DCAU #298: The End

IN THIS ONE... Mastermind, Mister Nice and the Perfesser pull one last job before they split up.

CREDITS: Written by Kelley Puckett; art by Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty.

REVIEW: I really love the trio known as the "Threatening Three" created for Batman's DCAU comics, and I wish they'd shown up in other Batman adventures (not in anything grimdark, you understand, but maybe a '66 project or even The Brave and the Bold cartoon show). Kelley Puckett returns to the DCAUniverse to give them a fond farewell, and it's pretty sweet, and characteristically humorous. This is a story told by the Perfesser to his grandchild, from a story book, so there are odd liberties taken, like a strange walk into glowing door, normally reserved for a character death, and the issue sometimes comes off as disjointed, until you realize Mastermind's usual long game is being played... These are valid complaints, but they don't really undermine the issue's quality.

Because we DO have Mastermind's foresight driving the story, the Perfesser covering all bases thanks to his ability to gain highly specific skills and retain absurd levels of trivia, and Mister Nice violently punching his way through the issue while apologizing to his victims. It's the latter who will disband the team when a non-vocal child (the joke is that he is a fount of appropriate written notes) from a remote country comes to the door and asks for help, which in his pathological niceness, he can't refuse. The "one last job" trope is turned on its head when it's revealed Mastermind's ultimatum is just to force Mister Nice to stay. One last ditch effort, a couple manly tears, a sweet hug. Good friends saying goodbye as Batman stands sternly by.

I could have suffered through many more stories with these guys, so I'm a little ferklempt myself to see them shuffle off stage.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: The cover is an homage to Mad Comics #1 (1952); on THAT cover, it WAS Melvin.

REREADABILITY: Medium-High - Some pacing issues shouldn't keep you from reading this fun final chapter in the Threatening Three Trilogy.


Green Luthor said...

Probably worth mentioning that Mastermind, Perfesser, and Mr. Nice were based on Mike Carlin, Denny O'Neil, and Archie Goodwin. Goodwin had, at the time of the issue's publication, recently passed away; that was why Mr. Nice had to leave, and also explains the "strange walk into glowing door". It really *was* representing a character's death: not Mr. Nice's, but the man he was based on. (Goodwin had a reputation as one of the nicest guys in comics, so of course his alter ego was based around niceness.)

Siskoid said...

Wow that's a context I never had. It all makes sense. And I STILL want these characters to show up again. More than ever!

Tony Laplume said...

I remember those characters! And I didn't realize they were comics-exclusive until you pointed it out. Maybe if I'd been reading more of your reviews...I'm glad someone else chimed in with their secret origin, which is hugely fascinating.

Brendoon said...

Those early MAD's (as referred to by the cover) had amazing artwork.
Weren't they published by DC as well?

Siskoid said...

Mad Magazine was eventually sold to DC in the early 60s, but was published at EC before that.


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