skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
skjam ([personal profile] skjam) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2010-06-20 10:09 am

Supergirl in "The Face of the Dragon"

No special reason for posting this aside from the fact that I already had this issue (Adventure Comics #418, April 1972) out of the box.

While it doesn't say so on the cover, this is actually a crossover of Supergirl with Jonny Double ("born for trouble"), one of DC's vast collection of quirky minor characters. His schtick was being a young and "hip" private eye residing in San Francisco. And since Linda "Supergirl" Danvers was living in San Francisco herself at this point...

This scene does not appear in the story. It's an interesting variation on the theme of "heroine in bondage" though. It's a good thing Supergirl's Kryptonian, because I don't think a human girl could stand that way without being in serious pain after a while.

Caveats: This story is from a less enlightened time, and the depictions of Chinese and Chinese-American characters may be offensive to modern audiences. This story may be triggery for attempted suicide. 6 of 18 pages.

In the back alleys of Chinatown, a man flees, only to find himself trapped in a dead end. He pleads for mercy, but the next panel is of a Chinese dragon's face breathing fire. Hours later, Supergirl is called to the scene; the body was burned so badly that the only identification that can be made is "was Chinese", and there was a Dragon Tong symbol left on the charred corpse.

Jonathan Sebastian Double introduces himself as "Jonny Double", lights a cigarette and explains how he got involved...

Again, note the casual smoking. The lady is Nasthalthia, the niece of Lex Luthor, and at this point the secret arch-enemy of Supergirl. She's responsible for the mysterious power outages mentioned in my last Supergirl post.

The sniper vamooses before Jonny can get a good look at him or her. Nasty explains that she suspects Linda Danvers, currently working as a photo-assistant at KSF-TV in San Francisco. "She thinks I know a secret worth killing for." Jonny expresses some doubt that the girl in the picture provided is a killer, but agrees to take the case for $75 a day plus expenses...starting with a new window.

Naturally, Nasty faked the attempt on her life to convince Jonny the story was real. Her actual motive is to get Mr. Double to find solid proof that Linda is Supergirl. He spends the afternoon checking up on the young journalist to find her background is squeaky-clean. Maybe a bit too clean.

Linda herself is in Chinatown, filming the preparations for the Chinese Heritage parade. She's sure that a violently radical organization like the Dragon Tong will want to stir up trouble during this celebration, and she wants to be on hand...and if the Tong doesn't show, the parade will make great filler news. A large statue falls off its float, smacking into a pagoda tower, which promptly topples toward Linda. Since people are looking, she can't superspeed out of the way or let it shatter against her. What to do?

As soon as she finds a thick enough crowd, Linda squirms through it, leaving Jonny behind. She heads down to the reviewing stand to get pictures of the mayor and other dignitaries. Just as she gets in position, one of the dancing dragons is lifted to reveal a bunch of teenagers in grey uniforms shouting communitarian slogans. This is, of course, the Dragon Tong.

"My hips won't unsway!"

Naturally, a little concrete isn't going to stop the Girl of Steel. She shakes herself free and disables the attackers with a puff of super-breath. The cops take them in, Supergirl flies off, and about this point, Jonny remembers that he's on the job. He finds Linda lying in a doorway, apparently knocked against a wall by the crowd in the excitement. She regrets not getting footage of Supergirl for her station. Linda reveals to Jonny that TV news is a dog-eat-dog world and everybody makes enemies. "Some people are just more capable of dealing with them than others!"

The child is shamed by his inability to eat a bullet, but Jonny assures him that not going with the others to attack the mayor was the smart choice. Also, he has a friend named Brannigan in Homicide who can help the kid--but the child has no interest being a traitor and runs away. Jonny decides to trail the boy as the kid won't be experienced enough not to lead him to the hideout. Linda follows.

They trail the child to a warehouse on the waterfront. Jonny orders Linda to phone Brannigan while he investigates. Despite his mighty magnum, a thug gets the drop on Jonny, and he's taken prisoner into the warehouse.

Although it's not mentioned in this story, Dr. Tzin-Tzin is not, in fact, Chinese. He's a Westerner who went to China to study their "heathen ways" and went native to the point he no longer realizes he's wearing yellowface. (I don't know if he's appeared post-Crisis, but if he has, I bet that plot point went away.)

Chin rebels and throws down the gun, having realized that Tzin-Tzin doesn't give a crap about him as a person. Dr. Tzin-tzin is not amused, and orders the other tong members to destroy both Chin and Mr. Double. It's impossible odds, and Jonny is resigned to just taking as many thugs with him as he can when Supergirl bursts in. (She was delayed finding a working phone.)

Supergirl mentions that Batman has briefed her on Dr. Tzin-Tzin, and tries to provoke him into physical combat with her. The bad doctor isn't quite that stupid, and summons a dragon to attack Supergirl instead.

Dr. Tzin-Tzin is warming up for round two when they hear police sirens, and rather than face them as well, the evil doctor throws himself out of the window into the bay. When the heroes get to the window, there's no sign of a body.

"The undertow around here is terrific! There's no way Tzin-Tzin could survive if he fell into that!"

"I wonder, Jonny! Somehow I think we'll hear from him again!"

Supergirl flies off, as Jonny says he owes her one. Outside, he reconnects with Linda, and tells her what went down. She wants to know why he was hitting on her in the first place, but Jonny evades that question.

The next day, Nasthalthia returns to Mr. Double's office, where she learns that he's discovered that she and Linda work for the same TV station. And also found out she hired the sniper herself. Jonny thinks Nasty did all this to get Linda's job, and warns her off. "You owe me one day's pay! Mail me the check!" Nasty tells him he missed a big payout, but doesn't explain why.

After she's gone, Jonny realizes that every time Supergirl showed up, Linda was out of sight. And Supergirl knew his name even though they'd never spoken before. Could it be...Naa. No way. Time for another cigarette.

Your thoughts and comments?

suggested tags
char: Jonny Double
char: Supergirl/Linda Lee Danvers
creator: Bob Oksner
creator: Jose Delgado
creator: Len Wein
publisher: DC Comics
theme: racism
title: Adventure Comics
auggie18: (Default)

[personal profile] auggie18 2010-06-20 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I think a Tzin-Tzin story could actually work post-crisis, if they played right. He'd be a guy who loves Chinese culture, but only because his racist and abusive father hates it. He attempts to become Chinese, becoming the raging stereotype we see above. Ryan Choi punches him in the face. OH WAIT...

That was a cute story, despite the racism. Linda looks a bit Mary Tyler Moore-ish. Was that what they were going with with her back in the day?
icon_uk: (Default)

[personal profile] icon_uk 2010-06-20 04:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah I could see the "Only someone who WASN'T Chinese could embrace such a completely ghastly stereotype" card being played as a plot point there.
leikomgwtfbbq: (Default)

[personal profile] leikomgwtfbbq 2010-06-20 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)
That was always one of my favorite Supergirl outfits--although I think it would've looked better with proper ass-kicking boots instead of the goofy pixie booties.
kenn_el: Northstar_Hmm (Default)

[personal profile] kenn_el 2010-06-20 11:08 pm (UTC)(link)
'Nasty' looked pretty hot under this artist in most of her appearances. (Wonder if she could have sued her parents for the name as child abuse?) Johnny Double doubled as a potential love interest for Diana in her non-powered phase over in Wonder Woman at around the same time. Stud.