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Strange Adventures 22
"The Guardians of the Clockwork Universe!"


Story By: John Broome
Art By: Murphy Anderson and Sy Barry

In his everyday identity, he's Adam Blake, librarian... but in his secret identity -- Adam is the amazing Captain Comet! A man born 100,000 years ahead of his time, Captain Comet has dedicated himself to protecting Earth from interplanetary threats! But this time, the danger comes from far away -- one which will soon be a menace to the Earth! In this strange adventure of Adam Blake, he will soon learn of the threat when Captain Comet meets -- "The Guardians of the Clockwork Universe!" On the splash page, a planet is off-course, with the Cometeer in pursuit! If Captain Comet doesn't return it to its proper orbit, the entire universe will be undone! (Holy Pool with Planets, Batman!)

At Midwest City's public library, Adam Blake is at his desk as information clerk... A young boy asks what would happen if a planet fell into the sun, and is told by Adam that the delicate balance of the solar system would be upset -- and might actually destroy the entire universe! The boy then asks what keeps the planets in their place, and Adam tells him the answer is gravitational force, but this is only part of the answer! As Captain Comet, he has learned the real truth only yesterday morning... He was working on his personal jetship, the Cometeer, in the shed (Holy Juricich, Batman!) behind Professor Zackro's laboratory... when he receives a telepathic summons from the Guardians of the Universe! He is told to enter his spacecraft -- at once! As Captain Comet, he could have fought against the hypnotic message, but Adam was determined to learn whose extraordinary mind had reached his -- and why! He pilots the Cometeer and follows the thought-beam at full speed! The ship is led far into space... where he enters another solar system and sees... a tiny world... shining brightly from some unusual sunless light!

The Cometeer lands in front of a strange building shaped like a large clock... It may be a trap, but Captain Comet has come too far to turn back now... As he enters the clock building, coils of energy begin to wrap themselves around him... tighter... tighter... Adam finds this a strange way to treat friends! Using his futuristic muscles, Captain Comet breaks free... and as he does... an alien being steps forward to tell him that he has passed the fitness test to be a champion of the Guardians of the Universe! (This is a different version of the Guardians of the Universe that appears in the Green Lantern magazine.) His curiosity aroused, Captain Comet uses his telepathy to probe the mind of the alien in front of him... He is told that the universe is like a clock! If any part should fail or alters its position, the entire universe may stop! From this small planet, since time unknown, their race has kept watch to prevent such a disaster! The information he gleans from the alien's mind is as fantastic as the large room his guide leads him to... Captain Comet sees the aliens timing the motions of all the planets and stars!

He is led to an elderly being, Nestro, Chief Guardian of the Universe... Nestro explains that the Guardians are not men of action! In past emergencies, they have found someone like Captain Comet -- with great power and a sense of justice -- to serve them! Now one planet threatens the entire universe! The planet -- Lukan -- is led by evil leaders who seek to move their planet closer to the sun -- and in so doing, destroy the universe! The Guardians sent a champion to prevent it -- but she has not contacted them and may be considered destroyed... When asked what the name of the champion is, Captain Comet is startled when Nestro speaks the name of Radea of Hyperba... an incredible mutant like himself! Adam remembers the girl on the diamond planet, and their farewell on her world... She told him that their worlds need them more than they need each other, but perhaps one day.... Her likeness was etched into his memory -- and now he has learned that she is in danger -- perhaps dead! He agrees to go at once, and Nestro sees that they did not err in summoning him here! After he is given full instructions, Captain Comet learns that Lukan is in Galaxy XII -- a few hours away from the Cometeer's spectrum-drive (Holy Glynis Wein, Batman!) which could out-race light itself... He cannot believe that Radea is dead... she can't be...

Lukan is a cold world! His mutant body with its protective measures adapted to the fierce cold... His body temperature is raised by almost 160 degrees, and Captain Comet sees Lukan City! Heading towards the city, Adam sends out a mental search-wave to find Radea... if she still lived... Her mind responds to his from inside the city! He hurries on, very anxious and very grim... The guards at the gates have their minds probed so that Captain Comet can learn their language! They, too, communicate via telepathy! They order him to stop, but their weapons are useless against him -- who can use his force of mind to control matter at a distance! The bullets drop from their guns, and in the confusion, he slips past them and into the city!

He hears Radea's mind and senses that her mental radiations are coming from a specific building... There are guards around the building, but Captain Comet is able to punch the crystalline sentry in the jaw with his futuristic fist! He wonders why the crystal beings don't feel the cold -- and why they would want to move their world closer to the sun! Reaching an aperture, he looks down into a large hall... Captain Comet sees Radea down below -- acting like a lifeless robot! Without hesitation, he leaps into the wall, and rushes to her side... The Lukan leaders rush towards him, but a mental blast sends them withering backwards on their icy heels! Their crystal bodies are as strong as steel, and Adam can drive them back --but he can't hurt them! They order the girl to go against him -- to destroy him!

Radea comes at him... her mutant brain the only one that can possibly match his! Their minds clash... hers seeking to cut through his mental defenses! Captain Comet is unable to do anything that could hurt her, but -- His futuristic vision had seen some radiation from the strange metal circlet she wore on her head! Lunging forward... Adam realizes that this must be what is controlling her! Removing it from her head, Radea is once again herself -- and able to fight at his side! The Lukan leaders want to move their world closer to the sun -- so that they can launch attacks on other planets with success! Captain Comet now sees that the Guardians were correct in the assessment of the Lukans' evil nature! Even the two of them could not beat the Lukans, and the battle continued into the courtyard... Captain Comet's ray-blaster has no effect on the crystalline beings -- the noise from the ray-blaster should have shaken them apart! (Holy Shaken, Not Stirred, Batman!) Suddenly, he realizes that the Lukan air was too thin -- nearly a vacuum! Adam hadn't realized this because of his oxy-helmet... The near vacuum won't carry sound -- no matter how loud it is! But there is another way to defeat the Lukans --

Placing the muzzle of his blaster into the ground, he fires again and again! The resulting salvo has a devastating effect... Radea realizes that the vibrations are passing through the ground and breaking the Lukans' bodies like glass! With the evil leaders and their war party destroyed, it was an easy matter for Radea and Adam to return Luka to its rightful orbit... She tells Captain Comet that it was the vacuum-like air of Luka that weakened her -- so that she fell prey to the one she was to defeat! The Lukans are the ones who were defeated -- and a peaceful party is now in power there! Once again, Adam bids farewell to Radea on her own world... He has saved her life, and perhaps next time, she'll save his! They are two of a kind... and they will meet again... On his way home, the face of Nestro appears on the visi-plate in the cockpit of the Cometeer... The Guardians thank him for his fine work, and Adam knows that they fight for the same things he does -- for truth and justice against evil! He will always answer their call! The following day at Midwest Public Library... Miss Torrence asks Adam Blake if he doesn't find life as a library clerk pretty dull -- and he tells her that he doesn't! He also has other interests...

I first came across the character of Captain Comet in the pages of Secret Society of Super-Villains, when Adam Blake returned to Earth after twenty years in space.

I've enjoyed the stories by Gerry Conway and Bob Rozakis, and saw the character's purpose as serving to foil the foul deeds of the SSOSV!

The Guardians of the Clockwork Universe are different from the ones who started the Green Lantern Corps. Perhaps they are an offshoot of the Guardians from OA, just as the Controllers and the Zamorans were.

Captain Comet by Broome, Anderson, and Barry is a very clean-cut character. He seems more mature than other characters and more formal in his relations with Miss Torrance and Radea.

The Guardians of the Clockwork Universe have long white hair and are golden-skinned. They favor blue flowing robes as apparel.

We learn in this story that Captain Comet has the ability to control his body temperature.

The inhabitants of Lukan are crystalline beings and their appearance is similar to that of Martinex from the Guardians of the Galaxy.

We see in this story that Captain Comet's futuristic body is more dense than that of present-day man.

Another mutant with telepathic abilities is Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men.

Another D.C. character who uses force of mind is Gorilla Grodd from Gorilla City.

Captain Comet's oxy-helmet comes complete with a flip-top feature, perfect for when you have to give the red-haired Radea a kiss (which Adam may have done off-panel).

Radea wears a green outfit, complete with green boots and bracelets. She looks like Moondragon with a full head of red hair.

This Review Is Dedicated To Jack Selegue, Michael Norwitz, WRHBill, And Tom Orzechowski

Steve Chung "The Guardians of the Clockwork Review!"