Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Now You See Him, Now You Don't


Name This Marvel Villain??

Our featured villain is a little hard to pin down, but that's par for the course when you go by the name of Mirage, who makes his debut on the wedding day of Peter Parker's friends, Ned Leeds and Betty Brant. The happy couple have booked their nuptial at the fashionable (and fictional) Morgan's of Malverne in New York, along with a number of other wedding parties--which makes it the ideal day for Mirage and his little band of hoods to clean up on all the loot that's arrived with the brides, the grooms, their families, and guests.

And while we may discount these guys as dangerous criminals because they look like they just arrived from a pajama party, we have to give them credit for the efficient manner in which they crash all of the weddings in progress, including what would turn out to be their last stop: the Cupid Room, where Betty and Ned are exchanging vows and, most likely, their jewelry and wallets afterward.

Obviously these aren't the brightest thieves around, if they're willing to accept personal checks--but then, they seem to have gotten pretty far in hooking up with Mirage. At any rate, since Peter is here, all it takes is a discrete strand of webbing to flip the light switch on the wall to allow him to bring his wall-crawling alter ego into play--and while Mirage's associates pose no problem for him, he might find a surprise or two when dealing with the strange power that Mirage appears to command.

After receiving his fair share of bruises from his foe, Spidey finally spots the method by which Mirage deploys his power, and resorts to literally bringing down the house on his astonished opponent. To readers, it will seem almost absurd that Spider-Man's spider-sense can't distinguish between a real person and a hologram (writer Len Wein's insistence otherwise notwithstanding)--but it's still a notch in the "win" column for Spidey, and a nice stay in the hoosegow in store for Mirage and his boys.

Mirage would meet his end when he's mowed down (along with a roomful of other villains) at the Bar With No Name, by its bartender--another disguise of the Scourge of the Underworld. But Mirage and a few of the other unfortunate victims were given a new lease on life (a very brief lease) when Arnim Zola took DNA samples from a few of the corpses (in addition to other deceased characters) and applied them to "proto-husks" which became identical to the original persons--after which they became servants to assist in financing his experiments. Informally dubbed the "Corpse Corps," the duplicates were soon terminated by Deadpool; but Mirage would be resurrected by others over time, probably getting more visibility than he ever did when he was alive.


So Speaks Galactus! said...

I already knew who the villain was because it just so happens that I have this particular comic.

Big Murr said...

The mugshot of the Mirage looked so very familiar, but as I read your blog post, I realized I had no familiarity with this banana. By the time I reached the end, I knew my memory had dug up the Duplicate Man in a vintage "World's Finest".

The similarities are intriguing. Bright yellow costume and a power that prevents the hero from laying a hand on him. Coincidence?

Comicsfan said...

Excellent observation, B.M. Out of curiosity, how did Supes deal with the Duplicate Man? I hope the guy wasn't using hologram projection technology, because "duplicate" would apply in more ways than one to our friend Mirage. ;)

Big Murr said...

Duplicate Man invented a gizmo what...duplicated himself. And when one twin was in a jam, he'd signal and the other twin would activate the gizmo, recalling the duplicate to the other location. For example, Batman was in hot foot pursuit when the D-Man split. Batman chose one to chase, but then that twin vanished as the other twin summoned him. He tackled Batman in a suicidal plunge off a high rooftop. He disappeared, leaving Batman plunging to the street. (Superman swooped to the rescue)

The villain was out to steal all the ultra tech inventions he could lay his hands on. With these ill-gotten machines, and a bit of luck, Duplicate Man kept the heroes bouncing around, chasing duplicates that faded away.

Then a scientist held a press conference demonstrating a new teleportation machine. Duplicate Man nearly wet himself with desire to possess such a device. He worked the angles of the heist pretty well, but did not anticipate the teleportation machine was fake (Superman using super speed). The control panel popped up with a hypnotic light show, commanding him to activate his duplicate device. When the distant twin remerged, the heroes jumped in and subdued the single criminal.

Reviewing the schematics for the duplication mechanism, the World's Finest Team reckoned it was too complicated for D-Man to have memorized the requirements. They destroy the plans, confident he will be unable to recreate the machine after years in prison. (a pretty cocky supposition, if you ask me)

Anonymous said...

I remember this goober. I forgot that his henchmen had matching costumes, though! I bet they were thrilled about that.
It does show a level of commitment on Mirage's part to supervillainy that you don't often see outside the '60's Batman T.V. show.


Comicsfan said...

That's an interesting point about the matching costumes, M.P.--Mirage would certainly have stood out more as a force unto himself if his men were just attired in standard outfits you see on the likes of henchmen in the employ of Doc Ock or the Masked Marauder.

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