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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Brother Power, the Geek 2 - Brother Power ends

Joe Simon's Brother Power, the Geek comes to an early end with issue 2 (Nov/Dec 68).

Picking up from the conclusion of the previous issue, Brother Power gets fished out of the river by some kids. While not hippies like the Nick and Paul, they have their own enemy gang. Once again, Brother Power is hung out to dry. It seems that his consciousness fades when he is wet.

A group of would-be World War 1 German flyers have constructed a wooden plane. They try to fly down to attack Brother Power's new friends, although all their plane is able to do is crash. It's tempting to view them as neo-Nazis, but their sjtick is World War 1. So neo-Prussians, maybe?

At any rate, the new kids take Brother Power back to town, and he decides to get a job. He starts working in a grocery store, and impresses a woman whose husband runs a missile factory. The factory is going broke, and they have brought in the bizarre, but much feared, Lord Sliderule, an efficiency expert.

Lord Sliderule is actually not terribly competent. Brother Power gets hired to work the assembly line, and immediately finds a faster way of doing things. Lord Sliderule is furious, and has his men attack the Geek. But of course, no one can injure him. When the boss finds out, he tosses out Sliderule, and puts Brother Power in charge of the factory.

Then Nick, Paul and Cindy show up, protesting the factory, an anti-war thing. But it turns out that the factory is only making missiles for space exploration, so that's ok with everyone.  Brother Power recruits his old friends into working at the factory, which the hippies find an entertaining change from being lazy.

But then Sliderule returns, and sabotages a test flight. Brother Power gets the blame, and the military come after him. Even the neo-Prussians and their useless plane come back for the big finale. Brother Power winds up climbing into a rocket in order to escape from everyone, and gets shot into space.

So the story ends with Brother Power in orbit. The conclusion bills another issue, as if his landing was imminent. It wasn't. The series was cancelled, and Brother Power spent just over 20 years orbiting the Earth.

It was Neil Gaiman who brought him back down, as his satellite crashes in the pages of a Swamp Thing Annual. I read that long before I ever found these two stories, and was amazed that Brother Power really was just floating around in space at the end of this last issue, waiting for someone to pick up the tale.

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