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"Collision Course!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Sept. 1967; Tower Comics; featuring Dynamo vs. Andor on a "Collision Course!" Scripter unknown, art by Wally Wood. (The first two Andor stories, previously reviewed, were Ditko/Wood collaborations; this one is a Wood solo, and the following one is a Ditko solo.)

Review by Bill Henley (I keep forgetting to put my full name on these reviews)

In our last exciting installment, Andor, the superhuman raised from infancy by the evil Subterraneans, was blinded in a three-way battle between himself, THUNDER Agent Dynamo, and the agents of the criminal group SPIDER. Andor teamed up with Dynamo to defeat SPIDER, but then fled, despite his blindness, when Dynamo tried to take him into custody as well. Now, we find Andor in a hobo jungle accepting food from a fellow vagrant; "Come and get it, Andy! Yech! I'm getting awful sick of this stew!" Meanwhile, SPIDER agent Brutus Karnassus is offered the chance to be made "the strongest man alive" by the "Transformer" (a device which, in a previous story, turned another man into a superman but ended up killing him). And the Iron Maiden (aka "Rusty"), the beautiful armored villainess with a soft spot for Dynamo, has been sprung from prison by her henchmen. After finishing the unappetizing stew, the hobo Archie (no, not Riverdale's favorite boy gone bad) leads Andor to a closed store where the mighty but blind one tears through the door. While Andor loads up on canned food, Archie rifles the till "Almost THIRTY BUCKS! What a haul!" The Iron Maiden has higher monetary ambitions as she schemes to steal "a load of uranium worth millions!" The only problem is, Dynamo is guarding it. (This news causes one of Rusty's thugs to go "Tilt!" as he envisions himself lying in traction.) Meanwhile, Brutus Karnassus is ready to undergo the "Transformer's" super-strength treatment. Though he knows the fate of the last man who used it, he doesn't seem to care; "What have I got to lose?"

On a hunch, Iron Maiden cruises the mean streets looking for the crook she has heard of who pulls "two-bit jobs" but is "as strong as an elephant". When she spots and accosts Andor, Archie the hobo tries to shoot her but the bullets bounce off her armor, and Archie flees after being threatened with an iron-clad punch. "You can drop those groceries, now, Andor baby.... it's the Iron Maiden, come to lead you out of this life of shabby sin!" With Andor as her henchman Rusty feels no further need of the rest of her gang (so much for gratitude for their getting her out of jail) and dismisses them. Understandably cheesed off, the thugs decide to beat the Iron Maiden and Andor to the uranium shipment.... which is being guarded by a disgruntled Len Brown aka Dynamo. "Fooey! What a way to spend Saturday night! Gee, I wish something would happen!" He gets his wish-- sort of-- as a squad of SPIDER thugs including Brutus Karnassus arrives on the scene, and Brutus sneaks up behind Dynamo and knocks him out. Before they can break into the railroad car full of uranium, Iron Maiden and Andor arrive on the scene and claim the loot as their own. The Maiden directs Andor to take on SPIDER, but much to his surprise Brutus Karnassus is at least as strong as he is, and moreover, the other SPIDER men are yelling and carrying on to keep the blind Andor from hearing the Maiden's directions. "So much for the great Andor," Brutus declares as the once mighty one is left unconscious on the ground. But while the SPIDERs are preoccupied with their loot, Iron Maiden, who has been forgotten, creeps up and helps Andor make an escape. SPIDER lets him go, as they have the uranium and Dynamo as a captive as well.

Back at SPIDER Central, Dynamo awakens and discovers that the hoods have carelessly left his belt within his reach. As he lunges for it, Brutus stops the others from shooting him; "Let ME have him!" With a crack of lightning Dynamo activates his belt and his super-power-- only to find that even with his power, Brutus is more than a match for him. Dynamo warns Brutus that his strength will kill him and offers THUNDER's help in finding a cure, but Brutus dismisses him contemptuously; "I got a BAD HEART...incurable....could go anytime!" As he beats on Dynamo, Iron Maiden and Andor, who followed the SPIDER trucks carrying the uranium, arrive on the scene. Andor finds himself torn in two directions, as Dynamo urges him to help defeat Brutus-- "I promise I won't try to take you in! Just help!"-- while the Iron Maiden demands that he abandon Dynamo and Brutus and escape with her and the uranium. At first, Andor walks away to join the Maiden, but hearing Dynamo's plea, "Andor, it's up to you.... are you human.....?" he turns back to aid our hero. It seems for a time that both of them together will be no match for Brutus, as he picks them up and bashes their heads together. But then Brutus collapses and falls to the ground, dead! "It must have been his HEART.... the strain was too great!" Then the police show up and start banging on the door-- and Andor demands that Dynamo keep his promise not to allow him to be captured. Dynamo stalls the police just long enough for Andor to break through the wall and leap away. But then, as Andor walks away reflecting "The world of men is a strange place indeed!", he is stopped by a shadowy, trenchcoated figure who has been lurking around the edges of the story. He claims to be Archie, Andor's hobo friend... but actually, he is the green-skinned Warlord Uru, the evil subterranean who made the human Andor a superbeing. "Fool! (thought balloon) Soon you will be in my control again... this time for GOOD!" "All stories do not have a happy ending.... and as much as we hate to do it, we must leave our protagonists on a note of gloom"--- as Dynamo is thoroughly dressed down by THUNDER's Chief for "giving aid and comfort to the enemy" and "obstructing the forces of law and order", the bosses of SPIDER reflect that their latest attempt to use the super-strength "Transformer" in their plans is a failure, and Iron Maiden broods that her uranium theft has flopped and she faces jail again.