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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Beware...the Creeper 6 - the Creeper ends

Beware...the Creeper 6 (March/April 1969) is the final issue of the series, and really doesn't look much like the others. It's the only one without a Ditko cover, and though Gil Kane provides one, it doesn't have the same feel. Jack Sparling joins Ditko on the pencils, and with Peppe on the inks for the O'Neil tale, it all looks much less like the rest of the run.

Picking up from the end of the previous issue, Proteus leaves the Creeper chained up in a sewer to drown as a storm hits the city. The Creeper has to wait for the water to weaken the bonds enough for him to escape. He then rushes back to the WHAM studio, where his roommate, Rip Cord, is accompanying the Governor, who orders the citizens to flee the northern part of the city because of flooding, even though the storm is abating. I should mention, the Governor's name is given as Harley Ellison, a clear allusion to writer Harlan Ellison.

Jack Ryder shows up, and attacks the Governor. Both Bill Brane and Vera Sweet think Jack has gone nuts, until the real Governor emerges. The one who made the broadcast was Proteus in disguise. If you can't figure out by this point that Rip Cord was really Proteus, you shouldn't be reading comics. Proteus grabs Vera Sweet and holds her hostage to make his getaway, but the Creeper gets her free. Vera is less than appreciative, getting a black eye in the process.

The story reaches its climax as Proteus and Creeper fight at the dam, which Proteus intends to blow up. He has a whiny speech about how nobody loves him because he is a shape changer, and how he came to the US for acceptance. Maybe if he hadn't been trying to kill people he would have succeeded better. Creeper asks why he didn't kill him when they were rooming together, and Proteus explains that he was hoping he and Jack could be friends. Again, maybe he shouldn't have tried so hard to kill him and frame him for murder. Those techniques have never really worked for me when trying to get friends. But what do I know?

So, since no one will be his friend, Proteus intends to kill as many people as possible. The Creeper tries to stop him from blowing up the dam, but both Proteus and the nitro fall, and there is a big explosion. Proteus appears to be killed.

So the series ends on a bit of a downer. Shame that you can barely see Ditko in the art, it all looks much more like Sparling.

The Creeper next appears, the same week, in Justice League of America. Proteus did not die, and shows up eight years down the road in Super-Team Family. Vera Sweet makes one final appearance, in 1981, in a Brave and the Bold story teaming Batman with the Creeper.

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