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Mystery in Space 60
"Attack From the Tentacle World!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND June 1960; DC Comics; Julius Schwartz, editor; featuring Adam Strange in "Attack From the Tentacle World!" (story by Gardner Fox, art by Carmine Infantino & Bernard Sachs). The cover depicts a green planetoid which is hovering over the surface of Rann and extruding tentacles out to smash buildings, seize spaceships, and hold Adam Strange in its clutches as he fires a ray-gun (ineffectually, as usual).

This is the other semi-"lost" Adam Strange story which for some unknown reason didn't get reprinted in the '70s STRANGE ADVENTURES run. On the splash panel, it is Alanna who is being seized by the tentacle from the sky, as she rides a toboggan-like flying vehicle, as Adam tries to discourage the grabby planet with more ray-gun fire. The start of the story proper finds Adam, in civilian clothes rather than his usual rocket-suit, standing in a small boat in the midst of "the famous Floating Market of Bangkok, capital of Thailand". It seems "atmospheric disturbances" prevent him from meeting the Zeta-Beam high in the air as usual. How to disappear without attracting unwelcome attention? As Adam begins his countdown, he tosses a handful of silver "ba'ats" (Thai coins) into the water, and "every boatman in the Floating Market dives into the murky waters--just as the teleportational Zeta-Beam strikes!"

Arriving on Rann, Adam meets Alanna and declares he is so glad to see her that "I won't even mind the troubles you always confront me with!" "But there are NO troubles, darling! We're just going to have FUN while you're here THIS time!" Yeah, right.... After Adam changes into his rocket-suit, Alanna leads him to the annual "Rann Games", held ahead of schedule in his honor. And Alanna herself is one of the contestants, riding the toboggan-flier through hoops of fire in the "wind current race". But a green tentacle reaches out of nowhere to seize her-- "I knew this 'peace' bit was too good to last!", Adam sighs. Rann's armed forces attack the marauding green tentacles with limited effect, and then the green planetoid that is their source appears in view. "I am the living world Yggardis, born in the cosmic explosion that originally spawned the planets!", it declares; and it is frustrated that, while the planet itself is alive, it lacks the life forms that occupy many other planets. So it has decided to steal life for itself from other worlds, like Rann. It found that no form of life it plants on its surface survives more than 24 hours, but still it keeps trying-- and when intelligent life forms resist it, it has the ability to adapt to any kind of force they use against it. "Somehow--I feel sorry for the tentacled world-- but it's OUR life or ITS life!", Adam declares. He resolves to travel to Yggardis himself to find a way to defeat it. He tries to dissuade Alanna from going with him, but she insists; "Rann is my home! I have the right to go with you!"

As Adam and Alanna approach Yggardis, its tentacles withdraw, but it has other defenses-- flying boulders, geysers of molten lava, and the ground opening up to swallow them as they land. Moreover, they feel an odd weakness as they arrive on the planet. As they escape from the collapsing ground, but Alanna starts to faint, Adam declares, "Yggardis! I know why you've never been able to get any life to exist on your surface!" When Yggardis demands an explanation, Adam tells it, "Your planetary mind gives off RADIATIONS-- as our human minds emit electrical impulses! Your radiations are deadly! It's happening to me..." Yggardis concludes with "untold sorrow" that its situation is hopeless; it can never have other living things to share its existence. But Adam suggests a solution; "surgery" to separate Yggardis' deadly planetary mind from its "inert planetary matter". Studying the planet's structure to avoid blowing it into fragments, Adam sets explosive charges and succeeds its breaking it into two unequal sections, one its "brain", the other its "body". Yggardis will now be a binary planet orbiting in space, and "in time, life will begin on the inert section-- thus fulfilling Yggardis' wish to have life exist on a portion of itself!" But as Alanna wonders what sort of life forms will evolve there, Adam fades away and finds himself back on Earth (on a desert landscape, for some reason, not back in the middle of the Bangkok market). "*sigh* I can always solve Rann's troubles-- but will I ever be able to solve my own-- and overcome the seemingly insurmountable problem of being able to stay on Rann as long as I wish?"

Next are a "Giants of the Telescope" science page and a house ad declaring "Now Superman-DC Gives You TWO Magazines Featuring Adventures of the BRAND-NEW HEROES YOU Asked For!" The advertised titles are BRAVE & BOLD #30, featuring the JLA in "Case of the Stolen Super-Powers!" and SHOWCASE #26 with Rip Hunter, Time Master in "The Aliens From 2,000 B.C.!"

In "Doom-Bombs From Jupiter!", (looks like it's drawn by Gil Kane and Joe Giella) spaceman Lee Hamilton calls for help after crash-landing on the asteroid Hygeia. At first the "Earth-Mars patrol" sends a rescue ship-- "You're too valuable a man for Earth to lose!" but when the ship arrives it veers away and the captain declares "We've just discovered the truth about you! Earth has ordered us to abandon you!" Even his fiancee Marla has turned against him, for "You gave our bitter enemy Jupiter the secret of the Cobalt Bomb! There's need to break our engagement for in less than 12 hours you'll be dead!" Hamilton "turns from despair to a blind, bitter anger", vowing to spend his last hours hating Earth and all its inhabitants. He is observed by the green-skinned Jovians, who know he is not guilty of stealing the bomb but conclude that with his newfound hate for his homeworld he will make a useful tool. They rescue Hamilton and invite him to gain his revenge by showing them how to explode the Cobalt Bomb that was actually stolen by another agent. Hamilton helps the Jovian ship escape pursuit by Earth's navy, and then helps the Jovians build an arsenal of 100 Cobalt Bombs to be carried to Earth by their entire space navy. But when the Jovian fleet arrives at Earth, the Earthmen have a counterstroke; they know how to explode the bombs by remote control, destroying the Jovian fleet, if the Jovians don't surrender. The Jovians think Hamilton has tricked them, but he insists he still hates his world, and offers to prove it by riding a single bomb on a suicide mission to destroy the Hexagon Building, Earth's military headquarters. But as the bomb heads for Earth, Hamilton escapes with a parachute. It was a trick after all; Earth knew Jupiter was obtaining its secrets and Hamilton worked out the scheme to trick Jupiter into revealing the extent of its knowledge and to lure the Jovian fleet to defeat. Meeting Marla, Hamilton declares, "You certainly were convincing! I was worried more about you than about the Jovians!" To prove his worries are unfounded, Marla embraces Hamilton; "Keep on convincing me, Angel! It makes everything I did worthwhile!"

Finally, we have "Mystery of the Synthetic Man!", drawn by Sid Greene. Space pilot Waren Taylor dislikes being assigned to fly a two-man space mission with a "Syntho", or synthetic man, named Kivigro. His girlfriend has urged him to be more tolerant of "Synthos", but he is convinced that Kivigro is trying to show him up as an inferior human, and that Kivigro himself will be the one to fail in a real emergency. Their mission is to make a survey of the planet Tubar-15, which has "disintegrating radiation" in its atmosphere but otherwise is considered fit for colonization (well, it doesn't sound like a place *I'd* want to move to...) On the descent through the atmosphere, Taylor is momentarily panicked by mirages of "giant sky-fish" and other monsters, but Kivigro, who does not see the illusions of the "mirage layer" is able to pilot them safely. But then the ship is hit by "Q-rays", which disable androids but leave humans unaffected, and Taylor has to take over again. They land safely, but the ship is damaged; ""We've got the data on the atmosphere, all right! The question is-- can we get back to deliver it?" The ship can lift off again only if it can shed 150 pounds of weight, but it is already stripped down; the only escape is for one of the crew to stay behind and be "disintegrated" by the atmosphere. At that point, Taylor's fears about a "Syntho" cracking up in a crisis seem to come true, as Kivigro "goes berserk" and attacks Taylor, knocking him unconscious. Much to his surprise, Taylor wakes up on his ship, safely on his way home. Kivigro left a note: "I thought I'd better do it this way in case you had any foolish notions about sacrificing yourself for me.... I can be easily replaced, but not you!" Reunited with his girl back on Earth, Taylor is a chastened man; "Somehow I have the feeling that even though he was SYNTHETIC, Kivigro was a BETTER MAN than I am! But maybe not better than I'm going to be, thanks to him!"