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Brave and the Bold 62
"The Big Super-Hero Hunt!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Story: Gardner Fox Art: Murphy Anderson

(Originally Reviewed On 07/16/02)

Time has passed since The Sportsmaster -- the criminal who uses his athletic skills for his misdeeds, and with The Huntress, his wife, he has made a comeback, with the twin targets of the law and the loot in his sights for the prize! Their opponents in these underworld olympics are Starman and The Black Canary, who must match Mr and Mrs. Menace in skill and traps in... "The Big Super-Hero Hunt!"

Federal City is having its annual Sportsman Show, and wax mannikins of The Greek Boxer Milo is seen alongside Discobolus, and the marathon runner known as Pheippides! To the audience, they seem quite life-like, but before their startled eyes, the discus thrower begins to move! The crowd panics, as the wax shell cracks, and The Sportsmaster, clad in fishing gear, is seen! He casts his reel towards The Parker Trophy, which is awarded to the outstanding athlete of the year, and when snagged, it is sent flying across the room!

Clutching the trophy, The Sportsmaster encourages pursuit since it would spice up the theft, and he has also equipped the other statues for his own criminal purposes! The wax tennis player statue falls apart and sends tennis balls at the startled attendees! The guards enter the room, just as The Sportsmaster activates the wax bowler statue, which sends several bowling balls at the hapless operatives of The Larry Lance Detective Agency! In the floor below, The Sportsman Show Director is dining with Mrs. Larry Lance, who tells him that her husband was busy with a case, so she was asked to fill in for him.

Entering the show floor, they see The Sportsmaster with The Parker Trophy, and he changes from the fisherman's clothes to that of a skier, while the director asks Mrs. Lance what she intends to do about this! The jet-skis send The Sportsmaster in the direction of a high window, and Dinah Drake Lance decides to do something... as she dashes to a deserted lounge room, and changes into The Black Canary!

Elsewhere, Ted Knight is at his estate in Federal City, and is overseeing his gardens, which has models of the famous observatories of the world, their settings fitting their location. The models include Herschel's Telescope and The Dome of Mount Palomar. Ted heads for the full-size model of The Pekin Observatory, which he'll use for his own astronomical research, when he overhears a cry for help! Ted races forward into a maze of corridors and high walls... which he hasn't learned to navigate as of yet...

He changes to Starman, having his costume beneath his clothes in order to be ready for the unexpected. With the cosmic rod drawing energy from the stars, Starman is able to fly over the walls of the maze and locate the source of the cry. He finds a barred cage at the center of the maze, and sees that his fellow member in The Justice Society of America, Wildcat, is unconscious! As he heads for the cage, Starman is unaware that The Huntress is watching his every move from behind a wall! She intends to add two super-heroes to her collection, and abruptly, Starman finds himself surrounded by hunting falcons, who seek to rend and claw him!

Heading upwards, Starman intends to scatter the birds, and sees a shooting star, which he draws down with his cosmic rod, shattering the meteor into small bits in order to drive the falcons away! The Huntress uses bird-calls to have the falcons regroup and attack, but they are frozen inside blue cubes, which are solidified energy from the cosmic rod!

Starman then uses his cosmic rod to bring The Aurora Borealis from the north to serve as a barrier between him and the falcons, while he heads for whomever is commanding them! The Huntress swings away, intent on keeping her rendevous with The Sportsmaster. Starman is unaware that The Sportsmaster has seen him soar by, and knows that the JSAer is on his wife's trail! The Sportsmaster hurls one of the skis with the skill of a javelin thrower!

The ski whistles as it cleaves the air, and Starman turns too late, as it strikes him on the side of the head! Black Canary sees him begin to fall, and knows that The Sportsmaster is responsible! She leaps at the athletic criminal, sending him backwards!

Standing up, Black Canary heaves The Sportsmaster, setting him up for an "airplane spin!" He is thrown, just as The Huntress emerges from the bushes behind her... intent on adding Black Canary to her collection!

The Huntress plows into Black Canary, while The Sportsmaster finds that the throw has caused his ski to be caught deep into the ground! He watches as Black Canary does a somersault, with The Huntress in pursuit, then using a springy tree branch to break her fall!

Releasing her grip on the branch, Black Canary leaps onward, while the branch slams into The Huntress! Back on her feet, Black Canary intends to turn the tables on the "cat!" The Sportsmaster uses his ski to trip up The Black Canary, causing her to slam into a tree-bole! While The Sportsmaster is eager to continue the match, The Huntress urges her husband to escape. At a nearby cove, The Sportsmaster revs up a jet power-boat, while The Huntress leaps onboard, having taken care of Wildcat, and not pleased that Starman might be on their trail!

The boat parts the water, and the couple are pleased with their matrimony, for The Sportsmaster plans their crimes, and The Huntress catches the heroes who would try to catch them! Sportsmaster's next target is the prize golfbag of "Money-Bags" Morrison, while The Huntress wants to collect Wildcat from the cage on The Knight Estate, which she led him to believe she would be rob. Starman revives and sees Black Canary, who compare notes on The Sportsmaster and The Huntress. Starman wants to free Wildcat, and Black Canary is grateful for the chance to team-up again after their teamwork against The Mist! At the Pekin Observatory, the cage is empty, and Starman wonders how they can catch up with Mr. and Mrs. Menace, when Black Canary remembers the skis!

They figure that Sportsmaster will be back for his skis, then as dawn breaks, the skis begin to roar and head off into the sky by remote-control, with Starman and Black Canary in pursuit! The skis head for a wooded area, where Black Canary doesn't see a hide-out, and Starman figures that it must be well-camouflaged. They come across a chalet, amid a stand of trees, but it is deserted, and The Sportsmaster and The Huntress must be committing a crime! Searching the cellar, they find Wildcat in a cage, regretting that his first case after coming out of retirement has placed him in such a scenario.

The cage is unlocked, and Black Canary comments that it's a good thing that the wild animals in the other cages are behind bars, while Wildcat fills them in on Huntress' plan. With the cell-door raised, the bars of the other cages are raised as well, and a polar bear, a panther, a gorilla, a kangaroo, and a wild boar move into view! The kangaroo knocks Wildcat down with a quick kick, but Wildcat is still Ted Grant, who was the undefeated heavyweight champ of the world before he retired, and lands a solid stomach punch on the startled marsupial! A powerful left signals the knockout blow for the kangaroo, but so absorbed in this bizarre match is Wildcat, that he fails to sense the polar bear behind him!

Its paw slams into Wildcat, who is eager to box with this unusual opponent! Another powerful left,a nd the polar bear is down for the count! Starman has been knocked back by a panther's leap, but he uses the cosmic rod to catch it in an anti-gravity field, causing it to crash into the stone ceiling, while a wild boar charges towards Starman, but is caught in a cage formed by an errant moonbeam and the cosmic rod!

Black Canary must deal with a big gorilla, as she grips one of its arms, then uses a judo shoulder-toss to send it flying back into its cage!

Starman uses the moonlight as flames to drive the animals into their cages, telling the others to slam the doors on the cages, while on a golf course, Sportsmaster has donned plus-fours golfing garb and The Huntress longs for good hunting, with the money-filled golf bags for her husband, and Starman and Black Canary for her! The Sportsmaster activates a hidden switch on the putting green, causing it to rise into the air! The Huntress knows that Black Canary and Starman have probably freed Wildcat, but she figures it'll be a snap to catch all three heroes!

The putting green soars towards Federal City's Country Club, where The Sportsmaster tees off with a driver, sending golf balls across the fairways and greens, intending to be rid of the golfers, who are playing in a tournament,while The Huntress selects a number two iron, now that they are in close range! Caddies and golfers alike are strewn across the greens and fairways, leaving the coast clear for Mr. and Mrs. Menace to commit their criminal plans! Ahead of them, the eccentric millionaire known as "Money-Bags" Morrison sees that a non-player will be collecting the cash, instead of the winner of the golf tourney.

In the chalet, Wildcat balks at being left behind while Black Canary and Starman head off to face The Sportsmaster and The Huntress, but he is to be their secret weapon if anything goes wrong. He still sees himself being stranded, but Starman assures him that he'll be standing guard, and Black Canary insists that they wouldn't have him stay there if they didn't have confidence in him,and Wildcat gripes that he'll only see some action if they escape from the two heroes! As they soar away, Wildcat calls out after them that he still thinks he's being cheated, but Starman points out that the real cheating is happening at the country club, with The Sportsmaster's eye on a prize which doesn't belong to him! The athletic criminal makes a long jump onto the floating putting green, having stolen the hundred thousand prize money, which should belong to him since he's the world's greatest golfer (if not the most modest or moral, for that matter), and The Huntress sees Black Canary and Starman heading their way!

The Sportsmaster hurls his "brassie beanie" at Starman, while Huntress leaps to the trees to trap Black Canary. Starman uses a sunbeam to conjure up a tennis raquet to return Sportsmaster's serve! The athletic criminal ducks just in time as his beanie explodes, and he reaches for the cup-pole, which is in fact a disguised guided missile, which homes in on Starman, who knows that Mr. Menace is trying to manuever him towards Black Canary, who is pursuing The Huntress on the greens!

Mrs. Menace has lured Black Canary into a camouflaged pit-trap, then turns around, and grabs her wrists, to pull her out of the pit, and towards the putting green, while Starman assesses the situation, and knows that The Sportsmaster and The Huntress want both he and Black Canary beneath the putting green, which is undoubtedly a trap! He uses the cosmic rod to escape the trap -- whatever and wherever it is!

Starman uses the sunlight to slow Black Canary in mid-air, while the putting green is also stopped! Black Canary leaps towards The Huntress, who is caught in a wrestling hold by the heroine, who sends her under the putting green, just as The Sportsmaster is also knocked backwards, regretting that Starman didn't cry out "Fore!" before he is punched down into the bottom of the putting green!

Starman lands onto the putting green, and uses the cosmic rod to activate the trap, and the colliding bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Menace are caught between the steel bars which drop from the flying green! With the crooks in custody, the Parker Trophy has been returned to the Sportsman's Show, where Ted Grant presents it to the winner, as Ted Knight and Dinah Lance watch the ceremonies. She regrets that the athletic crook didn't use his skills for more nobler reasons than committing crimes, and Ted agrees that he might have won the trophy legally, but all he and his wife have won is a long stretch in prison!

It was in the stars that Starman and The Black Canary would meet with Sportsmaster and The Huntress, who are not only villains, they are married to each other!

Gardner Fox educates the reader on statues and their sculptors, plus the finer points of sports and sporting equipment. Murphy Anderson captures the proceedings far better than The Wide World of Sports could hope to.

There was something fishy about those wax sports statues, and "Crusher" Croc proved it! He is confident that he is full of the "old mustard," which the editor's note tells us is sport slang for "Fighting Spirit!" He mentions Green Lantern and their clashes in passing.

Although he is mentioned, Larry Lance is not seen in this story.

Interestingly enough, there is no mention of the story taking place on Earth-2, or for that matter where Federal City is located, or if it's the base of operations for any heroes or villains.

Starman's cosmic rod could use anything from moonlight to passing shooting stars to his advantage,and you'd have to wonder if Gardner Fox was reaching for the stars when crafting this story.

Poor Wildcat never got to go up against Mr. And Mrs. Menace, but he did manage to outbox both a kangaroo and a polar bear!

The gorilla, the symbol for DC in the Silver Age, gets dispatched by Black Canary on a single page, thanks to "Seoi Nage" or a shoulder-toss!

Having come out of retirement, Wildcat doesn't relish standing guard at the chalet, but he, like his fellow JSAers proved to have nine lives, and The Silver Age was all the more richer for their appearances in the classic JLA/JSA crossovers.

When Sportsmaster hurls his beanie at Starman, the JSAer comments that Croc is trying a "Goldfinger" hat trick on him. I think that "Hat Tricks" should be confined to hockey.

On Earth-1, there was also a Sportsmaster and a Huntress, in a Batman Family story written by Ye Answer Man, Bob Rozakis, who also crafted a Strange Sports Story in which The Huntress and The Sportsmaster gathered heroes and villains together for a baseball game!

This Review Is Dedicated To Robert Faires

Steve Chung
"The Big Super-Hero Review!"