World’s Finest 273 – Superman and Batman vs the Weapons Master, Count Vertigo goes nuclear, Plastic Man guests, Hawkwoman or Hawkgirl?, and Sivana wins a Nobel Prize

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Continuing the story from the previous issue, Burkett, Adrian Gonzales and Smith pit Superman and Batman against the Weapons Master.  This is neither the first, nor the last, villain to use this monicker, and also not the most impressive one to do so.

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This Weapons Master is an alien who scavenges the technology of various planets.  His main goal is assembling the weaponry of the Dabalyans, a long dead alien race.  Even Superman is unable to withstand the power they had.

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The Weapons Master has decided to take over the Earth, and the only hero he feels would be able to cause him problems is Superman, so he focuses on taking him out first, and succeeds in capturing him.

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Batman is still in the Fortress throughout this tale.  Earlier in the story, Superman showed him a power charger he has constructed.  The device will give Batman the same powers as Superman, but only for four hours, and then kill him.  Despite this, Batman gets into the power charger.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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Count Vertigo makes an impressive power play in this story, by Haney, Von Eeden and Mahlstedt, although he almost causes a nuclear war.  Vertigo was fully aware that his battle with Green Arrow would draw the attention of the Soviets, and uses this distraction to take control of the nuclear arsenal they have planted in his country.

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While Green Arrow attempts to explain that Vertigo has his own agenda, trying to regain control of Vlatava, the Soviets do not believe a word of it, and think this is all some American plot.  They are ready to go to war unless they get control of their nukes back.

Green Arrow plays on the Count’s ego, setting him to be short circuited, figuring, correctly, that his new level of power would make him more susceptible to an electric current.

Count Vertigo winds up held by the Russians, but returns a couple of years down the road in Green Arrow’s first miniseries.

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Plastic Man gets a story in this issue, possibly left over from his run in Adventure Comics.  The tale, by Marty Pasko, Joe Staton and Robert Smith, has all the hallmarks of that run.  Actually, I found it then, and find it now, the best of those stories.

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But what made it so entertaining may now make it almost impenetrable.  It plays off of the early designer jeans, and has characters based on Gloria Vanderbilt and Calvin Klein, as well as a Brooke Shields-type model, parodying her “nothing gets between me and my Calvins” ads.

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Plastic Man and Woozay Winks had last appeared earlier in the month in an issue of DC Comics Presents, but this is their final appearance before Crisis on Infinite Earths.

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Hawkman and Hawkwoman deal with the final element of Hyathis’ attempted invasion of Earth in this story, by Rozakis, Saviuk and Rodriguez.

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The story pits them against the shape-changing Thanagarian Byth, their oldest foe.  A number of panels in this story are pretty near swipes of Byth’s earliest appearances, back in Brave and the Bold.  Not that that is such a bad thing.  It may not be Kubert, but the forms Byth adopts are still monstrous.

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In a particularly nice touch, Byth takes on the form of Hawkwoman, as he tries to get close enough to Hawkman to kill him.  But he makes the mistake of calling himself Hawkgirl, unaware that she had dropped that name.  Hawkman picks up on his mistake, and freezes Byth, effectively ending the Thanagarian invasion.

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Sivana wins a Nobel Prize in this story, by Bridwell, Newton and Adkins, for a number of inventions he rejected, simply because they had only beneficial results for mankind.  Sivana is disgusted and appalled to be considered for a Nobel, and breaks out of prison, building a machine to drive everyone on Earth crazy.

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He does not take into account that the machine will affect him as well, making him become even more altruistic, and invent even more helpful devices. It also causes various dictators to stop acting aggressively, and Sivana winds up with a Nobel Peace Prize by the end of the story as well.

It’s silly, but it works.

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