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Kid Eternity 15
"Master Man"


Story: Unknown Art: Unknown

On the side of Kid Eternity are the individuals who aided in making the world, who now reside in Eternity, where he can summon them! No mere mortal can stand against this group of heroes, but Master Man has abilities which rival those of Kid Eternity and Mr. Keeper! For Master Man draws forth his army of evil from the depths of horror. From the realm of smoke and brimstone, they come again at his command! On the splash page, the cigarette-smoking Master Man, in a brown uniform with skull and crossbones, and a green cape, has Torquemada, Benedict Arnold, Batu Khan, and Rasputin on his side, while on the side of Eternity, The Kid and Mr. Keeper have the likes of Will Rogers, Knute Rockne, Abraham Lincoln, and Charles Martel.

On a distant plain, Master Man listens as his master gives him his orders, and the enormous shadow falls across his path. He is told to speak the word and the power given to him by his master will enable Master Man to do his will, but failure will mean a final resting place in flames. Through the mists which separate this otherworldly plain from our world, Master Man prepares to begin his mission of evil! At Hartmore Prison, he lights a cigarette and comes up with a plan to take advantage of the collection of lost souls behind those barred walls. Knowing just the person who can help him, Master Man exclaims, "STYGIA!" and a burst of flame comes into view, from which Rasputin, whose evil deeds caused the Russian Revolution, stands before him!

Rasputin shows Master Man the device which amused Czar Nicholas and made him a favorite of the court, but none suspected the power the device gave him over their actions! When ordered by Master Man to demonstrate the device, Rasputin approaches the guard at the front gate, pretending to ask directions, and the wheel saps the guard's will. Rasputin orders him to show where the master switch that controls all prison cells is located. Inside the control tower, Master Man pulls the master switch, and hopes that in the violence which is sure to follow, that some of the inmates will escape! Not far away, Kid Eternity and Mr. Keeper are walking on the street, when they hear the prison siren, and The Kid becomes visible by exclaiming... "ETERNITY!"

Kid Eternity rushes towards the fleeing convicts, and despite Mr. Keeper's protests to not tackle them alone, he punches one in the chest, only to be hit from behind by another inmate, and once on the ground, the crooks begin to kick him, but he calls out... "ETERNITY!" From the mists of Eternity comes Knute Rockne, who uses a dropkick on the startled crook, who turns and prepares to tackle the coach, with aid from his cellmate...

The two inmates collide with one another when Rockne ducks from their charge, and then uses a straight-arm to down the persistant prisoner. Kid Eternity congratulates Knute on his work, but there are more convicts to stop, and upon seeing a mule team, the coach has an idea. The convicts are driven back from the prison gate, as Knute and The Kid are riding the mules, whose kicks cause even the most hardened criminal to have second thoughts about escape. With the prisoner break foiled, Master Man and Rasputin flee before reinforcements arrive, and with the crooks in custody, Kid Eternity thanks Knute Rockne for his help, then sends him back to... ETERNITY!

While Mr. Keeper wonders how the prison break began, Kid Eternity remembers that he saw two men racing away, and one of them resembled Rasputin! Mr. Keeper doesn't think so, for he knows for a fact that Rasputin is in Stygia, where he'll remain until he's paid for his crimes, but on that dismal plain, Rasputin is sinking into a pool of fire, while Master Man shrinks back from the sight. Rasputin has paid the price of failure, and Master Man's master warns him to avoid failure, lest he shares his fate! Mr. Keeper and Kid Eternity are relaxing on a roof, with Master Man watching them from hiding, and while Mr. Keeper takes in the view, he is unaware when Master Man grabs Kid Eternity from behind!

Turning, Mr. Keeper sees that his young charge is gone, and goes in search of him, soon seeing The Kid being dragged towards a castle! Peering into a window, Mr. Keeper watches as Master Man summons the cruelest of torturers and exclaims... "STYGIA!" Torquemada, whose name caused fear during The Spanish Inquisition is given another chance to practice his evil talents! He asks Master Man to summon an iron maiden and the rack!

Torquemada asks Master Man if Kid Eternity is to be killed, but the agent of evil wants Kid Eternity to renounce his new life by requesting eternal death! The gagged form of Kid Eternity is bound onto the rack, while Mr. Keeper wishes that he could somehow help, but he's helpless in his spirit form, which only Kid Eternity can see! The Kid groans, and Mr. Keeper tells him to play possum, and seeing that he is unconscious, Torquemada unties him, intending to place him in another torture instrument, but Kid Eternity rises and punches the torturer in the jaw!

He kicks Torquemada aside, removes the gag, and cries out... "ETERNITY!" Will Rogers emerges from the mists, and uses his lasso on Torquemada's legs, causing the torturer to fall down the stairs to his death! Both men agree that he got what he deserved, but Master Man is determined to demonstrate his superior power by calling out... "STYGIA!" Batu Khan, who lead The Golden Horde of Mongols through Europe, emerges from the flames...

Will Rogers lassos Khan, but isn't too sure that it'll hold, and indeed, the mongol frees himself with his sword, then charges Rogers and The Kid, who uproot a table to keep him at bay. Knowing just the one to handle Batu Khan, Kid Eternity calls on Charles Martel, who halted the infidel invasion of Europe at The Battle of Tours! He vows not to sheate his sword until the heathen bully is defeated, and Kid Eternity watches as Martel ends the life of another infidel dog!

With his men beaten, Master Man sends them back to Stygia, and vows to fight again another day, but Kid Eternity leaps at him, driving him to the ground. Master Man kicks Kid Eternity aside, then turns to run, but his master's shadow falls across his path, as the ground beneath his feet begins to rumble! The Kid and Mr. Keeper watch as he falls down the fissure for miles and miles, ending in a pool of fire! Mr. Keeper tells The Kid to call back the men to Eternity, and for them to leave. As they head for Eternity, The Kid wonders whose shadow it was, but Mr. Keeper has his own suspicions, and can't wait until he's on a safe cloud in Eternity.

Marvel had their own Master Man in the pages of Invaders by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins.

How do we know that Master Man is a villain? He's a smoker, and where he ends up, he won't have to ask around for a light. He resembles Bela Lugosi in appearance.

The Mask of Rasputin played a part in an episode of The Flash CBS TV series in 1990.

Knute Rockne's presence makes this untitled tale quite the "Strange Sports Story."

Monty Python would make a famous joke about no one expecting The Spanish Inquisition.

Kid Eternity would be revealed to be a relative of Freddy Freeman, a.k.a Captain Marvel Jr.

He would receive the prestige format treatment by writer Grant Morrison, as well as his own Vertigo book by Ann Nocenti, but would meet his apparent "death" in the first issue of JSA.

Steve Chung