Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Creature Commandos! Part 13 (WWT #118)

I actually do have WWT #117, I just don't think it would make for a decent post. Suffice it to say, it was about the CCs and Shrieve being forcibly put on leave/behind a desk, only to come together to stop a secret Nazi plot anyway. Shrieve might actually sort of like these dudes, it turns out, by the way. Eh, he's still an asshole.

Imagine for a minute that the CCs had JAKE and Sgt. Coker instead of Shrieve. That's a dream team right there.

This one's another GI Robot crossover, and as before JAKE takes the fore for the most of it. Granted, then it says 'the end' and the CCs finally show up, so I guess I can just start there. JAKE got a medal from the King of England for bravery, and now the CCs are up to get some hardware of their own. Even though their logo is the biggest on the cover, by the way, this story is like seven pages.

The King's, uh, page or whatever reads the citation provided. He also lampshades how detailed it is, saying that whatever officer wrote this up must be some frustrated novelist. Oh, and the King's taking this all in stride since he's kind of boss like that.

I remember when Griffith was a bloodthirsty lunatic, but for a while now he's been a pretty cool dude, essentially the same person in both wolf and human form. Eh, let's call that 'character development' (I'm feeling generous today). There's a lot of crap about how kids are innocent and get the CCs, but I don't know if I necessarily buy it. They also show one of the kids feeling Griffith's wolf face and not being freaked out, because that's how saintly these kids are. As you can imagine, it's not long before something goes wrong.

Vicious Nazi POWs! The CCs offer themselves up for capture, but the escapees are smarter than that and take the kids, reasoning that nobody will attack the guys who have blind kids hostage. Now, that might make sense if you were dealing with regular soldiers who are written by a sane human being, but these are the Creature Commandos and they're written by Bob Kanigher, so obviously it doesn't end there. The escapees hijack a freight train, and the CCs head after them by air.

I feel like Velcro's bat form keeps getting bigger. Anyway, after he takes out the guard on top, the CCs land their tiny glider plane on the train. The ridiculousness of this idea is made apparent after they've bailed out, when the glider is smashed to pieces as the train goes through a tunnel. Kunzer sends some guys up to the roof to investigate the noise, but naturally the CCs are up there waiting for them.

Good guy or no, Griffith's really getting better at battle banter. Used to be he would just scream about blood. Surprisingly enough, Lucky contributes pretty much nothing to this whole adventure other than chipping in for the final gunfight, which isn't usually his job anyway. It's weird to see Griffith get in bigger and better hits than Lucky.

Whew, I almost thought a train-related adventure would pass without a 'punching a ticket' joke for a second there. Close call. Anyway, the CCs come out on top, doing away with all the escaped POWs and saving the blind little kids. Upon hearing all this, the King gives them medals without hesitation, and Rhodes, no joke, says the kids (who it turns out are present for the ceremony) are the real heroes and pins the brass on them instead. Not to ruin this Hallmark moment, but the kids didn't really do anything but accept the CCs for who the--oh, I get it, that's why they're the real heroes. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Senses-Shattering Saga of the Metal Men! Part 13!

I looked ahead, Tin's girlfriend 'Nameless', whom I dislike a whole lot, sticks around for a while, at least up to issue #30. I'm sort of looking forward to doing the latter-day issues of the run, actually, since art duties are switched over to a rotation of really cool dudes. Still, I'm not willing to skip over 17 stories just because Nameless is there, contributing nothing to them.

Okay, there's a setup where the Metal Men entertain some folks for like the tenth time, but that's boring enough for me to not bother (sorry). As they head back to the lab, a beam erupts from the sea and slices a commercial airliner in half. During the rescue, Lead shields the flying saucer and plane from further blasts, but is melted when one actually hits him -- apparently it's pretty acidic.

Doc's pretty torn up about Lead being hurt so badly in the plane rescue. In one of the more comical things I've seen in a while, the whole team besides Platinum and Mercury commits suicide as they head back to the lab. And, bizarrely enough, this wasn't Tin's idea. 

That's classic Metal Men logic right there. Again, pretty surprised this wasn't Tin's baby, since let's be honest, he seems like the type. Mercury stayed because he loves himself too much and doesn't want to give up the chance to be the leader for once; Platinum jumped but came back when Doc called to her because what else was she going to do?

Doc retrieves the melted bodies and puts them in the Metal Recovery Room while he tinkers with their responsometers. That's when he realizes what did away with Lead -- a bad guy they encountered before. Since I don't buy that you missed the cover of this comic, I'll just tell you that it's Chemo, a giant chemical spewing monster and the Metal Men's most recurring enemy. He was also the only Metal Men bad guy who got a Who's Who entry, if you're like me and care about that.

Doc heads out to confront Chemo... alone, not finishing the repairs on the out-of-commission Metal Men and not intending to take Mercury or Platinum. Luckily for him they stow away in the saucer, because what was he thinking?

Chemo's origin is a silly one, and is told via a flashback, and then a flashback within that flashback. A doctor was trying to create some kind of wonder drug and created a giant mold he would pour his failures into to remind him to try harder. Eventually it all just came to life and blasted him. 

It loses something when you actually see it, but it sounded sort of cool as described in Who's Who, honest. Chemo captures Doc and Platinum (having taken Mercury out of the equation with a chemical spew) and telepathically communicates his desires. Like, he shows his plan to Doc like a movie. It's handy that he has this new ability, since he can't really talk and all.

What kind of question is that? "This scorpion is stinging me! Why? WHY?" Chemo is a lot of things but I really wouldn't characterize him as an idea man. I'm sure he just hates everything; if I were him I'd probably kind of hate everything. Besides, it's not like his powers have any other application. Doc has Platinum retrieve the Metal Men along with a suddenly A-OK Mercury, but they don't have time to put anybody's heads on right. Well, more like Mercury wanted to be the one in charge, even if that meant keeping his buddies helpless. In case you had forgotten, Mercury is the worst friend you could ever hope for.

Finally, near the end of the story, we get the payoff to what was promised on the cover. Would you believe that they get their heads and bodies mixed up, until Tin and Nameless get it right and save the day? Naturally, they do this in a suicidal fashion, since this is the Metal Men and Doc never gets tired of watching them die.

I think I just saw a walking flask suffocate. He even made a sound that wasn't SSSS or GURGLE at the end there, a legit death rattle. Again, this is a strange comic, not a bad one. Well, Nameless doesn't completely ruin it, at least. She didn't really do anything (besides defeating Chemo, but I don't see how Tin couldn't have done that one solo), which only reinforces my opinion that she's a completely pointless character.

Of course the issue ends with Tin and Nameless repaired in the Metal Recovery room and surrounded by Doc and the other Metal Men, all happy to see them up and running. I think the other Metal Men find Nameless as creepy and stupid as I do, by the way, since they hardly ever talk to her.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It All Started with the Big Bang! Part 13 (Issue #22)

This is a special issue to me because it's the first Big Bang I ever saw. I didn't read it, I just saw an ad for it in Previews magazine. I was sort of like 11 or 8 or somewhere around there at the time, I doubt I really got the 'joke', but it interested me nonetheless.

I don't recall if this is the debut of the Knight Watchman's archenemy, the Pink Flamingo, but it's a great showcase of the character. Essentially the Pink Flamingo is a combination of the Joker and the Penguin -- a gaunt, manic, and flamboyant man obsessed with birds. I'm also reminded of Jack A'Dandy, the dapper Joker-alike Professor Night fought in Alan Moore's Supreme. I know Grant Morrison created a Batman villain called the Flamingo, and being that he gave Ultiman a cameo in Final Crisis I almost think that's an intentional reference.

The story in earnest begins with the Pink Flamingo tinkering with a huge contraption, putting the finishing touches on his latest evil plan. He's created a machine that extracts the 'essence' of an animal, which a human can then drink to gain attributes of that animal. 

I'm almost getting tired of these little winks to the characters' inspirations. That's not even the last one in this story, either. Still, at least it's not "Jordan Stuart". Anyway, the Flamingo starts his airborne crimewave by stealing a priceless bird statue from a charity auction that Reid and Jerry Randall happen to be attending.

In a move that surprised me, the Randalls don't have their costumes on them or anything and simply resolve to get him next time. Alas, 'tis not to be, as he constantly evades capture with his new flying powers. And (no-prize attempt) I imagine cops aren't shooting at him for fear of what will happen to the precious stuff he's carrying when he drops it. 

They end up tracking down his hideout and lying in wait for him, drinking the essences of a stray cat and a sparrow to fight fire with fire and match the Flamingo's new animal powers.

The machine is destroyed in the battle, and an enraged Pink Flamingo commands his birds to attack. only they just fly away (except the ostrich and penguin I guess). Idiot, only alien hummingbird-man suits allow you to talk to and command birds. Knowing when he's beat, he tries to follow suit, only for sparrow-powered Kid Galahad to intercept him, knocking him out cold mid-air with a wing punch. 

Luckily, it appears the effects of animal essence simply wear off over time.

Probably one of my favorite Big Bang stories like ever. It's a perfect 50s Dick Sprang Batman story, not a hair out of place in recreating the comics of that era.

After the Knight Watchman story, there's one starring the Dimensioneer. Who's the Dimensioneer? He's got the power to warp space, which he uses to teleport and not much else. He's not really based on any one character, but his stories are very much in the style of 70s Marvel fare. I don't like him that much, gonna skip it. It's not really 'Big Bang' enough, by my estimate. And, no offense, but I'm like the only person who cares about that.

An editor's note mentions that the missing story from BB #18 is still missing, but they're offering up an alternate take on Dragon's run-in with the Badge (and BADGE) from #14 to compensate. The story follows the same beats, but uses a different art style and has different dialogue. Art's a little shakier and there's character stuff with BADGE's elites that I don't think had a place in the "Dragon lost in time" story, but it's still cool to see.

BADGE agents clearly receive advanced training for quips and consternation.

We learn a little more about Trooper, Bobby, and BADGE here; the director and his top field agent are really Rick and Roberta (hence "Bobby") Ryan, and they think Dragon may be a rogue government clone, or "Accidental".

And Rick/Trooper seems to have some connection to the Badge, whom we all know is a robot from the events of #14. I don't really get it. Anyway, as before Bobby goes after Dragon and gets creamed, only for backup to arrive in the form of the Badge himself.

That's the same dialogue from the Badge reveal panel in #14, with added Dragon thought bubbles. Seeing the same scene from a different angle is kind of giving me Metal Men flashbacks. And just like before the Time Being steals the Infinity Orb, causing Dragon and the Badge to give chase to the end of time. The... well, not the end, not even of this story, but that's where it stops. Eh, it was alright, not a winner like the Knight Watchman story

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Creature Commandos! Part 12 (WWT #116)

You know, last issue was fairly down-to-earth compared to the crap writer Bob Kanigher usually comes up with. This one is more fantastical than a Metal Men story and a Haunted Tank one put together, though. How is it that Haunted Tank didn't run in Weird War Tales, by the way?

Yeah, really. Giant fire lady. I don't know if that's sillier than Aztec Atlantis robots, but it's close. Not to insult the material, but I'm reminded of Blackhawks as it neared cancellation, with its ever-increasingly ridiculous stories about mummy ants and the like. Though at least the Creature Commandos are fairly fantastic as it is.

No, seriously, they fight a giant fire goddess sort of. She's the daughter of Pluto and Persephone, cursed to have no heart and to burn forever. But she's lonely and she wants a man, though men are repulsed by her fiery body.

Tin Man syndrome; informed that she has no heart (and we're talking about the figurative 'capacity for emotion' here), she thinks herself unfeeling. 

Meanwhile (I guess), the CCs mop up a battlefield in Italy, and this freaking bizarre thing happens. Not Shrieve insulting his men, that's obviously quite normal, I mean the panel layout, the fact that it's in a bunch of panels at all, and the hilarious, wordless final panel.

I almost think there was some mix-up, it just looks so unnatural, though the smug expression in the last panel is totally worth it. Anyway, they head out on a new mission: scouting ahead to check on enemy numbers and such They take a cool glider plane to slip in under radar, hide in an ancient Roman temple, and... send Rhodes to check out a nearby town. Couldn't a regular spy have done this? Because an enemy soldier blows her cover by pulling off her headwrap.

She runs into Lucky on the way back; when they return to the temple, the A-plot returns as they see Inferna (who is giant compared to them) about to take Shrieve back to the underworld to be her husband. No accounting for taste, I bet. I think they should have let her go, she'd have thrown him back out after a few minutes. Rhodes isn't willing to abandon him, though, and the CCs give chase. Also, I'm not sure what would happen to them if Shrieve were gone; this whole operation was his baby, after all.

One of the things I most look forward to in these Kanigher CC stories is a visually impressive and unique feat of strength by Lucky. This is a guy who fired a gun twice his size and slammed a swooping airplane to the ground, and he doesn't exactly disappoint here, launching artillery shells (from a weapons storage in the temple) by hand to blast away a wall.

Rhodes seems to know all about Inferna, so I'm guessing she's part of the Greek myth canon in this universe (and that Rhodes has some interest in that area). In a classic Kanigher "oh crap I have zero pages left" resolution, she talks Inferna out of taking Shrieve with one sentence.

Remember, Rhodes is mostly called "Dr. Medusa", in keeping with Bob Kanigher's tradition of illogically nicknaming only the female member of the team (sup Platinum/Tina). She shares a moment with Inferna, as she knows what it's like to be alone. Inferna heads to the underworld, dejected, and Shrieve is already over the whole thing. He actually congratulates the "freaks" for once, but Rhodes isn't in the mood to hear it. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Senses-Shattering Saga of the Metal Men! Part 12!

I have to say, this is actually an issue I'm not that crazy about. You'll see why.

Like in that song "Steal my Sunshine", Tin is indulging in his self-defeat, comparing himself unfavorably to all the other Metal Men. He manages to make these comparisons tie into his loneliness somehow, which takes some imagination on his part.

He goes out for a walk and sees an item in a store window advertising a do-it-yourself robot kit. He gets one and gets to work, creating a Tin girlfriend with no name.

I'm going to be honest with you on a couple of fronts here: one, this strikes me as kind of messed up. There's no way to have a healthy relationship with a creature you created to be your mate, that's weird. Two, I either don't care about or kind of hate the 'Tin-Girl', or 'Nameless' character -- the whole concept goes against everything the team stands for or whatever. She's not interesting, Tin's relationship with her isn't interesting, and I can't wait for her to be gone. She's the 'Cousin Oliver' of the Metal Men, with all due respect to Copper of Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol backup.

Also, I bet Kanigher was kicking himself for already using the nickname "Tina" on Platinum. 

Mercury quickly scares her off with his attitude. As we've all learned by now, all roads lead to space in a Metal Men story. Nameless panics and heads for a flying saucer, but accidentally launches into space. Tin turns into a boomerang and has Iron throw him to her, and I really have to hand it to Tin for thinking on his feet like that. Who else would, when faced with this situation, immediately think "giant boomerang"?

She does catch him, and Tin decides to leave the Metal Men, thinking them better off without him. He resolves to find a place for him and his new babe to live out the rest of their days without being a burden on anybody. You know, I bet at this point the other Metal Men think Tin's an even bigger drama queen than Platinum.

Hey, you know how they went into space? What would you say if I told you Tin and his new ladyfriend met up with a sinister alien robot while they were there? Why is it that these guys seem to mostly fight robots of some kind or other, surely there are other menaces out there. Tin and his galpal check out some planetoids, but let's just say they picked a bad neighborhood. The planetoids are all crawling with messed up robots, from cannibals to a type Tin calls "Termites", who ravenously eat stone and metal (and thus mostly buildings) to grow in size.

They find a deserted planetoid with buildings still standing and land there, only to see a single, massive Termite gnawing away at the wreckage.

This is by far the most normal looking robot they've fought yet, even including the Missile Men and the evil Metal Men from last issue. He's not made out of office furniture, paper presses, or naval ordnance -- it's just a big robot who eats stuff to get bigger. I have to wonder if the civilization that he destroyed created him and his tinier counterparts.

The Termite sees them and gives chase -- even when they head back to Earth in the flying saucer! Evidently the planetoid is equipped for space travel by way of huge rocket thrusters. It manages to get to Earth way before they do, but Tin warns Doc via radio just in time... for him to get knocked out by the Termite stepping on the car he's in. The Metal Men combine their efforts to bring him down, motivated by Doc's injury, but nothing they do seems to hurt the giant eating machine. 

Tin and his doll show up and at Gold's suggestion form a doubly thick tin coating for the head of Iron's hammer form. Obviously, this was just the edge they needed, and the giant Termite crumbles under Lead's blows

The gang's back together and everyone thanks Tin and his new girlfriend. Doc invites readers to suggest a name for her, but everyone just calls her 'Nameless', as I've been alluding to now and then; I admit that I don't like her but that strikes me as a little callous.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Okay, for real DC, what the Hell is up with Forever Evil #1?

Hey, for the first time ever I'm gonna take a look at a comic that came out this year, this month, just a week ago! I read Forever Evil #1 and just couldn't get behind any facet of it; there's so little to like here in my opinion that I had to talk about it.

That's an oddly random assortment of villains. Oh, sure, the big arches are all there, but Humpty Dumpty and the White Rabbit in the back? I don't even know the one with wings on the far left. And Bizarro hasn't even really appeared yet at all, has he? His villain month issue was about a failed prototype.

Lex Luthor is threatening some guy in a helicopter for no real reason and it's really edgy and dark oh god Luthor you're so cool because you're so ruthless and hateful

That's when a sonic boom caused by what appears to be Superman causes the chopper to crash into Luthor's building. Meanwhile, prisons housing supervillains are being broken into and thereafter out of. By bad guys who remind you of some good guys you may know. They're given coins and told to come to a gathering

 Lex Luthor sees Ultraman break into a safe, crush the kryptonite inside, and snort it. See, it's the source of his powers. I've mentioned before that the original Ultraman got stronger when exposed to anti-kryptonite, even gaining new powers, but as you'll remember, Ultiman also gets his powers from exposure to an alien rock. And yes, I was just dying to bring up the Ultraman-Ultiman connection.

Basically every villain of note to appear so far in the new DC universe shows up at the  ruins of the JL's Watchtower satellite off the coast of Maine. There's a lot of "ha ha ha are you for real" attendees, with the standouts in my opinion being Black Adam, Hector Hammond, and freaking Starro (by way of a human host); I don't buy that any of those guys would be interested in a huge group of villains where they aren't in charge, or in Starro's case, in the affairs of humans at all.

Everyone at the gathering is doing that Contest of Champions, "[a regular sentence], [name of the person I'm talking to]" thing. What the crap is that about, isn't that a device for clumsily introducing a lot of characters at once? These guys have all appeared before, even the Crime Syndicate. And does the Cheetah even know Grodd, for instance? Oh, and even though I saw something about this on Siskoid's blog a few months ago, I was still surprised to see the Black Bison, Plastique, Hyena, and Multiplex were here. 

And let's be honest -- who wasn't chosen for this? They got basically every villain they possibly could, even Starro. They aren't exactly discriminating employers, being picked by these guys isn't a huge accomplishment.

Then the evil Justice League shows up and says they killed the Justice League. 

There's also an evil Cyborg named Grid, who is fully robotic and works behind the scenes. Oh, and I kind of hate these guys as characters, they're either flatly eeeevil or annoying as hell. Anyway, the Syndicate presents trophies such as Aquaman's trident and Superman's cape as proof of their conquest, then introduces themselves before a worldwide audience via the classic "hijacking literally all the airwaves and running on every screen" supervillain trope.

I think it's pretty stupid that there are Earth-3 versions of Firestorm and the Atom but not Aquaman. Well, I heard there was one, with the beard, long hair, and a crab-like claw, who died almost instantly. Still, Arthur's a member of the Justice League, he should be represented in this story arc - Johns is writing this guy's title, for crying out loud. Power Ring can eat me so much -- he's a cringing fearful wimp because that's the opposite of what being a Green Lantern is, so clever. I know the Crime Syndicate never had much characterization besides "crazed tyrants", but look at this. Johnny Quick said it was "cray-cray time" a few pages ago. A tiny woman ruled the world and she introduces herself saying "What is up, y'all?" The only cool thing about these characterizations is that at least Hal won't be the center of the universe for once.

Of the villains assembled, Monocle doesn't buy that these guys aren't just the Justice League in slightly different costumes. So Ultraman proves he isn't Superman by killing him with his eye beams. Oh, man, the real Superman would never do that... which is what we were saying a few months ago when he did that in a Johns-penned issue of JLA. 

Even though I'm reading Nightwing, I can't really bring myself to care too much about the "Syndicate captured Nightwing, exposed his identity to the whole world" thing. Especially since his arch-enemy the Prankster seems to have no goddamn reaction to this development. Metallo and Parasite came to blows over who got to keep Superman's cape, I guess Nightwing's only villain isn't that into him.

The sun starts to come up, weakening Ultraman. He decided to do something (idiotic) about it. Note: this wasn't written by a 6th grader. That's a disclaimer that should go on a lot of Johns' material.

That's another great example of 'cute' Johns dialogue that I can't stand. And eclipses last for a few seconds to a minute or two, since the moon and the Earth both revolve and rotate. Ultraman has the exact same evil plot as Mr. Burns -- to block out the sun -- except here we're actually supposed to take that seriously and pretend like that makes any sense.

It's just, this is so stupid. He snorts kryptonite and is allergic to the sun. 

And Luthor sincerely wants Superman to save him. That's how the issue ends. Freaking...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It all started with the Big Bang! Part 12 (issues #19)

This one has the kind of attention-grabbing cover that demanded I take a closer look at it. We finally learn the origins of the Beacons, who were up to this point the only significant members of the Knights of Justice/Round Table of America whose stories we didn't know except the Badge I guess.

Although I sort of have to wonder if anyone was even curious about Hummingbird's origin. I mean, no offense, but when you combine Hawkman and the Atom you don't come out with a winner. Of course, I find Aquaman (and therefore the Atomic Sub) interesting, so who am I to judge? Still, look at that picture, this is a guy whose villains are susceptible to pencil strikes.

Starting from the left, we get the Earth-B (Golden Age) Beacon's story; he's geologist Scott Martin, who discovered the underground society of Shanzar during a mineral survey. He is soon arrested as a spy and thrown in the dungeon by the mad king Tyrnos. There he meets the ruler Tyrnos deposed, Zarkon, who tells him of Tyrnos' incredible power gem. Scott tunnels out of prison with his pickaxe, blah blah, and confronts Tyrnos, who displays his gem's power when things come to blows. 

Again, while the Golden Age Green Lantern's powers were basically "whatever the writer needed them to be", the Beacon has a fairly well-defined powerset -- shields, a tractor beam, a heat ray, that sort of thing. anyway, Scott bests Tyrnos through sheer force of will, which causes the gem to recognize his superiority and fly into his helmet light. And he executes Tyrnos in a pretty grisly fashion.

Afterwards, Scott sees Zarkon return to the throne of Shanzar, and goes back to the surface to become a "Beacon of Justice." You know, it's fairly handy that this all happened to a brawny, adventurous geologist, isn't it? 

The Hummingbird is Alan Laurel, an ornithologist investigating reports of a new species of hummingbird in the woods surrounding Circle City. He also brought reporter Maggie Silver along to cover what he hopes will be the official discovery of that species. That's when they see some guys take Circle City's Mayor Hughes into a tiny spaceship after shrinking themselves using a machine outside the ship.

Maggie thinks this is a hot story, and  impulsively uses the machine to shrink herself and Alan to give pursuit. Entering the spaceship and stealing some alien (specifically Kr'Wallian) uniforms, they save the mayor from a brainwashing session. They're found out as they're leaving; Alan takes it upon himself to stay and fight the Kr'Wallians. Maggie and the mayor are restored to normal size with a second hit of the shrinking ray, which Alan destroys before the Kr'Wallians can give pursuit at human size -- dooming himself to being permanently tiny. 

Since this is an origin story, he starts discovering his powers (which are really just from the suit), which include shrinking even smaller and communicating telepathically with birds. He also picks up that pencil from the cover and first page, battering Kr'Wallian soldiers senseless with it.

Just when things start looking bad, the Kr'Wallians are called back to their homeworld. Mission control is clearly not satisfied with how the invasion's going so far, and decides to abandon the whole thing. The Kr'Wallians accept this order without question, and even praise Alan's bravery and determination.

Qapla'! I have to say, this really endeared me to both the Kr'Wallians and Hummingbird himself -- you have to admire guys big enough (ha) to know when they're beat and congratulate the guy who beat them. When Maggie and the mayor return with police in tow, they find Alan and Maggie's pretty accepting of the whole "he's super small" thing. Uh, okay. Oh and he decides to become a crimefighter like Ultiman and the Knight Watchman, taking the name "the Hummingbird", duh. 

Not gonna lie, that Hummingbird story turned out to be my favorite of the three, and I sort of liked the Beacons to begin with. Shows what I know, I guess.

Okay, the Silver Age Beacon is gemologist Julia Gardner, witnessed an alien spaceship crash and discovered a cool jewel and a nifty costume on the craft's dying, green-skinned owner. Also she's got a cool Farrah Fawcett haircut.

She takes the jewel and the costume and heads to work to take a look at them; with help from her friend Gina Oliver she's able to unlock the jewel's abilities, etc. Also she can put the costume on and change out of it by just thinking about it, which is pretty neat if you ask me. She hears about an alien attack on the radio and rushes to use her newfound powers to stop them.

As often seems to be the case when aliens attack, US Army forces arrive at the scene pretty quickly. They're led by Captain Jordan Stuart, who happens to be Julia's fiance. 

The aliens are Synestroms, sworn enemy to the Dextrons, the race to which the green chick Julia got her jewel and costume from belonged.

Nothing the army throws at the Synestrom ship has any effect, not even an airstrike. Eventually the Synestroms tire of messing around and target Jordan, only for the Beacon to show up and save him. 

Woah, did they just point out that Jordan doesn't recognize her without explaining why? That's crazy, man. I'm joking, obviously, those goggles are a foolproof disguise. Anyway, she busts into the Synestrom ship and scares them silly when she displays her powers -- they think the Dextrons entered an alliance with the people of Earth. They surrender their weapons and the Beacon, no joke, throws their ship into deep space.

Did I mention she can survive in space with the gem's force field? I bet the Golden Age Beacon could, too, but never had occasion to do so. Anyway, Julia goes home and finds Jordan and her father there. She acts like she was in the lab all day and hasn't heard of the Beacon or any alien attack. The story closes out with her winking at the reader, and let's be honest, these set-ups are always classic.