Forgotten Villains: Who's the Faceless Hunter?

Who's This? Forgotten Villains Week continues with the second villain on our list, the big orange guy with no face.

The facts: The Faceless Hunter known as Chun Yull appeared in three short stories in Strange Adventures #124, #142 and #153. Not fighting any DC headliner, you understand, just his own people and two Earth cops. That makes him the most popular of the Forgotten Villains after Enchantress. The Faceless Hunters have whatever powers and technology the story needs, and come from the subatomic world of Klaramar, which seems to be accessible through Saturn.
How you could have heard of him: The Faceless Hunter returned (after the Forgotten Villains appearance, of course) in a 1999 Plastic Man special, then in Young Justice #50, and fairly recently in the Geoff Johns' Green Lantern universe, hunting Lanterns. Still, that doesn't exactly tell us what his old stories were like. Hint: They were insane.
Example story: Strange Adventures #124 (January 1961)
Granted the first Faceless Hunter story doesn't feature Chun Yull very much, but it is SO crazy, it really needs to be discussed. It begins when an alien spacecraft steals the faces off Mount Rushmore.
Not just Mount Rushmore, but any stone face on Earth, like Easter Island's or Mexico's La Vanta. After a while, under the watchful eyes of South Dakota patrolmen Jim Boone and Bob Colby, the flying saucer puts them back and a faceless orange giant climbs out to meet them. This isn't Chun Yull, but Klee Pan, a good Klaramarian trying to find a stone face on Earth that acts as the key required to disarm a bomb on Saturn, set to destroy their entire, subatomic "solar system". THIS is the work of Chun Yull (in his first appearance, "Chen Yull"), a crazy criminal who soon dies of "contra-cellular collapse".
With their massive powers, the Faceless Hunters read his dying mind and get what little information they have - that the key is a stone face somewhere on Earth. But Klee Pan has searched every face on Earth and not come up with it. Can Jim and Bob help? As it turns out, these guys are really good at making intuitive leaps. When he hears that a day on Klaramar equals a million on Earth, Jim pulls out a book on astronomy from his patrol car and points to the only possible answer: The face in the moon.
Well, of course. Chun Yull obviously crafted the giant face on Earth, but it got thrown off on the rock that became the moon. Best of all, it's an entirely removable structure!

While we fly to Saturn, let's get a little background on these guys. Like, why don't they have any faces?
Yes, this is a story that throws away a reference to humanity once having a third eye as if it were common knowledge! What kind of Kool-Aid was Gardner Fox drinking? The Hunters evolved beyond the need for faces:
No vestigal organs, then. When the trio arrive on a surprisingly solid Saturn on an even more surprisingly clear day, hidden gun-mounts left by wily Chun Yull destroy the face... and all hope of disarming the bomb. Except that Jim and Bob are full of ideas.
The idea is to reconstruct the face from pictures of it, since the key is a visual one. The poor Faceless Hunter couldn't see that because he doesn't have a face and wouldn't know to reconstruct a face even though the face is actually a key and it seems to me he could have thought of reconstructing the key but whatEVER.
So he does, and after saving the day, he even puts the face back on the moon, which is nothing like the face in the actual moon, but still draws some poetry out of Bob (don't quite your day job, dude).

The next story reveals that not only Chun Yull faked his death so he could plague his people again and get revenge on humanity for his plans' failure, but that Jim and Bob had been given telepathic powers as thanks for helping Klee Pan! Over the next two adventures, they used those powers (and occasional help from their big friend) to defeat the Faceless Hunter. They even shrink down and visit Klaramar thanks to a cop-out that has Chun Yull set up a time warp connecting his home dimension to ours temporally. Now, those two guys? THEY'RE the real Forgotten Heroes. They perhaps kept the secret of their telepathy too well.

Who else? Two down, three to go!

2 comments:

American Hawkman said...

I LOVE these stories... kind of wish that we'd see Klee Pan pop up sometime, as a Klamarian Green Lantern or something sometime. I honestly believe these are the high point of DC's Silver Age Sci-Fi madness, with the possible exception of the Butterfly Giants, which were equally insane. Good stuff.

It's worth mentioning that non-comics readers may know Chun Yull from his take as Terrax-to-Starro's-Galactus from Brave and Bold, which is probably the character's single most convincing appearance as a major threat.

Siskoid said...

I guess I'm not there yet in my watching of BB&B. That's awesome!

 

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