot” is a sound effect.

 It’s stuntman vs. stuntman (yes, that’s why Fred knew James), but Dan manages to mostly pull it off, and we have our nice, 16-page intro to the world of Blue Devil, courtesy of creators Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, Paris Cullins, and Pablo Marcos. Clearly, a sense of fun is intended here, considering even Dan screws up in an entertaining way. There’s already a surprising amount of relationship establishment for the supporting cast, but we’ll see all that play out later on.

Oh, and we close with this great page-size preview that nearly cackles maniacally with the Cohn/Mishkin claim that they are BTO and you are their audience (who ain’t seen nothin’ yet)²:

preview


¹Fair warning: I’m not going to take the time trying to find scans for the moment. These are photos of my own real-life copies of the books! Whee! Perspective distortions, ahoy!

²If you read this and are pedantic, eagle-eyed, and not familiar with comics: the publish date for this (and also Blue Devil #1) is in June. However, publish dates are usually a few months past the time they hit actual racks, so the “On Sale April 26th!” isn’t as crazy as it looks.