§ September 6th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "ARGF!"

When we last left the Sentinels, Rick, Cindy, and Crunch were in the diabolical grip of the mindbending…er, Mind-Bender, as the mind-controlled Crunch was about to flip a switch designed to destroy their minds! As opposed to simply bending them, I guess.

Anyway, this story, “Night of Doom,” was the back-up in Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #59 (published by Charlton Comics in 1967), written by “Sergius O’Shaugnessy” (AKA Denny O’Neil) and illustrated by “Sam Grainger,” AKA Sam Grainger. And remember:

Before the switch can be thrown, quick-thinking Rick remembers that all villains love to talk about themselves, even if they are about to defeat their arch-nemesis (or nemeses, in this case) once and for all:

Okay, and once again we get a villain that probably could have made a fortune legitimately, had he just, you know, applied for patents and hired a marketing team or something. Which makes this following statement all the more ludicrous:

…a claim he supports by explaining his origin as a scientist caught in an exploding lab, which gave him the power to intermittently control minds. And thus he’s a businessman. Sure, that makes perfect sen…wha-huh?

All this time, as the Mind-Bender blabs on and on, prodded on by questions from his captives (“Why do you need robots?” “To do the menial work!” Well, sure), Rick is working at freeing himself. Finally, a day or two later, just as the Mind-Bender has decided he’s talked enough, Rick breaks his bonds and grabs some of the power cables on the wall, causing some of the generators in the room to explode, you know, as they do.

Angered at the turn of events, the Mind-Bender topples one of his robots in an attempt to crush the still-bound Cindy, who makes an insightful observation:

Luckily, in all this brouhaha Crunch has managed to bust himself free of the Mind-Bender’s influence, and thus able to save Cindy’s bacon by knocking the falling robot aside with his own body.

In the meantime, the Mind Bender has fled for the hills…well, a catwalk actually, high above the action. Rick flies up in pursuit, thinking “with [the Mind-Bender’s] uncanny mental power, he’s potentially the greatest menace on Earth,” which may be overstating things a bit. But hey, he’s the superhero, I suppose he knows best.

Anyway, once Rick has caught up with the Mind-Bender, MB makes a frank assessment of his failings:

…only to be followed by an admission of personal flaws by Rick during the ensuing fight:

The conflict concludes with Rick delivering a haymaker to MB’s jaw, in a panel that contains no end of delights, from Rick’s witty bon mot, to that fine sound effect, and even to that grunt of “ARGF!”

I want everyone reading this right now to say “ARGF!” out loud, just to hear it. “ARGF!” Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

So the Mind-Bender is seemingly defeated, and just as Rick is about to wrap up this little adventure, MB leaps to his feet and pushes Rick (you know, the flying hero) off the catwalk! This gives Rick a chance to again berate himself for his failings:

However, he shortly recovers and flies back up to the catwalk to give the Mind-Bender a little more what-for. He hovers just off to the side of the catwalk, throwing some punches, while MB tries to return a few hits of his own. Unfortunately, MB leans just a little too far off the catwalk and loses his balance. “I can’t reach him!” shouts Rick from about two feet away, and the Mind-Bender goes to his dignified end:

Meanwhile, the lab’s in flames, and it’s up to Crunch to save Cindy and himself from the fire…Crunch grabs one of the Mind-Bender’s robots and smashes it through a wall, making an escape route for all three Sentinels. The group has some final words regarding their fallen foe:

Cindy: “That poor man! He was a genius!”

Rick: “A twisted genius, Cindy! If he had survived…well, perhaps civilization wouldn’t have!”

Again, Rick perhaps overstates the case a little, probably to justify the fact that he essentially let a man fall to his doom.

We leave the Sentinels with this last panel, as Crunch is paid back for his rescue of Cindy by being totally treated like a third wheel. Admire the man’s lantern-jaw and spit-curl while you puzzle over his dialogue:

Plus, I’m not entirely sure what Cindy did to get herself exhausted, but there you go.

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