Hall of Injustice
by John Wells
From the Files of Green Arrow:
Fred Jenkins would do anything for his son. Diagnosed with a potentially fatal condition, the boy was in desperate need of a life-saving -- but very expensive operation. With no other options, Fred decided in early 1962 to take a series of high-risk, high-paying jobs to finance the surgery.
While testing a one-man propeller device above Star City, Jenkins came to the attention of Green Arrow and Speedy, who rescued him with helium balloon arrows when the flight pack malfunctioned. At an impromptu press conference, Jenkins offered to undertake any dangerous mission ("for the right price, of course") and, by evening, his name had been broadcast up and down the coast. In a chance encounter that night, the Amazing Archers rescued Fred again, this time while he was salvaging gems for the owners of a wrecked freighter.
Inevitably, Jenkins was hired by an unscrupulous client. The day came while Fred was testing a Cliff Climber, an orange tank with extendable arms and a clear plastic dome over the driver's seat. The device worked flawlessly and Jenkins reported the news via radio to its inventor, Doctor Davis.
Davis, a fifty-something man with curly gray hair, thick eyebrows and a mustache beneath his bulbous nose, had further instructions: Jenkins was to use the tank's arms to steal a rare jade statue from a suburban mansion.
Fred insisted that he couldn't comply but Davis responded that "you can -- and you will! I sent you this way because the regular road up that mountain is guarded at the bottom. What's more, I sealed you in. If you don't steal that statue, I need only press a button that will blow up the vehicle, with you in it! Think it over."
After several minutes of silence, Davis triggered the explosion, observing that "now that I know my invention works, I can build another and operate it myself." Before he had a chance to react, Doctor Davis and his two partners were captured by Green Arrow and Speedy -- in the company of Fred Jenkins.
Spotting the Arrow-Plane overhead, Jenkins had used the tank's arms to uproot an American flag and turned it upside down ("the standard distress signal"). Alerted to Fred's plight, GA explained that "a few acetylene torch arrows did the trick, burning off the dome."
Green Arrow predicted that Fred's reward for capturing the Davis gang "should be more than enough to cover your son's operation." Still shaken from his experience, the young man responded, "I don't mind telling you -- that last job cured me of risks forever" (World's Finest Comics # 125, by Ed Herron and Lee Elias).
Though a minor adversary in Green Arrow's history, Doctor Davis had the good fortune of appearing just as writer Gardner Fox was casting about for a representative GA villain to use in Justice League of America # 14 (with art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs). Four months after the publication of World's Finest # 125, Davis returned in the JLA story, one of several crooks recruited by Mister Memory (a.k.a. Amos Fortune) to use a De-Memorizer on the heroes and give them amnesia. Using more of his inventions (a miniature aircraft and a lightning generating baton), Davis distracted Green Arrow until he could use Mr. Memory's device on the Emerald Archer.
Davis and his cohorts were soon captured by the League, of course, but the bad doctor achieved a bit of immortality with his five panel (two more than WFC!) appearance in that issue (the twice-reprinted induction of the Atom), enabling fans to remember his name when nearly all the other evil scientists of the era are long forgotten.
1982: Star City was in turmoil thanks to strikes and dissension among its city workers. The situation was being aggravated by a conglomerate of white collar criminals and Green Arrow had learned that the mastermind was Machiavelli, a charismatic would-be politician with ties to the mob. The Emerald Archer had reckoned without Machiavelli's bodyguard, however. The flame-tressed assassin wore a red costume with long white boots and announced that "it's my job to stop you ... if you intend to make yourself a pest." Pulling out "a pair of hand-held, high-tech, pinpoint-accurate lasers," the Executrix made it clear that she meant business.
Green Arrow leaped for cover behind an overturned table that was soon shredded by the onslaught of deadly beams of light. Crawling amidst his scattered arrows, GA spotted his "reflector-signal arrows. I normally use them to reflect sunlight ... and flash an occasional morse code S.O.S. ... but they've just been drafted for military service." The assassin's lasers bounced off the polished arrows, destroying her weapons in the process. With the Executrix pinned to the wall with half a dozen arrows ("You -- you wouldn't hit a woman, would you ?"), the Emerald Archer learned the details of Machiavelli's scheme and prepared to expose him (Detective Comics # 523-524, by Joey Cavalieri, Irv Novick and Ron Randall).
The Executrix, after escaping from a Star City holding cell, went back into business, selling her services to those who could meet her price. By 1985, she'd altered her costume, retaining the red and white color scheme but exposing more flesh and pulling her darkened hair into a knot on her head. Rather than rely on a single weapon as she'd done with Green Arrow, the Executrix added a variety of pieces to her arsenal, ranging from a rifle to an assortment of knives and daggers to more "outre weaponry" that was only hinted at.
Her latest target was Ron Page (World's Finest Comics # 313) , a whistle-blower who threatened to expose a cost-cutting move at Metrosteel that had resulted in tragedy. "A new, cheaper process in making steel ... also turns steel brittle, so that it shatters after a short while." Page revealed the details to a Daily Planet reporter but the Executrix murdered him before he could file the story.
Superman and Batman agreed to watch over Page until the story was publicized but the Executrix managed to capture him while on a train. Immobilized by sleep gas, Page was dragged to the Gotham City Bridge, where the villainess planned to throw him to his death. The Batman arrived but found himself held at bay as long as the Executrix was holding a knife to her hostage's throat.
Leaning against the bridge, both kidnapper and hostage suddenly fell backwards as the rail -- manufactured by Metrosteel -- began to crumble. Page grabbed onto the fragile rail while the Executrix clutched at his jacket, screaming, "This isn't happening! This wasn't supposed to happen! Save me!" As Batman pulled Ron to safety, the woman in red plunged into the river. "Fitting," the Dark Knight said. "You can call it justice."
"You might call it justice, Batman," noted Superman, bursting from the water with the unconscious Executrix in his arms, "But death doesn't fit my definition of the term" (WFC # 314, by Cavalieri, Stan Woch and Alfredo Alcala).
The Printer's Devil:
When Star City's newspaper, the Daily Star, was threatened with a buyout by media giant Morris Burdick, a demonic entity known as the Printer's Devil appeared on the premises. Dressed in a red and black costume with a blue cape, he came complete with a ram's head mask and large red eyes -- and a trident that fired flame darts. Green Arrow ultimately unmasked him as Tommy Doyle, a sports writer at the paper. Doyle hoped that Burdick would think twice about buying a media outlet under siege -- and he was right. Burdick abandoned his plans to buy the Star ... and Tommy went to jail (Detective Comics # 539-540, by Joey Cavalieri, Shawn McManus and Sal Trapani).
A few months later, Doyle (out on bail) came face to face with the Printer's Devil. His successor had forced Tommy to provide him with a spare costume and weapon, which he used to initiate an attack at the Star City World's Fair. The new Devil "lost a printing contract here when the Fair passed my 'hot type' machines by for faster 'cold type' ones" and he joined others "ruined" by the Fair (Pinball Wizard and Bad Penny) in seeking revenge. The inexperienced Printer's Devil was quickly wrapped in one of GA's bola arrows and left hanging (Detective # 543-544) while the rest of the troupe was brought to justice (# 545, by Joey Cavalieri and McManus).
John "Mikishawm" Wells, the pride of Batavia, Iowa, is a lifelong comics fan, working his way forward from Disneys in 1969 to newspaper strips in 1973 to SHAZAM! and the rest of the DC Universe in 1974. During the 1980s, he began compiling a lists of DC character appearances, a massive database that he's tapped into when writing articles for publications such as the DC Index series, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer’s Guide, Comic Effect, Comic Book Marketplace, It’s A Fanzine, The O‘Neil Observer and, of course, Fanzing. He is Kurt Busiek's unofficial reference guide, as the keen-eyed may have noticed in Power Company #2.
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This piece is © 2001 by John Wells.
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